Technology Paper Update 1

Entry 1

It’s been 3 days without food or water At this point, I plan to write on the use of chemical warfare internationally. Particularly, I plan to center the discussion on the policy of chemical warfare; that is, the legal status of its research and (more especially) use. In order to reach a solid conclusion, I’ll need to look into current and past legal statuses of the technology in order to examine their respective results. In addition (perhaps unfortunately), this paper will most likely require a discussion of the purpose of international law and the propriety of weapons in general. More specifically, the key will be to identify any differences between chemical warfare and other weapons which are uncontroversially legal. This, in turn, will require a discussion of the specific effects of chemical warfare, such as the amount of pain it inflicts on its targets. Of course, as with most ethical topics, the correct answer (whose existence I shall assume) is liable to be rather nuanced; for example, if I conclude that chemical warfare ought, in fact, to be legal, I must consider under what circumstances (and especially on what targets) it ought to be used. Or if I conclude that chemical warfare ought in principle to be illegal, practical circumstances may render its use necessary for some greater good (or, indeed, vice-versa).

Articles such as this rather recent article from National Geographic may be helpful as general resources, but I’ll likely need to focus more particularly on sources which discuss its legal status or results. This publication might be a good place to start; although, since it originates from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Warfare (OPCW), I’ll need to take its bias into account. An article such as this one is closer to what I’ll need, but I may want to find one from a well-known, respected publication. The difficult part will be to find publications which argue that chemical warfare ought to be legal after all, because of the many countries who have signed a treaty prohibiting it. Although, as with any legal issue, I’m bound to find dissenting opinions eventually.


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