Which is worse? Chemical and Biological weapons, or Nuclear ones?

In the “that premise deserved a better movie” thread, Sailboat commented about Highlander II’s main premise being interesting; ie, a story about a company saving the world from an environmental disaster, then misleading said world about the fact that their service is no longer necessary in order to keep in business.

This got me thinking about the Armored Core games for the various Sony Playstations. Specifically the first one. The following constitutes major spoilers, but the game’s like 8 years old, at least, so it’s past the statute of limitations, IMO. It had a branching story where you played as a mercenary who takes missions from various parties involved in a war between massive corporations in a world where national governments no longer hold any power. Specifically, mankind has been living in underground cities and sealed habitats for at least 2 generations, as a result of a massive nuclear war, and the city governments depend on the work of large multi-national corporations to keep trade alive and conduct surface-going expeditions to recover precious resources.

As you progress, which new missions are offered is based on which you’ve taken, and the game gradually pushes you to take a side, basically. Two companies, Chrome Industries and Murakumo Millenium, as well as their various affiliates, begin a war to drive the other out of business, competing to seize control of lost or abandoned facilities, technology, etc, as well as to try and sway public opinion and gov’t support against the other. Each uses terrorist groups (like Imminent Storm) to try and undermine the City Governments that favor the other, each of them tries to actively suppress public awareness of the fact that the surface world is no longer uninhabitable.

Chrome Industries hires you to perform terrorist attacks on other cities, has a subsidiary organization named Chemical Dyne Co. who develops dangerous, insect-like bio-organisms for weapons that get loose and threaten a city, and one missions requires you to enter a base and manually reactivate the ventilation after chemical weapons like nerve gasses and metal-dissolving acids were accidentally unleashed during an enemy attack. They’re also the ones behind Imminent Storm, a prominently featured anarchic terrorist group.

Murakumo Millenium gets involved in trying to grab a bunch of large-scale super weapons from the apocalyptic war, has to employ you to cover up the fact they performed illegal cybernetics experiments on unwilling mercenaries who have gone insane, and IIRC, are the ones who employ you to take out the Earth Environmental Recovery Committee after you help them secure a lost facility with the means for large-scale radiation purification.

So which side is worse? I usually favored MM, but that’s just because I hated the EERC’s missions and that level where you have to stop IS from destroying a Isaac City’s surface-to-tunnel ventilation and filtration systems (the source of a cities air).

PS. Whichever you picked, 3/4 of the way through the war ends, and the your character comes to the harsh realization that the winning side isn’t going to change a thing. Then they try to get rid of all the threats to their power, including the mercenary union you’re a part of (the Ravens). The best part is that all through the game there is a Top Ten Ravens list, and as you climb your way up you have to fight several of them. The twist though is that the final level involves killing the #1 Raven, Hustler One, when he sides with the winning Corp against all the other Ravens.

In real life , Bio weapons , followed by persistant nerve agents would be the worst. For all their destructive power, its simpler to clean up after a nuclear war, than a conflict thats used designer bio weapons, or indiscriminate use of chemical agents.


(Just a thought…might want to tighten up that OP a bit)

Personally, I’d say…chemical weapons. In the real world, nukes are not only expensive and hard to construct, but the special horror about them makes them most effective when not used, as a sheer deterant. (One might argue that they’re what kept an outright third world war from breaking during the 20th century—we might have come close to the brink, but we still didn’t pull the trigger.)

Bio weapons, also hard (but not nuclear-impossible) to properly create and stockpile, also have a terror value to them, again albeit not as strong as the world-ending variety of nukes. And, as far as I know, haven’t been used in combat since the second world war—and they might be of limited use on the battlefield, these days, since the use of a biological weapon isn’t a garunteed war-winner, and if used on the wrong opponent, might invite a nuclear retaliation.

Chemical weapons, however, are cheaper and easier to build and stockpile, and have less of a terror value or an apocalyptic potential than nukes or bio weapons…which means there is less disincentive to using them. And indeed, they have been used several times since the end of WWII, including at least two terrorist attacks, without causing a terribly major international incident.

So, in short, I guess I’m saying that chemical weapons are worse because they’re not as bad as nuclear or biological weapons. (Kinda in the same way AK-47s are worse than gigantic railway cannons.)

Based on long-term impact, Nuclear.

Based on acute impact, Chemical or Nuclear.

Based on potential size of population impacted by atack, short-term, Nuclear or Biological.

Biological is bad because it, depending on the “it” can persist, propogate and spread through a population.

Chemical has a local, acute affect, which is of short duration.

Nuclear, depending on the yield and deployment, has an intense, local (but potentially widespread, potentially long-term affect): “Dirty”, subcritical bombs use Uranium or Plutonium as a contaminent, spread violently about by conventional explosives. Basically, the bomb is all fallout. This affects the local population on a short and long term period, and effectively renders a region unusable.

When a nuclear weapon actually involves fission or fusion, you add in mnore intenst levels of destruction, over much wider areas, with more population affected.

Quotation from memory (i.e. probably slightly off): “Say what you will, radiation may last a few thousand years, but arsenic is forever.”

But the Future belongs to Nanotech Weapons.

I say the Future belongs to them, cause ain’t nobody nor nuthin’ gonna be left except them.

However, it is pointed out that this is extremely unlikely to happen.

Of course, it was also pointed out that Guided Missiles & Atomic Weapons were extremely unlikely, before we went & built 'em.