The Genetically Modified Bomb
11, 2003 thepeoplesvoice.org
a bomb that only kills Caucasians with red hair. Or short people. Or
Arabs. Or Chinese.
Now imagine that
this new bomb could be set off anywhere in the world, and that within a
matter of days, weeks, or months it would kill every person on the planet
who fits the bomb's profile, although the rest of us would be left
standing. And the bomb could go off silently, without anybody realizing it
had been released - or even where it was released - until its victims
started dying in mass numbers.
Who would imagine
such a thing?
Paul Wolfowitz, for one. William Kristol for another.
And, history shows, when the men who define U.S. military policy from the
shadows set their sights on something, it's worthy of our attention.
I have brown hair
and eyes, both determined by specific genes, and there are probably other
markers deep within my DNA that would show a geneticist that most of my
ancestors are Norwegian, Welsh, and English. While there's no one gene for
race, there are numerous genes for the various components of what we call
race - hair color and texture, skin and eye color, eye and nose shape,
predispositions or immunities to disease like Sickle Cell Anemia or Tay-Sachs,
and the like.
When creating a
genetic bomb to target specific groups, such genetic profiles are actually
far subtler and more accurate than the coarse pseudo-category we call
race. Among men named Cohen all over the world, for example, researchers
have found a specific genetic profile tying them all back to a common
ancestor. Another group with a common genetic profile are people with ADHD
("The Edison Gene"), who uniquely share common inherited
variations in their dopamine-regulating genes regardless of their
ostensible race, geography, or ethnicity.
Thus, anybody who's
part of a group with a shared genetic profile may be at risk in the
future, suggest the authors of The
Project for a New American Century's (PNAC) report titled "Rebuilding
America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century."
The report notes
that, "Much has been written in recent years about the need to
transform the conventional armed forces of the United States to take
advantage of the 'revolution in military affairs....'" They point out
that our military requires a dramatic transformation, lest we lose our
ability to fight future, unconventional wars. Some may be fought in
cyberspace, others underwater or in outer space. And some even within our
Consider what would
happen if there was a virus or bacteria that only infected a particular
type of person, killing, disabling, or sterilizing only those of a
particular genetic profile. Consider the political leverage a nation would
have if they could credibly threaten the extinction of all people
worldwide with almond-shaped eyes, or the sterilization of everybody with
a gene that tracks them back to a common ancestor or region.
Three years ago,
Wolfowitz, Kristol, and their colleagues suggested this is something the
Pentagon should be thinking about. Not just germ warfare, but gene
And it's not limited
just to warfare: Imagine how genetic terraforming could replace diplomacy,
could even render the United Nations irrelevant if entire ethnic groups
were wiped out or could be controlled by the threat of extinction. Or how
it could change the face of politics if an organism got loose that killed
off all the people of a particular minority who tend to vote for a
particular political party.
weapons could change world politics forever, according to PNAC.
their report notes, "advanced forms of biological warfare that can
'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the
realm of terror to a politically useful tool."
Given that Kristol,
Wolfowitz, and their conservative PNAC associates like Dick Cheney, Donald
Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Eliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, and John Bolton have
already brought us two of their early 1998 recommendations - the seizure
of Iraq and a huge increase in defense spending - it's tempting to wonder
if this is another of their other politically useful ideas being explored
by the Pentagon.
Or maybe we'd rather
not know. At least not those of us with politically problematic relatives.
Thom Hartmann (thom
at thomhartmann.com) is the award-winning, best-selling author of over a
dozen books, and the host of a syndicated daily talk show that runs opposite
Rush Limbaugh in cities from coast to coast. www.thomhartmann.com
His most recent book (September 2003) is "The Edison Gene." This
article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but permission is granted for reprint
in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached and
the title is unchanged.