So today we hear that there was a horrible mistake in which at least 52 sites (in 18 states here and 3 other countries) were inadvertently sent LIVE anthrax!!!
This after a prior incident in December where ebola had been mishandled and a technician potentially exposed.
Again last August, they announced that a lab had accidentally cross-contaminated benign bird flu virus with a deadly strain of it.
And there are at least five other major mishaps just since 2009 including more with anthrax and bird flu as well as with Brucella and botulism--these involved everything from using improper sterilization and handling techniques to inadvertent shipments of deadly live germs.
Also in July, the CDC discovered six vials of LIVE smallpox in an unused storage room at the NIH.
This is reminiscent of similar gaffes by the military with an inadvertent shipment in 2007 by the Air Force of six nuclear warheads while the crew was unaware that they were even carrying it.
And here we go again (a doozy this time), information was disclosed in 2013 that we nearly nuked ourselves (specifically North Carolina) with 2 hydrogen bombs (260 times more powerful than that exploded on Hiroshima) in 1961.
Yes, mistakes happen, but for weapons of mass destructions that we are talking about here, there are layers of safeguards that are supposed to be strictly in place.
After each incident, it seems that some official acknowledges the mistakes made, says sorry, and claims things are going to be cleaned up now.
But if the same or similar mistakes are made over and over again, then what are we really to believe, especially when millions of lives are at stake?
We have too much faith in the large bureaucratic system called government that despite how well it could be run, very often it isn't and is prone to large and dangerous errors and miscalculations.
With all due respect for our experts in these areas, we need to spend a lot more time and effort to ensure the safety of our most dangerous stockpiles--be it of nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological origin.
We can't afford any more mistakes--or the next one could be more than just a simple (not) embarrassment.
What good is all the preparation to win against our enemies, if we are our own worst enemy or we have meet the enemy and it is us! ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)