The dual-use issue is often framed as a series of paralyzing 'dilemmas' facing the scientific community as well as institutions which support innovation. While this conceptualization of the dual-use issue can be useful in certain contexts (such as in awareness-raising and as part of educational activities directed at the scientific community) its usefulness is more limited when reflecting on the governance and politics of the dual-use issue. Within this paper, key shortcomings of the dilemma framing are outlined. It is argued that many of the issues raised in the most recent debates about 'dual-use' bird flu research remain unresolved. This includes questions about the trajectories of certain lines of research, as well as broader trends in the practice and governance of science. This leads to difficult questions about current approaches to the dual-use issue within the US, as well as internationally.