tongodeon has no problem understanding that the classical list of well known chem warfare agents attack humans through seperate and unique vectors - and why we can sub class the chem warfare agents into the major headings like 'nerve agents', 'blistering agents', etc. So while it is easy to see these main sub classes as still consistent with the base class of chem warfare agents, there appears to be a failure to comprehend the actual deployment envelop for the use of 'fire weapons' that appears to fog the understanding why many people around the world consider them as chem warfare agents.
The basic deployment of incindeary devices is to invoke three basic consequences:
a. fear - get the enemy to break out of fear
b. burning things - the primary concern of the fear
c. make a non-breathable atmosphere that will force the enemy out.
The first works well against women, children, and those who have spent the 'war' hiding behind women's skirts. But rapidly decreases in its utility in fixed positions as both the militarry and civilian population lose their fear of 'warfare operations' in their area. The second consequence can be limited by a wide range of basic civil defense mechanisms. The third factor, well, gosh, those 'gas masks' can filter out most of the basic 'toxic gases' that make fires a breathing hazard - but as anyone who has done any form of fire fighting knows, basic 'gas mask' have a limited time until their filters become inoperable.
It is the deployment in this third class that is the principle concern of those who are opposed to the use of chem warfare agents. What many americans seem committed to avoiding is that the bulk of our knowledge about what most likely happens inside of a nuclear blast zone started with the american analysis after WWII of the effects of Fire Storms - such as those at Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, etc, etc, etc - that were created without the use of a Nuclear Device. This may explain why americans are resistant to discussing the use of 'fire weapons' for their 'chem warfare' capability as oxygen depletors, and toxic chemical fume generation mechanisms.
What complecates the discussion for so many americans has been the drifting responses of the DOD as to the actual deployment of WP as an incindeary agent in the various assaults on populated areas in Iraq. This drifting response has started from the usual place where there is the simplistic approach of noting that Fire Weapons are in some way different from other Chem Warfare Agents, as they have other means of attacking the enemy, beside their ability to create toxic chemical fume, and deplete Oxygen. A useful, but unfortunately 'false dichotomy' argument. Given the growing openness of the DOD to admit to the use of 'shake and bake' as a tactic, we have to look at how much of the actual deployment of incindiary devices by the americans includes the well known understanding of how 'flame weapons' are actually used in combat.
We CAN of course assume that majikally the quality of active duty american military personnel has dropped drastically to such a level that they are no longer able to remember even the basics about 'fire' as a threat - but that they no longer are even taught the fundamentals of how to do their own defenses against such incindiary attacks. And on top of this, that they have majikally lost the collective knowlege of the simplistic maxim, "the best defense is a strong offense".... But something tells me that this is even more of a stretch than most gambits.
So if we are concerned with addressing the issues about the use of chemical warfare agents, we may wish to actually address the issue of the use of chem warfare agents. This may even require that americans become at least modestly fluent in the actual technical literature and deployment envelops of various types of weapon systems.