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« Some proof but no clarity | Main | Cameron's--not Assad's--peculiar logic »

August 29, 2013

Comments

merl

What if your grandma had balls? If they used them against Israel, I think the Israeli's should retaliate.
It's not our business.

Peter G

Well that is a relief. Nothing special about never agents. I suggest anyone who thinks so check out the available YouTube videos on exposure experiments on animals. After you sign in of course because they are quite horrifying. I suppose the dead make no distinction on what kills them but I would suggest that anyone who thinks such weapons are no different from any other isn't in any danger of being any where they might be used. I'm guessing startlingly unconventional is a polite way of saying mind-bogglingly stupid. I can't begin to say how ugly this line of reasoning is. We shouldn't get involved so, really, nerve agents are no big deal. You can argue the former but you cannot argue the latter. Certainly not and claim any shred of humanity.

Janicket

Indeed, Peter G; let's consult a Brit who had first-hand experience of gas attacks a century ago, shall we, for how unexceptional they are:

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Peter G

Did an essay on the War Poets once Janicket. It was part of a school program on remembrance day. As vivid as those poems were they kind of paled in comparison to the essay prize which was to visit a military hospital located in London, Ontario. For a select group of students. That hospital still held catatonic patients from the first World War but mostly the second. I beg to be excused from further such honors. I wish to add a further comment, since on reading my own post, it seems like I was directing my criticisms at PM and not the professor cited. That was not my intention. I will also remark to anyone who doubts the utility and horror of nerve agents to read the piece below that describes the effectiveness of gas in blunting Iranian massed attacks. It seemed to work pretty well there by all accounts.

PM

I took nothing personally at all, Peter, although earlier I did nearly defend Professor Mearscheimer. He in no way (see transcript) diminished the horrors of chemical weapons. He was only presenting a cold, objective view of international-relations theory (which he's famous for). Part of that is that all war is abhorrent. Period. Death by a bullet is still death. My oldest brother was a chopper pilot in Nam, and the one duty he really disliked was that of flying to the "front" and retrieving and bagging the body parts, some hanging in trees, of dead US soldiers. They weren't gassed; they bought it the old-fashioned way and some screamed for hours before they died--which was every bit as grisly. That was Mearscheimer's point.

Peter G

His point is taken. I was honored with other students to visit that hospital and bring small presents and treats to the patients. Many were barely sentient and a few still spasmodically shivered sixty years after whatever it was they witnessed or endured. The staff, I remember, wore the softest of shoes in order to move as soundlessly as possible and we were cautioned to do the same.

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