NBC Weapons: September 9, 2003


Since 1997, when the process began, the U.S. had destroyed 23 percent of its Cold War stock of chemical weapons. This puts it ahead of schedule, as defined by an international treaty. But recent events have thrown this schedule into doubt. Environmentalists and local activists have been going to court to try and stop the destruction of the weapons. This is the usual "not in my backyard" (NIMBY) attitude, plus a general unwillingness to trust the government much. When it's pointed out that it's more dangerous to move the aging chemical weapons somewhere, or just to leave them where they are, it quickly becomes apparent that logic is not at work here, but blind fear is. The treaty stipulated that all chemical weapons would be destroyed by 2007, with a five year extension if needed. Russia may use the extension because they don't have enough money. The U.S. may use the extension because they have too much fear.


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