As President George W. Bush has warned, “terrorists are plotting further destruction and building new bases for their war against civilization. And our greatest fear,” he said, “is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.”
As John Bolton, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, pointed out, the attacks of September 11th, 2001, showed that terrorist groups were much better organized, sophisticated, and capable of acting globally than most people had thought possible. “There can be no doubt,” said Mr. Bolton, “that, if given the opportunity, terrorist groups such as al-Qaida would not hesitate to use disease as a weapon against the unprotected, to spread chemical agents to inflict pain and death on the innocent, or to send suicide-bound adherents armed with radiological explosives on missions of murder.”
The United States is employing a variety of means to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction. These include diplomacy, international non-proliferation regimes, and export controls. It is essential that sensitive goods and technology be kept out of the hands of terrorists or the rogue states that may assist them.
Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, and Syria are all seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Under Secretary of State Bolton said that these countries are “uniformly hostile to the United States, as well as to many of [America’s] friends and allies.” These countries are also among the ones that the U.S. identifies as state sponsors of terrorism.
As President Bush has said, “Terror cells and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction are different faces of the same evil. Our security requires that we confront both.”