The Search for a Poison Antidote

If good intentions could stop the proliferation of chemical weapons, the scourge would have been cleaned up long ago. Over the past 63 years, 131 nations have signed the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which outlaws the use of poison gases. Yet at least 17 countries are believed to possess chemical weapons. They were most recently used last March, with hellish results, when Iraq unleashed mustard and cyanide gases on its own Kurdish citizens.

Like other high-minded declarations that followed the horrors of World War I, the Geneva Protocol has no teeth: although it forbids the use of poison gases, it bans neither...

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