On War #303: Rehearsal

by William S. Lind
May 4, 2009

Thus far, the great swine flu “pandemic” exists mainly in newspaper headlines. “World Ends Tomorrow” always sells a few extra papers. I’m waiting for the Onion: “Pigs flu.”

If swine flu follows the route of its 1918-1919 predecessor, receding over the summer, then coming back in a more virulent version next winter, it could get serious. But so far, the “pandemic’s” most interesting aspect is as a rehearsal for one of 4GW’s most dangerous threats, the release of a genetically engineered plague.

Genetic engineering is a hideous technology, crafted in Mordor. Honest blunders will be enough to unleash plagues on crops, critters (honeybees may have already been hit), and man. It offers Brave New World its final, almost inescapable control mechanism.

Like every other technology man has invented, it will also be used in war. I have argued for years that a genetically engineered plague, a disease no one ever saw before and against which there are no defenses, could replicate what the Black Death brought to medieval Europe. Such a weapon could kill far more people than a single nuke or even several nukes. Worse, while building nuclear weapons requires vast facilities, genetic engineering is knowledge-based. No non-state entity will be able to build a fission or fusion weapon (they may buy or steal one), but they will be able to genetically engineer deadly diseases, if they can’t already.

Let us imagine, for a moment, that the ongoing swine flu epidemic were a deliberate rehearsal for release of a genetically engineered plague. What would be the lessons so far?

First, the main target, the United States, offers a wonderful incubator right next door: Mexico. Mexico has densely populated slums; a culture in which life is lived socially, outside the home; and typical Third World standards of public health. Getting a plague started is tricky. It needs to achieve “critical mass” before it is detected. Mexico is just the “Petri dish” a 4GW attacker would need.

An article in the Sunday, May 3 Washington Post noted:

Mexican scientists said the virus has been spreading primarily within families and among co-workers, often in dense, poor neighborhoods of Mexico City…

“When you have this huge accumulation with crowed people in a rather small area, you have a greater opportunity to spread the disease,” (Mexican epidemiologist) Lezana said. “Besides, it’s an area – in general – of low income, poor people, urban poor, very crowded, so those might be some of the main explanations…”

Second, the Washington Establishment will not even attempt to close the United States/Mexican border until it is too late. Spokesmen for the Obama administration said that an epidemic is preferable to the economic damage border closure would create. They would realize, too late, how wrong they were if the disease were a genetically engineered plague. But “too late” means a win for 4GW. The rehearsal shows the border will remain open, with vast movement of people, legally and illegally, between the United States and Mexico. Moving a plague northward, once Mexico has served its “incubator” function, will not be difficult.

Third, Americans, driven by sensation-seeking media, will panic. Panic is a reasonable response to a plague; one of the best ways to survive the Black Death was to get out of town as soon as it appeared. But panic will help a 4GW attacker achieve what might be his main objective, serious damage to the American economy, even if public health measures succeed in containing the plague without major population loss. Osama himself has said that al Qaeda’s main target is the American economy, since that is what Americas seem to care most about.

Could the swine flu epidemic in fact be a trial run for an attack by a genetically engineered plague? Might the swine flu have been deliberately created for a test? The answer is almost certainly no, although at this point scientists do not know how this version of flu arose.

But “objectively,” as a Marxist would say, it is a test nonetheless. We would be wise to regard it as such, and grade our response carefully. To date, we have gotten an F, largely because of the Establishment’s refusal to consider closing the U.S./Mexican border. The only effective immediate response to a genetically engineered plague is likely to be quarantine. Quarantines start with border controls. America and other countries used to know that, and they routinely closed borders and quarantined arriving travelers when epidemics were loose.

“Globalist” ideology, which is shared by both political parties, rejects border controls as hostile to its vision of “One World.” In a century when genetically engineered plagues will serve as weapons of mass destruction, that ideology may literally be the death of us.

William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

To interview Mr. Lind, please contact (no e-mail available):

Mr. William S. Lind
Free Congress Foundation
1423 Powhatan Street, # 2
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Direct line: 703 837-0483

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Filed in Uncategorized | 4 responses so far

4 Responses to “On War #303: Rehearsal”

  1. jaylemeuxon 04 May 2009 at 6:22 pm 1

    “Spokesmen for the Obama administration said that an epidemic is preferable to the economic damage border closure would create. They would realize, too late, how wrong they were if the disease were a genetically engineered plague…”

    “…But panic will help a 4GW attacker achieve what might be his main objective, serious damage to the American economy…Osama himself has said that al Qaeda’s main target is the American economy, since that is what Americas seem to care most about.”

    Does anybody else see a contradiction here?

    I’m tempted to think that, were this article written fifty years ago, the smart move would be to close the border but that our economic connectivity with Mexico now makes such a closure unaffordable. I don’t have any evidence to back that up, so I suppose it is technically dogmatic thinking on my part. All I know is, I look around and I see realism struggling to keep its head above water these days.

    Perhaps the Administration would have closed the borders if the swine flu were a potentially catastrophic threat instead of a mere public health nuisance.

  2. OldSkepticon 05 May 2009 at 5:21 am 2

    Then again the best, most likely candidates for bio attacks are … States, followed by corporations. They have the resources and motivation to do this.

    Example One, pressure Iran, hit their agriculture by a bio-weapon (a rust a pest .. etc, etc).

    Example two: hit a competitor (e.g US vs Australian Wheat), a bio weapon to hit Australian wheat. By say US wheat companies who have the money, resources and motivation to do this?

    Now the US is a very agressor State and does no one think that someone, somewhere is the DOD is not advocating or planning this against, say, Iran, Russia, Australia or the EU?

    And Bill, what of corporations as non-State actors? Many are far larger than most States only check in their power by host Govt’s, but as the GFC has shown they will sacrifice their host State for their own desires.

    How many ex-‘special forces’ people could a major corporation employ?

  3. Benon 05 May 2009 at 2:50 pm 3

    The question of quarantine doesn’t have much to do with the ideology of the immigration debate, which centers more on whether we should aggressively seek out illegals already in the US, deport them, and prosecute their employers. Given the size of our border with Mexico, even with the most stringent controls enough people would get across to spread a contagion. Moreover, the speed of air travel means that a pandemic could spread here just as easily via other countries before the problem is even identified in Mexico.

    In short, by turning the US into a fortress, we would be dragged into a long and costly defensive war which would ultimately be ineffective, while doing the terrorists’ own work of undermining the economy. The only way to fight the network effects of a pandemic is to build our own network of rapid-response clinics and medical suppliers while aggressively developing vaccines and stopgap measures to any recognized potential threats. A serious showing on this front will go a long way to quell any media-stoked panic.

  4. kickinandtickinon 01 Jun 2009 at 1:40 am 4

    I once was a ‘subject matter expert’ for the design of a “virtual exercise” to be delivered to desktop PC’s for a civilian emergency management audience which was to be developed by a leader in military simulation games in conjunction with two major universities and as funded by DARPA and overseen by the USDA. Original focus was ‘mad cow disease’, then switched to avian influenza; then project was killed by DARPA (for fiscal improprieties at lead university vendor?). Was it ever restored? I thought the ‘lessons’ we would have taught were about fomites, vectors, tracking, enforcement, supremely-excellent community communications and coordination, and the need for almost-blinding accuracy and speed: response had to occur within 36 hours from existence or outbreak. Since then, I wrote a 57-pp. white paper entitled “Coalescing Effective Community Disaster Response: Simulations and Virtual Communities of Practice” posted in March 2006 at the web site of the International Association of Emergency Managers. Why was the avian flu project stopped? Why has there been little response to the white paper? Still kickin and tickin …