By Simon Dunstan
Publication by means of Dunstan, Simon
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5 The shift in opinion was in part the result of pitched battles in the Pacific islands, which had caused horrendous US casualties. As plans were being drawn to invade the Japanese home islands, General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell and General George C. Marshall suggested the use of gas. While President Harry Truman had yet to formalize policy on the subject, other influential decision makers within the military, notably Admiral William D. Leahy, thought it appalling that chemical weapons were being considered at all.
Because of some technical difficulties and environmental concerns, whether or not these chemical stores will be completely destroyed by 2004 is still uncertain, but destruction is proceeding. Although research in offensive CW has been discontinued in the United States, particularly since the Gulf War (1991), the US military has steadily increased spending in the field of chemical defense. The vast majority of developmental funds and energies goes to helping protect and sustain the American soldier, with much of the research and development being conducted at the US Army Research Institute for Chemical Defense.
Mter the Armistice in 1918, the principal combatants were shattered and exhausted; they seemed to have litde use for chemical weaponry. Very broadly speaking, they agreed that "gas warfare" should never again have a place on the batdefield, and even as they began to rebuild their stocks of armaments over the next ten years, they focused on conventional armaments and new tools like airplanes and submarines-but not gas. In fact, for most of the half-century after World War I, the trend in military planning (with a few notable exceptions) was to move away from chemical warfare.