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Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Religious and Secular Perspectives, Sohail H. Hashmi and Steven P. Lee, eds. [Full Text]

March 30, 2005

Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Religious and Secular Perspectives

Frances V. Harbour, reviewer

Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons have long been the subject of special scrutiny. The arguments about the moral standing of nuclear weapons go back to the 1940s, and there is a long-standing consensus that chemical weapons are morally different from conventional arms: the Romans condemned poisoning even enemy wells in war, and the moral arguments against chemical weapons underlay the banning of their first use in war through the Geneva Convention of 1925. More recently, in 2003, the Bush administration asserted that searching for WMD was reason enough for military intervention in Iraq. However, the moral reasoning behind the reactions against chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons has not always been clearly articulated. This collection systematically elucidates ethical arguments about WMD and war. . . .