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Why are chemical weapon attacks different?

from National Geographic

The White House is weighing military options in response to a chemical weapons attack allegedly carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus. President Barack Obama declared a year ago that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would cross a "red line" and could provoke U.S. military intervention. But what makes chemical weapons attacks more unacceptable than conventional military attacks, which have been raging in Syria since the start of the civil war there more than two years ago? more

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