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Chemical weapons

breamfisherbreamfisher Senior MemberPosts: 13,919 Senior Member
Disclaimer: I'm not trying to debate that one form of death is worse than any others. I'm actually asking about history and policy.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but at one time wasn't the US policy (either actual or implied) that if another nation used chemical or biological agents in warfare or against civilians, that the US response be retaliation by the US against the user with unilateral military action and/or sanctions? If that was the case, when did we stop that?
I'm just here for snark.

Replies

  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 8,051 Senior Member
    We didnt
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,919 Senior Member
    I see.
    I'm just here for snark.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    We didnt

    What he said. It's still there. I don't know if the U.S. has any stockpile of chemical weapons, and I hope not. Use just ups the ante to biological, and/or finally nuclear exchange if it's a large conflict.

    The problem with the Geneva and other accords on weapons like that is that a LARGE bunch of nations have no problem making them and using them against their own populations, and would not hesitate to use them against an enemy. Iran/Iraq war was an example of that. And Saddam's use of them against the Kurds in Iraq. Producing them isn't that hard for a moderately developed nation, and highly concentrated insecticide works just about as well, and some of them, in high enough concentrations can cause death through skin contact, just like Sarin and other chemical weapons.

    Now for some background you and some others may not know about the U.S. chemical weapon program. Back in the 1990s our stockpiles of old chemical weapons were starting to eat through the munitions casings and leak. That caused lots of problems. So........way out in the Pacific Ocean on an island the U.S. government set up a high temperature furnace to burn the weapons after removal of the bursting charge. I had a friend in nuclear power that quit his job at the nuke plant after being accepted as a furnace operator at the site. Pay was really high, and I thought about it, HARD. The island was chosen to be far away from any other inhabited island in case of an accident, for obvious reasons. It was West of Hawaii, IIRC.

    We did away with all the old stocks of chemical weapons by burning them in that furnace on that isolated island. And I don't know for sure because it's WAY above my pay grade, but I believe that ALL U.S. chemical weapons got incinerated. The thinking back then was that they are easy to make so no need for stockpiling corrosives that will eventually leak. Just make as needed. We haven't needed.

    And back during the Cold War, use of chemical weapons against troops would have caused the side gassed to be free to open up with biological and/or nuclear weapons. And back then, every major power had a biological weapons program. Lots cheaper than nuclear, and the effects on the population were worse than chemical or nuclear in that the area was contaminated with biological things that could spread the disease all over the place via refugees. The U.S. and the old USSR had some serious accidents with the biological weapons. And the nuclear weapons. And the chemical weapons. Of the three, storage of the nuclear weapons are much safer long term.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,161 Senior Member
    I worked at Tooele Army Depot in Utah for a spell in the 70s and early 80s...lots of chemical weapons were stored there, along with Pueblo Army Depot in CO, Umaltilla Army Depot in Oregon and Sierra Army Depot in CA....and when I say "lots" I'm not kidding...One TON containers of VX, along with GB and Mustard. Not to mention filled artillery rounds. If you worked in the area where this stuff was stored you were subject to weekly blood tests to make sure low level exposure wasn't killing you...

    During that period they were also working on "Binary" chemical warfare stuff....easily stored, relatively innocuous chemicals that were deadly when mixed...and the mixing was done in the artillery round after it was fired....

    When the decision was made to get rid of this stuff stored in CONUS the destruction by incineration of this stuff was done on site as it was just too hazardous to transport . The had a couple of portable incinerators that made the rounds....

    The stuff that was deployed outside CONUS was destroyed on Eniwetok (IIRC)

    It used to be an accepted notion that if NBC were deployed, the response would be in kind - and later since we no longer had deployable stocks of "C" that left "N" as the option.
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Now that you mention it Jayhawker, I remember the U.S. based incinerators.................and the righteous moonbat foaming at the mouth protests over them. They were used on the REALLY leaky stuff, IIRC. My friend that was at the offshore incinerator said they received shiploads of stuff from CONUS, which makes sense in a way seeing as the West Coast bases are all around HUGE population centers.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    Pretty sure they burnt some at Anniston army depot too.

    They stored some at the end of the runway at the old Denver airport at one time (80s?)
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,161 Senior Member
    Yep...now that I explore the dim recesses of my memory I recall they were also stored at Anniston and I think I remember some at Rock Island and certainly at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah...(Remember the famous sheep gassing in Skull Valley?)
    I worked in the communications center and saw and prepared many "leaker" reports. Seems the VX containers leaked a lot.

    While they had chemical detectors all over the place they also had rabbit hutches outside the storage bunkers as an early warning system for the security patrols...

    Tooele had been there a long time and there was a time when they simply buried old mustard-filled munitions out in the desert. It was not uncommon to encounter jack rabbits and coyotes with mustard gas blisters while hunting in the high desert around "The South Area"
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,161 Senior Member
    Speaking of Bio weapons, I attended a WMD/Counterterrorism course at FLETC in which we spent quite a bit of time talking about Bio-weapons. The Soviets at their Biopreperat lab cooked up some awful stuff...the worst of which were biologiical chimeras...combining very common, highly communicable viruses with stuff like smallpox, etc...They had a couple of "accidents" at the lab that killed a bunch of people...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville had an incinerator for chemical munitions, I believe. There was a mini-panic a few years ago when a smokestack scrubber had some problems and let some fumes escape, and the news media got tipped off about it. It got hushed up pretty quickly.
    Jerry
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Disclaimer: I'm not trying to debate that one form of death is worse than any others. I'm actually asking about history and policy.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but at one time wasn't the US policy (either actual or implied) that if another nation used chemical or biological agents in warfare or against civilians, that the US response be retaliation by the US against the user with unilateral military action and/or sanctions? If that was the case, when did we stop that?

    I thought that was an international thing, like the Geneva Convention or something, not just a U.S. policy. If not it should be.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • john9001john9001 Senior Member Posts: 668 Senior Member
    policy is not law and can easily be changed.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,160 Senior Member
    My FIL worked in an Army Lab during WWII that made chemical and bio weapons
    at least researched such
  • sgtrock21sgtrock21 Senior Member Posts: 1,933 Senior Member
    BAMAAK wrote: »
    Pretty sure they burnt some at Anniston army depot too.

    They stored some at the end of the runway at the old Denver airport at one time (80s?)
    Stored at the end of the runway at Stapleton International Airport. What could possibly go wrong?
  • 6EQUJ5 - WOW!6EQUJ5 - WOW! Banned Posts: 482 Member
    snake284 wrote: »
    I thought that was an international thing, like the Geneva Convention or something, not just a U.S. policy. If not it should be.

    My great uncle George was gassed during WW1. Heartbreaking reading those old letters and listening to the family accounts of how it destroyed him, not just physically but mentally as well. Before the war, he was a pretty damn good boxer who went by the handle "The Fighting Indian." and had intended to pursue it after the war. Sadly, and like so many, he was never the same. I still remember him when I was very little. He was always so quiet and my grandmother would patiently explain to me about my quiet questions of, "Grandma, what's wrong with Uncle George?" I still get choked up about it.

    Photo of my Uncle George Lamson in his boxing promotional garb just before WWI. He was 1/4 Omaha.

    [IMG][/img]IMG_2444%202_zpstek3ibqc.jpg
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