contributed to policy makers focusing more acutely on the uncertainty associated with
asymmetric threats, such as the use of WMD.
The public, far from being blind to the post Cold War realities, also began to
imagine the use of WMD in the US homeland in the place of their visions of American
soldiers engaging Soviet tanks on the Western European plains. It follows then that the
collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting loss of a sizable conventional threat was
somewhat of a linchpin for the increase in discussion of the WMD threat.
2. A second reason for the increase in WMD related literature and discussion is
the perceived increase in WMD terrorism. The use of WMD by non state-sponsored
groups to achieve or contribute to their goals has tended to increase emphasis on this as a
threat to our own homeland. The 1993 Tokyo subway bombing by the Aum Shinrikyo
cult is perhaps the most often used example of non state-sponsored terrorism using WMD
devices. That event alone has spawned numerous articles in the international press and
caused policy concerns at all levels of government. This perceived increase in terrorism,
whether real or imagined, contributes to the discussion about WMD readiness. It is
perhaps magnified by the idea that the world’s only remaining superpower makes a
favorable target to advance a given terrorist’s causes. Suddenly, governments at all
levels are realizing that it could happen to them.
3. Technological innovation and the information age has arguably
caused an enhanced sensitivity and awareness to the WMD issue for the public as a
whole. Real-time news reporting and the growth of the internet have enhanced the
general public’s awareness to terrorism both at home and abroad. Breaking news,
including terrorist events, is routinely piped to television sets around the world as it