'Thous Shalt Not Use Chemical Weapons in War': 13th Commandment

Wyatt  Reader M.A.'s picture
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Sadly, what would have been more appropriate is to present this volume as a reference source concerned with the History of Naval warfare and Law, including International Law over previous decades and centuries. D.P. O' Connell's volume still presents the chance to focus upon another matter, of very important concern to the History of War, especially at this juncture to history, the 100th Anniversary of WW I which opened the more recent century, this 20th.

Since 1918, until yesterday, Major nations had determined from that horrific experience between 1914-1918, the uses of Gas was to be outlawed in conduct of warfare betwwen governments and peoples. Yet, yesterday, the inheritors of this century long history found not all peoples even now share their concerns for limitation of arms in war as well as goals by which arms might be used to realize success, or victories.

Had some hope other list members may have taken up this subject matter or at least its history from further discussion and commentary. Being aware of D.P. O'Connell's work, however, it does seem this may be a time to bring forward the reference for list history and well as some thought about how both relevent and failed have the sterling attempts of 100 years have proven to bring about a world free of Gas as method to gain military achievements.

There may be blame enough to go around but those most directly complicit in this just happened exercise of non-restriction while conducting military operations and plans cannot do any different than accept a largest responsibility for non-observances of those legal laws outlawing Gas warfare, whose observance from general knolwedge of the 20th Century does seem to have prevailed, until most recently in this second decade to a 21st Century.

Vietnam in the context of these historical events does not seem to have qualified in the same way, where the US did practice 'Agent Orange', a type of chemical defoliant used to remove jungle habitat from possible defense tactics by an opposing military force. Yet, as we have within this last half century found, the defoliant has and had its own chemical consequences for its users, the American forces exposed to toxicity from deployed uses.

Perhaps others, more expert on the subject of Gas warfare will find commenting within their discretions, as part of the history to Gas warfare and its objectionable and destructive practice by nations and military forces. For the Laws of War, it does remain beyond the boundries of conduct  as outlawed behavior.