February 19, 2004


A little bit of rewriting of history in the Globe's story on compensation for soldiers who volunteered for chem weapons testing:

"The tests, which were conducted from 1940 to 1970, used illegal stocks of mustard gas, liquefied chlorine gas and phosgene."

In point of fact, the possession of chemical weapons was only criminalized in this country, and in international practice, with the 1995 Chemical Weapons Convention. Prior to that, only the use of these chemicals in warfare was "outlawed" by Geneva; NOT possession for testing purposes (which is, as horrible as it might sound to some, exactly what this was).

Question: all agree that using the results of hypothermia tests on Jewish prisoners by the Nazis (along with other prison camp medical tests by Germans and Japanese) cannot be tolerated by science. Canada has a reputation for having some of the better military personal NBC equipment available in the world today, due in part to the dedicated research establishment that was inextricably involved with these tests. Since human suffering was involved, if only a little bit, in their creation, should we throw out our current NBC suit and gas mask stocks? If not, why not?

Posted by BruceR at 05:09 PM