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Showing posts from February 20, 2010

Chemical Warfare, Part 1

Just a few months before I decided to go back in the Army, I wrote about chemical warfare and spoke about it at my day job at Chemical Heritage Foundation.

So I had chemical weapons on my mind (luckily not in my lungs) even before I went back in the Army. The following was published in Books and Culture magazine in January 2007:


Nerve gas is becoming the weapon of choice for tv doomsday scenarios. In last year's season of 24, for example, Russian terrorists steal twenty canisters of a made-for-tv nerve gas and threaten to kill tens of thousands of people. They do manage to kill about 100 people, despite the best efforts of series hero Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).

Watching season five of 24 makes it clear why we should be afraid of gas, particularly nerve gas, although this terrifying weapon was cleaned up and tamed for tv. The "Weaponized Centox" featured on 24 kills its victims with the lethal efficiency of real-world nerve gas—vx, Tabun, Sarin, and so on—but unlike …