~ Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Rumsfeld urges chemwar

BBC reports that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is pushing for use of non-lethal chemical agents in the war on Iraq.

Professor Perry Robinson said: "What we're really worried about is the long-term implications for our ability to manipulate chemicals.

"We can coerce and repress people by all sorts of chemical means that are opening up.

"And that's the worry. To see chemicals as weapons of mass destruction is to miss the point, because then you just think of lethality.

"We see them as terrorists' weapons, but their use against terrorists is becoming a big issue, like CS gas and fentanyl, used in the Moscow theatre siege.

"Once you admit non-lethal toxic agents in war - something specifically banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention - you are on a hard road.

"It leads to chemical weapons based on the targets' ethnicity or other factors, and results that would persist for generations."

The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has asked President Bush to authorise the use in Iraq of riot control agents.

The US has shipped to the Gulf both CS gas and pepper spray, whose use the convention allows only in domestic civil disturbances.

The last thing we need right now is to undermine the Chemical Weapons Convention. Good God, why is this guy still around?

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