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By Geoff Metcalf

June 24, 2002 

There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures."   --James Thurber  

In the wake of 9/11 we have heard a constant refrain of “There will be more terrorism HERE in the continental United States.

The chronic caution of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological and/or nuclear) echoes in the media.

Regardless of what happens or who precipitates the attack the conventional wisdom is that Americans will be forced to deal with the aftermath of ‘something’ big, bad and terrifying.

What will it be?

Chemical attack:  Aerial, water borne, or a subway incident (similar to what Japan suffered March 20, 1995, when terrorists released sarin, an organophosphate (OP) nerve gas at several points in the Tokyo subway system, killing 11 and injuring more than 5,500 people.) could all be devastating but limited in scope. 

Dirty Nuke attack:  Would have an epic psychological impact on the country but probably result in ‘relatively’ small numbers of dead. 

Biological attack:  Could and would be the worst (short of a for real nuclear devise).  Smallpox, plague, or Ebola could and would spread rapidly and cause large numbers of fatalities and a synergistic psychological impact.

Where will it be 

*   Washington D.C. is number one on the prospective target list.  New Yorkers may dodge the bullet and be able to breathe a sigh of relief…maybe. 

*   Newsmax reports if the weapon of choice is a dirty it will likely be in Washington.  They also hear that potassium iodide, a substance that prevents lethal radioactive iodine from lodging in a person’s thyroid, has been selling like crazy. 

*   Again, according to Newsmax, a famous journalist in Washington has already stockpiled the trunk of his car with 10 days' worth of provisions and has plans for a quick exit from the area if anything happens. 

*   I’ve heard numerous reports of folks stocking ‘bug out bags’

*   HOWEVER, CONUS (Continental United States) terrorism could occur:

    o   In ANY major metropolitan area.

    o   ANY power generation facility (especially including nuclear plants).  

    o   Bridges

    o   Dams

    o   Waterways

    o   Entertainment venue

    o   Government OR Financial buildings

Just recently significant ethical and logistics issues have been raised after the recent decision by a government advisory panel to recommend smallpox vaccination for about 15,000 health care and law enforcement workers. 

Doctors claim, some of the 15,000 "first responders" who receive the vaccine could suffer serious — potentially even deadly — complications.  In other words the potential cure for a devastating fatal disease could kill you.  Swell!

Shortly after the 9/11 events I reported about a simulated bioweapons exercise called ‘Dark Winter’

The key issues raised were:

*   How to meet homeland security and disease containment needs while maintaining international commitments?

*   What alternative epidemic controls (e.g., quarantine, travel restriction) are possible? What about economic disruption and civil rights infringement?

*   What assistance can the federal government offer states?

*   What is the role of the National Guard?

*   Is the nation at war?

There were depressing predictions that within 3 weeks as many as 300,000 total victims –100,000 who would die.

The ‘Dark Winter’ exercise “portrayed a FICTIONAL scenario depicting a covert smallpox attack on US citizens. The scenario is set in three successive National Security Council (NSC) meetings (Segments 1,2 and 3) which take place over a period of 14 days. Former senior government officials played the roles of NSC members responding to the evolving     epidemic; representatives from the media were among the observers of these mock NSC meetings and played journalists during the scenario's press conferences (see Participant List). The exercise itself was held at Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. on June, 22-23, 2001.”

Currently, government officials don’t recommend widespread vaccination because, in the absence of a specific known smallpox threat, the vaccine's dangers seem to outweigh its benefits.   We stopped routine smallpox vaccinations in 1972.  I got my last smallpox shot in 1971 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

However after the anthrax attacks last fall, disease centers asked a panel to determine whether more Americans should get the vaccine.

By early 2003, the government expects to have enough vaccine made from a new technique to protect every American.  However, one potential problem is that a recipient can inadvertently pass on vaccinia to other people who have not consented to a vaccination.  Gee, they never told us THAT before?

President John F. Kennedy once said, "Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of           freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom."

Never were those words truer.  In the growing shadow of what we are told is inevitable doom, it becomes the responsibility of every individual to care and protect not just themselves and their family but their friends, neighbors and countrymen.

The Warrior Creed
by Robert L. Humphrey

"Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I'm there. Wherever I go, everyone in need has a friend. 

Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I'm there."

© Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers.  A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication.