Terrorism Using Chemical and Biological Agents


Terrorism by the use of chemical and biological agents is unacceptable in the society and should be denounced with all the efforts available. With globalization and developments in technology, terrorism has also taken different dimensions. It is clear that terrorists are using newer strategies to attack their purported enemies. According to the CRS report, there is change from the conventional use of explosives and other destructive weapons against the targets. The use of both chemical and biological agents in terrorism can be attributed to the advancements in technology and aims at having a long lasting impact on the victims. The motivation behind the use of chemical and biological agents in terrorism can be said to be emanating from different directions. Some terrorist have wanted to cause mass casualties so as to influence government policies. To others this is an important opportunity to showcase the level of sophistication in technology.

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All in all the use of chemical and biological agents can have catastrophic repercussion s if well planned and executed. The locations affected by such attacks are likely to take a very long time to come back to normalcy. It is also vital to underscore that possible recurrent of the effects of chemical agents can be manifested in future generations especially with offspring’s having different forms of deformities in morphology and structure. This means that the danger that is inherent with the use of chemicals and biological agents in terrorism is not only physical but it would also have psychological implications to the victims. The United States just like most countries does not seem to be prepared for terrorism using chemicals and biological agents.(David,2002) The response of the scientists to foreign diseases symptoms can be seen to be a t a very slow rate. Studies have pointed out hat chemical and biological agents can have a more pronounced impact on animals and plants than on human beings. This means that terrorists can take the opportunity to retard development of a country by hampering crop and animal productivity through use of chemical and biological agents. Terrorism directed towards agricultural productivity is likely to result in human casualties and economic crisis. With such impacts, the terrorists would end up achieving their goals for instance by making the people to loose confidence in the government since it cannot adequately cater for the food requirements of its population. (CRS, 2004)

Terrorism that is directed towards agriculture could have far reaching consequences to the economy of the United States. This can be viewed from different perspectives for instance the export business would be greatly affected with foreign countries putting sanctions on the United States to prevent the potential risk of diseases spreading. Secondly, agricultural dependent industries would suffer the blow with low productivity. The government would bear significant costs of containing the diseases through research and treatment measures. Businesses that are dependent on agriculture could be threatened to collapse as a result of chemical and biological agent’s terrorism. With such implications to a growing economy, the terrorists can end up achieving their targets or demands whenever they threaten the government with the release of such harmful chemical and biological agents. (David,2002)

Terrorism experts have argued that although the use of biological and chemical agents can be aiming at increased casualties as viewed by the victims, on the part of the terrorists, this can be a strategy towards having an impact on the psychology of the victims. This can be seen to be leading towards the victims giving in to the demands of terrorists due to the panic and hysteria that can be created with the threat to launch biological and chemical agents on human lives.

From an economical perspective, the use of chemicals and biological agents can be observed to be moving towards reducing the capacity of strong economies due to their ever dominating competitive advantage. Countries like the United States despite of the well developed military force can bee weakened if the agricultural productivity is impaired by the use of biological agents. Such a strategy can have lasting implications on the productivity of the masses that depend on agriculture for subsistence. In essence this would affect the government because it would be viewed to be failing to protect the interests of the majority. An impact on the agricultural productivity means that the economy of a country also suffers the loss and hence the government would be kept on toes by the civil activists. (David, 2002)

The use of chemical and biological agent’s posses a lot of uncertainties to the environment. This is because it would take time to determine the exact combination of agents that terrorists would employ. This implies that determining the exact impact of the agents is expected to vary from one place to another depending on the prevailing conditions. (Lisa, 2002)

Even though there is a threat of mass destruction using biological and chemical weapons, experts have argued that such agents would require more technology to disseminate. It is quite clear that domestic terrorist groups do not have the capabilities to disseminate such agents. The threat is therefore left to foreign groups. It is also important to mention that although the weapons may be having the potential to kill millions of people, the terrorists themselves from a moral perspective may not be interested in such killings but rather just to attract the attention of the government that would later submit to their demands. (David, 2002)

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Following the threat of terrorism with chemical and biological agents is not far. With just one terrorist, a single bottle full of agents would be able to cause mass casualties. This therefore gives agencies like the Federal Bureau of investigations a great challenge on the way forward in strategizing and preparing for the worst case scenarios should such acts by terrorist groups emerge. This is so because the acquisition, proliferation and threatened use of weapons of mass destruction is the biggest threat to the united states security system. The federal government would have to put in place extra measures to ensure that such threats of mass casualties by terrorists using biological and chemical agents would never come true.( CRS ,2004 p3)


Whatever the motive behind such terrorists attacks, it is important to note that all acts of terrorism are not justified because of the great repercussions they can have especially on the innocent civilians who have to deal and suffer just because of selfish interests of some individuals. All governments have to work to ensure that the use of such weapons in the world as a whole never succeeds. The threat of using chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction should never be underestimated. Instead, measures should be put in place to ensure that there is adequate preparedness to curtail their use.


Congressional Research service Report , 2004.

David Westphal, “Rumsfeld: Terrorists’ Access to Deadlier Weapons Inevitable,” Scripps Howard News Service, 2002.

Lisa D. Rotz, et al., “Public Health Assessment of Potential Biological Terrorism Agents,”Emerging Infectious Diseases 8 (2002): 225-230.

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