The CWC will make Americans more secure. The treaty will increase the safety of our troops on the battlefield and our citizens at home by dramatically reducing the chances that either will be exposed to poison gas. Well before this treaty was completed, Congress directed the destruction of the vast majority of our stockpile. The CWC will require that other nations do the same under strict international supervision. And, by impeding the spread of chemical weapons, we reduce the possibility that U.S. forces will encounter poison gas in future conflicts. As Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Shalikashvili has testified, "Desert Storm proved that retaliation in kind is not required to deter the use of chemical weapons ... From a military perspective, the Chemical Weapons Convention is clearly in our national interest ... The non-proliferation aspect of the Convention will retard the spread of chemical weapons, and in so doing reduce the probability that U.S. forces may encounter chemical weapons in a regional conflict."
The CWC is a useful tool in the fight against terrorism. By eliminating existing stockpiles of chemical weapons and restricting the flow of chemicals that can be used to make poison gas, the CWC will make it more difficult and more costly for terrorists to acquire or use chemical weapons. The domestic laws required by the Convention will also enhance our authority to investigate and prosecute chemical weapons related activities, well before these weapons can be used. Furthermore, by tying the United States into a global verification network and strengthening our information sharing with the international community, this treaty can provide early warning information that is essential for combating terrorism. As Attorney General Reno and former Secretary of Defense Perry have stated, "In an era when terrorists can seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction, the Convention advances our broadest national security interests ... the Convention provides additional vital tools for preventing a terrorist attack."
The CWC will protect American business and jobs. The CWC has the strong support of the chemical industry. The actual impact on small business will be negligible. The industry provided advice to the United States government during the Reagan and Bush Administrations on the provisions affecting industry. But, should the United States fail to ratify the CWC, trade restrictions originally intended to put pressure on rogue states such as Libya would be imposed on U.S. chemical companies. The chemical industry has estimated that failure to ratify the CWC, could place at risk about $600 million a year in U.S. sales. As more than 50 CEOs of the major chemical companies recently stated, "The U.S. chemical industry has spent more than 15 years working on this agreement and we long ago decided that ratifying the CWC is the right thing to do."
The CWC will intensify pressure against rogue states. Without the CWC, rogue states such as Libya and North Korea would proceed, business as usual, in their efforts to acquire chemical weapons. The CWC goes further than any other arms control agreement to date in applying pressure to those outside. Nations who refuse to join the convention will find themselves unable to trade in many chemicals that can be used to make poison gas. This economic pressure will be buttressed by the same kind of political pressure which helped drive membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty from 43 states in 1970 to more than 180 states today. With the CWC, not only will we know more about what rogue states are doing, but it will be harder for them to do it, and it will cost them--even if they hold off on joining. As former Secretary of State Warren Christopher testified, "If we had this Convention two decades ago, we might have been able to prevent or at least severely hamper Iraq's chemical weapons activities."