Use of Chemical Weapons in Iraq War Essay

Use of Chemical Weapons in Iraq War Essay

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“All is fair in war and love”, an American idiom, illustrates how any logically effective means can and should be used to attempt to end a war. Iraq’s chemical weapons program matured throughout the Iran-Iraq war. The climate before and during the war, 1988-1998, consisted of Cold war tensions and forced Western nations to choose opposite sides of the USSR. Relations between western nations and Iran deteriorated with the coup d'état of the shah and the Iranian hostage crisis.1 The weapons program attempted to give the Iraq military leverage in the war, when fighting gains for both sides stagnated. Chemical weapons were used in 1987 as part of the “War of the cities”, a systematic bombing campaign targeting civilian populations2 and as a tactical weapon. American assistance in the development of Iraq’s chemical weapons was justified, as it was the countries’ responsibility to protect the rights of their citizens. International actors had a responsibility to protect their citizen’s rights in the most effective method.
Evidence that western nations knew about Iran’s chemical weapons and help it along its path is immense, starting in 1983 with confirmed legitimate complaints from the Iranian government and State Department sources of Iraq chemical weapons usage.3 Information of daily use of chemical weapons reached Treasure secretary, George P. Shultz, detailing how foreign firms including a U.S. subsidiary aided in the development of the chemical weapons. Although the United States publically denounced the use of chemical weapons, they knowing allowed the continuation of chemical weapons to develop4. As on state department official put it “Iraq's chemical weapons use will not change U.S. interest in pursuing closer U.S.-Iraq rel...


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...ment’s responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens. Governments can be immoral and still effectively conduct its duties. However if a government fails to protect the rights of its citizens and being moral, the government has failed. Therefore moral ethical counter-arguments do not outweigh the benefits of chemical weapons development assistance.
International assistance was justified as it effectively carried out their responsibility to protect the rights of their citizens. Counter arguments of morality are outweighed by its effectiveness and the results of forcing Iran to the negotiating table after four campaigns using chemical weapons. The significance of this is that despite international agreements, larger countries can covertly not follow them if it logical and on small-scale non-nuclear regional conflicts if does not directly involve major powers.

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