weapons of mass destruction

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weapons of mass destruction

Also, WMD. Weapons that can greatly harm or kill large numbers of people and/or severely damage man-made structures or the biosphere. The term was first used by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1937 with reference to the aerial bombardment of Guernica, Spain. Less than a decade later, the term was applied to nonconventional weapons, specifically nuclear weapons. During the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the term was used by President John F. Kennedy, referring to nuclear missiles. Fearing Iraq’s use of nuclear weapons, the alleged existence of such weapons became the main justification for the 2003 invasion of that country. By then, the term was so well known and so often abbreviated that it was on its way to clichédom.
See also: destruction, mass, of, weapon
References in periodicals archive ?
Paul George Dandan, 30, was charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, acquiring a weapon of mass destruction and transporting a weapon of mass destruction after police discovered a homemade pipe bomb at his residence that he reportedly got from his roommate, Derrick Fells, who allegedly built it, local news outlet (http://www.wbtv.com/story/36818190/charlotte-air-traffic-controller-arrested-accused-of-having-weapon-of-mass-destruction) WBTV reported.
Use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death; aiding and abetting (two counts.)
On April 22 it charged the 19-year-old Tsarnaev with 'using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property.' Not a nuclear weapon, or poison gas, or some filthy plague, but a home-made bomb that killed three people.
On April 22, it charged the 19-year-old Tsarnaev with "using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property." Not a nuclear weapon, or poison gas, or some filthy plague, but a home-made bomb that killed three people.
MIAMI -- Two Pakistan-born brothers living in Florida have been arrested on charges of providing support to terrorists and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction within the United States, authorities said.
The commission briefed President Bush, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, senior congressional leaders on Wednesday and warned them 'it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.'
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