I'm honestly not sure if I should expect anything from Oda on the matter. There is already such a massive contrast in how he portrays this specifc moral question, and I'm not sure if it he does it intentionally, changed his view over the decades or simply does whatever sounds cool to him in any given week.
Just compare Tom & Franky crafting weapons of war vs. how they viewed Caesar doing the same thing.
And it's not about whether toxic gas is worse than crafting a warship - it's strictly about how responsibility is shared and the Straw Hat's take on the matter.
In a better timeline we could get a chapter at least partially dedicated to the issue, with each (or at least some) of the Straw Hats sharing their stance on it. Franky, Chopper, Sanji & Jinbe would really lend themselves to that.
But yeah, we don't live in the best timeline and this manga has to end, so I expect nothing but would welcome everything. Anything. It's not too late for that, even if it's already super jarring.
There's an inherent difference between a warship and toxic gas. The former can actually have purpose besides killing hundreds, depending on who uses it.
A gas weapon is a gas weapon. Even modern war standards acknowledge this by being ok with vehicles, but going absolutely no with chemical weapons.
I added that line for a reason, but I will highlight it again because otherwise it drags the discussion to a level I did not intend (yet):
[...]"it's not about whether toxic gas is worse than crafting a warship - it's strictly about how responsibility is shared and the Straw Hat's take on the matter."
We can have that discussion of course, it's important, but my first issue is that the topic is glossed over and not addressed at all in the manga itself.
See, if it were a different manga I would really expect nothing to begin with. Like I don't expect Tite Kubo to tackle any remotely difficult topic because he's an embarrassing edgelord and his work reflects that on every level.
But the moral dilemma was brought up in One Piece already, in different scenarios even. It's not weird to expect our crew to react to Vegapunk's actions, half of them have very good reason to:
- Sanji himself is the victim of genetic engineering and witnessed firsthand how his father created literal human cannonfodder.
- Franky's entire backstory is about the potential conflict between creator & the use of their creation, by all means this could have been Franky's arc entirely if we wouldn't be in the endgame already.
- Like Daz & others posted earlier, Jinbe is currently facing a black slave clone of himself and the only thing Oda has in store for him is a chuckle at Chibi-Hancock's antics.
- Nami had an arc dedicated to her that established how hard she can get triggered when children are involved. In her case we can even remove all the moral issues that come with clone soldiers and simply reduce it to the fact that they're facing child soldiers. Period.
- Chopper had an arc dedicated to him where he saved an entire country from chemical weapons and even confronted Caesar about the moral aspects of using said weapon. It wasn't much, 2-3 panels, but hey it was something.
Look, I'm not even asking for much at this point. I don't expect a "Usopp leaves the Straw Hats!!" chapter where each member shares their piece of mind why he should or should not be welcomed back. But when half of the crew has a distinct connection with the issue at hand, one way or another, I think it's really terrible to gloss over it completely?
Sorry, but I'm out of sugar to coat that one.