Tuesday, May 8, 2012

John Witherspoon against Chemical Warfare

Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank reported for CNN Security Clearance that the eighth edition of Inspire, the magazine of Al Qaeda, features quotes from the late cleric Anwar al-Awlaki advocating chemical warfare and other attacks that eventually endanger noncombatants. 

In the June 1776 issue of the Pennsylvania Magazine, Presbyterian minister John Witherspoon wrote that “acts of cruelty and inhumanity, are to be blamed, and to be considered as a violation of the law of nations.”

Witherpoon added, “Many of them might be easily enumerated, such as refusing quarter to those who submit, killing prisoners when they might be kept without any danger, killing women and children, inventing methods of torture, burning and destroying every thing that might be of use in life.  The use of poisoned weapons also has been generally condemned….”

John Rodgers, editor, The Works of the Rev. John Witherspoon…, 4 vols. (Philadelphia: William W. Woodward, 1801), 3:157; Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998 [1969]), 3:157; 203, note 9.  For more on John Wihterspoon, please consult Jeffry H. Morrison, John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic (Notre Dame, Indiana: Notre Dame University Press, 2005).
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