President Bush on Thursday proposed making it a crime to buy, sell or make biological weapons and called for thecreation of a U.N. system to investigate suspected germ warfare. The proposal comes after anthrax attacks that haveleft four dead and 12 people sick and millions afraid.
In July, however, the United States rejected a plan 10 years in the making to enforce the 1972 treaty banning germwarfare. The enforcement mechanisms would have required countries that signed the accord to open up sites forinspection and submit to spot checks as a means of verification.
U.S. officials rejected the accord, arguing that it would not have prevented cheating and that it would have openedthe door to industrial espionage on U.S. businesses. The Bush Administration is billing its efforts as an improvementto the treaty, even though it calls for much more limited measures than the rest of the world supports.
- Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Head of the Federation of American Scientists Chemical and Biological ArmsControl Program.