Defense: Banning the Germs

Chemical and biological agents have always been among the most repugnant weapons in the nation's arsenal. The Pentagon, however, has insisted that development of these arcane armaments was necessary to match the Soviet capability of waging CB warfare. Last week President Nixon rebuffed the generals' argument. He announced that the U.S. would never use germ warfare—either offensively or defensively—and ordered the existing stocks of deadly toxins destroyed. As for remaining lethal chemical weapons, the President reiterated the longstanding American policy that they would only be used in retaliation for a similar attack....

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