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America's Tricky Relationship with Chemical Warfare

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(Other chemical warfare that is omitted for space include Italy's use of chemical weapons against what is now Ethiopia, Japan use against China (clean up is still underway), and Egypt use in Yemen, among others).

"When you point one fingers, three finger points back at you," according to a popular quote.

In the long term, a planet without chemical weapons -- and many manmade chemicals -- would be a much better world. Indeed, using less chemicals would help restore the integrity of our environment and health of our bodies. Much of this is achievable by employing viable strategies to shift to organic food, eliminate toxic chemicals from garment production, and transition to renewable energy. Such a move would eliminate the confusion over civilian versus military uses. Additionally, a helpful step towards reducing arms stockpiles and violence would be for President Obama to sign and the Senate to ratify the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, and champion and agree to other international arms covenants. For now, America's decision to view Syria mostly through the lens of a chemical weapons attack that merits bombing blinds us to a more meaningful role. Our Nobel Peace Prize winner president should work with the international community committed to alleviating suffering, and using diplomacy and international courts. Such a commitment to peace would evince true leadership.

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Veena Trehan is a DC-based journalist and activist. She has written for NPR, Reuters, Bloomberg News, and local papers.
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The shifting rationale of American leaders reflect... by Veena Trehan on Monday, Sep 9, 2013 at 8:38:45 AM