Biochemical Attack: Overview
Chemical warfare is warfare through the utilization of the toxic properties of chemical substances to kill, injure or incapacitate an enemy.
Chemical warfare is far deviant from the conventional warfare, using weapons like guns, bombs and artillery, because the destructive capabilities of chemical weapons are not limited to explosive power or a static event like a single death or an ammunitions explosion. Under the Chemical Weapons Convention protocols, the antagonistic use of living organisms (i.e. anthrax) and the use of nonliving toxins produced by living organisms (i.e. saxitoxin) are considered as chemical warfare. This international treaty stipulates that any toxin used for motives different from those allowed by the General Purpose Criterion (essentially defining necessary and allowable uses of chemicals) can be considered a chemical weapon.
Nearly 70 different chemicals have been classified as Chemical Weapons agents during the past century. Chemical weapons are defined by the United Nations as weapons of mass destruction and their creation and proliferation was outlawed by the same Chemical Weapons Convention. The convention also deemed that chemicals would be organized into three significantly different molecular based categories:
- Schedule 1
- These chemicals have very limited uses. They are relegated to use only for research and medical purposes. An example of such chemical is mustard gas.
- Schedule 2
- These chemicals have limited large-scale use, however are readily employable on a small-scale level. An example of such a chemical is the diluted product of sarin.
- Schedule 3
- These chemicals have qualifiedly legal warrants for large-scale production. An example of such a chemical would be chloropicrin.