Ethical Implications of Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Warfare

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Ethical Implications of Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Warfare

Thesis

As current problems of terrorism and the war on Iraq, chemical, biological and nuclear warfare (CBW) issues are important and relevant. CBW agents are dangerous, uncontrollable and undifferentiating weapons of mass destructions. Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons are capable of mass destruction aimed at killing masses of people. Using CBW agents comes with many ethical dilemmas and consequential side-effects. Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons are designed to yield a great number of deaths. Regarding the ethical use of CBW, while looking at the larger context of war, one must determine the value of life. As backed by Virtues Ethics, this mass
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These are just a few examples of many accounts of the use of chemical and biological agents in war.

Is the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in war ethical? Is there an appropriate time to use them? A dilemma will later be presented for consideration. Different ethical theories can either support or oppose the use of CBW depending on the circumstances. However, chemical, biological and nuclear agents are dangerous, uncontrollable and undifferentiating weapons of mass destructions. Actions must be taken to see that there are no future instances of use during war. However, before one discusses the legal and ethical issues involved with CBW, one must understand what chemical, biological and nuclear weapons are and how they function.

Chemical Weapons

There are many types of chemical agents that can be used for a variety of effects. Most are not meant to be lethal, but most chemicals at high concentrations can be lethal. Vomiting gases are used for riot-control or harassing agents and are only meant to irritate. "The body attempts to counter the irritation either by secreting fluids or by initiating reflex actions, for instance, vomiting," (Rose, 1968, p. 20). It is the incapacitating nature of these responses that gives vomiting gases their harassing effects and name.

Choking gases irritate the lower branches of the lungs. The gases can destroy the sensitive lung tissue leading
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