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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

Chemical Weapons

How are they “unconventional?”

i history of cw see readings
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
III. Are CW WMD?
  • Problem: Accurate modeling difficult. Examples:

1. Single release may generate multiple plumes

b dhs scenarios
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
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
d persistence difficult to estimate economic damages or area denial importance
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)
f example attack on nyc king s county census tracts
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
Attack Parameters
  • Nerve Gas (Sarin) sprayed at ground level from trucks over 2-block area
  • About 2000 Gallons used
slide25

Point of attack

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Wind 15 MPH

slide26

Plume by Time

3 minutes

6 minutes

12 minutes

0 1 2 3 4 5

Wind 15 MPH

slide27

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 area29
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
Next Step: Figure out how many are in each plume area
  • Count Census Tracts in each zone

AvePop 0-3 m 3-6 m 6-12 m

845 1 0 5

2363 2 7 13

3717 0 4 4

5649 0 .75 1.5

10934 .67 0 1

how many were exposed
How many were exposed?
  • Simple model assumes no protection – as if everyone was standing outside

AvePop 0-3 m 3-6 m 6-12 m

845 1 0 5

2363 2 7 13

3717 0 4 4

5649 0 .75 1.5

10934 .67 0 1

how many were exposed32
How many were exposed?
  • Multiply number of tracts by average tract population…..

AvePop 0-3 m 3-6 m 6-12 m

845 845 0 4225

2363 5726 16541 30719

3717 0 14868 14868

5649 0 4237 8474

10934 7326 0 10934

how many were exposed33
How many were exposed?
  • Multiply number of tracts by average tract population…..

AvePop 0-3 m 3-6 m 6-12 m

845 845 0 4225

2363 5726 16541 30719

3717 0 14868 14868

5649 0 4237 8474

10934 7326 0 10934

TOTALS 13897 35646 69220

compare to average lethality for each zone
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