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Terrorist Use Of Chemical Weapons Essay, Research Paper


It was another unagitated early forenoon on the metro train. Many of the riders were catch a winking on their manner to work. The train slowed to a halt to let more riders on, so sped along to its finish, the cardinal authorities dist rict in Tokyo. Many of the riders found it strange that a adult male who got on at the last halt was have oning dark glassess, but shortly dismissed it retrieving how safe the metros and their fatherland have ever been. Well, they were mistaken.

The adult male with the spectacless got off the train before it reached its finish, but delay, had he bury something. By the clip anyone became leery many people on the train were coughing. Those near adequate to see the bundle and the clear liquid s eeping from it began experiencing dizzy and many were shed blooding from the olfactory organ and oral cavity.

This was non the merely train auto to have such a unsafe bundle. This and four similar incidents took topographic point at about the same clip in the Tokyo metro system on March 20, 1995. The five bundles were disguised to look like tiffin boxes or soda conta iners and it was reported that the chemical agent used was an impure or dilute solution of GB, a nervus agent developed by Nazi Germany during the & # 8217 ; 30 & # 8217 ; s. This was the beginning of a awful hereafter for the modern universe. & # 8220 ; Organized and indiscriminat vitamin E slaying & # 8221 ; ( Tokyo, A1 ) on a big graduated table is clearly possible and chemical arms are likely to be a terrorist & # 8217 ; s vehicle for mass devastation.

The menace of terrorist usage of chemical arms is now rapidly coercing its manner into the ideas of people all around the universe. The onslaught in Japan, & # 8220 ; says Israeli terrorist act expert Yonah Alexander, & # 8216 ; has planetary deductions. It & # 8217 ; s a quantum spring to terro rism by mass devastation & # 8221 ; ( Strasser, 36 ) . There is such wide choice of chemical arms exhibiting such diverse features that the really nature of these substances make them rather suited for terrorist usage. There are many more advantages for T errorists to utilize chemical arms instead than conventional 1s, and the disadvantages that do be look rather little. In general it seems that the chemical arms may go a cardinal constituent in the terrorist armory. If this menace is left unbridled Thursday vitamin E universe & # 8217 ; s population may shortly populate under a dark cloud of changeless fright. This would be the fright that any brainsick individual, terrorist, or militant group has the possible to perpetrate random Acts of the Apostless of barbarous mass slaying at low cost and comparatively low hazard to themse low frequencies.

Categorization of Chemical Weapons

The wide spectrum of chemical agents capable of doing harm to populating beings frequently make treatment of such compounds hard. Because of this our treatment shall be limited to substances set uping worlds merely. There are sev eral different ways to sort such agents but most utile is to sort them by their effects. There are four major classs under which the chemical agents may be classified ; these include the blister agents, the choking agents, the blood agents, a neodymium the nervus agents.

The blister agents are intended to & # 8220 ; do incapacitation instead than decease & # 8221 ; ( Dunn, 4 ) . These agents were used extensively during World War I, and their usage by a terrorist group depends mostly on the groups aims and moral sta nding. Obviously if the purpose of a chemical onslaught was to wound many people and overload a parts medical installations while doing as few deceases as possible, so a blister agent such as lewisite or mustard gas may be the best pick.

Choking agents were the agents most used during WW I, but have lost much of their usefulness since the coming of the nervus agents. These substances are intended to do decease and offer their greatest advantage to terrorists by being easy obtained. Phosgene, or CG as it is designated by the military, is a common industrial chemical with a moderate lethal dosage, and is a choking agent.

Cyanide based compounds are the chief constituents of the blood agents. Hydrogen nitrile ( AC ) is a blood agent which has a deadly dosage somewhat higher than that of phosgene but is less effectual due to its rapid rate of vaporization. Th ese compounds aren & # 8217 ; t truly suited for usage on big Numberss of people, so their primary function would most probably be in blackwashs.

The newest tendency in chemical arms have been the nervus agents. The original nervus agents were developed by German scientists during the 1930 & # 8217 ; s as insect powders so were developed into chemical arms by the Nazi military. Since T biddy these agents, GB, GA, GD, and others, have been the chief arm stockpiled as chemical arms. In general they are 100s to 1000s of times more deadly than blister, choking, and blood agents. These chemicals are the most utile to t errorists because of the little measure needed to bring down a significant sum of harm. These chemicals, in their most effectual signifier, are more hard to obtain. VX and GB, the most toxic of the nervus agents, can be synthesized by & # 8220 ; a reasonably competent organic chemist, with limited research lab installations & # 8221 ; ( Kupperman, 65 ) .


The usage of these chemical agents offer many advantages to the terrorists who use them. Many of these advantages are alone, or in other words exhibit qualities which conventional arms deficiency. The other advantage is the badness of chemical arm & # 8217 ; s effects. These advantages include the limited capableness of anti-terrorist groups of observing such arms, the low cost and low engineering required to develop chemical arms, their highly awful image and the overall eff iciency of such arms.

One of the troubles which has long plagued chemical warfare defence besides lends trouble to counter terrorist capablenesss. This is the deficiency of effectual sensors. Very few chemical warfare ( CW ) agents can be faithfully detecte vitamin D when in usage. And these substances are virtually impossible to observe while being stored in a closed container. This deficiency of available sensing engineering makes CW agents ideal to transport and hide due to their cloak-and-dagger nature.

Chemical arms have long been considered & # 8220 ; the hapless adult male & # 8217 ; s atomic bomb & # 8221 ; ( Oberdorfer, A1 ) due to their comparative low cost and easiness of industry. This is supported by a group of experts who said that & # 8220 ; for a large-scale operation agains t a civilian population, casualties might be $ 2,000 per square kilometre with conventional arms, $ 800 with atomic arms, $ 600 with nerve-gas arms and $ 1 with biological arms & # 8221 ; ( Anderson ) . The statement that chemical arms are excessively hard for most terrorists to fabricate was discredited when a CIA study & # 8220 ; concluded that & # 8216 ; cloak-and-dagger production of [ chemical and biological arms ] for multiple casualty onslaughts raises no greater proficient obstructions than does the clandestine production of hundred hemical narcotics or heroin & # 8221 ; ( Stern, 402 ) . These factors make chemical arms come-at-able, non merely to good funded terrorist groups, but besides to any dissatisfied postal employee or other moonstruck.

One of the facets which makes chemical arms such an appropriate arm for a terrorist is the name terrorizing nature of chemical arms. Ever since the first usage of chemical arms they have been criticized and ridiculed by degree Celsiuss ivilians and soldiers likewise. They & # 8217 ; ve been considered unconventional, barbarian, and even gruesome. These adjectives have besides been employed frequently when depicting terrorists. In general terrorists thrive off of the daze factor of their activities and chemical warfare exhibits a high grade of daze factor. Therefore, the usage of chemical arms may & # 8220 ; enhance & # 8221 ; many terrorist groups & # 8217 ; images.

The concluding advantage offered by chemical arms is their tremendous ability to bring down casualties. These arms are highly cost effectual and 40 times more weight effectual than conventional explosive arms ( Kupperman, 57 ) . The overall efficiency of CW agent combined with all of the antecedently mentioned advantages make a scarily cheap, undetectable, and efficient arm.


As with all methods of terrorist act there are disadvantages to the usage of chemical arms. Some of these disadvantages will be encountered by terrorists irrespective of their methods, and some are alone to chemical arms. Two of the m ajor disadvantages of chemical arms are due to their terrifying and deathly nature, this may hold two affects. The first affect may be an increased attempt in revenge from anti-terrorist forces, the 2nd disadvantage is that chemical arms may h urt the image of some terrorist groups if non used within the terrorist & # 8217 ; s beliefs. Following the appraisal of whether or non to utilize chemical arms, the terrorist must now obtain the necessary chemical agents. After geting the agents the terrorists would hold to make up one’s mind how they can efficaciously distribute the agent at every bit small hazard to themselves as possible.

Regardless of the nature of any terrorist action some type of revenge can be expected from the victimized group. The badness of that group & # 8217 ; s reaction depends on several factors. The first factor to see is who the group is, for case any terrorist activity in the United States is responded to with singular force and velocity, as was seen with the speedy response to bombardment of the World Trade Center. The same can be assumed of any onslaught in any major state. Besides the Methedrine Doctor of Optometry of the onslaught will lend to a victim & # 8217 ; s response. In general, the more atrocious an onslaught is the revenge is likely to be or look to be more terrible. However, in world, the overall impact of this revenge on the terrorist group is likely traveling to be about the same. Take the World Trade Center bombing for illustration, a few groups filled a new wave with several thousand lbs of explosives and detonated it in a parking garage below a big edifice. This killed a few people and injured a few hundred or so. Had those terrorists decided to somehow distributed 100 gms of GB the airing system of the edifice the lone existent difference in the operation would be a alteration in the method of the onslaught. There would likely be about the same figure of casualties, and the offending individuals would be in the same topographic point they are now, prison.

Not merely must a terrorist group see the political factors associated with the employment of chemical arms, but there are besides a few minor proficient jobs to get the better of. The most obvious of these proficient troubles is the method of obtaining the necessary chemical agents. This, nevertheless, is non every bit hard as it may look. One manner to acquire chemical arms is to fabricate them. As discussed earlier, little groups or persons often manufacture a assortment of narcotic substances in secret. These people easy get the better of troubles similar to those encountered in the industry of chemical arms. So, the reply to the inquiry, of whether or non the development of chemical arms is within a terrorist & # 8217 ; s ability, one s yes.

Another manner for terrorist groups to acquire chemical arms would be to buy them. They can either be purchased from an illegal beginning, such as from a former Soviet province or from a sympathetic 3rd universe state, or lifelessly indus test chemicals can be lawfully purchased and employed in a chemical onslaught. Since the interruption down of the U.S.S.R. the black market for military goods has increased significantly. The Soviet Union had and perchance still has a big reserve of chemical tungsten eapons. The media and public have overlooked the serious menace of chemical arms being sold, this is due mostly to the overmastering fright of the sale of atomic stuff or devices. Even a NATO functionary said he was & # 8220 ; more concerned about chemical weap ons & # 8221 ; ( Stern,

400 ) falling into terrorist custodies. There is decidedly a menace of this type of sale, but if this isn’t the path, there are ever terrorist groups which have connexions with states sympathetic to their cause who may hold better entree to such arms.

Illegal purchase International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; t the lone manner terrorists could get a chemical agent with unsafe belongingss. Many industrial chemicals are closely related to chemical arms ; in fact several industrial chemicals were even employed as hundred hemical arms during World War I. Chlorine and phosgene were both used extensively by both the German, British, and Gallic during the war. Although these substances are far less deadly than the nervus agents, they are quite common and have & # 8220 ; many legiti mate industrial applications & # 8221 ; ( Dunn, 5 ) . Even more terrorization is that an full category of industrial chemicals are of a extremely toxic nature. These are the organophosphates, in fact this is besides the category of chemical to which GB ( GB ) and VX belong. T hese chemicals are normally used as insect powders and include parathion, an insect powder ill-famed for the menace it poses to those who use it. The deadly doses for the industrial chemicals of this category are in general 10 to fifty times higher than those of the military agents, nevertheless they are still really unsafe with deadly doses runing from 1.05 to 7.0 mg/kg ( Mullen, 253-254 ) , which translates to.000698 kilogram for a 220 lb individual. As one may recognize that many of these industrial agents are good suit erectile dysfunction for usage as a arm, and that their legitimate utilizations make it peculiarly hard to modulate gross revenues. So, in general chemical compounds suited for usage as a arm are abundant and easy available, irrespective of the method used to get them.

Once a terrorist group has decided to utilize chemical arms and has obtained them the concluding obstruction is to efficaciously utilize them without doing injury to themselves. This is simply an technology effort, which would present small problem to most of the terrorist groups at their current engineering degree. A authorities survey even reported that & # 8220 ; the degree of technological edification required [ for effectual usage of chemical agents ] . . . may be lower than was the instance for some of the soph isticated bombs that have been used against civilian aircraft & # 8221 ; ( Stern, 399 ) . In this age of increasing instruction and dining engineering, it is much easier to happen the necessary proficient and mechanical aid for any undertaking, legal or otherwise.

The Future

Now that the universe has progressed so far that mass devastation is within range of a far greater per centum of the population, the likelihood of an incident affecting arms of mass devastation, peculiarly chemical arms, is much greater. The future holds many developments in shop for the civilised universe, when it comes to terrorists and chemical arms the menace is existent and lifelessly. Many things are taking topographic point which will lend to the spread of this pestilence. The first tw O concern chemical arms entirely, these are the development of binary arms and the farther proliferation of chemical arms to states sympathetic to terrorists. The following group concerns the nature of terrorist act. This includes the simple addition of t errorist activity, the crackdown by anti-terrorist forces on traditional methods, and the lessening in the reluctance of a terrorist group to utilize chemical arms due to the successful incident in Tokyo last month.

Recent events have made chemical arms even more desirable as a terrorist arm. The first is the development of the binary arm. This is a chemical arm in which the agent is stored as two precursor chemicals which merely nee vitamin D to be combined to organize the concluding lethal merchandise. This reduces the hazard that a terrorist must confront in the storage and conveyance of their arms, it besides reduces the menace of inadvertent exposure upon dispersion of the agent. If the chemical device is e ngineered right, with some kind of clip hold, the terrorist could be long gone even before the deadly agent is made.

Another factor which will lend to the terrorist usage of chemical arms is the spread of chemical arms capableness to 3rd universe states which may hold connexions with terrorists. & # 8220 ; Iran, Iraq, Libya, N. Korea and Syria all listed by the State Department as protagonists of terrorist act are believed to posses some capableness for chemical and biological warfare & # 8221 ; ( Stern, 399 ) . And can be considered possible beginnings of chemical arms for terrorists. Although the Chemical We apons Conference has reduced the proliferation of chemical arms and, in fact, made it illegal to develop and carry chemical arms, the sum of chemical agent necessary for a terrorist operation would be highly hard to observe and can eve n be justified by claiming it as research stuff.

After sing the chemical arms themselves, one needs to recognize that terrorists haven & # 8217 ; t been inactive in recent old ages. Quite the contrary is true, the universe has seen an addition in terrorist incidents by 400 % from the 1970 s to the 1980s ( Stern, 394 ) . With this addition in terrorist act the diverseness of terrorist onslaughts are likely to increase. Within this addition in diversity chemical arms are more likely to happen their manner into more incidents, and in general find a wider credence as a feasible technique available to terrorist groups.

Along with the addition in terrorist act there has been an important addition in anti-terrorism activity and capablenesss. As constabulary and authorities governments universe broad become better prepared to manage terrorist activities, and m ore anti-terrorist engineering is developed, the traditional methods terrorists are accustomed to utilizing go less likely to win. With most of the anti-terrorist developments concentrating on forestalling hi-jackings and bombardments, the trouble encountered by terrorists trying to utilize these techniques has increased. With the addition in complications the opportunities of success are reduced enough to coerce some terrorists to see alternate methods. Among the surrogates are chemical arms with all of T he advantages they offer.

Last, and most of import of all, there has been a rear of barrel in the unseeable barrier which has kept terrorists from utilizing chemical arms in the yesteryear. The CIA has warned that if this barrier were breached by & # 8220 ; one successful incident in volving such [ lethal ] agents [ it ] would significantly take down the threshold of restraint on their application by other terrorists & # 8221 ; ( Anderson ) . This barrier was composed of fright and uncertainness. The terrorists were afraid of the effects of such a weap on and the danger to themselves, and they were unsure of the success of such an onslaught. Now, after the sarin onslaught in Japan in March, it is obvious how effectual a little sum of chemical agent is at binding down a metro system, wounding 1000s of people, and enraging people all over the universe. This basically opened the door to a whole new signifier of terrorist act. The lone thing now maintaining terrorists from utilizing chemical arms is their deficiency of cognition, and one time they realize that the production O f these arms is good within the range of their operations, there will be really small left to halt them.


Now, with the menaces going more and more existent every twenty-four hours, one needs to see what could be done to counter this great danger. To get down with, counter terrorist organisations must go on with their information assemblage and observations of terrorist organisations. The first specific measure is that precursor chemicals or possible chemical arms must be better regulated. Then response capablenesss must be increased and improved to cover with chemical onslaughts, this should inc lude an betterment in chemical sensing capablenesss. And eventually, the populace must be better informed on the topic of chemical onslaughts, in specific & # 8220 ; What to make in an emergency. & # 8221 ;

Restricting chemicals used to do CW ( chemical warfare ) agents or used as CW agents, may be the least effectual method of forestalling terrorists from utilizing chemical arms. This simply increases the costs for a group to obtain their arms. It does, nevertheless, cut down the opportunities of a & # 8220 ; insouciant & # 8221 ; terrorist utilizing chemical arms. The insouciant terrorist may non be willing to travel through the troubles of obtaining chemical arms due to clip considerations or a loss in motive. Another manner limitations would assist cut down CW is through the methods outlined in the Chemical Weapons Conference. This prevents the development or sale of chemical arms by any of the signer states, and therefore reduces the figure of beginnings from whic H terrorists can get their arms.

An betterment in readiness for chemical onslaughts and the organisation of a particular squad of experts for response to chemical onslaughts would be more successful than merely a limitation on chemicals. Many exigency bureaus ( like poli Ce, fire sections, and infirmaries ) aren & # 8217 ; t adequately supplied and trained to cover with chemical onslaughts, particularly on a big graduated table. Just a little addition in direction on how to place the marks of a chemical onslaught and trade with those affected m ay make rather a difference. Even more of import would be the development of a authorities response squad specifically trained to cover with big chemical onslaughts could better the United States response capableness drastically. This squad would be composed of experts in the field of chemical arms, the effects of those arms and decontamination people and equipment. The figure of capable people in this field is rather big but consists of chiefly military forces. What needs to be established is quic thousand method of deployment of these people and their equipment. Along with this skilled response squad at that place needs to be increased sensing capablenesss. Most desirable would be a device which could be integrated into current airdrome X ray and sensing equ ipment. The addition in a antagonistic terrorist group & # 8217 ; s capableness of observing chemical arms has the obvious advantage of forestalling an onslaught before it happens. This should clearly be a precedence of authorities functionaries.

Increased public cognition is likely the best defence or response to the new chemical arm menace. The ideal instance would be a public cognition run to learn people what the menaces are and how to place the marks of a chemica cubic decimeter arm onslaught. It is, of class, impractical to anticipate such a & # 8220 ; Just say no to chemical arms & # 8221 ; run to be implicated or even be listened to at this phase. But every bit shortly as the people of the United States realize the menace it might go necessary. For the clip being, instruction can be on the managerial degree. Large corporations, schools, and edifices likewise may denominate a group of people to go educated in what to make in the event of such an exigency. This group could in turn instruct the m asses of people in an exigency. Likely marks of chemical onslaughts could besides teach their forces and station marks sing the response to such an exigency. For case, if subway workers in the March incident, had been able to place that che mical onslaught more rapidly, their lives every bit good as the lives of others may hold been saved. This addition in consciousness would most likely contribute greatly to a decrease of chemical arm casualties.

A Brief Decision

These possible solutions could earnestly cut down the effectivity of a terrorist chemical arm onslaught. This type of onslaught has been in the public oculus for a month now and has been lingering in the dorsum of terrorist heads for ma ny old ages. Now with this addition in promotion everybody knows the terrific effects of chemical arms and it & # 8217 ; s truly merely a affair of clip before the United States has to cover with a likewise terrific event.


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