The Development and Control of Chemical and Biological Warfare

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In the year 600 BC. Solon who was a legislator of the Athenians, contaminated the River Pleisthenes with "skunk cabbage" to give the defenders of Kirrha violent diseases leading to their defeat. This is the first recorded use of plants as a source of chemicals for warfare. Although not very well known, chemical and biological warfare has been used for over 2000 years. "Chemical and Biological warfare has made a huge change since 600 BC and has changed into one of the most advanced and destructive types of warfare known to man." "There are many reason why chemical and biological warfare is so effective. Throughout the medieval times chemicals were catapulted over castle and fortress walls. Disease would spread within the enclosed walls. Chemicals were also placed up stream and the inhabitants of the fortress would drink the deadly, microorganism infested water." Biological and Chemical weapons are very inexpensive, they can be found in your daily household cleaners such as "409", or "Windex". It does not take a very sophisticated industrial base to produce lethal chemicals. This makes it easy for the tiny countries to obtain these chemicals. The use of chemical weapons by Iraq and Libya in 1988 reinforces the danger that these weapons will spread. (World Encyclopedia). Not only are these weapons cheap, but they are very effective. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen held up a five-pound bag of sugar on national television a while back to show how, with an the same amount of anthrax, Iraq could eliminate at least half the population of Washington.( CNN.COM). The US Law Enforcement Assistance Administration reported in March 1977 that a single ounce of anthrax introduced into the air-conditioning system of a domed stadium could infect 70-80,000 spectators within an hour (CNN.COM). In January 1998, the Center for Disease Control declared that an epidemic hit Miami, Florida. Doctors have not yet diagnosed the specific cause of the disease, but the illness initially resembled a chest cold that progresses into pneumonia-like symptoms. It then progressed rapidly into fever and shortness of breath. What is especially peculiar about this epidemic is that all the patients who have sought medical attention attended the Orange Bowl football game on New Year's Day. This could be an example of a terrorist attack on a dome stadium. And a 1972 study by the Advanced Concepts Research Corporation of Santa Barbara, California, postulated that an aerosol attack with anthrax spores on the New York City would result in more than 600,000 deaths (CNN.COM) Biological warfare agents include both living microorganisms (bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and fungi), and toxins (chemicals) produced by microorganisms, plants, or animals. The experts of biological and chemical ware fare have made a list of possible agents that terrorists could possibly use. Among those mentioned have been (undulant fever), (parrot fever), (the Black Death of the 14th Century), (rabbit fever), (Shiga bacillus), (Hardy 1998). There are over 50 chemicals that they could obtain legally and this is one reason that biological warfare is so dangerous. Some of these agents are highly lethal. Others would serve mainly in an incapacitating role. Some authors have also speculated about the possible terrorist use of new, genetically engineered agents. These agents are designed to take out certain people such as a certain race for example. World War 1 marked the first time that there was a large-scale use of gas in warfare. The Germans dispersed 168 tons of Chlorine gas from cylinders against the French Salient at Ypres. Total surprise was achieved, but the success of this attack was not very good (Graham 1998). This attack resulted in over 5,000 allied casualties, the loss or 60 guns and huge quantities of supplies. The Germans attacked the northeast part of the Ypres Slient where the French and British lines met. The French area to the right was held by a group of Algerians while the Canadians held the British area to the left. An excellent eyewitness account of this attack was documented in Maj. Gen. Amos Fries' book, "Chemical Warfare": "Try to imagine the feelings and the condition of the colored troops as they saw the vast cloud of greenish-yellow gas spring out of the ground and slowly move down wind towards them, the vapor clinging to the earth, seeking out every hole and hollow and filling the trenches and shell holes as it came. You would be thinking, what can I do, it's going to find me no matter what. You would know your death personally. You would meet him face to face. It would only be a matter of time. Those who could move, ran in fear as fast as they could to escape the enveloping cloud of "DEATH". After the attack at Ypres, the Germans used chemical and biological weapons many other times. At the Battle of Loos, the British first used the 4" Stokes mortar to deliver smoke and gas. The Stokes Mortar was an easy fired, muzzle-loaded weapon capable of firing 20 rounds per minute for short bursts or a sustained rate of 5 rounds per minute. It had a high angle of fire with a maximum range of 1,075 yards and a minimum range of 200 yards (Russell 1998). In April 1917 the Germans unveiled their Livens projector. The first large-scale use of the Livens projector took place at the Battle of Arras. Cylinders were projected at the enemy so they would burst and set up a high concentration of gas. The Livens projector lacked mobility, accuracy and range but the capacity of its projectiles was four times that of the Stokes mortar. During the war projectors were supplied in two sizes: one 2 ft. 9 in. in length, weighing 100 lbs. and having a maximum range of 1,375 yd.: and the other 4 ft. in length, weighing 150 lbs., and having a range of 1,700 yd ( Both sizes used the same base plate and the shells were identical. Projectors were installed in the ground and fired electrically in batteries of 25, any number of batteries being fired together. The largest simultaneous discharge took place Mar. 21, 1918, when the British Special Brigade (Gas Troops) fired 3,730 shells into Lens and its outskirts. "After World War 1 and up to today there have been some major advances in chemical and biological warfare. Recently, there have been many attempts of terrorism that use biological and chemical warfare. The arrest in 1972 in Chicago of members of a group known as the "Order of the Rising Sun," dedicated to creating a new master race, who possessed 30 to 40 kilograms of typhoid bacteria cultures for use against water supplies in Chicago, St. Louis, and other major cities" Chemical weapons and Biological weapons cause mass destruction. Just think how would you feel if you were being chased by deadly chemicals with no protection, knowing that you could be deformed or even killed.

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