Wednesday, November 16, 2005

White Phosphorus over Fallujah (Confirmed)


In an earlier post I commented on an Italian (RAI) TV station's allegations that the US military had used MK-77 white phosphorus incendiary weapons during its assault on Fallujah, while reserving judgement about the reality behind the story.

It would now appear this story is actually being confirmed.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt Col Barry Venable, confirmed to the BBC the US had used white phosphorus "as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants" - though not against civilians, he said.


San Diego journalist Darrin Mortenson, who was embedded with US marines during the assault on Falluja, told the BBC's Today radio programme he had seen white phosphorous used "as an incendiary weapon" against insurgents.

However, he "never saw anybody intentionally use any weapon against civilians", he said.

White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits a person's body, it will burn until deprived of oxygen.

Globalsecurity.org, a defence website, says: "Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful... These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears... it could burn right down to the bone."


Via the BBC.

And it would appear that even Bush's own GOP is starting to ask for details of an exit strategy, judging by a newsflash from ABC News...

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2 Comments:

At 5:30 PM, Blogger RTO Trainer said...

MK-77s are not WP munitions and were not usd in Fallujah.

The UN Convention bans the use of incendiary weapons against civilans, not against humans. See for yourself:
http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/515?OpenDocument

Of course any deliberate engagement or targeting of civilians is
already a war crime. so that the US has not signed this one is not of especial import except to say that we aren't bound by it expressly.

White Phosphorus is not banned.

It also isn't a chemical weapon. We are signtory to the Chemical Weapons Convention which defines chemical weapons. See here:
http://www.opcw.org/html/db/cwc/eng/cwc_frameset.html

So it isn't a chemical weapon and it isn't banned.

Indiscriminate use is. The stories circulating do not support that
contention. See here:
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2004/04/11/military/iraq/19_30_504_10...

Bogert received the coordinates for the targets and recorded them on a map. This is proper procedure. He's receiving coordinates from a Forward Observer, indirect fire weapons never see their targets, the FOs do. The coordinates are plotted so that it is known what was ordered where. There is also a verification that takes place in the call for indirect fire to avoid problems with numerical transposition or other mistakes.

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Gert said...

George Monbiot on white phosphorus, napalm and Fallujah.

 

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