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Chemical Weapons. How are they “unconventional?”. I. History of CW: See Readings. Note the process of “agent escalation” – tear gas  chlorine  phosgene  mustard  lewisite, etc. Note also the efforts to control CW Finally, compare military effects of CW to conventional explosives.

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Chemical Weapons

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Chemical weapons l.jpg

Chemical Weapons

How are they “unconventional?”


I history of cw see readings l.jpg

I. History of CW: See Readings

  • Note the process of “agent escalation” – tear gas  chlorine  phosgene  mustard  lewisite, etc.

  • Note also the efforts to control CW

  • Finally, compare military effects of CW to conventional explosives


Ii effects of cw l.jpg

II. Effects of CW

  • Distinction between protected / unprotected targets: CW seldom kills protected troops.

  • Specific Agents Have Different Effects


1 poison gas blood gases and pulmonary agents l.jpg

1. “Poison Gas:” Blood Gases and Pulmonary Agents

  • Casualties: High within small areas

  • Uses on the battlefield: Quickly dispersed by wind and diluted by air

  • Recent uses: Used for executions in enclosed areas, used by Iraqi insurgents


D sources of condemnation l.jpg

d. Sources of Condemnation

  • Use for executions and mass murder (Holocaust)

  • Secondary effect on medical personnel during surgery (release of toxic gases)

  • Agent Escalation and Mass casualties in WW I


2 vesicants l.jpg

2. Vesicants

  • Casualties:

    • Mustard: Few in short-term but many over long period. High proportion of wounded to killed.

    • Lewisite: Many casualties quickly – death can occur within minutes.

  • Uses on the battlefield: Mass casualties to overload medical systems, force use of bulky CW equipment, secondary area contamination

  • Recent uses: Most common agents used in modern wars (Yemen, Iran-Iraq)


D sources of condemnation7 l.jpg

d. Sources of Condemnation

  • Invisibility of threat – Soldiers can acquire lethal doses without realizing it, then die painfully days later

  • Nature of injuries – Blistering and burns. Example (Iranian casualty from Iraqi mustard attack):


3 nerve agents l.jpg

3. Nerve Agents

  • Casualties: Very high within area of exposure. Decline with distance and time

  • Uses on the battlefield: Mass fatalities, Area contamination, force use of bulky CW equipment

  • Recent uses: Iraqi use against Kurds, Aum Shinrikyo

  • Sources of condemnation: Invisibility, pre-existing norms against CW


4 incapacitants cs bz fentanyl l.jpg

4. Incapacitants (CS, BZ, Fentanyl)

  • Casualties: Designed to temporarily disable without killing. Overdoses can be lethal.

  • Uses on the Battlefield: Flush enemies from bunkers, disable command/control, avoiding civilian deaths in riots and hostage rescue situations

  • Recent Uses: US in Vietnam, Iraq against Iran and Kurds, Waco and Moscow theater sieges

  • Sources of condemnation: Agent escalation in WW I and subsequent conflicts


Iii the law of cw use proliferation will come later l.jpg

III. The Law of CW Use (Proliferation will come later…)

  • Declaration of St. Petersburg (1868) – Renounces use of small (< 400 g) “fulminating or inflammable” projectiles in war (explosive bullets) between signatories

  • Hague Convention (1899) – Renounces use of projectiles that diffuse asphyxiating or deleterious gases (Germany claims chlorine cylinder attack doesn’t violate – later claims Mustard isn’t a gas)


C geneva protocol 1925 l.jpg

C. Geneva Protocol (1925)

  • Prohibited the use of "asphyxiating gas, or any other kind of gas, liquids, substances or similar materials“

  • Only applied to interstate wars (states reserved the right to use CW against their own people or colonies)

  • Many nations reserve right to retaliate against violators

  • Ambiguous use of “other” is interpreted to allow nonlethal CW


D the chemical weapons convention l.jpg

D. The Chemical Weapons Convention

  • Outlaws all use of CW agents except:

    • “1. Industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes;

    • 2. Protective purposes, namely those purposes directly related to protection against toxic chemicals and to protection against chemical weapons;

    • 3. Military purposes not connected with the use of chemical weapons and not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare;

    • 4. Law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes.”

  • Note that riot control agents are now prohibited in warfare

  • Also note that toxic chemicals are OK if their other properties (flammability, explosiveness, etc) are the key to their military effectiveness


  • E which countries can legally use cw l.jpg

    E. Which countries can legally use CW?

    • Not bound by Geneva Protocol or CWC:

      • Bahamas (signed CWC but has not ratified)

      • Comoros (signed CWC but has not ratified)

      • Congo (signed CWC but has not ratified)

      • Myanmar (signed CWC but has not ratified)

      • Somalia

    • Bound by Geneva Protocol but not CWC:

      • Central African Republic (signed CWC but has not ratified)

      • Dominican Republic (signed CWC but has not ratified)

      • Guinea-Bissau (signed CWC but has not ratified)

      • Israel (signed CWC but has not ratified)

      • Angola

      • Barbados

      • North Korea

      • Egypt

      • Iraq (bound by UN cease-fire agreement of 1991)

      • Lebanon

      • Syrian Arab Republic


    Iii are cw wmd l.jpg

    III. Are CW WMD?

    • Problem: Accurate modeling difficult. Examples:

      1. Single release may generate multiple plumes


    2 buildings affect dispersion l.jpg

    2. Buildings affect dispersion


    B dhs scenarios l.jpg

    B. DHS Scenarios

    • Mustard/Lewisite released by aircraft over stadium of 100,000 people

      • 150 fatalities; 70,000 hospitalized

    • Sarin injected into three large office buildings using six injectors

      • 6,000 fatalities (95% of building occupants); 350 injuries


    C rough estimation l.jpg

    C. Rough Estimation

    • Model plume as if no terrain exists. Plume is teardrop-shaped (if wind > 10 km/hr) or circular (if little wind) from point of release

    • Plume is more elongated as wind increases, but also less concentrated

    • Divide plume into zones

    • Assign each zone a lethality level (% killed) based on likely dose

    • Estimate # of people in each zone and apply lethality levels to determine deaths


    Sample lethality table l.jpg

    Sample Lethality Table


    D persistence difficult to estimate economic damages or area denial importance l.jpg

    D. Persistence: Difficult to estimate economic damages or area-denial importance

    • Since attacks have little effect on protected targets, real intent is often to degrade efficiency through contamination (requires bulky protective gear)


    E chemicals compared to bioweapons and nuclear weapons l.jpg

    E. Chemicals compared to bioweapons and nuclear weapons


    F example attack on nyc king s county census tracts l.jpg

    F. Example: Attack on NYC(King’s County Census Tracts)

    Map = Approx. 7 miles across

    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    Wind 15 MPH


    Attack parameters l.jpg

    Attack Parameters

    • Nerve Gas (Sarin) sprayed at ground level from trucks over 2-block area

    • About 2000 Gallons used


    Slide25 l.jpg

    Point of attack

    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    Wind 15 MPH


    Slide26 l.jpg

    Plume by Time

    3 minutes

    6 minutes

    12 minutes

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Wind 15 MPH


    Slide27 l.jpg

    Plume by Time

    3 minutes

    6 minutes

    12 minutes

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Wind 15 MPH


    Next step figure out how many are in each plume area l.jpg

    Next Step: Figure out how many are in each plume area

    • Zooming in on affected area….


    Next step figure out how many are in each plume area29 l.jpg

    Next Step: Figure out how many are in each plume area

    • Averaging Population per Census Tract

    Average People

    845

    2363

    3717

    5649

    10934


    Next step figure out how many are in each plume area30 l.jpg

    Next Step: Figure out how many are in each plume area

    • Count Census Tracts in each zone

    AvePop0-3 m3-6 m6-12 m

    845105

    23632713

    3717044

    56490.751.5

    10934.6701


    How many were exposed l.jpg

    How many were exposed?

    • Simple model assumes no protection – as if everyone was standing outside

    AvePop0-3 m3-6 m6-12 m

    845105

    23632713

    3717044

    56490.751.5

    10934.6701


    How many were exposed32 l.jpg

    How many were exposed?

    • Multiply number of tracts by average tract population…..

    AvePop0-3 m3-6 m6-12 m

    84584504225

    236357261654130719

    371701486814868

    5649042378474

    109347326010934


    How many were exposed33 l.jpg

    How many were exposed?

    • Multiply number of tracts by average tract population…..

    AvePop0-3 m3-6 m6-12 m

    84584504225

    236357261654130719

    371701486814868

    5649042378474

    109347326010934

    TOTALS138973564669220


    Compare to average lethality for each zone l.jpg

    Compare to average lethality for each zone

    • Problem: requires data on aerosol dispersion given wind speed and quantities used. Pre-calculated tables best.

    • Sample data for Sarin:

      • 3 min zone = 30% dead

      • 3-6 min zone = 15% dead

      • 6-12 min zone = 5% dead


    Adding up deaths l.jpg

    Adding up deaths


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