By Kary Love
You know you are in a dark place when you must cite Adolf Hitler to support your side of the argument.
Say what you will about Mr. Hitler, he fought in World War I, in the front lines, and was awarded the Iron Cross for his â€œservice.â€ Despite the infamy of his later career, he did his patriotic duty as a German citizen, and was seriously injured in combat by mustard gasâ€”also known as a criminal chemical weapon. Poison weapons have long been criminal in the laws of war.
Mr. Hitler did not claim exemption from military service, like some we know, because of â€œbone spursâ€ in his feet. Nor did he seek â€œStudent exemptionsâ€ to avoid combat. Nor did his Dad get him assigned to â€œserviceâ€ in the National Guard at home so he could stay in the background while others served in the front lines.
No, Mr. Hitler went in the shit and faced the reality of war. As a result, he learned some valuable lessons. One he learned, at least, we should all recall.
Late in World War II when it was clear Nazi Germany had lost, one â€œsuper weaponâ€ remained that Hitlerâ€™s â€œPentagonâ€â€”his military generals and advisors urged him to use: chemical weapons. Germany had built and stockpiled enough that some argued unleashing those satanic killers could turn the war in the Naziâ€™s favor. Nazi Germany reportedly had stockpiled 12,000 tons of Sarin nerve gas by the end of the war, enough to kill millions of people. Hitler had been urged by high level military commanders to use the Sarin against their enemies.
No one knows why Hitler refused to authorize the use of these weapons when he did authorize using poison to kill millions of innocents in gas chambers. One problem with these weapons is they murder indiscriminately â€“ killing not only combatant soldiers, but the few innocent children, women and elderly still remaining after years of killing. Maybe it was his experience of being temporarily blinded by mustard gas in WWI. Maybe it was something else, but Adolf Hitler would not countenance the use of chemical weapons.
Chemical weapons are criminal under the laws of war for the same reason biological (germ warfare) and nuclear weapons are criminal. They cannot be used in a targeted way, so that they kill only the soldiers of the enemy which is â€œlegalâ€, but are indiscriminate, uncontrollable and escape and kill everything in their path. Since the purpose of legal war is not the indiscriminate slaughter of the innocent, but only of enemy combatant soldiers, such weapons are criminal. Long ago our forebears named pestilence the FIRST Horseman (in this case being First means being Worst) of the Apocalypse for a reason.
War may be hell, but the long, slow human evolution to â€œhonorableâ€ soldiers from mere barbarism, has produced a law of war that makes indiscriminate slaughter of the innocent a crime carrying the death penalty. The USA hung persons guilty of such crimes following trials at Nuremberg, Germany and Tokyo, Japan, to declare to all the world that even in war, law existed, and soldiers who followed it could be honored, those who did not were to be hung.
It is curious then, that today the USA has engaged in a great deal of research and development of germ warfare weapons. As reported in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists the USA has an unknown number of bioweapons capable labs, run in an apparently haphazard fashion, with a history of error, and is building more.
I am not sure this makes any sense. I had the experience in my prior life of representing whistleblowers who worked for the US Army Command which was â€œtaskedâ€ with the job of â€œensuringâ€ the viability of Americaâ€™s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. In one case involving binary nerve gas, a nasty gem that causes instantaneous death if one molecule touches naked skin and for which there was no known antidote, I learned the US had stockpiled 5,000 tons of the stuff. Now a ton is 2,000 pounds. And that is a lot of molecules: Avogadroâ€™s number of molecules in one mole is 6.023 x 10 to the 23 power. That huge number is getting near the number of stars in the milky way galaxy. And if you do the math, you get a lot of molecules of binary nerve gas. One expert told me that six fluid ounces, one half a can of coke worth, could kill most of the folks in the USA if released and aerosolized by fire (in the case we were dealing with flying the stuff around the USA to test its â€œviability.â€) Maybe we had too much of it?
Now we have the SARS2 virus, and people are raising the question, did it come from a biolab in China, or maybe the USA? Even if it did not, there is a high statistical probability the next pandemic will originate from a biolab error. Trying to contain viral particles requires perfection, technological and human, and perfection is not our forte.
It is humbling to have to cite Mr. Hitler for support, but in calling for the US Government to begin to reduce its bioweapons stockpiles, research and development, one draws support from whence one can. With all due respect, if it was odious to Mr. Hitler to use poison as a weapon, do we really need any other expert opinion? After all, is he not the internationally recognized devil? If it was beyond the pale for the very devil, is that not enough for any rational human being to renounce it? Or, did I miss something, and did Mr. Hitler win World War II and a Nobel?
Kary Love, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Michigan attorney who has defended nuclear resisters, including some desperado nuns, in court for decades and will on occasion use blunt force satire or actual legal arguments to make a point.