What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Chemical weapons...how I changed my mind.

Mark of Zorro

先輩
Joined
4 Oct 2012
Messages
2,427
Reaction score
315
As I am very hard core opposed to war and very down on soldiers in anything but a clearly defensive role. I was also very hard core against chemical weapons.

Then I watched a documentary about WWI, which mentioned Fritz Haber, and his work developing chemical weapons for Germany, and his wife's suicide, which is widely believed to have been in shame of her husband's work.

Anyway, he said that death is death. And he had a point. And I started thinking from there. What is the real difference between all the commonly accepted weapons of war and chemical weapons?

They both kill. Yes. That's obvious.

But some will say that chemical weapons are hard to control on a battlefield and so innocent people will be killed. But innocent people are killed in droves by the commonly accepted conventional weapons. Bombing the crap out of cities has done it. U.S. predator drones do it.

Some will say chemical weapons often fail to kill and leave victims scarred, damaged, in pain etc. Well so do commonly accepted weapons. Is having an arm blown off by a grenade better than having one amputated because of chemical weapons damage? A patently ridiculous question. Of course its not! And lots of soldiers are blinded by explosions, lost internal organs, and suffer various debilitating problems for the rest of their lives by both bullets and explosions.

Some will say chemical weapons often kill slowly and tortuously. How is bleeding out on a battlefield with a belly full of lead better?

Fritz Haber has been much maligned by history, but on rethinking his position, I think he was right. I think that trying to separate chemical weapons from other weapons with some sort of moral argument is logically impossible, even if people have been conditioned to think there is one.

Have I missed something? Can anyone make a logical distinction between chemical and conventional weapons that makes one more or less "moral" than the other?
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,998
Reaction score
1,350

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,998
Reaction score
1,350
Close the forum if you feel that way. Its useless.
I can't. It's not my site. ;-)

You clearly already looked at both sides of the question so I really am not sure what you're trying to accomplish.
Even so I gave you a good article that explains the reasoning (which you already knew).
 

nice gaijin

Resident Realist
Moderator
Donor
Joined
8 Aug 2005
Messages
5,897
Reaction score
1,068
@Mark of Zorro, so which of the three policies proposed in @mdchachi's link are you in support of? Your initial post poses a question but doesn't make clear where you stand on the issue, except that you seem more sympathetic towards Fritz Haber.
1) Countries treat chemical weapons and conventional weapons as roughly equivalent, and categorically ban both types. This has the virtue of consistency and simplicity, but I think is overly pacifistic. True enough, in an ideal world, no one would ever use either conventional or chemical weapons. But we live in a non-ideal world, and such a pacifistic attitude would leave the international community without an effective method by which to prevent gross violations of human rights – indeed, enforcing the ban on all weapons on belligerent regimes would be extremely difficult.

2) Countries treat chemical and conventional weapons as roughly equivalent, and categorically ban neither. This again has the virtue of consistency and simplicity while avoiding the pacifistic implications of (1). But, it seems overly permissive – chemical weapons will be employed by various sides in internal and international conflicts, leading to more suffering on the battlefield and more collateral damage.

3) Countries categorically ban chemical weapons but do not categorically ban conventional weapons. This is roughly the current international regime, and strikes me as an appropriate compromise (though some conventional weapons are indeed also banned, such as land mines, and more almost certainly should be). It allows countries to pursue just wars while providing some limitation on the suffering and collateral damage induced in those wars. What’s more, it disincentives even those fighting unjust wars – if the use of chemical weapons are more likely to prompt an international intervention in an otherwise internal or regional conflict, various actors have some reason to avoid their use. Admittedly, this does not seem to have dissuaded Assad, but other regimes (including the US) do appear to have become more reluctant to use chemical weapons because of the ban.

In extension, how do you feel about bio-weapons?
 

Mark of Zorro

先輩
Joined
4 Oct 2012
Messages
2,427
Reaction score
315
That said I admit everything in there is commonly accepted (which is why I liked the post). I just think what is commonly accepted is rather unrefined.

mdchachi, you took that and said:

Now I see why you didn't like the definition of troll that I posted.

And this is why I call you a troll. I actually gave that post, which was almost only the definition, a like and said I liked it because that is the common definition, then just said it was unrefined and sought to refine it. Its like if I said an uncut diamond could be cut and be very nice, and you turn around and say "Geez Zorro. Why do you hate diamonds so much?"

You can Google the counter arguments as well as the rest of us.

And YOU can stop trolling in my threads.

I asked two clear questions and if you don't want to think about them or formulate answers you really don't need to say anything at all. You have pretty much invalidated the entire premise of the forum with your "google it" contention, so why post anywhere?

I can't. It's not my site. ;-)

Through advocating it be closed maybe you can.

I might ask you to participate in a discussion of chemical weapons but I don't think its possible for you to not troll. Go away please.
 
Last edited:

Mark of Zorro

先輩
Joined
4 Oct 2012
Messages
2,427
Reaction score
315
@Mark of Zorro, so which of the three policies proposed in @mdchachi's link are you in support of? Your initial post poses a question but doesn't make clear where you stand on the issue, except that you seem more sympathetic towards Fritz Haber.


I am not asking for links to read. I am asking 1) if you think I missed something in my explanation and 2) if you can make a logical distinction between conventional and chemical weapons.

Your initial post poses a question but doesn't make clear where you stand on the issue, except that you seem more sympathetic towards Fritz Haber.

Yeah. If I don't post my opinion I get called on it and asked my opinion. If I do post my opinion I am told I am trying to force others to my opinion, or otherwise poisoning the well. There is no winning. And of course, there is the third option where I am on the fence and seeing if others can come up with something to put me on one side or the other.

In extension, how do you feel about bio-weapons?

That's going to depend on two things 1) is it being used as a weapon of defense or a straight up murder weapon? I approve of defense but not aggression or murder. 2) Is it contagious? If it is, then its mass murder, as its probably going to spread around the world to civilians everywhere, even one's own civilians, and mass murder is not defense.
 
Last edited:

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,998
Reaction score
1,350
mdchachi, you took that and said:



And this is why I call you a troll. I actually gave that post, which was almost only the definition, a like and said I liked it because that is the common definition, then just said it was unrefined and sought to refine it. Its like if I said an uncut diamond could be cut and be very nice, and you turn around and say "Geez Zorro. Why do you hate diamonds so much?"



And YOU can stop trolling in my threads.

I asked two clear questions and if you don't want to think about them or formulate answers you really don't need to say anything at all. You have pretty much invalidated the entire premise of the forum with your "google it" contention, so why post anywhere?



Through advocating it be closed maybe you can.

I might ask you to participate in a discussion of chemical weapons but I don't think its possible for you to not troll. Go away please.
Your definition of a troll was "someone who simply is posting but not contributing to the discussion or even actually trying learn from it, or making seriously disruptive, false, or crazy posts."
Nothing I said was disruptive, false or crazy. And I contributed to the discussion by finding an article that explained the issue better than you did. So I'm not even a troll by your own definition.

Personally I'm satisfied with the author's conclusion, that chemical weapons are worse than conventional. I have no reason to second guess people who actually experienced war and universally came to that same conclusion.
 

Mark of Zorro

先輩
Joined
4 Oct 2012
Messages
2,427
Reaction score
315
Your definition of a troll was "someone who simply is posting but not contributing to the discussion or even actually trying learn from it, or making seriously disruptive, false, or crazy posts."
Nothing I said was disruptive, false or crazy. And I contributed to the discussion by finding an article that explained the issue better than you did. So I'm not even a troll by your own definition.

Take it to the troll definition thread and stop trolling here.
 

Mark of Zorro

先輩
Joined
4 Oct 2012
Messages
2,427
Reaction score
315
Personally I'm satisfied with the author's conclusion, that chemical weapons are worse than conventional. I have no reason to second guess people who actually experienced war and universally came to that same conclusion.

If you cannot be bothered to actually answer the questions you can be silent. I asked for answers to questions, not links to read. I can find my own links thanks.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,998
Reaction score
1,350
If you cannot be bothered to actually answer the questions you can be silent. I asked for answers to questions, not links to read. I can find my own links thanks.
You asked for opinions and I humored you and gave you one. It may not have been what you hoped to hear. Tough.

Since you asked, here’s another link. 😉
 

Mark of Zorro

先輩
Joined
4 Oct 2012
Messages
2,427
Reaction score
315
You asked for opinions and I humored you and gave you one. It may not have been what you hoped to hear. Tough.

I never asked for opinions. You are a troll. I asked specific questions. How in God's name have you become a moderator?

Since you asked, here’s another link. 😉

I did NOT ask for links either. I specifically said I did not ask for them. More trolling.

And people wonder why I get angry and use expletives.

I am going to simply ask you to leave this thread. Please don't reply any more at all. Please leave.
 

nice gaijin

Resident Realist
Moderator
Donor
Joined
8 Aug 2005
Messages
5,897
Reaction score
1,068
Through advocating it be closed maybe you can.
I like it here, and people certainly seem to benefit from the Japan and language-related discussions. If you think this board is such a waste then why continue to dredge up these topics, just so you can stir the pot and be argumentative? Bandying for a discussion board--the very one you are posting to, and perhaps the last(?) one that seems to tolerate you--to be closed because you feel ostracized for having unpopular opinions and presenting them in a contentious way is comically quixotic. Have you tried to get Facebook and Japan Times and whatever other sites you've been banned from shuttered as well?

I am not asking for links to read. I am asking 1) if you think I missed something in my explanation and 2) if you can make a logical distinction between conventional and chemical weapons.
Well, I don't know, you've brought your questions directly to us, and disallowed us from leveraging the words of people who have clearly thought more about this than someone who watched a documentary, or those of us who have to humor someone who can't be bothered to read 500 words on the very topic they're so interested in. I'd say you missed a whole lot, and so once again your explanation sits somewhere on the up-slope of a Dunning-Kruger chart. Perhaps you should just set up a table at a university with a sign that says "chemical weapons are no worse than conventional weapons, change my mind." Because you don't seem to be nearly as interested in coming to a mutual understanding as you do in arguing over the semantics of the responses you receive, whilst tying the hands of your impromptu debate opponents. What documentary set you off on this topic, anyways? It would be helpful to know your sources for formulating these thoughts, since even a cursory search revealed that Haber was a fanatic nationalist who was not merely a scientist developing a better way to kill the enemy, but directed the attacks himself on the frontline and showed little sympathy for the suffering he inflicted.

Yeah. If I don't post my opinion I get called on it and asked my opinion. If I do post my opinion I am told I am trying to force others to my opinion, or otherwise poisoning the well. There is no winning. And of course, there is the third option where I am on the fence and seeing if others can come up with something to put me on one side or the other.
That's some catch, that catch-22. The third option sounds an awful like the first one. Perhaps you haven't realized that it's not our job to pull you over the fence, particularly when you come out of nowhere with a disturbing proposal that suggests you're already leaning one way over it.

That's going to depend on two things 1) is it being used as a weapon of defense or a straight up murder weapon? I approve of defense but not aggression or murder. 2) Is it contagious? If it is, then its mass murder, as its probably going to spread around the world to civilians everywhere, even one's own civilians, and mass murder is not defense.
How would you define the "defensive" use of a chemical or biological weapon? The very reasons for going into war are often obfuscated and warped by their participants; everyone acts as if they're justified, so who gets to decide what is aggressive and what is defensive? Is that a fair system for deciding who gets to use what weapons? Sounds like a giant loophole for false flags to jump through.

Or more historically accurate, if one side uses chemical weapons first, does that make retaliation in kind "defensive?" This is an engaging lecture on the subject that lays out the circumstances of Haber's deployment of chemical warfare, starting around 22:30 (the video below jumps straight to that point). Poison weapons were forbidden by two international treaties before WWI, and Haber claimed that the allies used chemical weapons first, which wasn't true.

As an aside, it seems ironic that your litmus test for what's fair game is the intent of the weapon's use, while elsewhere on this board you have said that such things as intent cannot be divined. Even the facts of the use of chemical weapons can be disputed if you're bold enough, as Assad has proven himself to be in denying his own actions. Censorship through noise; if you pummel people with enough falsehoods (like "the enemy used it first!"), they won't know what to believe anymore, and the most oft-repeated lies worm its way into public memory.

Personally, I'd rather see a moratorium on all wars and usher in an age where people helped each other instead of rallying around a flag and pretending that's a good reason to kill each other over. War is immensely damaging to all parties involved, including the soldiers who carry out the wet work; their very training is designed to remove their mental safeguards that would keep them from committing acts that will likely scar them for life, because we're told that if they don't, those atrocities will be visited upon us.

And that brings us to the means by which those atrocities are carried out. Partly because of the collateral damage, the threat to non-combatants, ecological or other forms of destruction, and partly because of the evidence and accounts of those who experienced being on the receiving end, certain means of warfare have been outlawed, or curtailed, or discouraged to some degree. Land Mines, napalm, defoliants, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons all fall somewhere on this spectrum. At some point, some of these were considered "conventional." Thankfully, the line was drawn somewhere, and it gets moved as we inch towards a more peaceful world. I hope it continues to be pushed back until governments are left with no means to physically attack each other and use soldiers and civilians as their sword and shield.

And lastly, your whole proposal seems to equate the death or maiming by chemical weapons to conventional weapons, if the end result is the same. I welcome you to jump to the 25:45 minute mark of the above video, where you'll be treated to photos and accounts from the trenches of what it was like to be gassed, and the "physical horrors and psychological terror of chemical weapons."
Soldiers in WWI, when asked, near-universally stated that if they had to die, they would prefer a shell or a bullet to poison.
Exposure to mustard gas resulted in "severe chemical burns, respiratory damage, blindness, suffocation, cancer, and death." An estimated 35,000 soldiers were killed by this gas alone.
J Ellis: Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I - 1976 said:
With mustard gas the effects did not become apparent for up to twelve hours. But then it began to rot the body, within and without. The skin blistered, the eyes became extremely painful and nausea and vomiting began. Worse, the gas attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. The pain was almost beyond endurance and most cases had to be strapped to their beds. Death took up to four of five weeks.
It's quite some audacity to suggest that this level of suffering is no different to being shot or blown up, or that surviving such an ordeal was no different to losing a limb to conventional weapons.
 
Last edited:

nice gaijin

Resident Realist
Moderator
Donor
Joined
8 Aug 2005
Messages
5,897
Reaction score
1,068
Close the forum if you feel that way. Its useless
Through advocating it be closed maybe you can.
Do tell me how I've misunderstood you.

Was I talking to you? No I wasn't. It was not meant for you.
The quoted post reiterated literally the same questions you asked in your original post, to "anyone." You don't seem to realize or appreciate that this is a public thread, and not a series of private exchanges; the comments are cumulative, and everyone can see them, quote them, and respond to them. In this format, you don't get to decide who reads what, or who is allowed to engage you, though you can decide to "ignore" members if you don't want to see their responses. You're already ignoring 90% of what I've written anyways.

It was meant for someone who keeps.....doing what you just did above
I engaged your prompt and questions in good faith.
 

nice gaijin

Resident Realist
Moderator
Donor
Joined
8 Aug 2005
Messages
5,897
Reaction score
1,068
No. Its obvious to a dead dog. Read the thread.
I did, and it's still about as clear as any of your other malformed arguments, and once again you refuse to provide any insight into what you mean.

Are there any dead dogs here that can explain to me what seems so obvious to our combative OP? A live one would suffice in a pinch.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,998
Reaction score
1,350
I did, and it's still about as clear as any of your other malformed arguments, and once again you refuse to provide any insight into what you mean.

Are there any dead dogs here that can explain to me what seems so obvious to our combative OP? A live one would suffice in a pinch.
I’ll wager that he’s asking for “ a logical distinction between chemical and conventional weapons that makes one more or less "moral" than the other” and only that very precise question.

But speaking of logic what is the logic of asking this in a forum that has nothing to do with war, morality, philosophy or logical arguments and that only has a handful of active members. Personally I don’t think it was asked in good faith but that’s just my opinion.
 

Mark of Zorro

先輩
Joined
4 Oct 2012
Messages
2,427
Reaction score
315
once again you refuse to provide any insight into what you mean.

mdchachi said there was no need to make this thread as I could just google counter-arguments, not ask for them.

That can be the reply to any thread. Thus, forums are useless by his logic. If forums are useless, why have them or this one? He should advocate closing down all forums.

Thus, its not me that said anything advocating closing this forum. Its HIM.

The only times I ever said "google it" is when people did not like the links I provided so I told them to go find their own.

Do you at least understand that I never advocated closing the forum??
 

nice gaijin

Resident Realist
Moderator
Donor
Joined
8 Aug 2005
Messages
5,897
Reaction score
1,068
Hmm, he said that he wasn't sure what you were trying to accomplish. Thank you for elaborating; surely you can understand how your comments were open to (mis)interpretation, as it looked like you were calling the forum useless, and also suggesting that mdchachi advocate for it to be closed. It's not very reasonable to accuse him of wanting to shut down the site merely because he questioned your intentions in creating this thread. But regardless, I'm not all that interested in that squabble...

You still haven't addressed the response I made to the topic at hand.
 

Mark of Zorro

先輩
Joined
4 Oct 2012
Messages
2,427
Reaction score
315
Hmm, he said that he wasn't sure what you were trying to accomplish.

That has ZERO bearing on the point.

It's not very reasonable to accuse him of wanting to shut down the site merely because he questioned your intentions

Nothing in my explanation said anything about him questioning my intentions....because that has ZERO bearing on the point.

The logical end game of his "google it" to find opinions rather than open a thread to find opinions is completely contrary to the point of having a forum.

You still haven't addressed the response I made to the topic at hand.

Well at least you understood something that was going on here, I will give you that much.
 
Top Bottom