Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Ethics of Modern Warfare

In Ann Massey's new novel, The Biocide Conspiracy, a team of scientists funded by the space agencies of 14 countries have developed a bio-warfare agent in a high security lab on board the International Space Station, in contravention of the convention prohibiting the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological  (biological) and toxin weapons of which all 14 states are signatories.

Are any methods of killing humans in war morally wrong?

158 countries thought so.
Convinced that bio-warfare is repugnant to the conscience of mankind, they were parties and signatories to the convention entered in force on March 26, 1975Leaks have shown that some signatories flouted the convention before the ink had time to dry.
As early as 1979, the former Soviet Union was carrying out research into the military use of Anthrax and in 1995, Iraq disclosed that  they had stockpiles of Antrax, Botulinum toxin and Aflatoxin for use as weapons. And there is plenty more evidence to show research into the offensive use of biological weapons persists.
One of the signatories to the convention is the United States. George Washington would turn in his grave. He is quoted as saying:'To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual ways of preserving peace."
 Maybe he had a point when five countries with developed biological warfare technology are suspected of sponsoring international terrorism.  To date, there is no evidence that any of these states have provided the technology to terrorist organization but the possibility is one of the most urgent problems that confronts world stability. For instance, in a densely populated city, it would only take a few individuals in key locations to infect a large percentage of the population,  resulting in  massive social and political chaos.
The risk of a terrorist organization or rogue state using a biological agent to coerce governments is chillingly probable. And if we have no hope of eliminating this threat what other option is there than to develop bio-warfare weapons? After all  isn't self preservation is the first law of nature?

Ann Massey
Author of:
The White Amah, a mystery set against the backdrop of the timber logging industry in Malaysia. Sample or purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1456578065
The Biocide Conspiracy, a Young Adult thriller that sweeps readers into the world of biowarfare. Sample or purchase; http://www.amazon.com/dp/1456503367

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