Nuclear and biological attacks... By a USMC geezer

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by Squiggers, Oct 23, 2008.

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  1. From some other forums which i frequent - Anyone know whether thats absloute ballacks or not?

    Personnally, i don't even know whether to ask or not... :roll:
  2. Well, for a start chemical agents are categorised as 'lethal, damaging and incapacitating', not 'nerve, blood, blister, and Incapacitating'. And I suspect it's the Marine Corps, not the Marine Coups. He's also lumped all chemical agents together and treated them as vapours, despite mentioning Blood agents specifically, the most obvious of which CO is a true gas and lighter than air.

    His observation on the Tokyo underground sarin attacks are accurate, but don't take into account the comparatively small amounts of agent delivered. Sarin's also a first generation NA and by comparison fairly volatile. Thickened agents like the V-series present a long-term vapour hazard due to their low volatility and are genuine area-denial weapons. If they'd been used instead they could have shut down the underground for weeks at least, but delivery would have been a bitch.

    His point about their use by terrorists not being quite the risk it's made out to be is well made, though, and quite accurate IMO.

    Edited to dismount from my spelling high horse. Cheers TRSL.
  3. A few americanisms but nothing different to any UK CBRN training.
    The author is just trying to allay peoples fears (You know how they over react over there)

    Who knows... The septic probably worked at Porton Down.
  4. He talks a lot of sense, with the caveats of the points that Smart raised.

    The best thing he gets over is that Chemical agents were designed and intended for area denial and not mass kill. Biological agents take time, the sort of instantly spreading disease/infection beloved of films etc just can't happen ..... not yet anyway. This is what Saddam spent his millions on; the attempt to 'weaponise' germs, viruses and bacteria.

    His article gives some good advice, above all the bit about not panicking! Even baby nukes are survivable!
  5. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    In the 1950s I was taught the DISTRESS rule for detecting hostile chemical weapons. Apart from the last two being Hostile Smell and Hostile Smoke I've forgotten the rest. Any bids? Oh I think I was Irritation.

    We used to be shown a gruesome (colour) film of what hapened to Oz convict volunteers in a piece of Queensland jungle impregnated with mustard gas. As the camera panned groins and armpits to show the resulting boils and lesions the bloke in the next seat fainted clean out (recovered though, just been to his golden wedding).
  6. Mongo

    Mongo LE Reviewer

    He makes no mention of a zombie apocalypse..
  7. Yeah - When World War Z happens it will be down to Chemical Agents - That darn pesky Umbrella Corporation IIRC.

    I have my Sharpened Shovel Ready.
  8. Hmm, just reading it over again, and it appears that the nuclear weapon section is rather.. outdated..

    Mainly, just looking at Trident, one of those beasties smacking into London "taaaawn" would vapourise everything within 2 square miles, and within 5 miles, 80% would be dead..

    Mind you, perhaps hes trying to waylay fear, not cause it... :lol:

    And agreed - following the yanks examples of stockpiling food, and weapons...

    Hey, i think a good sized baseball bat does the trick, all right..? Except if you end up against some nasty fcuker like nemesis coming out of your arrse... Yes, i'm sad enough to have played the games as well....
  9. Far too serious and wordy for the NAAFI bar this...

    That is exceptionally sound. Exercises in the US suggested that for every real casualty from a biological agent, there would be something like sixteen more "worried well" clogging up the system - a system made much more fragile by the fact a lot of the medical staff had buggered off to Tahiti.

    So yes, SFC Red Thomas, good on you for trying to waylay fears. But perhaps the best way to do it is to be honest about some of the less reassuring aspects as well. So tough, I'm going to nitpick.

    I'd love to say that in my PhD viva. It would make life a lot easier. Perhaps there isn't much to cover as what Red completely misses is the key means of disseminating biological agents: aerosols. All this hygiene and good vector control is fine, in the aftermath of an attack, well away from where the agent was dispersed. But it won't make any difference if you had the misfortune to be in the area when an agent is disseminated.

    Red's comments about standing water and rodent control speaks loudly of how the US perceived the threat as a reflection of its own offensive interests before 1972; insect borne viruses such as VEE, WEE and EEE, zoonotic bacteria such as Q fever; toxins such as staphylococcal enterotoxin B. Rather genteel as far as BW goes. Incapacitating rather than terminating, really. Spot of anthrax and plague for good measure as well.

    One of the few public examples of the impact good sanitation, hygiene and cleanliness we have is the anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk in 1979. Firstly, the KGB rounded up dodgy meat sellers to try and cover up the existence of a BW factory in the city. The outbreak continued. Then they started scrubbing the streets with disinfectants. The outbreak worsened. Why? Vigorously cleaning the streets knocked the spores back into the air, and into the lungs of the cleaners. Oops.

    I mentioned the agents above were fairly genteel. In Red Thomas's time, the fact that the Soviet Union were having fun with smallpox as a weapon would not have filtered down to his level, even if it were known at all. Smallpox's only vector is humans. And close contact is not a prerequisite. Quite a few cases in the 1970s (Meschede, Birmingham) where a teensy weensy bit of pox virus floated a long way and killed people dead. Containing an outbreak of smallpox in today's highly interconnected world is the mother of all public health headaches.

    Of course, we have a half-decent vaccine for smallpox. Unless a strain was genetically engineered to be vaccine-resistant (not as sci-fi as I'd like, sadly), we could probably play catchup with its spread, and eradicate it again.

    Technically, producing such a weapon would be fairly straightforward, the kind of thing you could do in an average university lab. The huge bottleneck though would be getting the smallpox strain in the first place. Officially, it only exists under strict guard in the US and Russia. Unofficially, feck knows.

    As for what Saddam Hussein and co failed to achieve - they did achieve a fair bit. But here's one theory why they didn't do more. Incompetence. In my lab, there is an Iraqi scientist. He has the equivalent of a BSc and an MSc and allegedly some government lab experience as well before coming to the UK to do a PhD. He had no concept of what a thermometer is. Please don't interpret this observation as some kind of racist elitism, but one has to wonder how good the system was which allowed him to progress to this level without encountering something as basic as a thermometer during the four or five years he trained as a scientist.

    Likewise, Aum Shinrykyo (sp.) with their sarin. I don't know the particulars of that attack, but not long before they had tried to spray anthrax all over Tokyo. Nobody got ill. Not because they did anything wrong. Months later, viable anthrax spores could be detected in the area. But Aum didn't know the strain they'd got hold of was completely harmless. Maybe if they could read "vaccine strain" on the bottle and got the right strain instead it would have been a very different story.

    Red Thomas is obviously coming from the right place: being a drama llama helps no-one.

    We're all going to die some day anyway. Whether it happens from a shock errection aged 97 in the retirement home, or choking to death on bloody vomit a few days after the first headache with blood dribbling out your bell end to go with bruised bollocks the size of oranges and your bloodied intestinal lining sloughing out your arrse doesn't change that. So why bother?
  10. Personnally, i'd have gone with the shock errection...

    Far less messy. In theory...

    Still, the extra info you've given is quite.. interesting.
  11. Intresting article in British army review about cbrn if you can get hold of it .
  12. The shock of the bit in bold will probably kill more people than the WMD would...