One of the unintended consequences of major international crises is to suggest to those who are critical and independent minded that they turn their attention to those whose voices are loudest and to compare their words with their past and present practices. Yet, this still takes some effort of mind as there is surrounding any great power layer upon layer of obfuscation and amnesia.
Take, for example, the otherwise critical open letter by Harvard's Professor Stephen Walt to his congressman. In it, Walt noted that the United States has not historically been too concerned by Syria's chemical weapons stockpile and should not be overly concerned now. Here was an opportunity also to go further and add that the US supported the Saddam Hussein regime's use of chemical weapons - supplied by US corporations, licensed by the Department of Commerce - in the war on Iran in the 1980s, killing thousands of people. Further, it should have been pointed out that the USA has been the world's greatest producer and disseminator of toxic liquids, sprays, incendiary powders, and the deployer of such weapons in wars, from napalm in WWII and Korea and especially in Vietnam. Indeed, the legacy of of America's use of Agent Orange in Indochina continues to this day.
We could add to all this the American production and deployment of biological weapons - deliberate unleashing of diseases such as small pox, cholera and so on in the Korean War. And we have not even mentioned America's overwhelming nuclear arsenal - and the US remains the only power to have deployed those weapons and, thereafter, frequently threatened to use them again. Today, the B6-11 - an earth-penetrating bunker-buster - is a tactical nuclear weapon that can deliver from one-third to 3 times the power of the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
According to Carl Boggs, the US production and use of WMD has led to greater proliferation as weaker states seek to protect themselves from aggression. Instead, therefore, of decreasing WMD proliferation, America's aggressive attitude has unwittingly achieved the precise opposite.