Discursive essay on Chemical Weapons

Essay by andrewfeeHigh School, 12th gradeA, January 2003

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The issue of chemical weapons is a very topical issue in the world today. Fear of the chemical attack weighs heavily on peoples minds. In this essay I shall be looking at whether Chemical Weapons are justified in existence in today's modern world.

Chemical weapons use the toxic properties of substances to produce physical or physiological effects on an enemy. Although there is the modern view of high-tech industries creating nerve gases and incapacitating gases, much of the lore of chemical weapons as viewed today has its origins in World War I. Chemicals weapons were first used in the trenches by both sides to try and alter the courses of battles, some uses being extremely effective. Simple industrial by-products were released in clouds of vapour and left to wreak havoc by causing respiratory and skin problems to its victims. Gases such as mustard gas in some cases burned the skins of victims.

Soldiers were eventually protected from such weapons by protective clothing but chemical weapons had left a physiological affect on soldiers and the civilians who heard about these horrific weapons. The fears of chemical weapons lead a ban of use via the Geneva Protocol of 1925. This did not ban the possession of chemical agents and thus countries kept developing more potent chemicals which could inflict more damage to the enemy. The major break through was made by the Nazis when they developed the first nerve gas - a liquid which stops basic nervous functions. That however was 70 years ago and now nerve and chemical gases are frighteningly advanced spreading fear of misuse.

There are however some advantages to a country stockpiling chemical weapons.

Chemical weapons, just like other weapons of mass destruction, are major deterrents against any potential attack. Fear of a chemical retaliation by a state...