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Weapons of Mass Destruction

Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) refer to all those weapons whose destructive capacity far exceeds those of conventional weaponry. Nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, whether used by organized military units or by terrorist/paramilitary groups, could inflict large numbers of casualties. The suggestion that terrorists might use WMD to achieve their purposes instills great concern and fear.

There is little doubt that terrorists would use such weapons if they had them. Computer files captured from the Al Qaeda group in Afghanistan in 2001 revealed that it was seeking to obtain chemical and biological weapons. The Aum Shinrikyō cult in Japan prepared and used chemical and biological weapons in attacks on subway systems and other targets in the mid-1980s. Although relatively ineffective, the attacks in Japan demonstrated that a well-funded group could prepare and carry out such attacks. Experts are currently debating the probability that other ...

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