He says he is 'perplexed over what was so much more horrible and emotionally repellent about nerve gas or anthrax, say, compared with bullets or bombs.' Good point. It made me think about what my mother said about the end of the second world war in Japan. When she first heard about it, as a young teenager, she was disturbed. The thought of the atomic bomb worried her a lot and in the end she seemed to have become ill. All those people she thought, all at once. She came close to a nervous breakdown.
The thing that cured her, she said, was something her grandfather said: a single person's life is as important them no matter whether they are shot by a single bullet or one of thousands. It is just as horrible.
Nerve gas injures and disfigures horribly - that's why it was banned. But then mines and burns disfigure too and I guess anyone who has fought in battle is scarred - mentally if not physically - and these scars are just as incapacitating.
While he does not advocate biological and chemical warfare, C.J. Peters can't see how they are worse. He then goes on to give an interesting potted history. The first record of biological warfare was when Genghis Khan besieged a city in the Crimea in the fourteenth century. They brought the Black Death with them - it was endemic and came from the fleas of wild rodents on the Mongolian steppes. To end the siege they catapulted plague-ridden cadavers over the walls - and the fleeing inhabitants may have caused the plague to spread to the rest of Europe.
Another well-known instance was in 1763 when British forces threw in Smallpox laden blankets to the American Indians when they grew troublesome.
Chemical warfare, he says, has been with us for 4000 years, when toxic smoke was used in biblical times. However they were not part of the day-to-day training of troops until the early 1980s as a result of intelligence that the Warsaw pact countries were busy using chemical warfare procedures. This prompted and interest in chemical warfare defense including field detectors (in which I was involved for a short time - one of my projects was to help develop a gas sensor for the American army).
Out of this evil then, can come good; because the USSR was thought to be interested in certain viruses during the cold war this caused an interest in certain vaccines to combat these - which in turn can be used to save lives. Out of the quest for death comes a hope for life.