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Is it ethical for the civilized nations of the world to research weapons of mass destruction [chemical and biological] for the purposes of warfare? Both Russia and America have stockpiles of small pox a deadly virus that could do considerable damage to humanity. Is it ethical to keep said stockpiles as a precaution, as a counter measure to terrorists and warlike nations? Is it ethical to keep up a chemical and biological arms race through research and weapons development? I find myself wondering how we can fight a war with weapons like Ebola and smallpox. Do you have to become your enemy to defeat them? How far should we go to preserve the West? Are some things not worth the loss of moral standing? Do those that serve and protect our nation states really have to go that far and is it worth it? My concern likely echoes the dilemmas faced by many during World War Two and the question as to whether using nuclear weapons was worth the loss of humanity; either the lives lost or the abstract ideal of...

From an ethical standpoint, the research and development of weapons of mass destruction is justifiable only by appeal to the deterrent effect possession of such weapons has. When a country has weapons of mass destruction, others are deterred from using force against that county. There is a significant catch, though: in order to attain the desired deterrent effect, other countries have to believe that the country who possesses the weapons will, in fact, use them if provoked. And this is where the logic of deterrence gets sketchy: ethical considerations of the efficacy of deterrence support the having of weapons, yet in order to serve as deterrents, a country has to be prepared to use them. Those very same ethical considerations, however, may not support the actual use of weapons of mass destruction. These considerations do not directly respond to one of your central concerns, which is whether or not the use of weapons of mass destruction is justifiable. Yet I do hope to have raised some...