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A Genie Was Released When Russia Used Gas

November 02, 2002

Re "Russia's Use of Gas Focuses Attention on Chemical Agents in U.S.," Oct. 29: I was horrified when I found out that the Russian government had used chemical agents. I thought it had made great strides toward making itself better. But now it seems as if it has regressed. I hope that our government is not thinking about using chemical warfare, because it is absolutely wrong. Chemical warfare is only used by terrorists and immoral governments.

I am not convinced about how much our government is against chemical warfare. The laws governing it have a thick gray zone, and the government can use this sort of loophole to implement the use of chemicals.

David Wang

Fountain Valley

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At first I thought Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman was engaging in typical government doublespeak when he referred to a subclass of chemical weapons as "calming agents." But then I thought, hey, maybe the guy's not so far off the mark. Last time I checked, death by gas certainly qualified as the ultimate "calm."

Anne Riffenburgh

South Pasadena

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The Russians' use of a narcotic gas in the Moscow theater incident should be likened to the first flight of the Wright brothers. Just as their primitive effort at powered flight gave rise to our present worldwide use of aircraft, so does the use of various forms of gases in various situations seem a certainty. Without debating whether this is a "good" thing, we should at least be cognizant of the fact that more gases are likely to be developed, because what is the difference between a weapon of mass destruction and a weapon of limited destruction? Has a terrible genie been released from its bottle?

I.D. Weiner

Los Angeles

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