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  •  There's another aspect to chemical weapons, folks. (0+ / 0-)

    When it comes to US policy, I think you guys are forgetting something about chemical weapons, namely:

    CHEMICAL WEAPONS ARE HIGHLY PORTABLE
    It's one thing for a civil war to rage for years, or even decades, as long as they're just shooting and bombing each other.  No conventional weapon can reach the US from Syria, and they have no means of force projection by which to bring conventional weapons within range of the US.  Yes, there are US assets in harm's way--primarily the Sixth Fleet--but most analyses suggest that the Syrian Navy's missile boats wouldn't even get within range of a US carrier group.

    Chemical weapons are different.  Either side could direct a chemical strike against Israel, US installations in Europe or the Sixth Fleet in the Med...or even (as an extreme example) US territory.  With CW, you don't have to be precisely on target - you only have to get close and let prevailing winds do the rest...

    It's more of an escalation than just "gassing people" inside Syria...it's the fact that those weapons extend the danger zone well beyond Syrian territory.

    I think we should consider this aspect of CW in our evaluations of US policy.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 10:11:14 AM PDT

    •  Most chemical weapons are very unstable with (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sydserious, Nattiq, Johnny Q

      shelf lives in the weeks/months. Binary formulations are better for storage but are extremely difficult to put together correctly and safely in any large quantity w/o proper facilities.

      CW is more hype than danger. It has great emotional value for propaganda purposes. Many more people can be killed with good old fertilizer and fuel oil and an AK-47.

      •  Given that they're already proportioned... (0+ / 0-)

        ...I don't think that mixing is all that difficult.  They aren't working from scratch, after all...

        Even the 1980s artillery shell the US manufactured (and later destroyed) was ridiculously simple in this regard.  The shell had two chambers; it was transported and stored with one compartment loaded, while the second compartment was to be loaded immediately before firing.  There was no measuring, no "difficult to put together correctly and safely" about it.

        We've also created chemical rockets of much simpler design(s).

        Given that the components are premeasured and already compartmentalized, it would be ridiculously simple to transport those charges elsewhere and use a different method of delivery.

        Put it this way - the things are designed such that the typical artilleryman can transport, load and arm them.  No pun intended, but it isn't rocket science.

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:38:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are assuming the munitions have already (0+ / 0-)

          been designed and manufactured. My comments were based on terrorists having to fabricate everything from scratch.

          I believe that the CW storage areas in Syria are being carefully monitored by the US, Israeli and Russia. I doubt that Assad would use the stuff within the country.

          The Russians analyzed the sarin from the Khan al-Assal attack on March 19 and found it did not contain the chemical stabilizers normally found in the charge. Another difference was the opening charge was not explosives of the type the military used.

          It will be interesting to see the results from the recent attack.

          Put it this way - the things are designed such that the typical artilleryman can transport, load and arm them.  No pun intended, but it isn't rocket science.
          But it would take a lot of rocket science to design and manufacture all the components as well as the delivery system to get it to that stage. A trained specialist could use the munitions but only in the proscribed manner. It would be very difficult to re-purpose the munitions in such a manner as to be effective.

          We've been hearing about threats of terrorist's getting and using CW's for many decades.

          •  It's really about command and control. (0+ / 0-)

            If Assad's forces are using chemical weapons, then those delivery systems (be they artillery rounds, 122mm chemical rockets, or whatever) have, in all likelihood been released to subordinate, or even local, commanders.

            If that's the case, then they're subject to theft, rogue use, etc. as soon as they leave the storage depot.  

            THAT is the escalation of which I speak.  I completely agree that fabricating these things from scratch is not a simple matter, but if you can simply steal/bribe/whatever your way to one of those chemical rockets or CW artillery warheads, it's a simple matter to break it down into parts (including the separate binary components) and go from there.

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:39:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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