In This Review

Chemical Warfare
Chemical Warfare
By Edward M. Spiers
University of Illinois Press, 1986, 277 pp

The reported use of chemical weapons in the war between Iraq and Iran serves as a reminder that this dimension of conflict should never be forgotten. This is a comprehensive and balanced book by a British defense specialist with scientific expertise. After reviewing the history of chemical warfare in this century, the author examines Soviet and NATO capabilities, finding that the Soviets are better equipped for such a conflict. Spiers makes some interesting observations as to why nuclear weapons can no longer be considered an adequate deterrent to chemical arms in the age of atomic parity, and is especially critical of the West European unwillingness to face up to this. He argues in favor of a reliable capacity to retaliate in kind and favors new binary munitions, but does justice to all sides in the debate.