Weapons of Mass Destruction received attention before the events of September 11th 2001, but much more concerted interest dates to March 1995 when Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese religious cult carried out an attack on the Tokyo subway, killing twelve and injuring five thousand. But for an element of technical incapacity, the casualty figures would have been much greater. WMD terrorism is a low-probability, but it is also a high-consequence threat, for the harm caused by even one successful act would be profound, not only in terms of lives lost. The conventional, low-technology terrorism of the past has exercised a social and political impact far out of proportion with the casualties it has caused. The massive, indiscriminate destruction caused by an act of WMD terrorism similarly would have disproportionate social, political, economic and strategic effects. Twenty-nine articles are republished here exploring the issue of WMDs and key questions raised about terrorism, its definition, objects, motivation, whether there is a different species of it emerging in the aftermath of the close of the Cold War, preparedness and the means of prevention.
Contents: Terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction: how serious is the threat?, Andrew O'Neil ; Hypothetical integrative medical strategies for the prevention and treatment of bio-terrorism incidents, Jeffrey L. Anderson, Eric Gordon, Stephen A. Levine, Roger Morrison and Michael E. Rosenbaum ; Globalization meets Frankenstein? Reflections on terrorism, nuclearity, and global technopolitical discourse, Gabrielle Hecht; Challenges associated with creating a pharmaceutical stockpile to respond to a terrorist event, R. Havlak, S.E. Gorman and S.A. Adams; Biological weapons and bioterrorism preparedness: importance of public-health awareness and international cooperation, R. Roffrey, K. Lantorp, A Tegnell and F. Elgh; Terrorists, WMD and the US army reserve, Charles L. Mercier Jr; Defusing nuclear terror, Jeffrey Richelson; Keeping track of anthrax: the case of a biosecurity convention, Michael Barletta, Amy Sands and Jonathan B. Tucker; Confronting nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism, Richard A. Falkenrath; Biological terrorism and public health, Christopher F. Chyba; Smallpox: a potential agent of bioterrorism, Richard J. Whitley; The prospect of nuclear and biological terrorism, Joseph W. Foxell Jr; Report of the CIMERC*/Drexel University emergency department terrorism preparedness consensus panel, Michael I. Greenberg and Robert G. Hendrickson; Trends in bioterrorism: 2 generations of potential weapons, Joseph W. Foxell Jr; Audience and message: assessing terrorist WMD potential, Daniel S. Gressand IV; Responding to chemical, biological, or nuclear terrorism: the indirect and long-term health effects may present the biggest challenge, Kenneth C. Hyams, Frances M. Murphy and Simon Wessely; Chemical warfare and chemical terrorism: psychological and performance outcomes, James A. Romano Jr and James M. King; Redefining NATO's mission: WMD terrorism, Richard G. Lugar; The threat of biological terrorism in the new millennium, Steven Kuhr and Jerome M. Hauer; B