Biolgical and Chemical Warfare

Essay by Carolyn LamHigh School, 10th gradeA+, September 1996

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Chemical and biological weapons are the most dangerous threats that our soldiers face today. But just how much do most of us know about them? The American public had been bombarded by stories of how our government keeps secret weapons, does secret experiments, and the everlasting conspiracies. And many accept it all. Rather than simply trusting our government, (which is perhaps as foolish as believing several unsubstansiated theroies), I've compiled several simple facts regarding recent and historic developments in chemical and biological warfare.

Chemical weapons are defined as chemical substances of gas, liquid, or solid which are used because of a directly toxic effect upon humans, animals, or plants. Biological weapons are living organisms, whatever their nature, or the materials that are created because of their use. Biological weapons can cause disease or death in living organisms, and are depended upon for their further ability to multiply inside the organism that it attacks.

Even though the two weapons are closely related, chemical weapons are used far more commonly because they are inexpensive to make and use. Chemical weapons are more dangerous to America because of the conflicts we have involved ourselves in. Iraq for example, has a long and extensive history of using chemical weapons. In the 1980's, Iraq released poisonous gases against Iranian troops. Iraq has even used chemical weapons against it's own Kurdish citizens to subdue rebellions. As one of the aftermaths of the Persian Gulf War, however, Iraq agreed to giveup all materials and equipment for making chemical and biological weapons. An organization called UNSCOM or United Nations Special Commissions on Iraq was formed to ensure that Iraq followed through upon it's promises. However, when Lt. Hussein, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law and director of Iraq's weapons program, defected, it was found that Iraq had been dishonest in...