Now that the Libyan rebels are in Tripoli the news stories have turned to worries about chemical weapons, and comparisons of Moammar Qaddafi to Saddam Hussein. CBS News reported today that:
So we can’t be excited by the Libyan people’s efforts to throw off a tyrant of 41 years; instead we need to be afraid of what might happen to those weapons?The BBC reports that Qaddafi may have around 10 tons of mustard gas, though the storage site will likely have been monitored and perhaps already secured by Western special forces.
Although Qaddafi's nuclear program was shut down in 2006, a February 2011 Wall Street Journal article indicated that Qaddafi still possesses caches of mustard gas and other chemical weapons, as well as a stockpile of Scud B missiles and 1,000 metric tons of uranium yellowcake.
That same month, Michael Luhan, spokesperson for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told the Associated Press that Libya had destroyed "nearly 13.5 metric tons" of its mustard gas in 2010, representing just over half of its stockpile.
"In particular, we must ensure that (Moammar) Gadhafi's stockpiles of advanced weapons, chemical weapons and explosives don't fall into the wrong hands," said Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in a press statement.
How many dictators did the US support over the years for fear of exactly this? We chose stability over democracy all over the globe. Today, as an example, we face the nightmare of Pakistan falling apart and Islamic terrorists taking possession of nuclear bombs.
This is a clear argument for the elimination worldwide of all weapons of mass destruction. Most countries of the world are signatories to three disarmament agreements, dealing with biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. All three conventions call for the complete destruction of weapons in the three categories.
Under the Chemical Weapons Convention the U.S. and Russia are supposed to completely destroy all their chemical weapons stock by spring of next year. However, there has been some delays (due to the complexity of the task) and now Russia says it will take at least until 2015 and the U.S. says the job won’t be finished until 2021.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says on its website that 44,131, or 61.99%, of the world's declared stockpile of 71,194 metric tonnes of chemical agent have been destroyed so far.
Most people seem to think that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty only requires that non-nuclear nations, like Iran, refrain from developing nuclear technology. That is not accurate. The other main “pillar” of the treaty requires nuclear nations, like the U.S., completely eliminate their nuclear weapons. Nonproliferation means reducing the number of nuclear weapons to zero.
Libya has made me realize that only in a world free from weapons of mass destruction can we unreservedly cheer on a revolution to overthrow a tyrant.