And despite the hysteria as a dreaded “WMD”, gas is an idiotic thing to get all lathered up about, to the point that it drives our foreign policy.
Gas was slightly effective in WWI for 3 reasons. It was poorly understood, trench warfare was highly static, and last,, European battlefields were soaking wet, filled with shellholes, trenches, bunkers, and low lying areas where soldiers sought cover.
Gas artillery in WWI involved sometimes as many as 18,000 shells being fired into the target area in order to achieve a useful concentration level. They needed to deliver in the area of 100 to 160 tons in the average attack. And in modern highly mobile warfare, even the rebels would suffer a few casualties and leave the area.
Then it sucks for your own guys who you send in there.
Add in that it would invite hysterical reactions from around the world and NATO would immediately invade (to make the world safe for democracy again,, i guess) and it all adds up to almost no benefit tactically, for an enormous strategic loss.
Don’t forget, Saddam had gas in both wars we fought with him. It wasn’t used. Part of that is the threat that we would maybe retaliate with a nuke. But the bigger part of it is that it would have been almost useless against a mobile force. Gas is highly overrated.
This is Obama propaganda.
WWI gas was way less lethal than modern nerve gases.
Even so, I agree that gas vs a mechanized mobile force in open country is of little use.
However, the fighting in Syria where it counts right now is urban, and the targets aren’t mobile mechanized troops but urban militias and civilians. A few gas attacks vs civilians could easily cause a panic and a collapse, if exploited correctly. Nerve gas in an urban area against people with no effective protection could be enormously effective.
Nato would be unlikely to invade, as they would have to stage through Turkey and the Turks aren’t likely to stick their necks too far out. It may be impossible even to get basing their for an effective aerial intervention. In Libya the allies could work out of Sicily, but there isn’t a real alternative to Turkey in this case.
The Syrian military supported by Iran isn’t nearly as weak and useless as Gaddafi’s gangs. The Nato assets used vs Gaddafi were trivial compared to what would be needed in Syria.