Nervous About Nerve Gas

Plans to destroy chemical weapons cause a Pacific uproar

Chemical weapons are so horrendous that 40 nations are trying to work out a global ban on their possession. So why isn't everyone cheering a plan to destroy some of them now? The U.S. Army last week began moving 100,000 artillery shells loaded with nerve-gas chemicals out of NATO storage dumps in West Germany. They are to be incinerated on Johnston Island, a U.S. atoll 825 miles southwest of Honolulu. The idea has touched off protests across the Pacific.

The Army's intent is not at issue. It is trying to carry out a promise made by former President Ronald Reagan to...