Preface

 

Mention chemical and biological warfare and the average person will tell you that President Nixon made a state­ment outlawing it a couple of years ago. And if the indivi­dual is scanning current news reports, chances are be will even tell you that germ warfare weapons are being destroyed in accordance with the President's pledge.

 

Correction: The President's CBW policy statement (lid not outlaw CBW. Most aspects of this country's CBW program were unaffected by the President's statement. The CBNV program continues today in much the same manner as before. And although it's too soon to tell‑it usually takes a year or two for the light of truth to penetrate the Army's national security smokescreen‑many observers are con­vinced that the widely publicized destruction of germ war­fare agents at the Pine Bluff (Arkansas) Arsenal is only the latest episode in the public deception which is the hallmark of the CBW program. As is perennially the case with CBW, recent articles oil the subject leave one with the superficial impression that everything is hunky‑dory while providing precious little ill the way of meaningful facts.

 

Consider the Life magazine article, "Destroying the Germs of War," in the July 30, 1971 issue. According to Life, the destruction of offensive biological warfare agents in Pine Bluff is expected to take eleven months and cost some $11 million. A California newspaper was more spe­cific. In an editorial commending the defense establishment’s good faith in this matter, the Sacramento Bee set the price tag at $10.8 million. Neither article noted that defense industry analysts peg the continuing biological weapons research program for the same period (at more than $40 million. Neither ar­ticle mentioned that the Army has not said a word about destroying biological warfare agents reportedly stored near the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, where more than six thousand sheep were gassed in the 1968 accident that brought CBW to public attention.

 

The careful reader might have been intrigued by Life's cryptic statement that the Army will retain a portion of the germ warfare stockpile for what it terms "defensive re­search." The agents and the quantities were riot specified. The meaning of the term "defensive” was not defined. The fortunate reader of the Bee was spared considering the implications of' the continuing "defensive” program; it wasn't mentioned.

 

When it comes to CBW, unanswered questions are no­thing new. The Cold War buildup of the CBW arsenal was effected with a curious admixture of duplicity and publi­city. What is surprising is that the press still hasn't learned to examine the Army's press statements on CBW very care­fully before presenting them as an accurate refection of the situation.

 

A few definitions may prove useful to the reader at the outset:

 

The Army groups chemical, biological, and radiological operations together under units designated CBR (sometimes NBC, for nuclear, biological, and chemical). Because this study is concerned with the chemical and biological aspects of' CBR activities, as distinct from nuclear opera­tions, CBW is the term generally used throughout this book. Army communications quoted here often use the term CBR.

 

All branches of the armed forces participate to some ex­tent in CBW activities, but the Army’s program is by far the largest. The C13W incidents that have come to public attention in Alaska and elsewhere have usually involved the Army. Generally, the Defense Department is referred to here in order to distinguish between executive control of the military establishment and the Army itself. It can be argued that Army policies are made at a higher level by the Defense Department, but the primary focus of this study is on policies as they are carried out rather than on decision processes. Thus, the Army is referred to in discussing specific CBW activities.

 

I would like to thank Lyle Harris, Gordon Scott Harrison, and Sarah Isto for laboring through the manuscript; their suggestions contributed immeasurably to the quality of the text. I am also indebted to Thomas Morehouse and Dianne Jacobson for reading parts of the text, and Wendy Warren and Barbara Peterson for their help in typing chapters of the manuscript.

 

I am especially grateful to Marianne Evans, editor at McNally and Loftin, for her encouragement, patience, and cooperation throughout the preparation of this book.

 

A grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism made it possible for me to attend the CBW public health defense course at Fort McClellan, Alabama in May 1970.

 

Portions of chapters 6, 7, and 8 originally appeared in the Anchorage Daily News.

 

Without the confidence of servicemen and former mili­tary men who provided much of the information subsequently corroborated by the Army, this book would not have been possible. Although responsibility for errors in fact and interpretation rests solely with me, in a very real sense this is their book.

 

RICHARD A. FINEBERG.

Fairbanks, Alaska

September 1971