36 thoughts on “Political Geography Blog Assignment #2 – 2016

  1. This is a difficult set of images to compare for a number of reasons. The first and maybe most telling is the span of years that humans have been tossing volatile chemicals onto one another in the name of a belief or ideal. The following quote from History.com Relates in part to the Chart in the upper right and possible the middle image on the right of the soldiers forced to use each other to find the way because they have been blinded by chemicals.
    On April 22, 1915, German forces shock Allied soldiers along the western front by firing more than 150 tons of lethal chlorine gas against two French colonial divisions at Ypres, Belgium.
    This is not the first use by any means but it shows that armies and combatants have long sought to annihilate the enemy by atypical means. This might be as simple as lobbing a diseased horse into the water supply or using the aforementioned chlorine gas. What is different about this last century is the ability to mass produce chemicals of any kind.
    We see more advances in this type of warfare in the lower right image where we see what appears to be a group American soldiers in the foreground and a very large napalm explosion in the background. This could also be a series of cluster munitions and a number of other devices. If this image is from the Vietnam/Cambodian peninsula, then while we were there preforming a “police action” we used tons of napalm and another chemical that was a defoliant called Agent Orange. The purpose of this chemical as used in Operation Ranch Hand was to destroy both the food supply of the enemy and the jungles and forests where they hid. Soldiers and civilians on both sides suffered the after effects of being exposed to unignited napalm and Agent Orange exposure.
    We can see the effects of a chemical attack in the man and child in the lower left image. Both of these people have extensive burns or injuries on their skin from chemical exposure with the child’s injuries being far worse than his elder’s. It is difficult to tell in picture what caused the injuries but because there are white patches where the skin appears to be seared and the skin is peeling off of the child in places both of which suggest this was napalm.
    What is napalm? It is the combination of any motor fuel like gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel with a gelling agent that causes it to stick to the target. This is not an honorable weapon in any way, shape, or form. Even if the original intent was to destroy buildings somewhere along the way someone decided that it would be effective on personal instead. It is hard to believe that napalming a village was ever a justifiable decision as even though the scale is much larger it is the same kind of attack as the Dresden firebombing, one guaranteed to kill civilians.
    The final image is one of those that makes you proud to be an American. In this protracted eight-year war between Iran and Iraq many people died because of chemical weapons deployed by Iraq. The American tie to these attacks is that we sold them the chemicals to make the same weapons. Of course at the time they were sold as poisons and pesticides but it only took some pesticide and fertilizer do blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. It could not have been a surprise for the government that Saddam built bombs not flowers with his chemicals.

  2. Scientists have been able to document the earliest known use of poison gas in warfare back to China roughly around 1000 BC. They apparently burned natural products and were able to use the resulting blistering smoke in crude flamethrowers. Later societies such as the Persians and the Greeks burned sulfur with bitumen tar and used trebuchets to launch sulfur dioxide into enemy cities.(1) The desire to slaughter one’s enemies in as large numbers as possible is apparently as old as humanity itself, only being absolutely perfected in the twentieth century with the ability to destroy all of humanity and every other living thing.

    The Hague Convention of 1899 was the first instance of outlawing the use of poisonous gas in warfare. Rather than stop the its use, this appears to have caused all the major world players at the time (France, Germany, the UK, the US, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Italy) to stockpile chemical agents which they then used in WWI. Despite a second Hague Convention prohibiting their use in 1907, chemical weapons had been invented and it was inevitable then, that they would be used.

    While the leaders of the governments knew that they were stockpiling chemical weapons (and generally having a thing means using it) the young men from cities and small towns around the world who were pressed into service had no idea such things existed. At least at first. For this reason chemical weapons, although they killed fewer soldiers in WWI than other means, inflicted a much greater psychological toll. Chlorine gas was first used successfully at the second battle of Ypres in western Belgium in WWI in 1915. Soldiers did not understand what was coming when they saw the green fog approach. Hundreds died instantly and others a slow, excruciating, drowning death over the next hours.

    In another battle in the same city later that year the Germans used phosgene and disphosgene gases, both far more insidious and even more deadly gases. Two years later, again at Ypres, German troops unleashed mustard gas. While this gas didn’t kill as immediately it was an equally horrific deterrent. Troops fighting the Germans had begun using gas masks and chlorine and phosgene had lost some of their effectiveness. Mustard gas, on the other hand, burned the eyes and the skin. The soldiers in the center on the right of the collage were from the Battle of Estaires, south of Ypres in 1918. They were permanently blinded by mustard gas.(2) They probably suffered other burns as well.

    Napalm is an example of a more recent use of chemical agents. This godawful petroleum based gel sticks to skin and can cause horrific burns through the skin down to the bone. It burns so hot that people in the area (not necessarily hit with the napalm) can die from asphyxiation when the oxygen is sucked from the air.(3) Four hundred thousand tons of bombs of this deplorable chemical was used by the US in the Vietnam war. The child in the lower left picture has probably been burned by napalm at a distance. He probably did not live. The soldiers in the lower right picture are watching napalm being dropped on a community.

    Agent Orange is another unspeakable chemical devised by the US and deployed on the Vietnamese. Several generations later people are still suffering gruesome birth defects as a result. It is a defoliant meant to denude and lay bare the rain forest jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The dioxin in Agent Orange remains in the fields for decades. The birth defects which result in offspring of those exposed continue through generations. It bioaccumulates up the food chain. Insects encounter it, chickens eat the insects, people eat the chickens. Likewise cattle and grasses, hogs and the components of their diet. It bioaccumulates in breast milk. It causes not only birth defects, but cancers, thyroid problems, spina bifida, mental retardation, reproductive problems for both men and women, diabetes in offspring, and so many other deformities and diseases it would be impossible to name them all.

    Although citizens of the world are repeatedly outraged by the devastation of chemical agents when they are used, they continue to be produced and used. The upper right image is even more recent than Vietnam, the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. “In 1991, a declassified CIA report estimated that Iran suffered more than 50,000 casualties from Iraq’s repeated use of nerve agents and toxic gases in the 1980s. Iranian doctors say the final toll of Iraq’s chemical weapons could ultimately rival the 90,000 who died from toxic gases in World War I.”(4) This is due to a latency period of more as much as 40 years during which today’s mustard gas can continue to slowly kill with even low dose exposure. Saddam Hussein, a friend of the US at the time, and with the awareness of the CIA5, also used nerve agents against Iran such as sarin and tabun, two of the most toxic substances known to humankind. Thousands died.

    And although we later condemned Hussein, chemical weapons continue to be made and used, as they were in Damascus, Syria in 2013 where nearly 2,000 civilians died instantly. Chemical weapons continue to be used in Syria even though they supposedly had to turn over all their chemical weapons to be destroyed. Daesh is also being called out for using chemical weapons.

    There have been Conventions, Protocols, bans and prohibitions. All parties sign and agree. And then the world tsk-tsks with fascinated revulsion each time a new attack occurs. Yet occur they will, as long as the chemical industries continue to make money. The only question left is, where next?

    1) https://antiquitynow.org/2013/11/14/chemical-warfare-in-the-ancient-world/
    2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2376985/
    3) http://mrhagan447.blogspot.com/2016/03/station-1-napalm-and-agent-orange.html
    4) http://world.time.com/2014/01/20/iran-still-haunted-and-influenced-by-chemical-weapons-attacks/
    5) http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/26/exclusive-cia-files-prove-america-helped-saddam-as-he-gassed-iran/

  3. Ikramuddin Bahram

    The use of poison as a tool or weapon to annihilate the opposition particularly in isolated cases to reach to the helm of power (throne) has been practiced since time immemorial. However, the use of poisonous chemical weapons on a large scale in warfare was not realized until the First World War in April 1915 when Chlorine gas was used by the Germans on Allied forces. This in effect established the precedence and justification for all warring sides to promptly develop and use chemicals as weapons of mass destruction in the war.
    The image titled “Chemical Warfare World War I” presents a summary of the evolution and deployment of chemicals as weapons of mass destruction from a somewhat primitive tear gas to Mustard gas in the course of four years of war. The use of Chlorine gas in the battle of Ypres by the Germans is believed to have triggered and accelerated the process of mass production of chemical weapons. This use of chemicals in warfare left behind over a million victims, 85% of which are attributed to the use of Phosgene gas and diphosgene liquid. The image (center right) shows British soldiers who were casualties of mustard gas attack. This image recapitulates the impact of mustard gas that would cause partial or complete blindness, chemical burns and blisters. It would also penetrate through leather, rubber and textiles. The fact that mustard gas was introduced relatively in the later years of the war indicates that it was probably developed to overcome the masks that were produced to safeguard the soldiers from chemical attacks. It is to be remembered that civilians living in the nearby towns also fell victim to the use of chemical weapons by the warring sides. The image to the bottom left brings to mind the horrific experiences that civilians had to go through. The impact of chemical burns and blisters on their skins and fear in the eyes of the victims could be seen in this picture. Over all, the WWI witnessed the most extensive use of chemical weapons with the objective to instill fear and terror in the opposition.
    The image (bottom-right) shows a supervised massive explosion most probably due to the destruction of cache of chemical weapons from the First World War symbolically marking the end of use of chemical weapons on a large scale. However, in the post WWI, the Germans and allied nations covertly or openly pursued the production or maintenance of Chemical weapons though public support had plummeted. While evidence of use of any chemical weapon in the Second World War by any side is lacking, the use of Chemical weapons by Iraq against Iran in the Iraq-Iran war 1980-1988 (top left image) served as a reminder to the world how dangerous and terrible it is to continue to maintain or produce such weapons. Iraq’s Saddam regime not only used these Chemical Weapons against Iran but also against its own Kurdish population. Ironically, these events unfolded at a time when the Cold War was at its peak. However, the dangers of the two blocks to lock horns into a third World War was minimum owing to the fact that neither of the two super powers sided with Iran as the victim. It is argued that this traumatic experience on the one hand provoked Iranians to develop their own chemical weapons programs and on the other hand emboldened Saddam Hussein to broaden the extent of the program and turn into a rogue in the region.

  4. These images show us some of the horrors of chemical warfare, which began to be used en masse about 100 years ago with the advent of industrial production of easily weaponized chemicals like chlorine gas and mustard gas. The top right and middle right images both reveal how chemical warfare was used in World War I. The infographic shows several different types of chemical weapons that were invented and used during the war. The use of these chemicals on enemy troops was devastating, and left many, like the soldiers in the middle right image, with permanent disabilities, including blindness and severe respiratory problems. The terrible effects of these weapons during World War I led to the the adoption of the Geneva Protocol to the Hague Conventions, which banned gas warfare, and was later amended to add biological weapons and chemical weapons. Unfortunately, these types of international conventions often leave significant loopholes and may not be signed by all countries, leaving open the possibility for the future use of chemical weapons.

    Indeed, chemical weapons were used again in the Vietnam War. The bottom left image shows a child who seems to have been left with severe burns from napalm, which sticks to the skin and is extremely difficult to remove. The massive fire in the bottom right was likely also caused by the United States’ liberal use of napalm. Another chemical used by the United States in Vietnam was Agent Orange, which was used to destroy the jungles where the enemy was hiding, in addition to agricultural crops. However, Agent Orange also caused severe chronic health problems, including cancer, diabetes, and kidney failure, among the Vietnamese people and American troops. These health effects are still impacting Vietnam and the United States today (especially in VA hospitals).

    One would imagine that chemical warfare would cease to be used after their true horrors were witnessed by the world. However, they were once again used on a large scale in the Iran-Iraq War, as seen in the top left image. Throughout the 1980s, Saddam Hussein’s regime used poison gas on Iranians, killing more than 100,000. Despite this, the Iraqi regime was still supported by all of the major global powers, including unusually both the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States, in fact, supplied the Iraqi government with the precursor chemicals needed to manufacture the chemical weapons.

    Although most of the world agreed to stop using chemical weapons after World War I with the adoption of the Geneva Protocol, history reveals that this simply has not happened. Major powers, especially the United States, have continued to use (or supply) chemical weapons in wars taking place in the Global South. The locations of these uses, combined with the United States’ global hegemony, mean that the U.S. can get away with these uses, and it very well knows this. Additionally, the fact that the United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court means that U.S. presidents do not have to fear prosecution for the use of chemical weapons, leaving the door worryingly open to future uses if they are deemed ‘necessary’ by the U.S. government.

  5. The images above display the extensive use of chemical warfare and unconventional warfare that has taken place since the Vietnam war, where B-52 bombers continued to drop fire bombs on the Vietnamese populations in response to the containment of communism. The United States government began this approach after the U.S. embassy was captured in Saigon where JFK created the U.S. special forces in order to counter insurgency in the 1960s This diversion of resources was put in place after America realized that it was not winning the war and became an incentive for unconventional warfare.
    During WWI, the shift in gas warfare took place where the war of attrition was confined to Europe resulting in 500,000 casualties. This opened Pandora’s box in WWI for total warfare and consequently continued to affect civilians. This was the countries incentive for using and mobilizing all resources militarily with hopes to win the war. The photo to the right displays soldiers using one another to protect themselves from the chemical weapons that impaired their vision and ultimately handi-capped them. Similarly, in the Iran/Iraq war, Saddam Hussein took advantage of the WMD to utilize them against the Iranian government and the dense military that consisted much of the civilian Iranian population. Because Iraq could not win with man-power, his tactics resulted in using the weapons that were sold to him by the United States. Unfortunately, this state of warfare has continued to affect many civilian populations with no repercussions on certain heads of state. Ultimately, unconventional warfare has left many countries in a constant state of war.

  6. Chemical warfare has been used as a tactic of war for years, preceding that of World War I. The images above, however, describe the more recent and modernized version of chemical warfare that we are more familiar with. Modern chemical warfare has its beginnings around World War I when poison gas was used in Ypres, as demonstrated in the fourth picture. You can see soldiers lined up with bandages across their face. During this time, modern chemical warfare had become much more difficult to guard against. The men covered seem to be those who have suffered from mustard gas exposure. Others are bending their head or covering their eyes, so they may have been affected as well. Emotionally, if not physically.
    To describe these images in a more chronological order, let’s discuss the two images at the bottom. These two images can accurately describe the overwhelming destruction caused by chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. The bottom-right image depicts soldiers running away from what appears to be a napalm explosion. Napalm, a flammable liquid created in 1942 is probably most notably used during the Vietnam War. The picture to the left, of the man holding his son, is also representative of a napalm bombing. Originally taken by Horst Faas, the image shows an innocent victim of the napalm attacks after the Viet Cong hid in his village. It’s unfortunate the devastation caused to many of the innocent population during this time. Images like this help to understand that war affects not only the willing participants but also the unwilling participants. One image in particular that I was reminded of, but what not shown, was the image of “Napalm Girl.” Where you see many children, as well as a young girl, nude, fleeing from a napalm explosion. You can see from their expressions that what was occurring was much more terrifying than hearing about another explosion on the radio or the TV. If it was even mentioned, that is. Images like those, unfortunately, seem to be the only ones that force people to listen. The first photo, as stated, depicts the Iran-Iraq war, which ended just a few months after one of the worst chemical attacks in modern history. In March of 1988, thousands of people were either killed or injured in Halabja. Iraq planes dropped a variety of chemical bombs down onto the town after it was taken over by the Iranian army and the Kurdish. Despite this, they were still supported by major powers. The second picture is a timeline of just 3 short years of the rapid acceleration of the use of chemical warfare. As conflicts in Europe started to increase, the French used tear gas and Germans retaliated by developing their own chemical weapons. Whereas the casualties started out small, 0 according to the graph, retaliation by the use of much harsher chemicals raised the death toll significantly.
    Growing concerns about chemical warfare has resulted in a number of countries and nations agreeing to a settlement. To discontinue use, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons, an outcome of the Geneva Protocol. Nonetheless, chemical weapons are still in use today which may be due to lack of attention or even a blatant disregard of the protocol. The United States, in particular, seem to find their way out of the restrictions just fine.

  7. In the late 19th century, the battlefield was drastically changed as industrial warfare became the standard in military tactics. A main component of industrial war is the use of mass-killing machines such as tanks and the use of weapons of mass destruction which contains chemical, biological, and nuclear warfare. The earliest account of chemical warfare occurred in the 1850’s during the Crimean War when the use of chlorine gas was first attempted. Gas warfare would not be produced and used on a mass scale until World War I. The top right image explains the history and effects that chemical warfare had on World War I. The types of gasses used during the war began with tear gas, then chlorine gas, followed by phosgene gas and diphosgene liquid, eventually leading to the infamous mustard gas. The effects of gas warfare on humans caused, throat/eye irritation, respiratory problems, blindness, chemical burns, and fatality. These effects can be seen in the right-center image, showing wounded British soldiers with symptoms of blindness. The use of gas warfare resulted in 1,240,000 non-fatal casualties and 91,000 fatalities in World War I which prompted the prohibition of gas warfare in 1925 at the Geneva Protocol which was part of the Hague Conventions. These conventions were designed to control the use of new technology as weapons and govern the rules of war. Although gas warfare was prohibited by international law, this did not stop Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi military from using chlorine gas against Iranian soldiers in the Iran-Iraq War. The top left image illustrates the multiple chemical attacks that were conducted between 1980 and 1988. These events led to the 1925 Geneva Protocol to be amended again in 1993 to include chemical weaponry.
    Chemical warfare is not only exclusive to gas warfare but also encompasses the use of napalm and herbicides such as Agent Orange. Napalm is a flammable liquid that can stick to skin and cause severe burns. The U.S. military used napalm extensively during the Vietnam War as an anti-personnel weapon which resulted in many Vietnamese casualties including civilians. The two bottom images can be analyzed as a pair to create a cause and effect scenario. The bottom right image shows the use of napalm through bombing enemy controlled areas. This image represents the cause to the lower left image which shows civilians, more specifically a father and child, that were severely wounded by a napalm assault. The image illustrates the effects of napalm on the human body, resulting in burns and skin peeling off. Another chemical weapon used during the Vietnam War was Agent Orange, an herbicide used during Operation Ranch Hand to destroy cover and food used by the guerrilla fighters. Approximately 20,000,000 gallons were dropped over Vietnam, eastern Laos, and Cambodia. The problem that stemmed from the use of these herbicides were the eventual human side effects, either directly affecting the person exposed or indirectly affecting children who would be born later with disabilities.

  8. The use of chemical weapons is an atrocious and almost barbaric style of warfare. Chemical weapons have been used since ancient times in form of poisoned arrow tips by nomadic tribes as far as sulfur based gases in the fifth century BC during the Peloponnesian War. These weapons, however, did not become used on a greater scale until World War 1, due to massive industrialization. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 was the first document explicitly prohibiting gas warfare. By the end of the war, despite the Hague mandate, approximately 124,000 tons of chemical weapons had been manufactured (www.opcw.org). France was among the first countries to utilize chemicals in the shape of tear gas. Shortly after WW1, the Geneva Protocol was signed in 1925, which prohibited both chemical and biological weapons in international conflicts. Chemical weapons would still be used in several conflicts such as The Vietnam War, The Iraq-Iran War, and the Syrian Civil War.

    The image titled “Chemical Warfare World War 1” shows the progression of chemical weapons along with the statistics of casualties associated with each. Tear gas had zero casualties but it served as a catalyst into this method of warfare. Soon weapons utilizing chlorine, Phosgene gas, diphosgene liquid, and mustard gas were manufactured. The number of casualties grew exponentially. This would lead to great amounts of soldiers being killed on a larger scale than ever in history as well as mass genocide.

    The image on the top left is another instance of the use of chemical weapons during the Iraq-Iran War. The war spanning 8 years, documented over 40 instances of chemical weapons being deployed solely by the Iraqi military. Saddam Hussein (with the assistance of countries such as the US, UK, and France) developed and used mustard and nerve gas to eliminate thousands of Iranian soldiers and citizens, not to mention the thousands wounded and in dire need of medical attention.

    The next few images all demonstrate the devastation and cruelty of chemical warfare. The image on the center-right shows soldiers affected by chemical weapons, presumably tear gas. This is evident due to the bandages across their faces. The soldiers all hold on to each other in effort to stay standing, as well as to have a sense of direction due to their limited and even lost eyesight.
    The image on the bottom-right is a great visual to conceptualize the scope, or the magnitude of these weapons. These weapons left many dead and severely wounded withing seconds. This image is from the Vietnam War and is using some chemical bomb, perhaps napalm. The image on the bottom-left shows a Vietnamese child with severe burns across its body as a man holds the child. This goes to show the soldiers were not the only ones to pay the price. Men, women, and children all alike suffer together. Despite the restrictions imposed by the Hague and Geneva Protocol, various counties, not excluding the US, still use the horrid weapons in times of international conflict.

  9. Scientists have been able to document the earliest known use of poison gas in warfare back to China roughly around 1000 BC. They apparently burned natural products and were able to use the resulting blistering smoke in crude flamethrowers. Later societies such as the Persians and the Greeks burned sulfur with bitumen tar and used trebuchets to launch sulfur dioxide into enemy cities. The desire to slaughter one’s enemies in as large numbers as possible is apparently as old as humanity itself, only being absolutely perfected in the twentieth century with the ability to destroy all of humanity and every other living thing.
    The Hague Convention of 1899 was the first instance of outlawing the use of poisonous gas in warfare. Rather than stop the its use, this appears to have caused all the major world players at the time (France, Germany, the UK, the US, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Italy) to stockpile chemical agents which they then used in WWI. Despite a second Hague Convention prohibiting their use in 1907, chemical weapons had been invented and it was inevitable then, that they would be used.
    While the leaders of the governments knew that they were stockpiling chemical weapons (and generally having a thing means using it) the young men from cities and small towns around the world who were pressed into service had no idea such things existed. At least at first. For this reason chemical weapons, although they killed fewer soldiers in WWI than other means, inflicted a much greater psychological toll. Chlorine gas was first used successfully at the second battle of Ypres in western Belgium in WWI in 1915. Soldiers did not understand what was coming when they saw the green fog approach. Hundreds died instantly and others a slow, excruciating, drowning death over the next hours.
    In another battle in the same city later that year the Germans used phosgene and disphosgene gases, both far more insidious and even more deadly gases. Two years later, again at Ypres, German troops unleashed mustard gas. While this gas didn’t kill as immediately it was an equally horrific deterrent. Troops fighting the Germans had begun using gas masks and chlorine and phosgene had lost some of their effectiveness. Mustard gas, on the other hand, burned the eyes and the skin. The soldiers in the center on the right of the collage were from the Battle of Estaires, south of Ypres in 1918. They were permanently blinded by mustard gas.2 They probably suffered other burns as well.
    Napalm is an example of a more recent use of chemical agents. This godawful petroleum based gel sticks to skin and can cause horrific burns through the skin down to the bone. It burns so hot that people in the area (not necessarily hit with the napalm) can die from asphyxiation when the oxygen is sucked from the air.3 Four hundred thousand tons of bombs of this deplorable chemical was used by the US in the Vietnam war. The child in the lower left picture has probably been burned by napalm at a distance. He probably did not live. The soldiers in the lower right picture are watching napalm being dropped on a community.
    Agent Orange is another unspeakable chemical devised by the US and deployed on the Vietnamese. Several generations later people are still suffering gruesome birth defects as a result. It is a defoliant meant to denude and lay bare the rain forest jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
    The dioxin in Agent Orange remains in the fields for decades. The birth defects which result in offspring of those exposed continue through generations. It bioaccumulates up the food chain. Insects encounter it, chickens eat the insects, people eat the chickens. Likewise cattle and grasses, hogs and the components of their diet. It bioaccumulates in breast milk. It causes not only birth defects, but cancers, thyroid problems, spina bifida, mental retardation, reproductive problems for both men and women, diabetes in offspring, and so many other deformities and diseases it would be impossible to name them all.
    Although citizens are repeatedly outraged by the devastation of chemical agents when they are used, they continue to be produced and used. The upper right image is even more recent than Vietnam, the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. “In 1991, a declassified CIA report estimated that Iran suffered more than 50,000 casualties from Iraq’s repeated use of nerve agents and toxic gases in the 1980s. Iranian doctors say the final toll of Iraq’s chemical weapons could ultimately rival the 90,000 who died from toxic gases in World War I.”4 This is due to a latency period of more as much as 40 years during which today’s mustard gas can continue to slowly kill with even low dose exposure. Saddam Hussein, a friend of the US at the time, and with the awareness of the CIA5, also used nerve agents against Iran such as sarin and tabun, two of the most toxic substances known to humankind. Thousands died.
    And although we later condemned Hussein, chemical weapons continue to be made and used, as they were in Damascus, Syria in 2013 where nearly 2,000 civilians died instantly. Chemical weapons continue to be used in Syria even though they supposedly had to turn over all their chemical weapons to be destroyed. Daesh is also being called out for using chemical weapons.
    There have been Conventions, Protocols, bans and prohibitions. All parties sign and agree. And then the world tsk-tsks with fascinated revulsion each time a new attack occurs. Yet occur they will as long as the chemical industry continues to make money. The only question left is, where next?

    1) https://antiquitynow.org/2013/11/14/chemical-warfare-in-the-ancient-world/
    2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2376985/
    3) http://mrhagan447.blogspot.com/2016/03/station-1-napalm-and-agent-orange.html
    4) http://world.time.com/2014/01/20/iran-still-haunted-and-influenced-by-chemical-weapons-attacks/
    5) http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/26/exclusive-cia-files-prove-america-helped-saddam-as-he-gassed-iran/

  10. The set of five images in this collage display the horrifying nature of chemical warfare and its use. In World War 1, following major advancements in chemistry and the mass-production of chemicals brought on by the industrial revolution, all advantages were taken to use poison gas and irritants to weaken opposition. The French were the first to open this can of worms by using tear gas but they were certainly not the only combatant responsible. Over the course of the war, multiple forms of tear gas, chlorine, phosgene & diphosgene, and mustard gas were used to blind and injure enemies. Around 1.3 casualties from World War 1 were directly associated with the use of chemical warfare including the soldiers in the middle-right image who are marching in a connected line with bandages around their eyes after the Battle of Estaires. The British soldiers in the image were blinded by tear gas employed by the German offensive. Even after the horrors of chemical warfare were brought front and center by the Great War, the advancement of chemical warfare never yielded; it only took new forms. Two of the most infamous and regrettable examples of chemical warfare was the widespread use of napalm and Agent Orange by U.S. forces during the conflict in Vietnam. Napalm is essentially gasoline developed with a gelling element so it sticks while Agent Orange is a means of herbicidal warfare which devours agriculture. Napalm and Agent Orange rained over Vietnam during the war and left physical and emotional scars on the people that have not healed since. In the image of the man and the child, you can see the impact not just in the physical burns but also in the devastation in their eyes. In the final image, we see a map which displays the use of chemical weapons by Iraqi forces on the front lines of the conflict between Iraq and Iran from 1980 to 1988. Iraq, in direct violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, used massive amounts of mustard gas dropped in bombs to weaken the large but untrained Iranian forces. The chemicals took a devastating toll on the Iranian population and were largely constructed from American products sold to the Iraqis. While all modern uses of chemical warfare are heavily condemned and unsupported, they still continue to take place. The institution of international law can only go so far as the most powerful countries are willing to support it; which is often unsatisfying. While chemical warfare can be reduced and restrained, modern warfare will always evolve weapons that leave their opposition devastated. But when it becomes citizens that are endangered by these developments, we can only hope that the powerful uphold international standards and law.

  11. These images portray a reality which is hard to grasp. The two most striking images are the pictures of the child in the bottom left and the photo in the middle right. I think these two photos stick out to me because of the impact of putting a face to a faceless tactic. The use of chemical warfare has allowed us to detach ourselves from the horrors of war. Chemical warfare first surfaced during the Crimean War in 1856, and WWI was considered the dawn of modern chemical warfare. As the war progressed, the world realized the devastating effects of this type of warfare. The effect of these weapons increased the wartime death count from thousands to tens of thousands, and at the end of WWI, this effect was fully realized. The result was the first Hague Convention being held by the International Criminal Court in an attempt to control the use of new technology as weapons, including nuclear, biological, and chemical, and to govern the rules of war. WWI produced a much higher number of casualties due to chemical warfare, most of which were a product of phosgene and diphosgene. According to the top right photo, these chemicals react with proteins in lung alveoli, causing suffocation. These chemicals were one of many gases used in the war, such as tear gases, chlorine (responsible for over 1100 deaths), and mustard gas. These inhumane effects were deemed by the ICC as intolerable. However, most of the world superpowers have violated the Hague protocol and it is only implemented if there is a vested interest for the ICC. For instance, during the Iraq/Iran war of 1980-1988, Iraq heavily attacked Iran with chemical weapons. The western powers supported Iraq in this war, and only withdrew their support a few years after it was confirmed that Sadam Houssein was using the gases against the Kurdish people in his own country due to the fractions in the countries.
    These photos reveal how deeply dehumanizing chemical warfare is, and the ethics of this type of aggression is questionable. Should warfare which does not require man-to-man combat exist? As technology increases, our ability to create weapons of mass destruction increases. With the maturation of warfare technology comes the progression of self-protective measures, but at a certain point, our ability to maintain these modes of protection might not keep up. Considering the current condition of world-wide aggression, protective measures are not on par with militant aggression. These weapons are becoming increasingly advanced, and the question of morality can seem irrelevant during wartime. It seems that faceless aggression allows us to dehumanize our targets, and could contribute to a deep darkness in the way we approach the protection of nations. However, there is a sense of a balance of power, due to how many countries are actually housing nuclear capacities. This seems to mirror the Domino Theory, but instead applies to weapons of mass destruction. If one country sets of their nuclear bombs, how many countries will follow suit? If chemical and nuclear warfare is implemented, the outcome seems bleak.

  12. The images presented are results of chemical and area weapons, now considered unethical and illegal in state-on-state warfare. But how can a tool meant to cause death be labelled “ethical” or not? The best (if uncomfortable) way to answer that is to consider “if I was to be killed or severely injured, what ways would I least like it to happen?”

    The idea of unethical weaponry in warfare is a relatively new one. Until legislation at the turn of the nineteenth century by the Hague and Geneva conventions, killing was killing. A weapon was something to eliminate opposition with, the manner of how they died or stopped opposing was of little importance. The Huns for instance launched diseased corpses over the walls of cities they put under siege to hurry their conquests, European feudal fortresses would pour boiling vats of oil on footmen attempting to scale walls or batter gates; it was a “me or you” mindset. This was largely due to the lack of other effective options. If uprising of peasants sought to overthrow a king with cavalry and trained footmen, they may elect to send volleys of arrows down because it may be their only chance at victory regardless of how fair or ethical it may be. Besides, they know that those horses are coming to trample you to death, so where is the incentive to hold back based on morals? Therein lies the heart of the reason for treaties banning certain ethical weapons; you agree not to use certain weapons on your enemy on the condition that they will not use them against you! However if your opponent does not have access to the same technology you do, the technical incentive may again be gone. The United States has a vast array of weapons and tactics available to solve conflicts that allows them to take less lethal paths that adequately accomplish the desired end, yet even a global superpower’s actions are not always kosher. The bottom right image appears to show a carpet bombing of Vietnamese jungle. In the Vietnam war the United States employed all sorts of unethical weapons to make up for the disadvantage of fighting the Vietcong in their own territory. Napalm was used to burn massive areas of both jungle and villages to eliminate all population and structures, combatant and civilian. Carpet bombing was also used in excess to level large areas blindly to eliminate targets. The bottom left image shows a child burned in a strike of those circumstances, where he is merely collateral damage in the eyes of fighting forces.

    The upper left image charts illegal chemical weapon use by Sadaam’s forces on the outnumbering Iranian forces. Iran has four times the population of Iraq and had unified ideology that united their cause, making them a difficult enemy. Not losing the war was more important to Sadaam than being ethical, so he attacked massive areas (that affected many civilians on both sides) with chemical weapons that had been outlawed since the end of the first World War in the name of efficacy. Many in the United States are under the impression that in any armed conflict fighting terrorists any weapon should be used that can disable as many people desiring to kill Americans as possible, but a look at the middle right image ought to change that opinion. No person deserves to be blinded by chemicals, regardless of their intentions.

  13. The image containing details describing the Iran-Iraq war is a clearly example of Iraq’s desire to socially and economically disrupt Iran through the use of chemical attacks. It is important to go back and take a look at the root cause of the war. It all began in 1953 with the operation AJAX thrown by the United States CIA.

    The operation consisted mainly in overthrowing the Government of Iran ruled by Mossadegh and establish their power (US and Britaian) through the mandate of Shah Reza Pahlavi. This lasted until the 1979 revolution where Iranians voted 98% in pro of the Islamic Republic. This revolution caused a lot of unrest in the main Iranians cities, political unrest, widespread use of detention, etc. Also, it created US/Iranian hostility for a long term. The US is mad at Iran and it brings another player into the battlefield—Iraq.

    With the idea of trying of disrupting Iran to gain control over its oil resources and access to the gulf, the United States with the help of other external supporters such as the Soviet Union and China, began to attack Iran involving Iraq in the conflict. The Iraq aggression towards Iran began in 1980.
    More than 100, 000 Iranians were killed. Even though Iraq has external support, Iran has a bigger and more united population that helped offset the rage the US and other international supporters had against Iran at that time. There is evidence that external supporters provided Iraq with weapons of mass destruction and that they used them against Iranians.

    The process of industrialization made a very significant contribution to the production of weapons of mass destruction and chemical warfare.
    As we can see in the images there were more than a million casualties because of the use of chemical weapons since World War I.
    The International community starts to see photos as the ones displayed in the Blog, where many soldiers and civilians like the children and who seems to be his father are drastically affected.

    The International community rose to protest against the atrocities that were being committed against people who had nothing to do with the conflict—i.e. civilian populations.
    According to humanitarian group leaders the use of chemical warfare was not able to distinguish between people involved in the conflict and the civilians that had nothing to do with it.

    They also argued that the result in which soldiers were left in were not the most humane. As a result of these images the international community gathered to create laws that prohibited the use of chemical weapons. For this purpose, the Geneva Protocol was signed. The Geneva Protocol signed in 1925 prohibited the use of chemical weapons during warfare.

    Another law that was passed internationally was the Hague Conventions that dictates what are the things allowed to do in war, the kind of weaponry and the limits of technology that can be used in war such as chemical gasses and nuclear weapons. Even though all of these international laws were created there are still big players that can get away with breaking them, because they know no one will mess with them.

  14. Andrew Dunivan
    Political Geography
    Blog Post #2

    Ever since the industrialization of warfare, humanity has dedicated countless hours of research into the development of new and improved killing technologies. Among an array of countless new weapons technologies is chemicals. Chemical warfare was dramatically expanded and researched during the First World War, and has continued to be used ever since. The theme of this selection of photos is definitely the use of these new chemical weapons and the terrible effect they can have on their victims.
    Starting chronologically in the top right we can see descriptions and chemical diagrams of the different gases used in World War I. Poison gas technology was quickly developed and heavily produced during that war – it was very useful for fighting trench warfare. Underneath the image of the diagrams we can see those chemicals’ effects on the soldiers in those trenches. This famous image of the line of blinded soldiers holding onto each other always hits home, showing how even the nonlethal gas weapons had terrible and long-lasting effects on its victims. The 1925 Hague Conventions after the war outlawed the use of gas weapons during warfare.
    The image on the bottom right shows another chemical weapon that saw especially heavy use by American forces during the Vietnam War – napalm. Napalm is a super-flammable compound that sticks to almost anything. It was used to such a heavy degree that it even makes appearances in pop culture, like Colonel Kilgore’s famous line “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” in Apocalypse Now, or the fictional Wildfire used in the Song of Ice and Fire series. The effects napalm had on enemy combatants and civilians, who often were caught in napalm blasts, were just as horrible as the blinding and suffocating gases used in World War I. In the image on the bottom left we can see a child who looks like he could have been badly burned by napalm – his flesh seems to be peeling off in places. Vietnam also saw the use of some biological warfare, which was outlawed in the Hague Convention of 1972. Chemical weaponry in general was finally prohibited by the Hague Convention in 1993.
    The map in the top left shows the prolific use of chemical weapons by Iraq during their war against Iran in the 1980’s. Supplied by the United States, Iraq was able to use a large amount of sophisticated chemical weapons to fight against large numbers of Iranian troops. In class we discussed how more than one hundred thousand Iranian soldiers were killed by poison gas and other chemical weapon attacks. These chemical weapons were also used against Iraq’s own citizens, particularly the Kurds to the north.
    Chemical warfare has seen heavy usage throughout our modern history and is still used today, but it is prohibited by international law and will hopefully never again be used on the scale it was during those wars.

  15. Chemical warfare is the “C” in NBC which stands for nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare. this tactic dates back to ancient times with poison arrowheads and the burning of toxic vegetables such as mustard seed, but the first large scale use of chemical warfare was documented in WWI. Germans used chlorine gas against the French in the battle of Ypres in 1915, most of the casualties died after the fact from respiratory infection and other health problems due to the chemicals. Most casualties in chemical warfare die this way, this is seen dramatically in the Iraq-Iran War. In 1980 Iraq launched an invasion against Iran, and Iraq started using homemade organic chemical weapons such as mustard and tabun, which were the primary agents used and were normally dropped by airplanes. the effects of these chemicals are devastating as shown in the image above. Irritation and burning of the eyes that leads to blindness, respiratory sinus pain and bleeding, and burning and blistering of the skin. The U.N finally made a public statement after Iran kept sending their wounded to U.N nations, that Iraq was the only one using Chemicals during the War. The U.S was involved and backed Sadaam Hussan, even providing him these weapons but is not talked about for reputation purposes. The largest chemical attack in the Iraq/Iran war was the Halabja chemical attack on March 16, 1988. It was a five hour attack against the Kurdish city of Halabja and was strictly an Iraqi airstrike. Helicopters conducted around 14 bombings with around 8 different helicopters, the attack killed around 3,200 – 5,000 people and injured around 10,000. The citizens of this city are still recovering from this attack and some of the citizens are left with permanent disfigurement and other health problems. The Halabja attack was considered an act of genocide by the Iraqi High Criminal Court and was condemned as a crime against humanity. The use of these weapons by the Iraqi military were carried on to the Gulf War and the invasion of Kuwait. The effects of these attacks are still relevant even in U.S troops and could be placed in one of the causes of GWS or Gulf War Syndrome. This is not the only time U.S troops have been effected by chemical warfare, The use of Agent Orange also had its effects. This was a poisonous herbicide used by the U.S to eliminate and decimate Vietnamese farmlands during the Vietnam war. Studies have shown that veterans have increased rates of cancer, and nerve, digestive, skin, and respiratory disorders. According to the Vietnamese government of the four million effected by Agent Orange, as many as three million have suffered illnesses from it as well as birth defects of their children. Even though the Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases, and of bacteriological methods of warfare and states that these methods are acts against humanity, they have continued to this day. In the future hopefully chemical warfare will be extinct and considered barbaric tactics to all.

  16. If you were to ask people about the scariest human invention, most would likely to point the creation of nuclear weapons. The rest would probably point to the things demonstrated in the images above, chemical weapons, which along with biological weapons compose the “other” weapons of mass destruction. In fact, the international community recognized this danger by ratifying the Geneva Protocol in 1925, an addition to the Hague Conventions restricting the use of chemical and biological agents in warfare. This was largely prompted by their prevalent use in WW1, primarily chlorine gas, and tear gases, the first widespread chemical weapons, and development of weapons like mustard gas soon after. The picture on the upper right and middle right illustrate their impact on WWI. Tear gases were rarely fatal, but nonetheless blinded those exposed (usually temporarily) as shown in the image middle right, of British troops after the Battle of Estaires. This image is an eerie display of the effects of even the least dangerous chemical weapons. The top right image gives succinct summaries for the chemical weapons used in WW1. I was not even very aware of what accounted for 85% of chemical weapons deaths in WW1, the phosgene gases, which were used in artillery shells.

    Even more interesting to me are the bottom images, which appear to be a large napalm explosion, and apparent victim of napalm. Napalm or “sticky fire” is a fuel combined with a gelling agent, so that it can then be dropped or spread and not be able to be put out. It adheres and sticks to flesh and stone alike. Unlike the previously discussed chemical and biological weapons, napalm’s use is not prohibited unless used against non-military targets. Napalm was particularly important and widespread in the Vietnam War, and the reason for its uses tie in with the reason for the use of another controversial agent of warfare, Agent Orange. Both napalm and Agent Orange were specifically well suited for the jungles of Vietnam because both were designed to clear vegetation. While Agent Orange was designed as an herbicide, it ended up being one of the most disastrous and long lasting uses of chemical warfare, causing severe disability to both sides of the war. Birth defects and increased risk of cancer have remained long after the US pulled out of Vietnam, leaving a distinct footprint in the region. Now the reason these images resonate so much with me compared to the previous ones is the mindset behind their use. Chemical weapons have been banned for so long, their horrors are known to all in the military, but suddenly a new challenge arises in a jungle setting and we race to use any advantage, humane (if you can call any aspect of war humane) or not.

    The final image on the top right shows an even more recent application of chemical weapons. In an effort to help their fight against the much more numerous Iranians, Iraq resorted to the use of chemical weapons. These chemical weapons, or at least the material used to make them, were once again tied to the US. But hey, at least we weren’t the only ones morally bankrupt enough to use them on our enemies. A low estimate for the casualties is around 50,000 from chemical weapons use in the Iran-Iraq war.

  17. This collection of images revolves around the use of chemical weapons in warfare. Chemical weapons refer “to any toxic chemical or its precursor that can cause death, injury, temporary incapacitation or sensory irritation through its chemical action” (OPCW, “About”). Chemical weapons are broadly classified as “choking, blister, blood, or nerve agents” based on the effect of the chemical (OPCW, “About”). The top right picture references some of the chemicals used during WWI—tear gases, chlorine, phosgene and diphosgene, mustard gas—a war in which “modern chemical warfare had its genesis” (OPCW, “History”). With the deployment of “124,000 tonnes of chemical agent,” WWI’s chemical warfare marked over a million casualties—some injured temporarily, many permanently, and over 90,000 fatally (OPCW, “History”). Those injured by tear gas, a nerve agent, include the soldiers seen in the center right picture, blinded during the 1918 Battle of the Lys.

    This list of chemical weapons, however, is by no means exhaustive; nor does WWI mark the first or last use of such weapons in warfare, with primitive predecessors like “poisoned arrows, boiling tar, arsenic smoke and noxious fumes” in use centuries before the industrial revolution (OPCW, “History”). Indeed, attempts to control chemical weapon usage extend back far before the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, or even the 1925 Geneva Protocol. In 1675, France and Germany were already attempting to stamp out poison bullet usage—well over two centuries before WWI. Chemical weapons, then, have not only been available in conflicts over the past few centuries, but also a topic of contention, attempted control, and an acknowledged source of “unnecessary suffering” (OMWC, “Development”).

    The have also nonetheless been used, in conflicts stretching past their modern introduction and the resultant outcry in WWI. The bottom two pictures show the effects of chemical agents used during the Vietnam War, where Agent Orange and napalm were employed. Agent Orange, a herbicide containing dioxin, was sprayed extensively. The results were both immediate—nearly half a million killed or injured—and delayed—over 2 million affected by birth defects and diseases occurring later as a result of exposure (“Agent Orange”). Napalm, seen exploded after an air strike in the bottom right picture, was particularly devastating as it coated what it touched with a slow-burning, flammable liquid—including people. The little girl in the bottom left photo is one such victim. Chemical attacks involving nerve gases such as mustard gas and tabun were also employed by Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq war, as seen on the map in the upper left, resulting in over 50,000 casualties.

    Importantly, several of the chemical weapons involved in the Vietnam and Iran-Iraq wars were developed after WWI—Agent Orange, napalm, tabun. Use of these weapons, then, wasn’t simply the use of old chemical weapons in violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol; they were the use of new chemical weapons, developed after it—perhaps violating, perhaps eschewing. Regardless, chemical warfare seems still stuck in a centuries-old cycle of deployment, regulation, and development. This cycle is made all the more concerning as technologies advance and chemical weapons become more varied, more lethal, held in greater quantities, and capable of being wielded against larger populations.

    “Agent Orange” – http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/agent-orange
    OPCW, “About” – https://www.opcw.org/about-chemical-weapons/what-is-a-chemical-weapon/
    OPCW, “History” – “https://www.opcw.org/about-chemical-weapons/history-of-cw-use/
    OPCW, “Development” – https://www.opcw.org/chemical-weapons-convention/genesis-and-historical-development/

  18. Chemical warfare is arguably one of the most brutal uses of deadly weapons in modern warfare. The image to the top right, details World War One as “the dawn of modern chemical warfare”. WWI was the first time such chemical agents were used on a large scale, and with very deadly results. Chemical warfare was a defining characteristic of WW1 and weaponized chemicals would continue to be used and innovated for many more conflicts to come. This infographic details the casualties, fatal and non-fatal, of different chemical gases used in WW1. Beginning in 1914, the French started using tear gases, which had temporary and non-lethal effects.
    The second image, second down from the top on the right, shows soldier victims, possibly of tear gas. Since blindness is a side-effect of nearly all the chemical weapons used in WWI, it is possible this image was taken early on, perhaps in 1914 or 1915. In early 1915, gas masks were not widely distributed to soldiers, learning to combat chemical weapons was an uphill battle, full of fatal trial and error. Side effects of chemical weapons effected many soldiers for the rest of their lives. The battle field was more treacherous and the extensive care needed by victims required more medical supplies and personnel.
    As the war progressed, chemical agents became more deadly. Phosgene, which accounted for 85% of all gas related fatalities of WWI, caused suffocation when reacting with the alveoli in the victim’s lungs. Effects could be delayed up to two days, causing fluid in the lungs and then death. Perhaps the more miserable of effects came from Chlorine and Mustard gas. Even though mortality from these gases where low, their effects were devastating and required extensive care. Both caused irritation to the eyes and damage to the respiratory system. Mustard gas causes chemical burns on the skin, and in high concentration, Chlorine gas resulted in rapid death. Tens of thousands of soldiers died because of these chemical agents. New compounds and agents resulted in new ways for men to die; arguably more brutal and inhumanely than before and on a larger scale. Chemical agents were used by both sides, justified to disable the enemy more effectively and at a lower cost to the user. The battle ground was a market for deadly weapons, those able to exterminate effectively at a lower cost became more popular; like pesticides against human lives.
    The bottom right image, showing a colored photograph of soldiers in a warm climate running from a large explosion in the background, was probably taken during the Vietnam War. This long and brutal war saw the use of chemical agents on civilians and soldiers alike. As one of the worst proxy wars of the Cold War, the chemical agents used in the Vietnam War debilitated not only soldiers, but a large portion of the Vietnamese population and environment. The contamination that took place had not only caused immediate harm but also long term damage. Very few participants of this war went unscathed, even US soldiers experienced health issues from exposer while loading weapons onto airplanes. Many effects are still seen today, making the Vietnam War a prime example of the negative implications of chemical warfare, physically, environmentally, socially, and politically. Unfortunately, chemical agents only continued to be used in future conflicts, often backed by the US government.
    The image on the top left maps chemical attacks of the Iran-Iraq War. At war fueled by resource conflict over oil, the chemical weapons used by Iraqi leader, Sadaam Hussein, were instrumental in a war of attrition waged against Iran. Chemical weapons, which were supplied in large part by the US government, were not only used for the destruction of Iranian military personnel, but also the environment along the Iraq-Iran boarder, and later in the mass killing of Kurds. The implications of chemical warfare, during and after the Iraq-Iran war span an entire market being created for chemical weapon production. The construction of companies and factories to import and process raw materials producing highly toxic gases was supported by Germany and the previous supplies from the US government. These factories produced an array of toxic compounds, from tear gases to nerve gas, all of which were lethal (*1). Their effects being far more severe than those first used in WWI, the chemical weapons of the Iran-Iraq war are a testament to the advancement to chemical weapon technology in the 20th century.
    The last image, on the bottom left, is perhaps the most heartbreaking. An innocent child, suffering chemical burns, was likely the unintentional target of a chemical weapons attack. This image is a fitting summation to the warfare and chemical agents detailed in the other photographs. Unlike conventional weapons, chemical and biological weapons have an impact that is harder to predict and those that are often result in painfully brutal death of many people. Chemical weapons pose an effective, but inhumane style of warfare. Because their use causes so much suffering to not only the opposition, but many innocent people directly and indirectly, the ethics of their use should be called into extensive questioning.

    *1. Ibrahim Al Isa, Khalil, Dr. “Iraqi Scientist Reports on German, Other Help for Iraq Chemical Weapons Program.” Online posting. Al Zammad. Federation Of American Scientist, 3 Dec. 2003. Web.

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