Chemical Weapons: Wound Without Blades
2405 Sejeong Park
What comes to our minds when we think of the term “War”? It is probably the image of people wearing thick clothes, maybe in st century, shooting gunshots or driving tanks. Here’s the thing; what do we usually see on news articles or hear from radios about the wars going on these days? Most of them must not be about soldiers shooting guns or bombs, but in fact, about chemical weapons!
“Chemical weapon”, I bet most of the people are aware of the term itself, but not sure of which types exist. There are four primary forms, distributed according to the impacts on the human body. Firstly, Riot control agents are the mostly used in wars. It has a variety of effects: burning pain on the skin, pain in the eye, dizziness, headaches, and difficulty in breathing. CS gas and pepper spray are well-known examples. Blister agents are another type of chemical weapon. It can be known from the name containing “blister” that they cause harm to the skin. Mostly in the form of gas, aerosol, or liquid, they are designed to cause severe burns and blistering, resembling skin burns from exposure to high temperature. Harming the respiratory system and digestive tract are also the effects. Bloods agents are the type that interfere the transfer of oxygen through the blood system. They are generally in gas form so that they could be inhaled and absorbed into blood. Lastly, nerve agents are the deadliest of all other types. They are also in liquid or gas form, inhibiting respiratory and cardiovascular capability by damaging the central nervous system. These can, of course, lead to death.
Sarin gas is an example of nerve agents. This gas has been widely used in one war which is still in progress: the Syrian Civil War. The Syrian Civil War began on 15 March 2011, starting with an uprising against the president of Syria. This enduring war has caused death of approximately 360,000 people. The Ghouta chemical attack is a representative attack on the Syrian citizens during the war. On 21 August 2013, rockets of the chemical agent, sarin was launched, killing a maximum of 1,729 lives. Moreover, on 4 April 2017, a gas attack using mostly sarin gas had murdered at least 86 people including around 20 children. In fact, the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta triggered the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to destroy chemical weapons piled in Syria, and since 14 September 2013, chemicals in Syria have been destroyed. However, unfortunately, not all had been eliminated. In fact, chemicals including sarin had been used again in April 2018, despite the promises to not use them again made in 2013. According to the New York Times, there is no sign that the Syrian government is willing to stop exploiting the disastrous weapons on innocent citizens, meaning that it is nearly impossible to prevent more death.
Following the first and second World Wars, the third World War is currently concerned to break out, and Syria is one of the regions expected to be the starting place. This is because the war is not coming to an end for almost a decade, and several nations have taken part, such as Russia, the United States, Cuba, Turkey, Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon. One of the greatest fears about the World War which may originate from Syria is the use of chemical weapons. Since the Syrian government is undiscriminatingly using the weapons, and the field of sciences has been greatly developed after the second World War, chemical weapons is expected to be used as the main weapons during the third war. World peace is up to the United Nations and the entire world. At this point of time, strict regulation and peace treaties between every single nation seems extremely necessary. It should be strict enough to prevent violations, and perdure for at least a century.