Proposition One


The first mechanized global conflagration, known as "World War I," introduced us to massive gassing. Governments used mustard gas then; people with grudges are now using sarin gas, volatile fertilizer blends, and other chemical wonders to terrorize mass transportation systems, federal buildings and other symbols of official power. Some philosophers might point to the inevitable results of setting bad examples and teaching military tricks; poets might speak of karmic debt; but the fact is, chemical (and biological) weapons are with us. But not forever, some leaders think.

When George Bush was running for President in 1988, he vowed that, if he did nothing else, he wanted to "ban chemical weapons" from the planet. Well into his one-term administration, lost in the back pages of the news, it was announced that many nations had indeed signed a chemical weapons ban treaty, which was to gain 160 signatories by 1993.

Surely if 160 countries believe it's possible to eliminate chemical weapons, which are easy to make and easy to hide, we should be able to eliminate all nuclear weapons, which are much more expensive and difficult to develop and stockpile.