"Weapons of Mass Destruction"

Posted by: six_of_one

"Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/22/13 03:40 PM

Well, it looks like the surviving marathon bombing suspect is going to be charged with, among other things, using a "weapon of mass destruction" ...

I'm not sure how I feel about that since we're talking about homemade IEDs and not some nuke or biological or chemical weapon that can potentially devastate massive, massive amounts of people in a single blow. Plus, if IEDs are categorized as WMDs, then what does that make of pretty much any other conventional explosive, including ones used by the military in a conventional battle?

We invaded another sovereign country supposedly because it had the capability of making and using weapons of mass destruction -- surely that didn't mean home-made pressure cooker bombs?

Just seems like the term "weapon of mass destruction" is in danger of becoming similar to the term "terrorist" in that it can be applied to pretty much anything the speaker wants it to ... where is the line drawn between a WMD and a conventional explosive? And if the term "WMD" can be used so broadly that it can apply to even a homemade explosive device with a comparatively limited effect, what's the point?
Posted by: Celandine

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/22/13 03:52 PM


damn good point
Posted by: DLC

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/22/13 06:24 PM

It's a very slippery slope... the last WMDs BS cost us about $5-6 TRILLION !!

OH but we're running such big deficits now !! NO SHIITTTE SHERLOCK !! mad

He needs to be tried as a US citizen which he is !
Still hope that they nail the bastid, but WTF . . . let's do it properly !!
You either believe in the Constitution or you don't..... not just when it's convenient !

Posted by: yoyo52

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/22/13 06:32 PM

It's a hard thing to define, this WMD. Was the Murrah Building explosive a WMD? It was certainly a powerful explosion, but even so it wasn't in the same category as the things you named--a nuke or a biological agent. It's a very slippery slope.
Posted by: carp

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/22/13 06:51 PM

Here ya go,

weapon of mass destruction
noun [usu. plural] ( weapons of mass destruction)
a chemical, biological or radioactive weapon capable of causing widespread death and destruction.


Does not include explosives of any size. So bombs, IED's and artillery would not be considered as a WMD.
Posted by: Celandine

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/22/13 08:11 PM

Originally Posted By: yoyo52
It's a hard thing to define, this WMD. Was the Murrah Building explosive a WMD? It was certainly a powerful explosion, but even so it wasn't in the same category as the things you named--a nuke or a biological agent. It's a very slippery slope.

OK,
While we're still jumping thru hoops and
doing back bends trying to make
various definitions fit...

What about Jumbo Jets? smirk
Posted by: garyW

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/22/13 08:32 PM

The FBI defines WMD : http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/terrorism/wmd/wmd_faqs (the detailed version)

(the brief version)
Quote:
WMD is often referred to by the collection of modalities that make up the set of weapons: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE). These are weapons that have a relatively large-scale impact on people, property, and/or infrastructure.
Posted by: steveg

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 02:36 AM

It appears that the definition varies or is interpreted differently between different LE agencies and the military. RM had an interesting segment on it last night. When you put it in the context of a couple of city blocks and the horrendous results, "mass destruction" isn't a reach at all.
Posted by: six_of_one

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 07:15 AM

Originally Posted By: garyW
The FBI defines WMD : http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/terrorism/wmd/wmd_faqs (the detailed version)

(the brief version)
Quote:
WMD is often referred to by the collection of modalities that make up the set of weapons: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE). These are weapons that have a relatively large-scale impact on people, property, and/or infrastructure.


Interesting -- the first part of that definition includes:

"Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are defined in US law (18 USC §2332a) as:

“(A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title (i.e. explosive device);"

And according to section 921:

"(4) The term “destructive device” means—

(A) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas—
(i) bomb,
(ii) grenade,
(iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces,
(iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce,
(v) mine, or
(vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses;

(B) any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell which the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes) by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter; and

(C) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into any destructive device described in subparagraph (A) or (B) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled."


So the range goes from anything above a .50 caliber gun to a nuke -- kind of broad definition of "weapon of mass destruction" given the hysteria surrounding the term. I would have thought the definition to be far more limited to weapons having really, really massive and devastating potential (ex: a small nuke vs., like, a hand grenade) ...
Posted by: six_of_one

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 07:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Celandine
Originally Posted By: yoyo52
It's a hard thing to define, this WMD. Was the Murrah Building explosive a WMD? It was certainly a powerful explosion, but even so it wasn't in the same category as the things you named--a nuke or a biological agent. It's a very slippery slope.

OK,
While we're still jumping thru hoops and
doing back bends trying to make
various definitions fit...

What about Jumbo Jets? smirk


From the FBI definition posted earlier:

"The term “destructive device” shall not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon ..."

So I gather a Jumbo Jet would not qualify ...
Posted by: six_of_one

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 09:02 AM

Originally Posted By: steveg
It appears that the definition varies or is interpreted differently between different LE agencies and the military. RM had an interesting segment on it last night.


I was able to just now watch that. All I can say is great minds think alike ;-)
Posted by: DLC

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 11:33 AM

The Murrah Bld bombing I think was a WMD based on it's sheer size of the explosion. This one is a lot less and therefore questionable. read, . . a big stretch ! crazy
Posted by: Celandine

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: six_of_one
Originally Posted By: Celandine
Originally Posted By: yoyo52
It's a hard thing to define, this WMD. Was the Murrah Building explosive a WMD? It was certainly a powerful explosion, but even so it wasn't in the same category as the things you named--a nuke or a biological agent. It's a very slippery slope.

OK,
While we're still jumping thru hoops and
doing back bends trying to make
various definitions fit...

What about Jumbo Jets? smirk


From the FBI definition posted earlier:

"The term “destructive device” shall not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon ..."

So I gather a Jumbo Jet would not qualify ...

...well,
given the extent of the damage leveled upon
multiple countries, casualties & treasure...

OK, I'll give you that one.

Now, What about Pressure Cookers?
Posted by: DLC

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 06:43 PM

Well W himself was a Weapon of Ass Destruction ! WAD for short !! whistle
Posted by: carp

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 07:20 PM

IMO,

The dictionary is clear - does NOT include explosives.

Where the confusion comes in - is explosive devices - here it is, chemical, bio and nukes are explosive devices. And so is bombs.

Maybe the (key word) here is "wide spread"
You maybe able to blow up a whole building or a city block - but not the whole city like a nuke would.

The clarity would be is to place a human figure on it like say if over 5,000 people are killed than its a WMD ? ?
Posted by: six_of_one

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 08:13 PM

Quote:
The dictionary is clear - does NOT include explosives.

Unfortunately, the dictionary doesn't determine law. As we've seen by the links in this thread, the law applicable to the FBI is different than the one applying to the DoD, with definitions varying accordingly ...

Alas, there doesn't seem to be a universal definition, at least as far as law is concerned, which is the problem ...
Posted by: carp

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 09:16 PM

It determines the definition of law. As derived by words.
Posted by: garyW

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 10:16 PM

Originally Posted By: carp
It determines the definition of law. As derived by words.


How's that argument holding up with the 2nd Ammendment these days?
Posted by: six_of_one

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/23/13 10:37 PM

Quote:
It determines the definition of law. As derived by words.

Demonstrably untrue. Check the links in this thread to actual law.
Posted by: steveg

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/24/13 03:48 AM

So then it's Judge Miriam Webster? Good luck with that.
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/24/13 04:35 PM

I remember a friend of mine who was an officer in the Dictionary Society told me that the Society had filed an amicus brief in a constitutional law case, urging the SCOTUS to read a phrase in the Constitution in light of the definition of the term in the 18th century. Apparently that strict constructionist, Scalia, just laughed at the brief. I don't recall what the case was--sorry!
Posted by: carp

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/24/13 07:27 PM

Yes like I mentioned WMD use explosives as a dispersant , theres the confusion. Does not include bombs, IED's which under 921 would be defined as a destructive device 4 - A,i

WMD is often referred to by the collection of modalities that make up the set of weapons: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive

I guess they listed explosive this way is because not all chemical and bio WMDs need to use an explosive device . Some can be just added to the water supply or food supply or just in the air . So to cover all WMDs with or without, the word explosive was added as use of an dispersant.

IMO.
Posted by: steveg

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/25/13 02:56 AM

S'ok. I doubt Scalia remembers either. wink
Posted by: six_of_one

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/25/13 09:50 AM

Originally Posted By: carp
Does not include bombs, IED's which under 921 would be defined as a destructive device 4 - A,i

Er ... the law the FBI is referencing explicitly includes everything under section 921:

"Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are defined in US law (18 USC §2332a) as:

(A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title (i.e. explosive device);"

Kind of hard to read that any other way ...

Quote:
I guess they listed explosive this way is because not all chemical and bio WMDs need to use an explosive device.

Well, that, and a big enough explosion just by itself can cause massive damage (see: fertilizer plant, Texas).

The basic problem here is what exactly defines the "Mass Destruction" part of WMD ...
Posted by: steveg

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/25/13 10:33 AM

Quote:
... what exactly defines the "Mass Destruction" part of WMD ...
The geography. If this had happened in, say, Atlantic City, it would've been "Jersey Destruction." <--- Get it now? blush
Posted by: Leslie

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/25/13 11:52 AM

laugh
Posted by: lanovami

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/25/13 11:34 PM

"I remember a friend of mine who was an officer in the Dictionary Society told me that the Society had filed an amicus brief in a constitutional law case, urging the SCOTUS to read a phrase in the Constitution in light of the definition of the term in the 18th century. Apparently that strict constructionist, Scalia, just laughed at the brief. I don't recall what the case was--sorry!"

Man, Yoyo, that sounds like something I want to read more about. If it comes to you, or you think of a good way of searching for this, let me know.
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - 04/26/13 06:29 AM

I'll see if I can remember or get more info.