Are We Really Prepared for the Worst?

Guest Blogger Matthew Brentzel takes a look at the capabilities of U.S. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) response teams.

Every so often, I look back on those horrific atrocities committed on September 11, 2001.  I remember being in middle school, where the teachers were reluctant to inform us of what was going on.  I also remember the news stories questioning the capability of our country to deal with such a catastrophe.  Although we are surrounded by fear and uncertainty in trying times, we can always find relief by looking towards the brave men and women that put their lives on the line for the good of our country.

Events like this have occurred before.  I’ve heard stories from my grandparents about Pearl Harbor and the impact it had on history.  We can all agree that these events were truly awful, but we must also accept the fact that we live in troubled times and events like these may be minor compared to the crises that could occur.  Are We Prepared?: Four WMD Crises that could Transform U.S. Security, by the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction takes a stab at discussing this heated topic in a serious but effective manner.

I really want to stress “serious, but effective.”  Through a series of four crisis scenarios, Are We Prepared? looks at such issues as nuclear proliferation, the release of chemical weapons, and even a nuclear explosion in a major city.  Perhaps most of us are more inclined to worry about preventing these events rather than preparing to respond to them, but there are times when prevention is not enough and response is necessary.  While reading this book, at first I was taken aback by its willingness to accept the possible losses in one of the scenarios, but this approach enlightens the reader by stressing the high importance of applying appropriate countermeasures. This clear, concise report delves into four different crisis simulations in detail, including preventative measures and how we can be ready to counter such events.  It also goes on to discuss the policy implications of each of these crises for the United States as a whole.

Perhaps the frightening subject matter may prevent some from reading it, but Are We Prepared? documents what we need to do to succeed in the future against an enemy for whom we perhaps can never be fully prepared.  In addition, although at first I was reluctant to believe it, this book helped me realize that we will be able to move on as a nation even though the events it describes could severely alter our future.  The only question is, “Are we prepared?”

If you are interested in politics or international relations, you can find this fascinating book on the US Government Printing Office online bookstore or browse it in a library.

6 Responses to Are We Really Prepared for the Worst?

  1. Ian Christopher Goodman says:

    we are simply not ready for the worst. we need to work more on our policies over crises.


    • Enrique Sanz says:

      Realmente no existe preparación, pues se entiende que ante situaciones limite no pueden existir entrenamientos que asemejen las situaciones.Solo pude existir organización de respuesta.
      Si entendemos como destrucciones masivas todas las actuaciones en contra de poblaciones que puedan causar victimas, la peor harma somos nosotros mismos y nuestras formas de comprender el progreso, dando mas importancia a los negocios lucrativos que al futuro de nuestros sucesores.
      Las harmas son un problema menor si pensamos en las muertes que provocan el hambre y las enfermedades existentes.


  2. River says:

    Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. I am a believer in “like begets like.” I understand what you are saying about not being fully prepared for any event and although it is nice to think prevention, sometimes that is not realistic. I am hoping that if we continue to look at our successes in the face of drastic events then we will be prepared. If we recognise our ability to rise above any and all attacks of any kind, be they man made or nature made, we will continue to thrive.


  3. Enrique says:

    (English translation provided by GPO):

    Security forms the basis of stability for cultures, regions, nations, and populations, no matter what part of the planet it affects.

    Preparation and prevention should arise from information, and this is why I have subscribed to this blog– to receive information directly from you.

    In uninformed populations or areas, one can only expect a lack of control and a lack of organization in cases like the ones mentioned. On the other hand, in informed populations or areas, one can also expect possible misuse of strategic emergency response data by criminals and others who would take advantage of victims in order to create more instability.

    I know that with all this I am not saying anything that you do not already know. I also realize that before I can be informed, you had to research who would be interested in the information and why and how I might use this information.

    My interest is purely personal and is only for- as you would say- for being prepared (just in case).

    A greeting from part of the population who would be willing at any time to collaborate whenever possible,
    E. Sanz

    Siendo la seguridad la base de la estabilidad de las culturas, regiones, naciones y población, sea cual sea la parte del planeta que afecte. La preparación y previsión debe originarse con la información y este es el motivo que me atrajo para recibir comunicación de ustedes.
    De las poblaciones sin información, solo puede esperarse en caso de emergencias, un descontrol y falta de organización.
    De las poblaciones informadas, puede esperarse posibles utilizaciones de los datos estratégicos de las actuaciones en casos de emergencia, para crear más des estabilidad por parte de mafias y otros sectores que pudiesen ser beneficiados ante poblaciones necesitadas.
    Sabiendo que con esto no descubro nada nuevo para ustedes
    y entendiendo por mi parte que antes de informarme han tenido que investigar quien y para que tengo interés en información y que utilización pudiese dar de ella.
    Mi interés es puramente particular y la utilización es solamente para como dicen ustedes estar preparado (POR SI ACASO).

    Un saludo de una parte de la población que en un momento dado estaría dispuesta para una colaboración desinteresada dentro de las posibilidades, para colaborar ante algún


    • Michele Bartram says:

      Gracias, Enrique. La información si es importante en caso de emergencia tanto para la preparación y la previsión como para la respuesta.

      Thanks, Enrique. Information is indeed important in emergency situations as much as for preparation and prevention as for the response itself.


  4. John Meister says:

    “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What a novel
    concept. Who ever said it must have had some experience with
    that situation in real time or maybe repeated situations as history
    is a fine teacher.


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