Ethical Issues in Nuclear and Biochemical Weapons

The adverse effects of the World War (s) and the Cold War may be slowly fading. However, occasional terrorist attacks often remind many of how fatal unconventional war machines and technologies can be. The use of biochemical weapons and nuclear bombs is not anyway new. In fact, disease-causing elements and their use in attacking others can be traced back from the 6th Century B.C. Post-Cold War era may have softened governments, and many treaties have been formed since then. Nonetheless, the attack on Tokyo Subway and the Nine Eleven attacks on the World Trade Center remind that warfare is always looming, and hence threat of nuclear and biotechnical weapons, which are often classified as weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Understanding WMDs

When the US Senator, Tom Daschle, received an envelope laced inside with an anthrax virus, awareness about biochemical warfare designs increased among all nations. By definition, these are disease-causing microorganisms used intentionally against humans, plants, and animals. They are capable of self-replication and may cause irreparable harm in places where they are used. On the other hand, nuclear weapons have a rather popular reputation since many countries have been investing in such weaponry. The two when combined or used individually have the potential to exterminate life on Earth.

Ethical aspect

All nations accept that the use of nuclear and biochemical weapons is morally wrong and very unethical. However, the use of these weapons still lingers primarily because of their dual purposes, as they are used for both peace and war. Most arguments supporting biochemical use manifest in technologies used in genetic modification for more resistance to the changing climatic conditions, treatment of emerging diseases, and increasing tolerance to certain exposures. However, involved nations should come to the resolution of introducing a code of conduct for all scientists researching and dealing with any potentially dangerous biochemical pathogen.


The capacity of nuclear and biochemical weapons to annihilate an entire population makes them ethically unacceptable. On the other hand, their use for the betterment of humanity, governed by a code of conduct, promises a much controlled and purposeful approach. Nonetheless, the emphasis remains whether these weapons are morally acceptable and whether their use in attacks against one another can be totally erased. It is believed that proper education of young scientists is the best chance of eliminating the use of WMDs.

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