Apparently, due to bureacratic politics, the task has fallen to lowly webloggers rather than the United States government (one would think that if the problems cited by the source are the real issue here that we could put some allied power -- Canada, say -- up to doing this) to post on this issue and hope someone from al-Qaeda is reading. So here goes. As Tom Schelling says attacking the United States with smallpox would be a very bad idea from the point-of-view of the attacker.
The result would be a worldwide pandemic and massive suffering. The suffering would, however, be worse in the Islamic world than in the West since said Islamic world has less money and worse institutions to mobilize a response. Moreover, demographically speaking, a far higher proportion of Muslims than folks of Christian or Jewish ancestry were born after smallpox eradication. So whatever you do, don't attack the United States with smallpox. Pass the word on to all your terrorist friends.
September 21, 2004 | Permalink
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