Makes the EU Say FU to the Bush Administration
by Richard Prasad
The Bush Administration has warned us since 9/11 to be vigilant
against terrorist attacks, including the anthrax attacks following
the 9/11 tragedy. But has the Bush Administration been vigilant
in preventing the proliferation of germ warfare agents throughout
the world? The shocking and disturbing answer is no.
The Bush Administration on December 7th forced a germ warfare
conference to break up. The meeting was established to try
to add enforcement provisions to the 1972 Biological Weapons
Convention. The current meeting was held in Geneva to discuss
the progress of a group who have been trying for six years
to negotiate legally enforceable compliance with the Biological
The Biological Weapons Convention was ratified by the U.S.
and 143 other nations almost thirty years ago. Article One
of the Biological Weapons Convention states that each member
who is party to this convention will undertake to NEVER develop
produce stockpile or otherwise retain microbial or any other
biological agents or toxins. It further bans the development
of delivery systems for these toxins. Article 2 of the BWC
requires the destruction of these banned items, or their conversion
into peaceful uses within 9 months.
The Biological Weapons Convention sounds like a good framework
to build upon to try to ban these horrible weapons of mass
destruction, so why would the Bush administration prematurely
end a meeting trying to enhance enforcement of the Biological
Weapons Convention, at a time where banning such weapons has
gained increased urgency because of these anthrax attacks?
Simple, say Bush administration representatives, because the
Biological Weapons Convention is impossible to enforce. Bush
Administration officials have stated that nothing in the protocol
would prevent rogue nations from acquiring biological weapons
if the desired.
That answer has left members of the European Union shocked
and angry to say the least. In a statement the E.U. says they
are deeply committed to multilateral arms negotioations. This
action by Bush representatives only reinforces the European
view that the Bush Administration is unilateralist in its
world view, willing to go it alone on issues rather than join
with other nations.
We all know the litany of treaties that the Bush Administration
has either succeeded in killing or has backed away from. The
Kyoto Protocol, which requires strict environmental standards,
which Bush and his oil burning pals aren't willing to adhere
to. And let us not forget the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty,
which stands in the way of Bush wanting to build SDI. But
all this unilateralism occurred before 9/11.
Many thought that since 9/11 that President Bush would understand
the importance of coalition building, since he experienced
the value of coalition building during our current war with
Afghanistan. Could he not take the leadership role that the
US has taken in the war, and take the lead role in enforcing
a ban on germ warfare as well? The argument that this convention
cannot be enforced seems weak when the US can enforce no fly
zones in Iraq and hunt down terrorists in Afghanistan. We
can do whatever we aim to do in this country, if we as a nation
have the political will to do so. President Bush does not
have the political will to do so. Why? I do not know.
Further, we are ready to declare war on Iraq for not letting
UN inspection teams in to inspect possible biological weapons
sites. It is reasonable to think we should go to war with
Iraq if they don't let us inspect those sites, but how can
we go to war with Iraq on this issue, when we are not stringently
supporting the Biological Weapons Convention, which bans the
very weapons Iraq is said to have. The hypocrisy of the Bush
Administration here is intolerable.
Finally, the lack of press coverage on this Biological Weapons
Conference is astounding. None of the major tv news organizations
covered it that I know. CNBC, and it's clone CNN never covered
it, and Fox, well, they don't cover anything. This is a huge
story with huge international ramifications, and all I could
find was a couple of newspaper articles, and that is it. I
know the press, in general, has taken to saluting the flag
and telling us what a great job the President is doing in
prosecuting the war. That is all well and good, but how about
putting the pom poms away, and informing the public about
matters of grave concern to everyone.
I am asking all the readers of Democratic Underground to
call or e-mail your local House Member or Senator and ask
them why the US walked out on a meeting to enforce the biological
weapons treaty. We the people can make enough noise to make
a difference. Maybe we can make newsworthy what the mainstream
media chooses to ignore.