Chemical Weapons Are Here to Stay. Got a Gas Mask?

The tenuous legal and moral taboo against chemical weapons is a figment of public imagination.

“Yesterday morning, we awoke to pictures, to children foaming at the mouth, suffering convulsions, being carried in the arms of desperate parents.” Nikki Haley’s recent call for UN collective action against Syria’s use of chemical weapons echoes a century-old refrain dating back to the World War I battlefield of Ypres in April 1915. Across the world since that war, many have woken up in the morning to discover the tragic fate of friends and family, victims of the increasing use of chemical weapons in warfare.

If chemical weapons are indeed immoral and a violation of the norms of warfare, why does the world hesitate to respond? On the other hand, if there is a codified ban against chemical weapons, why do perpetrators continue to use them with impunity? The answer to both questions is that the tenuous legal and moral taboo against chemical weapons is a figment of public imagination, and any attempts to formalize their illegality serve only to forestall the eventual normalization of chemical-weapons use in warfare….

Source: Chemical Weapons Are Here to Stay. Got a Gas Mask? | The National Interest

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