FUTURE OF CHEMICAL WARFARE
Chemical Warfare is a method of warfare in which toxic or incapacitating chemicals agents are used to further the goals of the combatants. The concept of Chemical Warfare is as old as warfare itself. Until the 20th century such warfare was primarily limited to starting fires, poisoning wells, distributing smallpox-infected articles, and using smoke to confuse the enemy. The most extensive and large-scale use of Chemical Weapons was witnessed during World War I. The horror created by this category of weapons in that war forced the political leaders of the world to look much more seriously for ways to avoid such gory events in the future.
Throughout the history of warfare, the employment of Chemical Weapons has been seen as a potential battle-winning factor and has therefore been viewed by the user as a legitimate weapon of war to achieve defeat of the enemy, exploiting in particular the principle of surprise. Interestingly, legal and moral objections to its use have historically tended to be short-lived, representing only the instinctive human fear and dislike of the novel and unknown.
Chemical Weapons are considered weapons of mass destruction, as they have tended to be indiscriminate on the target, difficult to control and affected by both weather and terrain. Although Chemical agents are and always will be essentially area weapons, modern and developing techniques make them very much more accurate than hitherto. More importantly, advances in bio-technical engineering allow a precision of persistency, all of which gives modern Chemical agents a much greater range of selectivity with specific characteristics. These can be tailored to suit a wide number of military options.
Chemical and Biological Warfare is frequently cited as being an inefficient form of warfare in terms of effort set against effectiveness as a casualty producer. In fact, Chemical and Biological Warfare is a highly efficient weapons systems since it can be used to cause casualties rather than deaths. Casualty-producing agents could be said to be significantly more effective in strategic terms by placing additional strain on the logistic support functions throughout the whole administration chain of command. An incapacitating agent has a further possible advantage of being seen to be less escalatory than a lethal agent.
The aim of this paper is to bring out Chemical War fighting Considerations for future conflicts and the threshold for the use of such weapons.
Gases such as tear gas, chlorine gas and phosgene (lung irritants), and mustard gas (causing burns) were first used in World War I to break the trench warfare stalemate. By the end of World War I, most European powers had integrated gas warfare capabilities into their armies at some level, and nerve gases such as sarin, small amounts of which cause paralysis or death, were developed in Germany between the two world wars. Despite the availability of gases, only Japan used them in China, as World War II became global. After World War II, knowledge of nerve-gas manufacture became widespread.
Flame-throwers were also tried but at first proved ineffective because of their short range. Technical improvements and the development of napalm (composed of napthenic and palmitic acids), a thickened gasoline that sticks to surfaces, led to the widespread use of flame weapons in World War II.
Gases such as tear gas have been used in limited wars since World War II, such as in the Vietnam War; tear gas is also employed by civilian police forces to quell riots. The use of more deadly agents such as mustard gas and nerve gas has been generally condemned by most countries, but such weapons remain in the arsenals, and there is evidence that they were used by Iraq during its war with Iran in the 1980s.
Various chemical compounds, such as Agent Orange, that alter...
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