Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
It is increasingly an Orwellian world. Up is down. White is black. Invading another country is providing for the defense of your own. And now, it appears that the use of lethal chemical weapons will be "non-lethal", if, as appears possible, so-called "non-lethal weapons" (NLW) are used by the United States in Iraq.
The use of riot control agents would, in the view of many legal and arms control experts, violate the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997. The CWC bans the use of these agents in battle, not least because they risk causing an escalation to full chemical warfare. This applies even though they can be used in civil disturbances at home.
Nonetheless, the US Marine Corps confirmed that CS gas and pepper spray had already been shipped to the Gulf. Rumsfeld testified to Congress on February 5 that Pentagon officials are fashioning rules of engagement that could allow the US military to use non-lethal agents if the US attacked Iraq.
"Calmative" gases could also be employed in Iraq. These are commonly referred to as "incapacitating agents", and have been in the news since their use in the rescue of hostages held in a Moscow theater in October 2002. Non-lethal weapons advocates called it a success as most of the hostages were rescued. But it should be pointed out that around 16 percent (120) of the hostages died from the effects of the chemical agent (as well as all of the captors, who were executed by security forces while they were comatose).