Warfare is a horrific manifestation of the struggle for commodities; it dehumanizes, destroys and kills both the victorious and the defeated. It makes sense that taxpayers are charged to protect their country, but these are some items that were designed to cause mass destruction and loss of human life. These are the most destructive technologies developed with taxpayer money.
1. The A-Bomb
It was inevitable that a weapon that took so many lives and scarred the earth would be at number 1. The first successful splitting of the atom took place in Germany in 1938 with government funding which then in turn prompted the U.S. government to develop their own version of the devastating weapon. The result will hopefully never be forgotten.
2. Agent Orange
Another widely destructive weapon, Agent Orange was developed and manufactured by the Monsanto and Dow Chemical Corporations under contract for the U.S. government. It was what is known as a defoliant agent, meaning it kills all plant life it comes into contact with. In clinical trials, it was shown to cause birth defects and the development of cancers and other deadly chronic diseases. Monsanto completely denies the correlation between its product and chronic illnesses on their website.
3. Mustard Gas
Mustard gas, also known as sulfur mustard, was used by the Germans both in WWI and WWII. This terrifying chemical agent actually has the ability to change the victim’s DNA and usually upon first contact shows no symptoms. It has the ability to penetrate clothing and affects the respiratory system on a genetic level, increasing the chance of cancer in people that survived the initial chemical burns. Fritz Haber a gifted chemist and Nobel Prize winner helped the German Government develop chlorine gas that upon first use killed 1000 soldier and injured another 4000 in the Battle of Ypres. He is also the man that developed Zyklon B, the gas that was used in gas chambers in the Nazi Concentration Camps of WWII. In twisted irony, being of Jewish decent his immediate family was killed by his own invention, after his death in 1934.
Alfred Nobel is more widely known for the Award in his name for contributors to the betterment of humanity. The reason for this is that he wanted to hide the fact that as a chemist he dedicated his life to developing and selling explosives, his most famous invention being Dynamite. Although he intended that his invention be used for mining and engineering, it was also used in warfare, eventually gaining him the moniker ‘The Merchant of Death’. He further developed precursors to modern day smokeless gunpowders and malleable (plastic) explosives.
5. Land mines
This is a weapon that is a threat to anyone, in opposition to ‘smart’ war technologies this is probably the dumbest in history. You take an explosive with a shrapnel creating case, bury it and wait for someone to step on it. They are cheap and very destructive; an anti-personal mine costs $3, but the clearing of one can cost up to $2000. Landmines kill roughly 15.000- 20.000 people a year, most of them being children. There are so many mines in the world that even if countries stopped producing them and started demining, the world wouldn’t be mine free until 3100. The most devastating ones fly up into the air and go off at chest level for maximum shrapnel disbursement. Some have even been disguised as toys as a tool for psychological warfare. The original directional mine (also known as a Claymore) was created by the Canadian Government with the codename Phoenix.
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Hopefully at some point humanity will evolve enough to stop using mental and financial resources to kill on another. That time is unfortunately far away, but we can still have hope, I guess.