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A letter from an alumnus about weapons of mass destruction

November 20, 2002

I happen to agree about 100 percent with anything Dr. Tilghman thinks or writes, including her thoughts about bioweapons defense research (President’s Page, November 20). She might support my proposal concerning prevention of any use of all weapons of mass destruction (WMD) — biological, chemical, or atomic.

The U.N. should make a preemptive resolution to ban the first-use of such weapons against any other nation. Defiance of the resolution would result in immediate and massive retaliation against the offending nation. As prearranged and agreed, the secretary general would request or direct one or more nations, with large stockpiles of WMD, to carry out the counter-raid. The disciplining nation would use the WMD of their choice and select targets, including possibly one city - or more with the consent of the secretary.

Promises, rewards, ordinary resolutions, and armed-force are all temporary restraints, and ineffective. This very tough resolution, with its nasty teeth, would likely free civilization of any future threat of cataclysmic wars. It would indeed prove to be a true deterrent — and most likely never be called into play.

Let anyone foolishly amass any WMD they choose; it would never hurt anyone else. As long as they are certain of unacceptable destruction of their homeland if ever they are employed. And no U.N. inspectors or U.S. invasion forces should ever again have to intrude upon a sovereign nation to look for or remove WMD.

The preemptive resolution would not stop terrorists — only lessen the chance of their use of WMD.

W. Hewitt ’42
Lansdale, Pa.

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