Monday, September 08, 2008

Anthrax in perspective

Here's a link to this week's column for, in which I took advantage of the publicity over Bruce Ivins -- I'm still skeptical he was the sole perpetrator or even the perpetrator at all, though he does seem to have been a very strange duck -- to offer a little perspective on anthrax as a big threat and in fact on chemical and biological weapons as a real threat. There's no question both chemical and biological weapons are scary, but when it comes to actually killing large numbers of people, they really don't deserve to be classified along with nukes as Weapons of Mass Destruction. Theoretically enough anthrax was distributed in 2001 (based on what a lethal dose is) to kill most of the U.S. population, but just five people were killed -- not that each of those deaths wasn't a tragedy. Yet the anthrax scare, and the fairly commonplace suggestion at the time that Saddam Hussein was the most likely mastermind, had a great deal to do with preparing the American people for an invasion of Iraq.

For a little more detail specifically on anthrax, here's's valuable recent piece.

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