OLD but UPDATED
So we go to Iraq, to remove WMD’s. Hussein was hung for using chemical weapons, against his own people (that he was ruling). So we don’t find any WMD’s, but we use them on the Iraqi’s? Since we are ruling them, how does this differ from Hussein’s charges? “We” used chemical White Phosphorus, and napalm, as weapons, on civilians in Iraq. Maybe we still are using them? Each material has specific tactical uses, and are not supposed to be used on civilian targets as weapons.
The 1980 Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons deals specifically with the Use of Incendiary Weapons, and their use against civilians.
The United States is above this Protocol.
Napalm not to be used on civilian targets, according to an analysis by the US Department of Defense’s office for Arms Control Implementation and Compliance: “incendiary weapons have significant potential military value, particularly with respect to certain high-priority military targets. Incendiaries are the only weapons which can effectively destroy certain counter-proliferation targets such as biological weapons facilities which require high heat to eliminate bio-toxins. To use only high explosives would risk the widespread relase of dangerous contaminants with potentially disastrous consequences for the civilian population. Certain flammable military targets are also more readily destroyed by incendiaries. For example, a fuel depot could require up to eight times the bombs and sorties to destroy using only high explosives rather than incendiaries. Such an increase means a significantly greater humanitarian risk of collateral damage. The United States must retain its ability to employ incendiaries to hold high-high priority military targets such as these at risk in a manner consistent with the principle of proportionality which governs the use of all weapons under existing law.”
So then why did we chemical-bomb the city of Fallujah, and other targets with it?
“We napalmed both those [bridge] approaches,” said Colonel James Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11. “Unfortunately there were people there … you could see them in the cockpit video. They were Iraqi soldiers. It’s no great way to die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect.”
“WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired “shake and bake” missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out.”
Or didn’t we?
“Despite persistent rumors of injuries among Iraqis consistent with the use of incendiary weapons such as napalm” the Pentagon insisted that “US forces had not used a new generation of incendiary weapons, codenamed MK77, in Iraq.” (UK Independent)
“The United States have confirmed to us that they have not used Mark 77 firebombs, which are essentially napalm canisters, in Iraq at any time. No other Coalition member has Mark 77 firebombs in their inventory.” (Adam Ingram (UK Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence) Hansard source, 11 January 2005)
“The US “free press” is a completely integrated part of the state-information system. Its meticulously managed message has been the most successful part of the entire Iraqi debacle. By providing the requisite cheerleading, diversions and omissions, the media has shown itself to be an invaluable asset to the men in power; perpetuating the deceptions that keep the public acquiescent during a savage colonial war. Given the scope of the media’s culpability for the violence in Iraq, it’s unlikely that the use of napalm will cause any great crisis of conscience. Their deft coverage has already facilitated the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people; a few more charred Iraqis shouldn’t matter.”
I’ll have much more to say about “light bearers” later.
“Incandescent particles of WP may produce extensive burns. Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful; a firm eschar is produced and is surrounded by vesiculation. The burns usually are multiple, deep, and variable in size. The solid in the eye produces severe injury. The particles continue to burn unless deprived of atmospheric oxygen. Contact with these particles can cause local burns. These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears. If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone. Burns usually are limited to areas of exposed skin (upper extremities, face). Burns frequently are second and third degree because of the rapid ignition and highly lipophilic properties of white phosphorus.”
A Chemical Weapon(WMD)?
”The EPA has listed white phosphorus as a Hazardous Air Pollutant. The EPA requires that spills or accidental releases into the environment of 1 pound or more of white phosphorus be reported to the EPA.”
“Breathing white phosphorus for short periods may cause coughing and irritation of the throat and lungs. Breathing white phosphorus for long periods may cause a condition known as “phossy jaw” which involves poor wound healing of the mouth and breakdown of the jaw bone. Eating or drinking small amounts of white phosphorus may cause liver, heart, or kidney damage, vomiting, stomach cramps, drowsiness, or death. We do not know what the effects are from eating or drinking very small amounts of white phosphorus-containing substances over long periods of time. Skin contact with burning white phosphorus may burn skin or cause liver, heart, and kidney damage.”
“Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius. … International law does not prohibit the use of napalm or other incendiaries against military targets, but use against civilian populations was banned by a United Nations convention in 1980 . The United States did not sign the agreement, but claimed to have destroyed its napalm arsenal by 2001. “
Why it burns flesh so well:
Phosphorus is a key element in all known forms of life. Inorganic phosphorus in the form of the phosphate PO43- plays a major role in biological molecules such as DNA and RNA where it forms part of the structural backbone of these molecules. Living cells also utilize phosphate to transport cellular energy via adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Nearly every cellular process that uses energy gets it in the form of ATP. Phospholipids are the main structural components of all cellular membranes. Calcium phosphate salts are used by animals to stiffen their bones.