Syria has threatened to use chemical weapons against foreign militaries that invade the country. And the world is responding with fear. Or at least anxiety.
Which is why some of us call chemical weapons “weapons of mass disruption” rather than “weapons of mass destruction.”
If you look at the history of chemical weapons dating back to World War I, it turns out they’re a lousy weapon to use against enemies. They have a disconcerting tendency to blow back on your own forces, they tend not to kill many of those targeted, and leave places contaminated.
They are, like biological weapons, effective methods for spreading fear. But they are a really ineffective way to capture the battlefield.
Who wants to occupy a contaminated space that can poison your own troops?
So, Syria: back off. We know how to deal with this. We are not afraid of your nerve agents or other chemical weapons. Our Soldiers and allies have personal protective equipment. They know how to put on a gas mask in nine seconds.
And sleep with it as your pillow, as I did for many years.