As I said, I am not sure if this is history or not.
I have been studying biological warfare recently. It is an incredibly disheartening subject. It is part of a history of very ugly weapons.
I am compelled to ask, what sort of weapons are "too far" and whether some weapons are actually off the table. When I was younger and stupider I would have perhaps said "use whatever you have, win".
I don't subscribe to that point of view anymore. I think the NBC weapons are clearly well merited as being "off the table" as weapons of war.
But upon reflection, I don't why certain weapons are on or off the list.
These weapons seem to fall into two categories with a good deal of cross-over. I think there are the species extinction weapons and absolute mass destruction weapons.
1. I think first, there are the mass destruction weapons like fusion and fission weapons. Although, truth be told bombers with HE can do near as much. I suppose the real discussion is whether indiscriminate destruction of property and people is merited at all. Since WWII, most civilized countries in the west seem to have reached that conclusion. However, one wonders how Hanoi fits into this scheme? Morality seems to be flexible here.
2. Chemical weapons. Why are these weapons off the table? Personally, they make my skin crawl. Using this stuff on soldiers or worse, civilians is so repellant to me that I have difficulty coming to grips with it. But in the beginning at was just seen as a mass area weapon. Mustard was not even thought to be fatal or cause long lasting damage. It was though of as a "humane" weapon. Although one of my grand parents was splashed with liquid mustard at Verdun (the American battle in 1918, not the French one of 1916), he had emphysema for the rest of his life, so I am not sure how "humane" it is. Somehow, these weapons seem horrible, but I can't say why. Although modernly, the long term ecological effects maybe the major cause concern.
And then the one I consider most barbaric of all.
3) Biological weapons. What possible justification? That such weapons could even be conceived of speaks volumes to the the barbarity of the species. Meddling with nature itself to make germs and bacteria more virulent and more deadly, increase their weaponizability, this is truly the the work of Satan. What scientist would consider even working on this stuff? Working on a weapons so dangerously unpredictable and mutatable as a deadly virus borders on insanity. Even an unintentional error has the potential to exterminate every living thing on the planet. The chance of this is incredibly small, but it exists. Worse yet, unlike the other weapons, it can happen ... by accident. Let alone that their are lunatics out there, neo-nazi's, hindu nationalists, muslim fanatics, and others who would actually use these things. It is to the colossal shame of countries like the US, Germany, China, and especially the USSR who embraced it wholeheartedly, and to Japan whose work in this area could well have justified extinction of an entire people. It is one of those areas where morality must trump all other concerns. I believe I would lose a war rather than use these weapons.
I did not intent that the question framing be so long. But there it is.
Perhaps the use and discussion of these weapons is not properly a history question, but where else?
Please keep it civil. The incipient hostility of the internet is getting to me. What are your thoughts? Should there be banned weapons? Are those selected sufficient? Should more be added? Which ones? Too many? What do you people think?
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