What is a Weapon of Mass Destruction?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cartoon picture of CIA case officer "sleuth" being protected by GRS officers during the hunt for "WMD"

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings - is being charged with using weapons of mass destruction.

The WMD is that pressure cooker bomb, loaded with nails and ball bearings, that killed three spectators and injured more than 180 others.

But while the harm that the bomb caused is undeniably high, is the bomb, in fact, a weapon of mass destruction based on our government’s definition? And if so, what else falls under that definition?

John Mueller is a political scientist at Ohio State University and senior scientist at the Cato Institute.


John Mueller

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [7]

Wanda from New jersey

Just curious, if a potato gun is considered a weapon of mass destruction, what about military-style weapons like the one used in Newtown, CT? I would classify that horrible act an act of mass destruction!

Apr. 23 2013 05:41 PM
Jean Marie Offenbacher from New York, NY

Matthew Van Dyke has no business being in Syria. He is just another American lemming responding to the mating call of American corporate political interests broadcast by our irresponsible press.
There are many Syrians--moderates--who still prefer Assad over the largely Saudi backed insurgence. Both sides are committing atrocities. The situation is far too complicated for the average American, who is too lazy to conduct research more deeply than CNN.

Apr. 23 2013 03:33 PM
Randy Thompson from Dallas, Texas

First a fellow from the Cato Institute is not a scientist. Cato Institute is a right wing funded political think tank. Any thing they have to say about this administration is full of their dogma. If Holder said oxygen was good for you they would advise us all to hold our breath.

Second, what is called a weapon of mass destruction in a civilian court, by criminal law is NOT the same as Weapons of Mass Destruction as defined by the DoD and international treaty. Your complete story is trying to compare apples to oranges.

Apr. 23 2013 02:46 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Attorney General made a mistake. The serious nature of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attack on the marathon is actually minimized by calling the attack "Weapon Of Mass Destruction," which I believe should be reserved for a larger scale attack. They have Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on murder, they didn't need to pull out "the big guns" (so to speak.)
The sooner the Attorney General drops calling the bomb used "a weapon of mass destruction," the better off for him and us.

Apr. 23 2013 11:39 AM
Dawn from Cambridge, MA

Three lives lost, over 200 maimed and countless cases of PTSD does equal mass destruction to those facing a lifetime of grieving, loss and recovery.

Apr. 23 2013 11:14 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Dear Government Overlords (right, center and left):



Sane Americans

Apr. 23 2013 09:13 AM

What is an assault weapon?

Apr. 23 2013 09:11 AM

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