The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

WMD Report -- Ignoring Root Causes?


ABC News is reporting: "A biological or nuclear attack is likely to occur somewhere around the globe during the Obama administration or shortly thereafter, a new congressionally mandated report has warned.

"The report, titled 'The World at Risk,' starkly states, 'The commission believes that unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.'"

The report prominently states "The next administration must work to openly and honestly engage the American citizen, encouraging a participatory approach to meeting the challenges of the new century."

It also prominently criticizes Iran: "Iran continues to defy its NPT [nuclear non-proliferation treaty] obligations, UN Security Council resolutions, and the international community in an apparent effort to acquire a nuclear weapons capability. It has 3,850 centrifuges spinning and more than 1,000 pounds of enriched uranium -- three-quarters of what would be needed, after further enrichment, to build its first bomb."

The report notes in its appendix: "Only India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan are not members of the NPT." It reinforces Israel's so-called strategic ambiguity with regard to its nuclear weapons arsenal: "Since the United States exploded the first nuclear bomb in 1945, seven additional states are known or suspected to have joined the nuclear weapons club: Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, India, and Pakistan."

It also maintains a positive view of the U.S.-India nuclear deal: "U.S.-Indian cooperation in the civilian nuclear power industry must not be allowed to become the catalyst of a nuclear arms race in Asia."

Gerson is director of programs for the American Friends Service Committee in New England and author of Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World.

He said today: "I don't think anyone can predict with any precision when a WMD terror attack might take place in the U.S. The more important question is to ask why the U.S. is seen as, or we think of ourselves as, a target for terrorist attack. Given the history of U.S. military hegemony -- including invasions, subversion of governments, alliances with repressive monarchies and dictatorship, and invasions -- to enforce U.S. privileged access to the oil of the Middle East and a number of other nations, we have angered many people whose lives have been diminished or lost as a consequence. It isn't surprising that people want revenge. Look at how many people in the U.S. responded after 9/11.

"... Biological and chemical weapons are cheaper and easier to develop (though extremely difficult to use effectively and generally not nearly as murderous as nuclear weapons). Thus the greater danger of a biological or chemical attack."

Regarding Israel's "strategic ambiguity," Gerson said: "As is now widely known, with French assistance following their disastrous 1956 invasion of Egypt, Israel has developed a nuclear arsenal which is estimated to contain between 200 and 400 of these weapons. Although President Kennedy attempted to challenge Israel's efforts to build the A-bomb, since the Johnson years successive U.S. presidents have turned blind eyes to the arsenal whose existence the Israeli government refuses to confirm or deny. ..."
More Information

Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, which monitors nuclear weapons policy, and is a contributor to the book Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security?
She recently won the Sean MacBride Peace Prize. For Cabasso's acceptance address, as well as a recent Q and A "Will Nuclear Disarmament Be on Obama's Agenda" -- see

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.