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(From the diaries. Let's see them deny this shit now -- kos)

That's right. Not from Al Jazheera, or Al Arabiya, but the US fucking Army, in their very own publication, from the (WARNING: pdf file) March edition of Field Artillery Magazine in an article entitled "The Fight for Fallujah":

"WP [i.e., white phosphorus rounds] 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."

In other words the claim by the US Government that White Phosphorus was used only for illumination at Fallujah had been pre-emptively debunked by the Army. Indeed, the article goes on to make clear that soldiers would have liked to have saved more WP rounds to use for "lethal missions."

However, as Mark Kraft, an emailer to Eric Alterman's blog, Altercation, points out today, the Field Artillery Magazine article fails to inform its audience that

. . . there is no way you can use white phosphorus like that without forming a deadly chemical cloud that kills everything within a tenth of a mile in all directions from where it hits. Obviously, the effect of such deadly clouds weren't just psychological in nature.

Furthermore, (from a link provided by Mr. Kraft, thank you very much) testimony about the use of these "shake and bake" techniques of WP usage are detailed in an account by an embedded Journalist regarding the April 2004 attacks on Fallujah by the Marines:

Fighting from a distance

After pounding parts of the city for days, many Marines say the recent combat escalated into more than they had planned for, but not more than they could handle.

"It's a war," said Cpl. Nicholas Bogert, 22, of Morris, N.Y.

Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused.

"We had all this SASO (security and stabilization operations) training back home," he said. "And then this turns into a real goddamned war."

Just as his team started to eat a breakfast of packaged rations Saturday, Bogert got a fire mission over the radio.

"Stand by!" he yelled, sending Lance Cpls. Jonathan Alexander and Jonathan Millikin scrambling to their feet.

Shake 'n' bake

Joking and rousting each other like boys just seconds before, the men were instantly all business. With fellow Marines between them and their targets, a lot was at stake.

Bogert received coordinates of the target, plotted them on a map and called out the settings for the gun they call "Sarah Lee."

Millikin, 21, from Reno, Nev., and Alexander, 23, from Wetumpka, Ala., quickly made the adjustments. They are good at what they do.

"Gun up!" Millikin yelled when they finished a few seconds later, grabbing a white phosphorus round from a nearby ammo can and holding it over the tube.

"Fire!" Bogert yelled, as Millikin dropped it.

The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call "shake 'n' bake" into a cluster of buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week.

They say they have never seen what they've hit, nor did they talk about it as they dusted off their breakfast and continued their hilarious routine of personal insults and name-calling.

So who you gonna believe? The US Department of Defense or the US Army and the US Marine Corps? Decisions, decisions . . .

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:48 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No tips necessary for me (4.00)
    But a big hat tip for the Altercation emailer, Mr. Kraft.  I never would have known this information was out there without his work.  Thanks also to Eric A for publishing it.

    "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

    by Steven D on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:42:19 PM PST

    •  Outstanding catch. Highly Recommended. (4.00)
      I explained to my students, without an ounce of politics or partisanship, what white phosphorus was and what it means to use it on people -- they were horrified, even past the horror they feel that we, the United States of America, are actually having a debate about torture.

      Here's hoping they will still be horrified when they're old enough to be in power in this fragile democracy.

      "Too many Democrats voted for this war." - Russ Feingold

      by Republic Not Empire on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:52:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for highlighting this (4.00)
      "Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 meters is done for." source

      UK Independent is reporting of new evidence that the US used chemical weapons in Iraq.  

      Chemical warfare by US forces on Iraqis source:

      The result:

      To witness more of the result, go to:

      The use of chemical weapons is amongst most shameful thing that our government could do in our names.  For many of us in the pro-peace movement we have already been shocked by this news. We knew that Fullajah was a scene of many horrendous crimes against humanity. Hospitals were bombed as targets early in the raid. Homes with children and families were fire bombed. Air strikes killed the innocent.  We can now only hope that more Americans will see what our government is doing in Iraq.

      Torture, chemical warfare, crimes against the peace, wars of aggression and other horrendous acts becoming commonplace is insane. For these to enter into political debate as mere possibilities, as considerations, is simply barbaric. I am horrified and angry, ashamed and disappointed.</p

      •  I'll (none)
        link this stuff, nasty.

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:00:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You should post a link (none)
        to the more graphic images. I know what you're probably thinking, "People need to see this shit", and you might be right but I've already seen it and I would prefer not to look at it again. It honestly makes me sick to my stomach. You're preaching to the choir here on kos so I think there is no need to throw these images up in our face again. Anyway, why the hell is the corporate media not all over this?  Do I even need to ask?
        •  Maybe because (none)
          there are some people who are too squeamish and ask that they be spared such images?

          "Insurrection is an art, and like all arts has its own laws." -- Trotsky

          by Myrrander on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:09:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps (none)
            but I still feel this diary is too important for people to choose to avoid it because they don't want to have to look at images of corpses.
            •  Ah ha !!! So you damn Liberals at Kos (4.00)
              Finally admit there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

              It's hard to snark on something so utterly disgusting, but when you think about the fact the administration took our country to war over WMD, and the only WMD turns out to be our own, what possible word can be used to describe it? Well, other than the obvious word, "Impeach"

              The Book of Revelation is NOT a foreign policy manual.

              by Dont Just Stand There on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:51:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I give you a 4... (none)
                for the darkest ironic humour I've heard in awhile (maybe EVER).

                I remember on September 12, 2001 reading a big bold headlines in my city paper The Vancouver Sun that:

                IRONY IS DEAD.

                The United States of America, under the command of George W. Bush, has taken irony to a whole new sick twisted level.


                Someone -- PLEASE! --- to all of you proud decent Americans who cannot bear seeing your country being shat upon by this administration:

                Bring the biggest "boombox" you can find and play Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic" song at the highest possible volume in front of the White House.  When they arrest you, have someone else take your place.


              •  The reason behind the hunt for WMD (none)
                was to get a certification that the place was "clean" so nobody would be snooping around while we brought them in.

                When you consider that they are probably planning to bring in ICBMs with nuclear warheads, then what's been dumped on the country so far is insignificant.

                One has to wonder if the use of DU munitions has raised the back-ground rediation levels sufficiently to mask the introduction of real nuclear warheads.  Presumably they emit some radiation even in storage.

                Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

                by hannah on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 06:48:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  The footage from the RAI documentary (none)
            (Italian TV-I don't know how to link but one can access this via AlterNet) showed scenes of hundreds of dead bodies with intact clothes and skin falling off without any obvious mortar wounds, just shedding skin. The narrator noted that one could tell the insurgents from civilians by the presence of intact body armor. How soon before our leader and minions exhibit highly edited footage of chemically burned bodies in body armor as evidence of US success in Fallujah?

            "And tell me how does god choose whose prayers does he refuse?" Tom Waits

            by madaprn on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:45:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  explanation for damaged flesh intact clothes? (none)
              I have no idea of this is legit or not - but it makes sense...

              On another board in which the effects of weaphonized phosphorus was being discussed - a fellow who said he had been in the military said it was impossible that phosphorus could have been used on people whose clothes were intact but whose skin was not - because he had seen a demo of the stuff (not on anything living, he said) and it literally dissolved everything, even METAL.

              Another poster said that, no, this phenomenon was possible as an after-effect of the chemical blowing downwind. That is to say, in ground-zero areas - EVERYTHING touched by this weapon would be destroyed - but in a diluted secondary state it can selectively dissolve certain things and not others (including melting flesh but not clothing).

              •  No idea. (none)
                There was nothing in the comments in Hunter's diary to clarify this nor anything earlier this evening in this diary or postings that provided a link that addressed this point definitively.

                Guerrilla News Network had posters linking to claims of using slightly altered Agent Orange months ago.

                I've seen plenty of newly dead bodies but only embalmed oldies. Maybe the bodies are only decomposing but how does that explain the lack of evident wounds on so many of the bodies in the open-air morgue shots on the RAI film?

                "And tell me how does god choose whose prayers does he refuse?" Tom Waits

                by madaprn on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 08:37:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Nonetheless (none)
                the percentage of women and children as well as men without body armor indicate a blatant disregard for collateral deaths. It is still astonishing and revolting; do you think Cheney would have any empathy for the Iraqis pictured grieving?

                "And tell me how does god choose whose prayers does he refuse?" Tom Waits

                by madaprn on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 08:42:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Do keep in mind that the civilian (none)
                  population was instructed to leave Fallujah, just like they were warned to leave New Orleans.
                  When people don't obey orders, they have to be punished.

                  Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

                  by hannah on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 06:50:32 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  An educated guess (none)
                The downwind comment got me thinking.

                It is likely that when the munition first goes off there is a lot of WP available that has not yet reacted with anything. This is the stuff that will burn with damn near anything on contact.

                In the process above, the WP that does not hit solid material, personnel, etc. on the ground probably reacts with the oxygen and water vapor in the air to form phosphoric acid, which is then blown down range. It is the phosphoric acid that is more selective w/r/t what it burns.

                This is a similar process to the formation of acid rain when sulfur-containing coal is burned. Sulfur dioxide combines with water to form sulfurous acid.


      •  Like something out of a horror film (none)
        Words fail me ... horrifying beyond belief.  

        I will never get these images out of my mind.

      •  check the facts and make an informed argument (4.00)
        Some of the evidence is questionable and the photos are more consistent with decomposing bodies vs. victims of WP.

        It's debatable whether clothing would be left intact or that a body would 'carmalize'.  

        Jeff Englehart, the soldier in the documentary, is also an anti-war activist.  Good for him, however I think we need to do more research to verify the claims and the photos that purport to show WP victims.

        This does not mean that WP is not being used as a weapon in civilian areas, but the evidence and terminology being used by some could be inaccurate.  Expect to have intense debate on this, so please let's do some good fact finding to make our case.

        I also agree with those who are urging us to use the correct terminology... WP is an incendiary weapon.  It's use is prohibited under the third Protocol of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons or CCW.  

        (BTW, Of the all the 77 signers to the CCW only four countries have not signed Protocol III, and the U.S. is one of them along France, Israel, and Monaco... and we should be demanding that our government sign it).

        There's no doubt that use of WP is horrendous, but we still need to make sure the evidence and information we put forth is correct.

        "Remember, we are here but by the grace of plate tectonics... Just some perspective, apply it to your idealogies as you will." -- read in a comment by roboton

        by DoDi on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:46:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  and if any rounds get left over... (none)
        I have a friend who is one of the world experts in civilian de-mining and associated disposal of unexploded ordinance (UXO) especially on the injuries that can be caused by accidents dealing with these.

        He says White Phosphorous UXO can be a really nasty hazard.  If buried below ground on site munitions can be uncovered by farmers ploughing (for example) and so exposing the contents to air. The phosphorous flies up and around in the air with great vigour and the burns are indeed nasty.

        Burying the stuff is called `Blowing it Down' in his trade - as contrasted with `Blowing it Up' by exploding it in the first place, which is also sometimes a foolish thing to do. That is, burial is simply a delayed action explosion.

      •  It's Shake and Bake! (none)

        and WE helped!
    •  Unbelieveable... (4.00)
      This is really disgusting.  

      This has been a shameful time for our country.  When we 1) use secret prisons and extraordinary rendition, 2) use this type weapons in the country to which we are "bringing democracy", 3) we have a VP actively campaigning to authorize the use of torture, 4) lie about the reasons to justify war, then continuously switch reasons when the earlier lies are exposed, and 5) finesse our way around the laws to which we demand adherence from the rest of the world... where does that leave us??

      From what moral high ground are we operating in our place as leaders in the world?  

      This ship better get righted and quick.

    •  Busted! (none)
      Let 'em try to deny it now! Great job!
    •  As bad as White Phosphorus is.... (4.00)
      it is not considered to be chemical weapon under the 1925 Geneva Convention nor any other chemical weapons prohibition treaty.

      You folks have your knickers in a knot for the wrong reasons.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- "It Can't Happen Here", Sinclair Lewis, 1935.

      by WyldPirate on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:12:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not according the army manual (4.00)
        (From BOHICA in another thread..., also posted downthread)

        Chapter 5, Section III, SYSTEM AND WEAPON DATA

        (4) Burster Type White phosphorus (WP M110A2) rounds burn with intense heat and emit dense white smoke. They may be used as the initial rounds in the smokescreen to rapidly create smoke or against material targets, such as Class V sites or logistic sites. It is against the law of land warfare to employ WP against personnel targets.
        •  That is DoD regs. (3.33)
          not international law.


          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:22:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did I claim that? Please point it out. (none)
            I know we didn't ratify Protocol III of the Geneva Convention which does prohibit the use of WP in general (both for screening and against personnel), but the rules of engagement are supposed to be enforced and obviously this is another example that the DoD guidelines are now effectively bullshit.

            We don't just call everything that's not explicitly ratified by the US as a war crime A-OK do we now?

            •  I think the comment (none)
              was meant as clarification--not attack.

              In other words we are breaking DoD regs not some international law.

              Is this important? Well if you are trying to convince your uncle that we did something wrong he might believe you if you said it is against DoD regs. He might just turn up the Limbaugh if you say "international" law.

              We, (I'll assume we), don't care so much whether it's legal, illegal or "OK" according to some legal manipulation--It is a crime against humanity anyway you want to spin it. But getting people who hate Bush upset about this is the easy part.

              Yelling crime and wildly waving your arms may get attention but it is not as powerful as calmly pulling back the sheet and asking someone if they recognize if what's left of a body is their brother.

          •  Great, so they were violating OUR laws,... (4.00)
            ... as opposed to somebody else's. Much better.
          •  so now we're quibbling (4.00)
            over exactly who's laws we broke? I doubt the men women and children melted into oblivion give a shit one way or the other.  I doubt those left to bear witness give a shit one way or another. Is this what democracy looks like?  Is this why we should "stay the course"?
        •  There is a huge dodge available.... (none)
          it's against the "laws of land warfare" to use .50 cal rounds against personnel as well.

          The dodge?  You're shooting at their equipment...

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- "It Can't Happen Here", Sinclair Lewis, 1935.

          by WyldPirate on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:29:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's an old soldier's tale (none)
            It is not, and never has been against the law to use .50cal against dismounted infantry.

            In prison, Tom Delay will no doubt be called 'the Hummer' by his fellow convicts.

            by soonergrunt on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:26:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh really ? (none)
            What about using the 50 cal. for sniper use like the M107 ?

            We use these all over Afghanistan and Iraq as well as any other "hot spot".

            This caliber is apparently the caliber of choice for the rest of the world too. Almost everybody makes a sniper rifle like the M107.

            I guess the dodge here is that the sniper is aiming at the enemy's helmet (equipment) and not his head.

            Rich people make money using other peoples money... Republicans start wars using other peoples children.

            by fedupinca on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 05:34:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  hmmm (4.00)
          i'm glad i'm not the only one who came up with conflicting info.  what i found  indicated that there were limits on using it as a weapon, but that it was allowed.
          •  if it looks like a duck... (none)
            it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it IS A DUCK!

            Considering how this substance WORKS - to claim it is not a chimical weaphon based on some sort of technicality (like: "it's not on the list!") is vile and shameless.

            Anyone who condemned Saddam as a monster for using chemical weaphons but condones THIS is a despicable hypocrite.

      •  This has been explained many times. (4.00)
        Along with wikipedia, several artillerymen have come online to explain that WP is not classified as a chemical weapon and is not forbidden in combat.

        I agree that language is important -- as I've said before, if we call it the wrong thing, the argument could turn into 'what is it, really?' and turn away from the fact that they were dropping incendiaries on civilians as well as enemy troops.

        The debate should focus on why the US didn't ratify the UN resolution banning napalm and similar substances, and it should ask where the moral fine line is between 'chemical weapons' and weapons that create a chemical cloud and burn the flesh.

      •  This has been discussed many times on here (4.00)
        1 - You are correct. It is not a Chemical Weapon under international definitions. This has been accepted and understood on DKos

        2- You are wrong. This is not a Geneva Convention matter. It is dealt with under the United Nations protocols on such matters.

        3- It is not condemned under Protocol 2 dealing with banned Chemical Weapons but is condemned under Protocol 3.

        All carefully researched by DKos contributors.

        "You folks have your knickers in a knot for the wrong reasons". If you mean that if it were not banned under Protocol 3 it would still be a totally unacceptable weapon for a civilised country to use, you would be right. But it is banned. Read Protocol 3.

        My knickers are in a twist because my country supports international conventions and the use of WP is totally unacceptable by one of its allies. Totally unacceptable.

        If your government won't be brought to account in Congress, the revelations of the last few day may bring the nature of the war that is being waged into account in the Houses of Parliament. And in the Parliaments across the World.

        I am disgusted at even having to give this explanation.

        New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

        by Welshman on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:26:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't disagree with your disgust.... (3.50)
          all I'm saying is that "willie pete" is not considered to be in the same category as chemical weapons such as Sarin, tabun and the rest of the toxic crap.

          Don't be harshin' on me, man.  I'm on your side.  I'm just saying that there is a lot of other more heinous shit that has been committed by our government in the Iraq debacle.  Getting worked up over this particular charge and emailing everyone under the sun is a wasted effort.

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- "It Can't Happen Here", Sinclair Lewis, 1935.

          by WyldPirate on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:35:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is insane (none)
            You want us to not get worked up about indiscriminately dropping a deadly, incendiary chemical on a civilian population--in a war justified every day as changing a regime that "gassed its own people?"

            None of you legalists understand:

            I'd love to see Scotty explaining that, just because WP was fired blind into a city in a "shake and bake" operation, and just because it burns men, women and children alive without harming their clothes, it isn't technically a banned chemical weapon. That press conference would be the worst day this White House has ever had.

            •  Rude to quibble on this, but ... (none)
              Wasn't the civilian population of Fallujah evacuated, with notice that it was about to become a hot war zone? Didn't this happen over several days, with ample transport? Therefore, wasn't it a fair assumption that anyone within range during the battle was a combatant? I recall the evacuation being described as having been pretty complete. In fact, I recall folks on the blogs complaining about what a mean thing it had been to evacuate everyone like that.

              If there is evidence that any substantial part of the civilian population did not receive word and means to evacuate, please specify it.

              I'm not saying that use of WP in battle against the enemy is alright (although if a soldier's holding a weapon, and it's a fight to death, the soldier's going to use it — so they shouldn't have been given WP). But I'd like to be clear about whether the people who were killed by it most likely needed to be killed. The press has misinformed us of many things. So was it wrong when it suggested that those who died in Fallujah did so by choice, in exchange for the chance to try to kill yet more of our soldiers — something they'd already done quite enough of?

          •  What do you suppose people would call it... (none)
            if it was lobbed into the Green Zone?

            Just askin'

            Where are the Guardian Angels of the Underworld when you need them?

            by God loves goats on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:29:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not in the same categoryas chemical weapons? (none)
            Judging by its effect on human beings, it should be.  That it's not is no defense against critics of its use.

            This "legalistic" shit has MY knickers in a twist.  I don't care what the law is ... we clearly have broken a law of humanity that says that even in a time of war, you don't do things that are unusually cruel and inhumane.  Damn!

            •  WP isn't a chemical weapon (none)
              Chemical weapons kill by poisoning or blistering. And while phosphorus and it's oxidation byproducts are certainly poisonous, they don't kill you by poisoning you. They kill you by burning you. If you're exposed to WP, you won't live long enough to die of phosphorous poisining. You'll be dead from being incinerated and or the chemical burns long before the poison could possibly have any effect. It's an ugly way to die, but you're not dying of poison, you're dying from incineration.
        •  Actually you shouldn't be disgusted (4.00)
          because it's the same argument the wingnuts and Bush apologists are going to use shamelessly when this hits the msm.  It's a good exercise for all of us so we can better defend the issue when it's debated in the press and hopefully on the floors of Congress.  Thanks for firing the first salvo.
        •  Use Before today (none)
          My aunt was a refugee in WW2 and experienced  British bombing in Berlin.

          RAF incendiary bombs contained white phosphorous. Residues of this caused many injuries. My aunt got a little on her face and suffered considerable (but fortunately not lifelong scarring) burns.

          I am glad now of Protocol 3.

      •  It is a chemical weapon (4.00)
        when used illegaly (i.e. against personell). According to Wikipedia:

        Under this [Chemical Weapons] Convention, any toxic chemical, regardless of its origin, is considered as a chemical weapon unless it is used for purposes that are not prohibited (an important legal definition, known as the General Purpose Criterion).

        If this is correct, it does not matter that WP is also classified as an incendiary. The classification of WP (dual use) apparently depends both on its properties and on its use.

        The Bush administration should not get away with this, neither politically nor legally.

        •  Exactly right (4.00)
          Guns are not illegal in a war. Nor are bombs.

          However, gathering up everyone in sight, standing them against a wall, and shooting them dead IS illegal. So is deliberately bombing a verifiable civilian area.

          And so is firing WP into an urban neighborhood.

        •  It burns, not poisons (none)
          Its a chemical weapon like boiling someone in a pot full of di-hydrogen monoxide (like our Uzbekistani ally) is a chemical murder.

          Using incendiaries on personnel is against our own rules, and using them on civilians is a war crime, as lots of other posters posted.

          •  So, (none)
            Is it not correct that WP burns skin and flesh but not necessarily clothes due to a chemical reaction? If you drink water or inhale water vapor, it will not kill you. If you ingest WP/ihnale vapor from WP or the toxic gasses it produces, it will likely kill you.

            For sure it is criminal to use it as a weapon against civilians, but I'd be very surprised if -- under international law -- it is legal to use it as a weapon against enemy personnel. I any event, I maintain that if it has been used illegally by the US, it means that -- under international law -- the US is guilty of using a chemical weapon.

            •  fire is a chemical reaction (none)
              You and I are both made of chemicals.

              You can murder civilians/people with any chemical at  all.  

              You can inhale pure water vapor, and suffocate due to lack of oxygen, or burn your lungs out with steam, or choke on a teaspoon-sized chunk of ice.  

              Tying prisoners to a board and dunking them in a tub of water isn't 'chemical interrogation', it's waterboarding, we do it, and it's still immoral and illegal, but not because it is chemical.

              White phosphorus is an indescriminate incendiary weapon, and it is still a crime to use it on civilians and personnel.  

              We firebombed Fallujah with white phosphorus.  We didn't use poison gas.

      •  Simple dictionary definition (3.00)

        . . .

        2. a nonmetallic chemical element, normally a white, phosphorescent, waxy solid, becoming yellow when exposed to light: it is poisonous and unites easily with oxygen so that it ignites spontaneously at room temperature . . .

        It's a chemical.  It can be poisonous.  It's being used as a weapon.  Its effects are known and documented and deadly.

        Not sure exactly what's so hard to understand about this.

        [ DU (depleted uranium) is another big issue as well.  But that's another topic altogether. ]

        •  Here's why "it's hard to understand" (4.00)
          In World War I, Austro-Hungarian and Italian troops waged a vicious mountain war.  One of the tactics used was to bombard snow-covered slopes above enemy positions and cause avalanches down on them.

          Water is a chemical.  Too much of it (or a small amount applied the right way) can kill you.  It was being used (in one of its forms) as a weapon.  Its effects were known, and documented, and turned very deadly (the death toll from these attacks was high).

          According to your own position water is therefore a chemical weapon.

          There is a reason those of us with either military experience or knowledge keep telling you to watch the terminology.  Using WP as a weapon (period) against people and especially civilian targets is Not Allowed.  Full stop.  All you're setting people up for is shooting down the "it's a chemimical weapon!" argument and thus avoiding the issue about using a weapon indiscriminatly on people, including civilians.

          So stop the "It's a chemical weapon" bullshit because we're telling you that all it's going to do is (a) confuse the issue and (b) make the people who scream that look tike uninformed idiots.

        •  MSDS Definitions for Bullet Materials (none)

          Toxic by ingestion or inhalation. Chronic poison. Typical TLV/TWA as powder 0.15 mg/m3. Typical PEL 0.05 mg/m3


          Very toxic. May be fatal if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. This is a known human carcinogen. May cause reproductive disorders.

          Now are you going to try and get bullets banned as chemical weapons?  Definitions are key and the US doesn't DEFINE WP to be a chemical weapon.  Feel free to call your congressman and see if he will change it.  I personally think it would be a great idea.

          •  Under the CWC, (none)
            chemical weapons are not only defined according to the properties of the chemicals, but also according to their use.

            "Chemical warfare is different from the use of conventional weapons or nuclear weapons because the destructive effects of chemical weapons are not primarily due to any explosive force. [...] Under this [Chemical Weapons] Convention, any toxic chemical, regardless of its origin, is considered as a chemical weapon unless it is used for purposes that are not prohibited (an important legal definition, known as the General Purpose Criterion)."


            •  So why bother listing the properties then (none)
              You listed the properties of unburned WP as though they somehow make the case.  I would contend that they do not.  Furthermore, you should have listed the properties of the phosphorus oxides as they are what make up the smoke.  The US does not adhere to the convention that you cannot use incendiaries against military personnel targets.
        •  And so is dihydrogen monoxide (none)
          •  Just listing some of the DHMO dangers (none)
            What are some of the dangers associated with DHMO?
            Each year, Dihydrogen Monoxide is a known causative component in many thousands of deaths and is a major contributor to millions upon millions of dollars in damage to property and the environment. Some of the known perils of Dihydrogen Monoxide are:   Death due to accidental inhalation of DHMO, even in small quantities.
            Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage.
            Excessive ingestion produces a number of unpleasant though not typically life-threatening side-effects.
            DHMO is a major component of acid rain.
            Gaseous DHMO can cause severe burns.
            Contributes to soil erosion.
            Leads to corrosion and oxidation of many metals.
            Contamination of electrical systems often causes short-circuits.
            Exposure decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
            Found in biopsies of pre-cancerous tumors and lesions.
            Often associated with killer cyclones in the U.S. Midwest and elsewhere.
            Thermal variations in DHMO are a suspected contributor to the El Nino weather effect.  
        •  Argh (none)
          Everything is made of chemicals. Even you.

          You didn't do it.

          by Earl on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:11:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Mason - what's with the ratings abuse ? (none)
          I posted a simple comment here and you think it merits a '2' ?  

          Get outta here.

    •  Steven D, you are being quoted as a source (none)
      as the primary source in a current Raw Story article on white phosphorous. Great job!

      "The March edition of Field Artillery magazine, a U.S. Army publication, reveals that the U.S. military did in fact use the incendiary weapon white phosphorous in Fallujah, Iraq, a Daily Kos diarist has found."


      Nothing short of an aroused public can change things, nothing less than democracy is at stake- Bill Moyers

      by maggiemae on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:46:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Altercation emailer (none)
        Mr. Kraft should get the credit.

        "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

        by Steven D on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:23:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy (none)
      Don't a few people from this thread have egg on their faces!  They'll probably just claim that facial omellettes are all the rage, and besides, they aren't chemical weapons, just incendiaries.

      Great job!

      "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

      "L'enfer, c'est le GOP!" - JJB, from an idea by oratorio

      by JJB on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:00:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      By Hunter before engaging in any discussions about whether WP is a chemical weapon or not.  As I'm sure Hunter would agree, it really doesn't matter because using WP in this fashion is an atrocity that subjects civilians to a horrifying death, and is as loathsome a practice as the use of mustard gas, phosgene, etc.

      It's also a brilliant piece of Swifitan satire.

      "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

      "L'enfer, c'est le GOP!" - JJB, from an idea by oratorio

      by JJB on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:33:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Except that some it's bullshit (none)
      . . . there is no way you can use white phosphorus like that without forming a deadly chemical cloud that kills everything within a tenth of a mile in all directions from where it hits. Obviously, the effect of such deadly clouds weren't just psychological in nature.

      Ignited WP is an irritant. The above description is unsubstantiated and false.

      Crawford TX has the right to have their village idiot returned.

      by hormel26c on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:57:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very revealing . Also from same same article (none)
      in that Field Artillary Mag. Next paragraph following the "shake and bake" statement  :

      c. Hexachloroethane Zinc (HC) Smoke and Precision-Guided Munitions. We
      could have used these munitions. [Instead] We
      used improved [?] WP for screening missions
      when HC smoke would have been more effective and [could have] saved [more of] our WP for lethal missions.
      (bold emphasis and bracketed annotations are mine)

      In other words, in this passage  the author is wishing they had had more HC smoke munitions (HC smoke consists of relatively low toxicity zinc chloride aerosol but makes more dense smoke than WP) available to use for real screening purposes, so they could have used  more of their evidently finite stock of "improved WP"  munitions for its best use, which apparently in the authors' view was killing  things (not illuminating them or screening/hiding US troops from the enemy.

      And what did they mean by improved WP?

  •  Beautiful... (none)
    I can just see the movies in fifteen years...

    "I love the smell of phosphorus in the morning!"

    I'm NOT in Detroit. Unless you count mentally, in which case I'm also 1000 years in the future.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:42:42 PM PST

    •  ... until (4.00)
      my nose burns off.

      Power corrupts. Hey, let's learn it the hard way!

      by Bob Love on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:53:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh lord (none)
        a quick bray of laughter then I abruptly dissolved into tears.

        Man was bush's plan all along to just depress all us liberals to death?

        •  Yeah, I thought ... (none)
          my comment about noses burning off (in reply to "I love the smell of white phosphorus in the morning!") was gross and over the top, but it made a point, too.  I didn't mean it merely as a wisecrack, and I very much appreciate your response to both sides of my little comment.  

          Yes, this war, this whole decade on earth, is horrible beyond words, and we'll never recover what's been lost.

          Power corrupts. Hey, let's learn it the hard way!

          by Bob Love on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 02:42:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Recommended! thanks for posting this (none)
  •  army (none)
    what is the HE listed in the post
    •  High Explosive (4.00)

      Stop mad cowboy disease!

      by wrights on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:52:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  From the PDF file: (none)
      "Munitions. The munitions we brought to this fight were 155-mm highexplosive (HE) M107 (short-range) and M795 (long-range) rounds"

      "Too many Democrats voted for this war." - Russ Feingold

      by Republic Not Empire on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:56:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sherman was right (none)
        First you're set on fire in your homes, and then you are blown to pieces when you run out.

        You want to know why "they hate us"? Indiscriminate tactices like this on a civilian population is why.

        All the guys who debate the technical terms of what is "legal", or who get all studly and proclaim, "Well, war isn't a garden party," (an I am not pointing fingers at anyone in particular) are missing the point. Treating the Iraqi civilian population as if it were the retreating 1991 Iraqi Army will never lead to their defeat. It will only lead to that nation's unyielding enmity.

        If this is the best tactic we can come up with in this war, we're already defeated. We can't win - we can only kill the population. And that won't be "victory".

        All the will in the world to "stay the course" couldn't save the day at Sebastapol or Gallipoli. When an attack strategy isn't working, it won't work just because you cling to it longer.

        Our only alternative in this "battle against terrorism" is to retreat to save the forces we have, and to come up with other tactics and strategy.

  •  Great find! (none)
    Testament to the unique capabilities of the blogosphere.
  •  What is "HE"? (none)
    •  High Explosive (none)
      Ordinary bombs, explosive artillery shells, etc.
      •  BUSH (none)

        Even in his heart the devil has to know the water level

        by bebacker on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:52:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Remember too (4.00)
          The assault on Fallujah a year ago was a retributive attack for the burning of those contractors' corpses.

          Bush is C-in-C and I believe he ordered a full-scale retributive attack on Fallujah as punishment.

          Torture and chemical attacks on Iraqi civilians - the proper words to apply to Bush's actions are WAR CRIMINAL and TERRORISM.

          •  And that attack was retribution (none)
            in the eyes of Fallujah residents for this:

            On March 29, 2004, several hundred residents protested the US Army's occupation of a school in Fallujah. As reported by the BBC, the US Army attempted to make the crowd disperse with announcements, but failed, and decided to use harsher tactics. The military said the protesters were armed; eyewitnesses said they were not. 17 protesters were killed by the US Army (The 82nd Airborne). Three more protesters were killed in a separate demonstration on March 31

            March 31 was the day that the contractors were killed.

            There is a very good timeline/history of what has happened in Fallujah, with many links to what non-US journalists have watched happen in that city - including the revelations way back in 2004 that we were using the phosphorus to "melt" the "insurgents". (It's interesting that they list 1200 insurgent deaths during the one offensive, but that they don't manage to have an accounting of the civilian deaths - even though observers reported many civilians as having been killed). We need to remember that there is always two sides to every story.

            It is interesting that people here (in the US) seem to find it acceptable that we went into Fallujah and killed innocent women and children indiscriminately for many months after the death of those contractors.

            These people had suffered at our hands during the first Gulf War, and had little reason to trust us or want our presence in their region.

            During the Gulf War, Fallujah was one of the cities in Iraq with the most civilian casualties. Two separate failed bombing attempts on Fallujah's bridge across the Euphrates River hit crowded markets, killing an estimated 200 civilians, enraging city residents.

            The first bombing occurred early in the Gulf War when a British jet intending to bomb the bridge dropped two laser guided bombs on city's crowded main market. Between 50 and 150 civilians died and many more were injured. In the second incident, Coalition forces attacked Fallujah's bridge over the Euphrates River with four laser-guided bombs. At least one struck the bridge while one or two bombs fell short in the river. The fourth bomb hit another market elsewhere in the city, reportedly due to failure of its laser guidance system.

            I always wonder what level of "insurgency" you would have had if the same situation was visited on one of our cities.

            "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -Plato

            by Bcre8ve on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:42:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The Marines (none)

            The Marines got screwed too at Fallujah. It was just another atrocity by the military to dispatch just few thousand Marines into a city where only the inhabitants can find their way around. The resistance was hiding everywhere. So, the military played dirty. And military spokesman promised : "We will do what it takes to subdue Fallujah" ... Now everyone knows what that meant.
          •  This is actually (none)
            the more salient point. WP, although an irritant, does not, as that little tool in the Italian vid says, melt everybody within a football field down to goo, or whatever. Its main mechanism is incendiary. Yes, you can suffer from extreme or long term exposure, but toxicity is not the reason to use it.
            Regardless of that, collective punishment is a huge no-no. Can you say War Crime, boys and girls? I knew you could. Can you say, Geneva Convention?

            Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
            Pillage is prohibited.
            Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

            Boy life's a bitch when you have to play by the rules, ain't it George?

            Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but I have a hard time imagining that the order to evacuate a major city, and then raze it, came from anybody other than the Commander in Chief hizzownself. If it did, that represents a mind-numbing dereliction of duty. Not just a few bad apples doing this one, eh?

            I know, by the way, he considers it "quaint", but it's the law of the land, sworn to uphold. Just going in there brings some very nasty legal problems, domestic and international. I would call violating a lawful treaty a High Crime, myself. Since the treaty violated deals with war crimes, there's the issue of being subject to an international court as well. I'm sure he had Abu Gonzales script up some plausable deniability and justification smoke and mirrors, but if anybody really looks at this, it's pretty hard to deny.

            Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

            by justme on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:49:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  there is not a snowballs' (none)
              chance in white phosporus hell that GW or the rummy-cheney cabal will be ever brought to justice though.

              this just makes me depressed, what use is it to get morally outraged when nothing will come of it?? everytime i come here i just feel worse.



              by brenda on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 07:41:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  kos is unAmerican! (4.00)
    You liberals hate our troops!  You're aiding and abetting the enemy!

    Oh wait...

    This came from our own military?



    Is Dick Cheney in favor of torturing Scooter Libby in order to gain "actionable intelligence?"

    by Bob Johnson on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:51:56 PM PST

  •  "shake and bake" (4.00)
    shaking my head in disgust
    •  Gallows humor (3.66)
      I may not like the war or the results, but cops, firemen, soldiers, ER doctors....they all have a warped-humor method of distancing from and dealing with the things they face every day.  

      It isn't really conversation meant for laymen.

      •  Right (none)
        My father would have appreciated it, I'm sure. Of course, he had the sort of perspective that came from sitting behind a machine gun for three years on the Western Front in World War I....

        But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

        by sagesource on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:52:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Add to that list: (none)
        Critical care nurses, mental health professionals...  When your day-to-day life brings you in contact with pain, suffering & horror, you either resort to gallows humour or it breaks you.

        Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. -Philo of Alexandria

        by vansterdam on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:10:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  firemen, EPS workers, nurses, etc.. (none)
          Are working to SAVE lives and PROETECT people - not destroy them.

          One could only wish that CIVILIZED people who are put in the regrettable position of TAKING lives and destroying bodies might approach the situation with some degree of gravity.

          Not saying that mankind has reached a truly civilized state of being as of yet - but its not unreasonable to despair that we have not.

  •  US Army admits to trying to help (none)
    insurgents light their smokes. "Hey, we only dropped W. Pete because they were having problems with the red stuff man. They looked like they were having nic-fits out there. We were only helping them! C'mon!"

    Even in his heart the devil has to know the water level

    by bebacker on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:52:08 PM PST

  •  wow. (none)
    That's it. Just wow.
  •  Shake and bake (4.00)
    Our high minded troops.  I think I am going to be sick.

    Theocracy is tyranny

    by Druidica on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:52:40 PM PST

    •  Wnen we give the military our young (4.00)
      the military will mold their body and their mind.

      Young, naive, gung-ho, proud to serve, looking for a better life, my country right or wrong, 17+ year old kids!  

      Nothing short of an aroused public can change things, nothing less than democracy is at stake- Bill Moyers

      by maggiemae on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:08:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a reason... (none)
        that youngsters are recruited, and not just based on their physical strength, reflexes, etc. One of my teachers was a Vietnam vet who had thought about these things a lot. He said that young soldiers don't question, just adapt to the situation at hand; many older soldiers (freshly recruited) would say, "Go to hell" at orders that were outrageous. It's a bold new phase of development that pits the Constitution against Authority and peer pressure.
    •  catch phrases (none)
      rock and roll
      lock and load
      shake and bake

      It is all so Jerry Bruckheimer. Except it is real.

      They shouldn't be there...

      •  To be fair (none)
        It was the army's first - Jerry Bruckheimer stole it from them, not the other way around.
        •  Oh I totally agree... (none)
          It just is so ...I dunno. Sad.

          I don't think we can judge them for being less than Ivy League when they are in such uncommon circumstances. It must be terrifying. I don't want to be there and I don't want anyone I love to be there and they shouldn't be there.

          They shouldn't be there..."shaking and baking". They should have never gone in the first place.

          I support my troops. I want them home and alive and using the GI bill to go to college.

          I want my high school English teacher to have her son back.

          War makes me want to puke.

    •  Don't Blame the Troops (none)
      This type of gallows humor is common and psychologically necessary when dealing with death and mortal danger every day. ER personnel, frirefighters, paramedics, police talk like this everyday. Outsiders just don't know it.
      •  It's more than that (none)
        From my own personal experience, it's more than just "dark" or "gallows" humor. You dehumanise the "target" in order in order to kill it. I put more than a few rounds into tanks never thinking there were 3, sometimes 4 people inside. Right or wrong, it's a nessasary part of the job.

        "To a New Yorker like you, a hero is some sort of weird sandwich, not some nut that takes on three tigers." Oddball

        by centerguide on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:15:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That may be true (none)
           but doing this job is totally unnecessary to begin with. So I do not feel that is a justification. By the way, Wellington did not use gallows humor at Waterloo.  He wept.

          Theocracy is tyranny

          by Druidica on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:50:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wellington didn't weep in Portugal (none)
            When he signed the order to destroy all the farms, villages, and animals near the lines of Torres Vedras. The order also included execution for civilians who failed to comply.

            But then, he was fighting to maintain absolute monarchs.

        •  Yes, well, that doesn't make your way (none)
          the only way:

          Vergissmeinnicht ('Forget-me-not')
          Elegy for an 88 Gunner

          Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
          returning over the nightmare ground
          we found the place again, and found
          the soldier sprawling in the sun.

          The frowning barrel of his gun
          overshadowing. As we came on
          that day, he hit my tank with one
          like the entry of a demon.

          Look. Here in the gunpit spoil
          the dishonoured picture of his girl
          who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht.
          in a copybook gothic script.

          We see him almost with content,
          abased, and seeming to have paid
          and mocked at by his own equipment
          that's hard and good when he's decayed.

          But she would weep to see today
          how on his skin the swart flies move;
          the dust upon the paper eye
          and the burst stomach like a cave.

          For here the lover and killer are mingled
          who had one body and one heart.
          And death who had the soldier singled
          has done the lover mortal hurt.

              -- Keith Douglas (1920 - 1944)

          "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

          by bellatrys on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 05:05:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  and also by Pvt. Douglas (none)
          How To Kill

          Under the parabola of a ball,
          a child turning into a man,
          I looked into the air too long.
          The ball fell in my hand, it sang
          in the closed fist: Open Open
          Behold a gift designed to kill.

          Now in my dial of glass appears
          the soldier who is going to die.
          He smiles, and moves about in ways
          his mother knows, habits of his.
          The wires touch his face: I cry
          NOW. Death, like a familiar, hears

          and look, has made a man of dust
          of a man of flesh. This sorcery
          I do. Being damned, I am amused
          to see the centre of love diffused
          and the wave of love travel into vacancy.
          How easy it is to make a ghost.

          The weightless mosquito touches
          her tiny shadow on the stone,
          and with how like, how infinite
          a lightness, man and shadow meet.
          They fuse. A shadow is a man
          when the mosquito death approaches.

          "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

          by bellatrys on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 05:07:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sam said it best (none)
            "When you're in the battlefield, survival is all there is. Death is the only great emotion."

            "To a New Yorker like you, a hero is some sort of weird sandwich, not some nut that takes on three tigers." Oddball

            by centerguide on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 07:40:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Get the word out (4.00)
    let people know about this. Don't just sit on the information...ACT!

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:52:41 PM PST

  •  We are done as a nation with any moral standing (4.00)


    Mitch Gore

    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

    by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:52:59 PM PST

  •  too many outlets (4.00)
    in this electronic day and age, witness the abu ghraib photos, there are simply too many outlets for information to keep this kind of thing long under wraps... if this was the vietnam era, we wouldn't be learning about it for years...
    •  Actually it may be similar to equivalent (none)
      events in Vietnam

      Remember the pics of that napalmed kid running naked down the street?

      This may have some of the same type of effect.

      I remember when the effects of napalm were first explained to me (I was in junior high school).

      I'd say that this, more than anything else, made me think HARD about what Vietnam was all about  and whether this particular extension of the Cold War could be justified.

      Regardez! Licorne!

      by dabize on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:01:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Follow up story (none)
        Nick Ut, the photographer who took the picture of Kim Phuc, 30 years later is still in contact with her.  

        Kim lives in Canada now.

        Picture power: Vietnam napalm attack

        •  Yep, thats the one (none)
          Thanks for the link.

          White Phosphorus will bring back our collective memories of this photo and others.

          I have to think that this revelation is going to have a significant effect on how ordinary people feel about the war if any images of WP being used ever get on TV, just like it did  in Vietnam.

          Regardez! Licorne!

          by dabize on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:28:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Viet Nam also brought us "fragging" (none)
        Not much discussed these days, but these were soldiers who threw grenades into the tents of their superior officers.

        fragged, frag·ging, frags;
        To wound or kill (a fellow soldier) by throwing a grenade or similar explosive at the victim: "He got fragged. Blown away" (Bobbie Ann Mason).

        Wonder how much longer we'll have to wait to hear about fragging of commanding officers in Iraq.

        The parallels between Viet Nam and Iraq are down right frightening.

        Nothing short of an aroused public can change things, nothing less than democracy is at stake- Bill Moyers

        by maggiemae on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:25:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Quiet Mutiny (4.00)
          this reminds me I must post a full diary on the above named documentary by John Pilger from 1971, part of the classic World In Action strand that ran on UK independent television for twenty years (sort of a See It Now for the Seventies and Eighties).
          This edition was probably the first in-depth study of the "fragging" phenomenon in Vietnam and has just been released on Region 2 DVD over here (along with several other famous episodes such as Mick Jagger's interview immediately after being released from prison on a drugs charge).
        •  Too late... (none)

          George Bush. The second coming of Leonid Brezhnev.

          by Cletus from Canuckistan on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:57:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Greater angels weep at what we (none)
            have become. How can this country, in such a short span of time, have repeated the horrible error of invasion which was Vietnam, and is now Iraq.

            In reading "A people's history of the Vietnam War" by Jonathan Neale, it can all be laid at the feet of big business in both cases.

            Nothing short of an aroused public can change things, nothing less than democracy is at stake- Bill Moyers

            by maggiemae on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:14:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Fraggings (none)
          have indeed been reported from Iraq. And coverups of fraggings. Very hard to find in the news. You have to follow sites such as to pick up on it.
  •  'HE' is High Explosive (none)
  •  It's just sick. (4.00)
    It's sick how they de-humanize this, how they talk about it as a disembodied strategy with no thought to the imprecision of the targeting.  I mean, I don't like war, but on some level shooting people I can live with.  But just dropping shit down that's going to kill or maim everyone within a given radius?  No.  Then giving it names like "shake n' bake"?  If you can't face the consequences of what you're doing, can't look at them or talk about them or think about them or even give them an honest name, you shouldn't be doing them.

    Dammit, I sound like a touchy-feely hippie.  I'm not.  But this really is pathological, and I don't believe all those soldiers went into this war pathological.  The US government has made them that way.

    •  ..."What Have You Become?" (none)
      I am sick and tired of our country being used to fulfill some sick warped biblical mumbo jumbo.
    •  Support the troops (4.00)
      Troops take commands.  If your job was to kill and destroy all day, you would probably distance yourself a bit as well.  You don't call your hammer "the tool that bashes the nail".

      Keep your constitution close my friends, and read it daily.

      by smokeymonkey on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:18:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. (none)
        It's a manually-powered, fastener-driving impact device, according to the Pentagon.  That goes along with:

        Aerodynamic personnel decelerator (parachute)
        Hexaform rotatable surface compression unit (steel nut)
        Incontinent ordnance (bombs dropped on civilians)
        Collateral damage (civilian casualties)

        and my all-time favorite:

        A pre-dawn vertical insertion (the invasion of Panama)

        Q: Is it ignorance or apathy? A: I don't know and I don't care.

        by GTPinNJ on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:31:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Almost forgot... (none)
          frame-supported tension structure (tent)
          Pre-hostility (peace)

          Q: Is it ignorance or apathy? A: I don't know and I don't care.

          by GTPinNJ on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:36:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  euphemism (none)
          Very nice list, you should keep going and make it a nice diary post!

          Keep your constitution close my friends, and read it daily.

          by smokeymonkey on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:37:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  All that crap (none)
            makes it easier to bloat a budget or explain why the shit you built isn't working.

            The vehicle suffered severely degraded useful operational lief owing to the fact that a hexaform rotatable surface compression unit underwent catasrophic, stress-related shaft detachment.

            sounds a hell of a lot better than

            It won't go because a steel nut broke.

            Q: Is it ignorance or apathy? A: I don't know and I don't care.

            by GTPinNJ on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:41:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  My 'favorite' comes form the NRC (none)
          When referring to a nuclear reactor that explodes, they term it an:

          energetic disassembly

          Ranks right up there with the very fist words spoken by CAPCOM when Challenger blew up. Some 30 seconds after it exploded... CAPCOM breaks the silence with:

          "We seem to have experienced a major malfunction."

          Ya think?

          Keith LeBlanc, (a long time beat mister of the proto-industrial music scene) even had a vinyl EP that came out in the early 80s which used that audio sample on the also named "Major Malfunction".


          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:13:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ethnic Cleansing (none)
          formerly known as genocide.

          Friendly fire - what US fighter pilots do to Canadian Armed Forces on the ground - 4 dead, as one example.


          •  Can you elaborate (none)
            on the friendly fire, US fighter pilots shooting Canadian Armed Forces on the ground?  I have not heard of this.
            •  Both pilots were found guilty of deriliction (none)
              Here is a reference for you

              Crawford TX has the right to have their village idiot returned.

              by hormel26c on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 07:07:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And all that happened (none)
                was one guy was allowed to retire and the other given 30 days house arrest?  Thats it??  The military really does live by their own laws don't they.
                •  It didn't go over well in Canada either (none)
                  nor with the families of those killed.

                  Crawford TX has the right to have their village idiot returned.

                  by hormel26c on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 08:56:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Some stats for ya (none)
                    Thanks for providing the reference hormel26c.

                    (From Wikipedia as well):

                    The armed forces of the United States are widely believed to be more prone to friendly fire incidents than the military of other nations. The Pentagon estimates of U.S. friendly fire deaths are:

                        * WW II: 21,000 (16%)
                        * Vietnam war: 8,000 (14%)
                        * Gulf War: 35 (23%)
                        * Afghanistan (2002): 4 (13%)


                    BTW, I am a Canadian. The "friendly fire" incident went some ways to additionally reducing the Canadian people's support for the Iraq war. Both the incident and the way in which the pilots were dealt with after the fact caused a significant reduction in Canadian support for US war measures.

                    •  I can imagine! (none)
                      How could Canadians feel otherwise?  I just can't believe the pilots were let off so easily, that makes me sick.  The military seems to be every bit as corrupt as the government and that needs to be changed as well.  I was very happy to see that Bush is being charged for war crimes there in Canada.  It seems like that should have happened here but I am not holding my breath.
    •  I get how you feel about this, but... (4.00)
      What these soldiers and Marines are doing here is psychologically normal and allows them to get through their day without going insane.  This desensitization is going to happen in a war, no matter whether the weapons they are using are legal or not, and no matter who the targets are, and therein lies the problem and the tragedy.  It's why the law and the military policy must be clear.

      You have to have it drilled into everyone at every point in the chain of command that you just don't do this shit, no matter how effective it seems to be, no matter how close to it or removed from it you are, no matter how much you grow to hate the people you are aiming at, no matter how much you know they are trying to hurt and kill you or imagine they would do the same to you if they could, no matter what.

      We know that people's moral perspective changes in the stress of combat. We can't expect that, in the moment, they are going to care about what is happening to the people on the receiving end of whatever they're firing into apartment blocks.  That's why you have the rules and why they have to be absolute.  So that the decision whether or not to commit war crimes is not resting on a bunch of 19-year-old kids in the middle of experiencing the twisted psychology of combat for the first time.

      "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

      by eebee on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:18:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly my point. (4.00)
        Doing this is pathological.  The troops didn't (mostly) go in like that.  They've been molded by what they've done because they were told to, by the rationales given for the sick things the Bush administration has passed on down the line for them to do.

        It's a system that twists people.  Best outcome is the troops get home and are not scarred by this.  More likely is that they get home and some are haunted by the knowledge, others are twisted into violent people despite not having started out that way.

        No, the individuals are not for the most part personally responsible.  (I mean, I think in this situation the honorable thing would be to refuse to do it, but I understand that most wouldn't understand that as an option.)  The system is responsible, and that's the biggest part of what's so truly sick and twisted about all this.

      •  Don't blame the troops. (none)
        They are dropped into a hostile country, get shot at, and the fine details cease to matter at that point -- they are going to do everything possible to protect the other members of their unit and to get out alive.  They don't get much info, they just know they need to follow orders and work together if they want to survive.
        •  That's right. First blame the ones who gave (4.00)
          the troops ORDERS.

          Then, we will have to review the morality and ethics of FOLLOWING orders. . .like some at the White House have been ordered to do after leaking the name of a CIA agent. . .and supposedly lying to the President. . .

          This country is in the middle of  a moral meltdown in view of the world, thanks to "right" thinking Republicans.

          I hope Americans realize the need to vote this corrupt party out of power. . .

          Novus Ordo Seclorum. Since 1776.

          by Ignacio Magaloni on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:56:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just don't think the troops have a choice (none)
            It is very appealing to think of the masses rising up and refusing to carry out orders but, among other things,

            (1) it is difficult to muster empathy when you are firing from a distance, especially when many people have been firing back.  I don't know how you would think of 'targets' as 'people' and stay sane, unless you have a very unique mindset.

            (2) regular soldiers aren't told shit.  

            (3) the only thing they have to hold on to is that if they follow orders and stick together, they'll make it home alive.  If they put down their guns and refuse to fight, they are now unarmed in a hostile territory where horrible things happen to those who surrender.  This war will not stop from the bottom up.  Even if the soldiers disagree with their orders, they will fight to protect their friends.

            I don't want this to become their 'baby killer' label.

            •  I'm with you there-- (none)
              I don't want the need for accountability and understanding of these terrible decisions to become a general description for the vital service and sacrifice so many in the military do give to us all.

              Novus Ordo Seclorum. Since 1776.

              by Ignacio Magaloni on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 08:31:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  This isn't new (none)
        Basic training has always been meant to depersonalize and desensitize going back to the Spartans...

        30 years ago...
        Napalm + village = crispy critters

        It doesn't make it more any more acceptable. These guys are being turned into criminals and psychoes. This is why little twerps like the monkey king should never be put in charge of our military. - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

        by chuckvw on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:35:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't Blame the Troops (none)
      posted up thread as well

      This type of gallows humor is common and psychologically necessary when dealing with death and mortal danger every day. ER personnel, frirefighters, paramedics, police talk like this everyday. Outsiders just don't know it. Almost everyone in the same situation would have the same type of humor, ask any psychologist.  Our troops are the Americans most damaged by this ill-conceived war.

      •  It's indicative of something (none)
        that my comment has apparently been read as "blaming the troops" when I thought I was making it pretty clear that I was reserving my harshest judgment for what military policy has required of them.  

        Reading what I originally wrote, I can see some slippage in my use of the word "they," which I should have more clearly laid out that I sometimes meant as the administration/military higher-ups and sometimes troops.  That was careless, because I was (am) angry about this.  But I did nonetheless bring it back to the broader structure, not leaving it to rest solely on the individual people.  

        What I'm trying to say here is two things.  On the one hand, I should've been more clear because my point has apparently been obscured.  The other thing, though, is that it's a sad thing how crazed people get by the notion that the troops might ever be blamed for anything.  

        They're doing their job.  They're following commands.  They're ordinary people in a bad situation.  They're being damaged by this.  These things are all true, but they're also not enough.  At some point people do become culpable for their participation in illegal acts within an illegal war (recognizing that it's up for debate whether this was illegal; there have however definitely been illegal things done in the course of this war), and I don't think that this fact can be ignored forever.  Does following their orders and doing their job make these people terrible human beings?  No (up to a point - I'd definitely argue that there are some things a decent person doesn't do under whatever orders).  But it doesn't make them heroes, either.  It doesn't put them above criticism.  That criticism should only be leveled thoughtfully, with understanding of the system they operate in.  But criticism can't be put off limits.

  •  what do you libs want? (4.00)
    at least they didn't trade pictures of burned up civilian corpses for porn.


  •  Weep with me (none)

    I had hoped the State Department line would -- in this case, dear God, please, in this case at least -- turn out to be true.
  •  Christian values? (4.00)
    Why is it that I suspect silence from Jerry Falwell and his pharisée friends on this...

    GOP: 17th century values, 21st century marketing.

    by Joe B on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:54:58 PM PST

  •  Damnfuck (none)
    Good work, SD.

    You didn't do it.

    by Earl on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:56:17 PM PST

  •  This gives new meaning ... (none)
    to the phrase "Doing a slow burn."  Think America will ever find out?

    Power corrupts. Hey, let's learn it the hard way!

    by Bob Love on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:56:33 PM PST

  •  This, folks, (4.00)
    is a damnable war crime.  John Warner should have an Armed Services panel convened in a week, if he has a shred of self-respect.

    And as if he's not already busy enough, Levin needs to see this pronto.

    Thanks for the diary and linkage.

  • (none)
    Someone with more computer knowledge than me and a registered log in should post this at  I think they were talking about this recently over there.
  •  Well (none)
    I can tell you we fired "Willey Pete" from the US Navy Destroyer I served on during Vietnam..stationed on the "Gunline" off the coast of Nam.  So I think this has been part of the arsenal for quite some time.
    •  I'm pretty sure (none)
      it was widely used in WW2. I'm sure they will try to justify it on that basis, even though this isn't WW2.

      If I worry about the future, will the future change?--Quai Chang Caine

      by Enjoy Every Sandwich on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:01:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Phosphorus is used to attack the giant ants (none)
      in the 1950's science fiction movie Them.  The characters who recommend its use are Air Force officers.  Sounded like it was a regular part of the arsenal at the time.
    •  Willey Peter (4.00)
      I carried WP grenades regularly into the field in Vietnam. We used them to torch huts where we found arms/supply caches. And clear tunnels.

      I find some of the shock disingenuous as this has been used in the arsenal for over 40 years.

      That is not an endorsement of the war which I think is both illegal and immoral.

      •  I've been meaning to ask (none)
        somebody with direct experience just how irritating the smoke is. I gather it's nowhere near the "melt your flesh off for a hundred yards" statement made on the Italian vid, but I gather it can be an irritant. I would guess that if you're using it to lay down smoke cover that there's a good chance you'll be walking through it.
        So I suppose the question is, How bad is the stuff?

        Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

        by justme on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 05:10:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It'll irritate your throat for a while (none)
          but you're quite correct; when it's laid down as a screen, your own troops advance through it... without the need for respirators and with no ill effect. Prolonged exposure to the smoke will make you physically ill in a contained environment, but it is less irritating and less persistent than CS gas (tear gas).

          The intitial burst is nasty and it wouldn't do to be hit by any part of the bloom. It will burn your skin, but the descriptions provided in the Italian vid smack of pure bullshit.

          A lot of decorative fireworks use white phosphorous.

          I was in a forward position and called for fire regularly (not in this war). WP was often used to "mark" target for tactical air. On other occasions it was laid into defilade positions and great quantities would be laid in to screen the movement of infantry or armour.

          Just to add, the original post contained the description of a Marine artillery unit as seen by an embedded reporter. It has been taken by many on this blog as evidence of indiscriminant firing into a random target, and that is not what happenned or happens.
          When that Marine got a radio call for a fire mission he was talking to a Forward Observation Officer (FOO). The FOO was giving him precise coordinates and a pinpoint location for the fall of shot. It is the job of the gunners to put the type of ordnance, selected by the FOO, precisely where the FOO orders it, at precisely the time ordered. Accuracy is paramount because a short fall is going to land on the FOO and a long, right or left fall stands an extemely good chance of hitting friendly troops. There is also a thing called "economy of fire" which is exactly what it sounds like: make every shot count and don't shoot at nothing.

          Indiscriminant fire indicates undisciplined artillery and it is usually only used in a last ditch attempt to stop an over-run.

          Crawford TX has the right to have their village idiot returned.

          by hormel26c on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 07:43:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Oops (none)
    Better start another leak investigation.
  •  I wouldn't so much expect them to deny it (none)
    as to say something dumb like "they're all terrorists anyway, it's what they deserve, it's all they understand, if you don't let the soldiers do this the terrorists will win and kill us all in our beds and then make us read the Koran" etc,'ve heard them all I'm sure.

    If I worry about the future, will the future change?--Quai Chang Caine

    by Enjoy Every Sandwich on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 01:59:34 PM PST

  •  Still not an illegal weapon (4.00)
    I suppose that it doesn't occur to the people on this blog that there may be tangible reasons why WP use is not being denied by all sectors of the military.  That would be because it is not illegal under the rules of war as currently published AND subscribed to the by US.  Yes, some members of the military seem to be denying it, but I would contend that is because they don't want to see this debated in the court of public opinion, or are simply misinformed about all of the uses of the weapon in Fallujah.
    •  Not exactly... (none)
      ..the US government claimed they no longer used Napalm when the UN made it one of their banned chemical weapons back in the 80's.

      The defense more recently has been "this is a new improved version of the old white phosphorous weapons, so technically it isn't napalm."

      It's okay to melt someone's flesh from their bones as they run, because it's 'newer'.

      "If only lies had semen stains..." -- Jon Stewart

      by HollywoodOz on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:03:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  UN Laws are on the books but..... (none)
        We wrote an exemption to the 1980 law for ourselves that exempted us from the ban on the use of incendiaries.  The military simply doesn't use the word napalm anymore because of the bad connotation associated with it.  I wouldn't read too much into this as far as legality.

        Would an international court take this up?  You got me.

        •  Legal or not, there is a moral issue here. (none)
          Do we wish to be like Saddam????
        •  I don't really care if it's legal or not. (none)
          The US said they would use no more napalm in 1980.

          The US now uses napalm in Iraq.

          Legal? That's arguable.

          Ethical? That's not in any doubt.

          A war crime in the eyes of the world? You bet.

          "If only lies had semen stains..." -- Jon Stewart

          by HollywoodOz on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:39:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The shills would say (none)
            Oh, it's not napalm, it's MK-77, which is perfectly legal, yadda yadda yadda.

            What they won't tell you is that MK-77 is new and improved napalm! They are right, it's not napalm... it's better! (or from my view worse)

            •  Chemical Weapons Shills United! (none)

              Hey there factually-challenged mosesfreeman, I did say that MK77 was "new and improved"!

              Haven't you seen enough commentary to know that Truth Matters to a lot of us?

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ / -LONO- ® \ | Disjecta Membra | | Belligerati R.C. | \ San Francisco / \

              by lono on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:15:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I got a newsflash for you guys (none)
                This war isn't being tried in a court of law (at least not yet), it's being tried in the court of public opinion and this issue very well may finally stop this bloody, useless, despicable insanity.

                This diary is about the Army admitting that they used White Phosphorous rounds on the people of Fallujah. That fact alone may end the war, regardless of your definitions and hair-splitting.

              •  How does the 'truth' make any of this diary moot? (none)
                The 'truth' is that we burn babies. That, no matter whether it's done with light fluid or napalm or some new funky form of napalm that nobody has gotten around to outlawing yet, is NOT LEGAL.

                Geneva Convention is not quaint. It applies, and we're ignoring it whenever we drop this shit on a village.

                "If only lies had semen stains..." -- Jon Stewart

                by HollywoodOz on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:51:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I can't believe it's not napalm n/t (none)

              You must be the change you wish to see in the world- Mahatma Gandhi

              by limaike on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:20:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Go Cheney yourself (3.20)
      Just because a weapon is illegal, assuming it is, does not mean its use is always legal. A rifle is legal but indiscriminately shooting at civs is a fucking war crime.
      •  So you know it's illegal? (none)
        I must have missed the bulletin where you were appointed internation judge, prosecutor and jury.  Please post the link.
      •  Ease up there (4.00)
        What that post pointed out is valid and worth understanding in the context of making arguments about the propriety of our actions in Iraq. WP is not outlawed by the CW, so to argue that we are using "illegal weapons" which many on dKos and elsewhere have wrongly asserted in the context of correctly being outraged over its use in Iraq.


        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:15:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ack... (none)
          should have said not outlawed by the CWC (Chemical Weapons Copnvetion) which is part of the Geneva Accords.


          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:20:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think you are missing the point here (none)
          most people on this blog are less concerned with the legalese in this case. what gets my goat is the insistence by some people to always say it is legal even though the more important distinction here is how it was used.
          •  NO, I clearly see the point (none)
            which is why properly arguing this issue and not going for the "illegal chemical weapons" approach is factually wrong and can backfire.

            As Blanchy correctly points out below, argue that this was used to target civilians in violation of DoD regs, and the exemption in 1980 is morally wrong, etc. is the legitimate argument to make. Precisely because it doesn't run off into the ditch on the facts and the law.


            Mitch Gore

            Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

            by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:32:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Words are important (none)
            If the argument is 'we used illegal weapons!!!' then the response is 'no, we didn't.'  The MSM spends all their time on the difference between chemical and incendiary payloads, and calls in scientists to look at the mechanism rather than the effects on people.

            If the cry of outrage is 'we used weapons that have these horrific results' then it doesn't matter if it is technically legal -- the result doesn't change.  Then you can move on to how we've maintained legality through a technicality and in opposition to the rest of the UN (are we the only ones who wouldn't ratify?), and that there are shocking similarities to the chemical weapons that we profess to abhor.

            Shouting about 'illegal' weapons will get headlines, but it could backfire/get bogged down when people are told it isn't technically true. Morally wrong?  Can't dismiss that argument on a technicality.

        •  Again: WP is a chemical weapon (none)
          when used illegaly (i.e. against personell). According to Wikipedia:

          Under this [Chemical Weapons] Convention, any toxic chemical, regardless of its origin, is considered as a chemical weapon unless it is used for purposes that are not prohibited (an important legal definition, known as the General Purpose Criterion).

          If this is correct, it does not matter that WP is also classified as an incendiary. The classification of WP (or any other dual use chemical) as a chemical weapon apparently depends both on its properties and on its use.

          •  And that is the point (4.00)
            The WP is not itself an illegal weapon, but illegal if used against personal and not material targets.

            So it isn't they they were using illegal weapons, but using weapons illegally.

            THAT is the point, and the legitimate argument to make that won't run off the rails.


            Mitch Gore

            Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

            by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:53:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The illegal use of WP (none)
              renders it a chemical weapon under the CWC. As such, it is an illegal chemical weapon when used in this fashion (i.e. to kill/injure civilians, perhaps enemy personnel as well). Thus, with respect to CWC classification, WP is neither a chemical nor non-chemical weapon when its use is not defined.
    •  The whole war is illegal... (none) all the killings and weapons used are illegal.  The US government is killing innocent people in your name.  This is why Cheney is trying to get the Congress to back torture, to protect the entire Bush administration from war crimes prosecution.  Duh.....
      •  I love all this talk about illegality... (none)
        The war is illegal according to whose laws? I don't agree with the war but for god sakes we cannot be subject to laws from other countries unless we sign a treaty saying that we will abide by certain rules (and even then we have the right to drop our agreements in certain situations). In this case, we signed no such treaty or paper saying we recognize these international "shadow" laws, so therefore the war is only illegal to those who do follow those laws and recognize them. The war may be immoral, inhumane, etc. but it is most certainly not illegal.

        -1.00, -2.51 Clinton/Warner 2008

        by bsltiger15 on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:27:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Shadow laws? (none)
          Ok. We didn't get UN approval for this war. We were supposed to get another UN resolution before we went in. Kofi Annan has said the war is illegal from a UN stand point. Israel ignores the UN all the time. So do we.

          So, screw all that "international" pussy stuff. Let's try to make nice with the righties and say, fuck the UN, and fuck all the treaties Bush has pulled us out of.

          Now, let's just look at the relevant US law.

          Namely,  H. J. RES. 114 JOINT RESOLUTION  To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.

          Under section 3, paragraph B, Bush was required to prove to the Congress that Iraq was in violation of UN Resolutions by still being in possession of weapons of mass destruction, and secondly, that Iraq was behind 9-11.

          (b) PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION- In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--

          (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

          (2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

          •  There's illegal and there's illegal. (none)
            A U.N. resolution is not legally binding to the U.S. federal government.

            However, a treaty, signed by the President and ratified by the Senate is legally binding in US law, and is considered to overrule all Federal Code except the Constitution itself.

            Article VI, Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

            This is a prima facie case for impeachment of Rumsfeld.

        •  Sorry but you're wrong... (none)
          ...two quick points off the top of my head that I know to be fact:

          1) Compare the War Powers Act and the resolution Congress passed about Iraq.  Maybe the best lawyer in the world, on his best day, in a sympathetic court, could spin the legality of this but it is pretty clear that Congress is the only body in this country able to declare war, and despite giving Bush the ability to threaten force, there were specific conditions that had to be met before he could send troops in.  

          Now you can also argue that the War Powers Act also gives the President a 90 day window for emergency situations, but considering that it is well known fact now that there WAS no emergency, that dog won't hunt...

          2) We are signatories to the UN (and founders and financial backers) and we agreed to return to the Security Council to obtain final approval for attacking Iraq.  Bush knew he would get voted against so he broke international law by saying "fuck you" to the UN and invading anyway, again on the pretense that it was an emergency which we now know was an intentionally fabricated lie.

          There are so many laws that have been broken here along the way that it isn't even funny, but we all know that prosecuting the shit out of our government isn't going to solve the big fuckup they have created,  But I know for damn sure that picking nits about what we are saying to each other is about as useful as pissing in the wind...

          -5.0, -4.87 -- I have the same rating as the Dalai Lama??? Yeah surprises me too... "Wake up every day and live like you mean it"

          by I Want My American Pride Back on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:59:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  In addition (none)
        How would allowing torture secure our leaders from prosecution for war crimes if they have already committed an "illegal" act in your mind? The logic doesn't work there. Also, could you imagine a world where the leader of the United States could be arrested and prosecuted on a whim (or for any damn reason) by the United Nations or some other world body??? You have got to be kidding me...think about the implications of such a thing. That's why we vote and that's why we have impeachment...

        -1.00, -2.51 Clinton/Warner 2008

        by bsltiger15 on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:30:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not any more... (none)


        The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved to extend its blessing on the US-led occupation of Iraq.  It was meant to expire on December 31, 2005 but will now be extended until the Iraqi government says otherwise.  

    •  As I understand it (none)
      WP has a dual-use nature.  It is valid to use for illumination, but not as an offensive weapon.  This is how it can be put into the hands of the soldiers, but it should not be used against human beings.

      I don't know this for a fact, though.

      Either way, this is some foul shit, and is a (yet another) stain on our nation.

      Even if it was / is legal, should this be the type of weaponry used in a war termed as a 'liberation'?  Used against a city inhabited by civilians?  Used indiscriminately against an entire population?

      Despicable.  Low.  Depressing.  Criminal.

      •  There are several uses. (none)
        One is illumination. Another is as a quick screen while the 'regular' smoke cannisters deliver their load. The third is to start fires (as in delivering a shake 'n bake on fuel trains).

        So yes, it is valid as an offensive weapon.

        And I am appalled that they would deliver WP in a populated area, that is disgusting and most likely illegal (the mere use of it, though, is not a war crime). Nor is it considered napalm.

        •  not illumination (none)

          The military claimed they fired it into the air for illumination. But the Itallian footage shows it raining downward on the city from helicopters. Also, WP produces a smoke screen. The purpose of illumination is to enhance visibility. A smoke screen destroys visibility. If their true purpose was to illuminate, they would have used magnesium flares, not WP. The didn't appear to need a smokescreen, either. It was dark.

          WP may have different effects when used someplace wet like Vietnam as opposed to when used some place dry like Iraq. WP needs air and water to react. Where is it going to find water in Iraq? Human bodies.

          •  Justifying (none)
            I wasn't justifying what they did. I was just stating the 3 reasons, that I was taught, to use it.

            Have you ever seen a shake 'n bake at night? Obviously not, because then you would realize that it lights up a pretty large area and can be used for illumination. Flares are better.

            Those are the reasons. Obviously, none of them applied. And using it in an urban is sickening.

            •  re: Justifying (none)

              I did not think you were justifying, just explaining.    I have never seen WP used live (though I have seen similar effects at short range from mixing molten lava and water) and hope I never do but I have seen the footage.   I know it provides light and never suggested otherwise.    But if you were using it for illumination, you would normally want to use it away from what you wanted to illuminate.   And flares would be much better illumination sources.   Since the attack was preplanned, there is no excuse for not having flares availible - it isn't like WP was used as a last resort.    I was calling bullshit on the claims that WP was used for illumination (and by implication the harm was an inadvertant side effect).   They shake and baked the city.  That was their intent.   Their intent was to indiscriminately kill anyone present.    You can't fire WP into a city to provide illumination so you can see clearly and selectively shoot those who are armed.   It doesn't make sense tactically even without considering the chemical weapon effect on civilians.  

    •  You are correct that it is not outlawed (none)
      by the CWC.

      Your point?


      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:12:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is against the rules in this army manual. (4.00)
      From BOHICA in another thread...

      Chapter 5, Section III, SYSTEM AND WEAPON DATA

      (4) Burster Type White phosphorus (WP M110A2) rounds burn with intense heat and emit dense white smoke. They may be used as the initial rounds in the smokescreen to rapidly create smoke or against material targets, such as Class V sites or logistic sites. It is against the law of land warfare to employ WP against personnel targets.
      •  Those are DoD regs. (none)
        Not international treaties outlawing their use. Nor are they covered in the CWC bans.

        THis is why what Blanchy posted is important to understand, and know precisely in what ways it is "illegal" to use WP and so forth.


        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:25:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read what I posted. (none)
          I didn't post "illegal to use WP" or "it is a war crime to use WP against personnel"

          Why are you putting words in my mouth that I didn't say?

        •  Dod Regs (none)
          But the DoD regs specify that the use of WP in this manner is a violation of the law of land warfare.  What law are they referencing?  
          •  I assume they are refering to the Army's (none)
            FM 27-10. The Law of Land Warfare. 18 July 1956.


            Mitch Gore

            Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

            by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:56:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Dod Regs; Law of Land Warfare (none)
              U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 the Law of Land Warfare clearly specifies in Chapter 1 that the assertions of legality and illegality are premised on international law and its adoption by the United States or as customary international law.  Thus, the DoD regs then would appear to recognize that the use of WP as a weapon in this manner is a violation of international law as applicable to the United States.

              Chapter 1 States:

              CHAPTER 1


              Section I. GENERAL
              1. Purpose and Scope
              The purpose of this Manual is to provide authoritative guidance to military personnel on the customary and treaty law applicable to the conduct of warfare on land and to relationships between belligerents and neutral States. Although certain of the legal principles set forth herein have application to warfare at sea and in the air as well as to hostilities on land, this Manual otherwise concerns itself with the rules peculiar to naval and aerial warfare only to the extent that such rules have some direct bearing on the activities of land forces.
              This Manual is an official publication of the United States Army. However, those provisions of the Manual which are neither statutes nor the text of treaties to which the United States is a party should not be considered binding upon courts and tribunals applying the law of war. However, such provisions are of evidentiary value insofar as they bear upon questions of custom and practice.

              •  And that is the point (none)
                the use of this weapon (which is legal) in an illegal manner.

                Not screaming this is illegal chemical weapons which I have seen in this and other threads, which is a bogus argument which can be discredited, thereby discrediting the larger and legitimate argument that we are doing illegal things, and using weapons in an illegal manner which are grotesque in their effect, and are therefore destroying our credibility as a nation.


                Mitch Gore

                Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:06:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Okay (none)
                  It's not a chemical weapon under international law, obviously.  I thought you were arguing that it's use as a weapon in this manner wasn't a violation of international law as applicable to the United States but solely a violation of DoD regs.  I agree that we must be precise in describing this because we know how the right will shriek back if we make easily discredited arguments.
    •  Note to Kossacks... (3.10)
      This is one of about three or four guys who are working overtime putting out this same message on every diary that mentions this story.

      Their shtick runs as follows, well it's not an illegal weapon, it's not a "chemical weapon", there isn't really a story here, because the weapon is legal, no civilians were actually targetted, yadda yadda yadda.

      In order to avoid being troll-rated they agree that this is a terrible thing, but assure us that no big deal should be made of it, and that we should be very cautious about how we present the story.

      I say give 'em the recipes!

      •  Thanks for putting words in my mouth (4.00)
        I never said that civillians weren't killed.

        People are working overtime talking about this as a chemical weapon.  Instead of doing that, why don't you just document that it was used to kill civillians and then you have a slam dunk case instead of pushing the emotional "this is a chemical weapon" angle.  How about questioning the legality of declaring a town to be a free-fire zone simply because the US told people to get out.  But no, go ahead.  Keep making this argument and see how far it gets you.  Maybe the court of public opinion will judge this in your favor, but we have an exemption to the law that made it illegal.  The exemption is shameful, but it is attached bigger than Christmas to the 1980 UN document declaring the use of incendiaries on people to be illegal.

        •  So you agree the Legality of it is irrelevent? (none)
          To say there isn't a story here because there is an awfull exception for that paticular device is like saying Libby didn't do anything wrong cause he isn't accused of outting Valierie Plame.  Phosphorous is a chemical and we used on people - that makes US very much like the guy we went there to take out.  NOT GOOD in terms of public opinion, I'd say, whether or not the action was legal.  

          Also, so as not to seem to be accusing the marines and soldiers of any wrong doing, cause they didn't, this is a perfect example of why you tell the truth up front, rather than hoping you can surpress it for a long enough time to get away with it.  If the miitary spokes people had informed the US press and US up front that this was the method we would employ, there would be no story now.

          Transparency + Accountability = Honesty (that way we won't have to rely on trust.)

          by David in Burbank on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:51:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Legality is relevant (none)
            The legality of the chemical is obviously very relevant if you are going to make the argument that it is illegal.  If you can get the American people up in arms over this, as happened to Napalm during Vietnam, then no it isn't relevant.

            Why don't people start looking up the chemical effects of lead and arsenic (both highly toxic and both found in bullets) and then try to get bullets banned, or perhaps made from some other material.  It is a similar argument.

            •  Not to mention High Explosives! (none)
              Blowing people up is OK, but burning and killing them with chemicals is not.  Weird but true.  Chemical weapons are disgusting - we have international agreement on that.  No amount of legal fine points will change it.  The American people will be disgusted; the soldiers are digusted; the legality of the weapon is meaninless in the context of public opinion.  If your point is that we shouldn't be claiming the weapons are banned and illegal, OK, you're right.  If your argument is that because they are not banned and illegal we shouldn't  talk about them or point out how digusting and hypocritical is is for us to use them, you're barking up the arong tree.

              Transparency + Accountability = Honesty (that way we won't have to rely on trust.)

              by David in Burbank on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:16:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that we need to be careful... (4.00)
 how we present this and talk about it so as not to sound hysterical but this point is crap and you know it:

          "People are working overtime talking about this as a chemical weapon.  Instead of doing that,..."

          Are you saying it isn't a chemical weapon?  What, then, properly constitutes a chemical weapon?  Because some legal body says it is?  If I got some hydrochloric acid from my local school chemistry department and threw it on you would that be characterized as a chemical weapon or chemical attack?  How about if I put antifreeze in your gatorade bottle like that sick demented fuck on the news right now?  I highly doubt any international bodies have declared that as an official chemical weapon but do you think it is a chemical weapon since it is, in fact a deadly chemical, and he did, in fact, use it as a weapon.

          Its the usage that makes something a chemical weapon since everything in the world, including you, is a chemical, but if you throw sand on somebody, you might be charged with assault but likely not a chemical attack.  But if you drop shit like white phosphorus on a community where you know human beings, whether civilians or not, will be, then you are attempting to burn the flesh off their body, which ANY sane person would agree is a chemical attack...

          Again, your point is taken but really the reason you are getting backlash is because you are muddying a simple doesn't matter if there is a law recognized by America that says this was illegal or "officially" a chemical weapon, the law of common wisdom (which is what counts to the millions of pissed off fucking jihadis out there we are inspiring) says we are WAR CRIMINALS for doing this.  I think suicide bombings of civilians is disgusting, but when shit like this happens, and then one of these fucked up people walks into a convenience store in Jersey and blows himself up, I really better not hear peopel around me saying dumb ass shit like "There was no reason for this..."  There IS a fucking reason and we all know it, legal or not, this country is fucking criminal right now, and being a veteran myself, I will fight anybody to the death trying to hurt my fellow citizens but remember this shit the next time something happens in this country...remember that OTHER countries media aren't afraid to tell the truth about this shit (or even hype it up more of course) and until we turn this country around and start making amends for the last 30-40 years of doing some good but mostly bad to the rest of the world, we should all start buildign "Panic Room"s in our houses and avoid large gatherings...

          And if you can't handle that truth (speaking in general and not to you directly) then you need to wake up, because this country is being flushed down the toilet right now and before long we aren't going to have any rim to hang onto anymore...

          -5.0, -4.87 -- I have the same rating as the Dalai Lama??? Yeah surprises me too... "Wake up every day and live like you mean it"

          by I Want My American Pride Back on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:32:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You want simple issues (none)
            Here is a simple issue:

            Killing civillians either intentionally or because you didn't take proper precautions during a war is illegal.  This is an easy one and is the proper point to make here to the world.

            Arguing that a weapon that is normally not classified as a chemical weapon (as Tabun, Sarin, Phosgene, Phosgene Oxime, etc. are) is being used as a chemical weapon, therefore it is illegal is a very complex point.  Why go down that road?

            WP is used to destroy equipment, like weapons, ammunition, vehicles, etc.  How hard will it be for the military to claim that they used the WP against those targets and that the personnel casualties were collateral damage.  When was the last time that you saw someone indicted for collateral damage when they didn't violate the first point I made in this post.

            •  You see? and thats why we are losing... (none)
              ...the REAL war on terror...because Americans, both Republican and Democrat alike, still think in a cold war sort of way where the two sides mostly played by the rules and stretched and bent them every chance they got.  

              This is NOT the world we live in today... Nobody gives a shit what an American court or even a Western ("imperialist infidels") court thinks is legal or illegal.  There isn't going to be a peaceful exchange of prisoners of war behind the scenes and great land wars where we can decalre victory or admit defeat...

              If we killed every single fucking "terrorist" in the world, but one, he could walk into New York, walk to the top of the Empire State Building, set off a dirty bomb and kill millions, so who fucking won?!?!?

              I'm sick of this stupid ass argument over semantics or wording.  The real court we have to worry about is the court of public opinion and when we have a majority of Kossacks, technically right or not, who think this is not only immoral but illegal, what the fuck do you think the rest of the world is going to think, especially the poor, homeless, disaffected muslim youths we are calling our enemies without any qualification and who are being taught day in and day out that WE are the cause of their lot in life, which in some respects, is true.  

              I really couldn't give a shit if this is a technical "crime" is a crime for chrissake and we all know is a crime against humanity and ANY motherfucker who supports it should be strung up...

              I did NOT spill blood for this fucking country to see it treated like this...

              -5.0, -4.87 -- I have the same rating as the Dalai Lama??? Yeah surprises me too... "Wake up every day and live like you mean it"

              by I Want My American Pride Back on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:16:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree... (none)
        The facts are correct in what Blanchy posted. Screaming about it and hurling assertions of ulterior motives will not address those facts, and can undercut the correct, moral, and technical merits of the arguments against this barbaric use of WP against human targets, particularly in an indiscriminate manner.


        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:29:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I take umbridge... (none)
        I have argued in other threads that we need to be careful in assigning this the designate of 'Illegal' or 'chemical warfare'.  My plea is that the act itself is morally reprehensible and disgusting on its own, without the hyberbole.  Napalm was not illegal in Viet Nam, yet it still shamed the American people into looking at the acts that are being committed in our name.  To search for the legal definition of this action is not trolling, it is being prudent.  Flame me if you will, my mojo can take it...

        "[A] 'Sharecropper's Society' [is] precisely where our trade policies, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, are taking us." - Warren Buffet

        by RichM on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:30:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  after a big defest... (none)
        the trolls are working over time.  Rove is on the ropes, so these trolls will be extinct very soon.  It's their last gasp of desperation before their overdue demise.
        •  Ah... this is not a case of trolls (none)
          pointing out the salient facts and suggesting the solid and correct line of argument. That these weapons were not illegal, but used illegally.

          Be sure to recycle that tin foil when you are done with it.


          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:01:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I thought (none)
      it was illegal when used against personel...  Am I wrong?  It has a legal/legitimate use as illumination.

      Is this not the case?

      "That blood was already on the flag; we just made it visible." - Clare Grady

      by tamman2000 on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:16:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's smoke and illumination (none)
        The artillery uses WP in two forms, as an illumination round that floats above the ground bu parachute while it burns and as a smoke and antipersonnel round that is used for screening and attacking infantry.

        Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on. --Winston Churchill

        by rmwarnick on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:21:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fine. (4.00)
      But know what it CAN be if used as described in this diary?  A fucking chemical weapon.  The very thing we told the world we were going into Iraq to prevent the spreading of (among other things).

      We've found the chemical weapons in Iraq.  We're fucking using them!

      Plus, Protocol III of the 1980 UN Convention on Conventional Weapons use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations or enemy militariesn located in civilian areas.  Yes, you're right, we didn't sign the Protocol, but we were parties to the convention.

      But, the more important question is, is this ethical?

      If you can argue logically that the use of incendiary chemical weapons on an insurgency located in a occupied coounty, in a city, is an ethical act, I urge you to do so.

      I would argue that claiming moral superiority over despots like Saddam Hussein are meaningless when we use chemical weapons on a people we claimed had them (but didn't).

    •  WP isn't illegal (none)
      From my years in the Army I can tell you WP is not illegal, and while technically you could call it a chemical weapon it's not regarded as one by the military.  HC smoke rounds could also be called chemical weapons.  There is an obvious moral issue of firing WP into civilian areas.  Accusations of "chemical warfare" just confuse the issue.

      Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on. --Winston Churchill

      by rmwarnick on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:19:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  depends on the target... (none)
      It's not illegal to use it as a weapon against combatants.  It is illegal to drop it on civilians and the military when they talk about using it in Iraq is always very careful to draw the distinction.

      From what I'm seeing in the news here, including the earlier articles referenced in the diary, they are describing firing this where it's likely to hit civilians.

      "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

      by eebee on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:24:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Important points (none)
        The key here is in establishing whether or not the use of WP in Fallujah violated Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons - to which we are signatory.

        The clear intent, as described in Field Artillery Magazine - however glib it may seem to some - was to engage insurgents. The questions that need to be answered now are:

        Did we do enough to clearly separate combatants from the concentration of civilians within Fallujah?

        Did we take all feasible precautions to minimize collateral damage to civilians and non-military objectives in Fallujah?

        Honestly, I'd have to say that having at least 48 hours of advance  knowledge that the US military was preparing for a major assault on the city of Fallujah will probably result in those questions being answered in the affirmative. If that is so, then the use of this munition - as described above - was a valid tactic that appears to comply with protocol.

        •  I know you are trying to be technical... (none)
 your comment but does anyone really think the civilians were all going to leave Fallujah?  Would you just get up and leave your house without someone sticking a gun in your face?  Probably not.  Do we really think these people all were going ot listen to an occupying army telling them to get out when the "insurgents" living among them had them convinced our military were occupiers?  

          And how about those that DID evacuate?  Any man of a certain age would have been "picked up" by our forces and "interrogated", possibly to death, despite doing nothing but live in a bad city to live in.  So how many families do you think stayed behind to protect their men, even if they weren't insurgents?  

          And here's another questions for you...if we thought all the civilians got out, then why were we rounding up civilians in trucks the VERY NEXT DAY, for picking up the bodies?  

          It kills me the cognitive dissonance over this question...on one hand we want to see these people as uneducated, barbaric heathens living in dirt and eating bugs and on the other we think they should be able to just hop in the car and move on down the road when the shit looks like its about to hit the fan.

          The OBVIOUS situation here was that Bush got a black eye over the contractors and decided to level a city in response.  Our own intelligence services told us that most of the insurgents in Fallujah had somehow gotten out a week before we hit it.  Hell I remember estimates of 40-50k of insurgents there before we went in but we destroyed the whole fucking town and killed how many?  A couple thousand?  And do we know for a fact that all those in that count were actual insurgents or possibly civilian males of the right age group?

          This whole argument about proper, adequate warning is bullshit and if we are honest with ourselves, we know that is true, which is why this IS a WAR CRIME committed against civilians we KNEW were still there..."collateral damage"...  I just love that term - perfect catch all for any of those pesky lingering feelings of guilt for killing innocent fucking people for no good reason...  

          -5.0, -4.87 -- I have the same rating as the Dalai Lama??? Yeah surprises me too... "Wake up every day and live like you mean it"

          by I Want My American Pride Back on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:51:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We're hardly new to that mindset. (4.00)
            "It kills me the cognitive dissonance over this question...on one hand we want to see these people as uneducated, barbaric heathens living in dirt and eating bugs and on the other we think they should be able to just hop in the car and move on down the road when the shit looks like its about to hit the fan."

            Hmm, sound familiar? New Orleans, anyone?

            •  exactly... (none)
              ...I was going ot make that parallel as well but figured my comment would start clogging servers...

              Once I open my proverbial mouth I find it hard to shut up...

              -5.0, -4.87 -- I have the same rating as the Dalai Lama??? Yeah surprises me too... "Wake up every day and live like you mean it"

              by I Want My American Pride Back on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:19:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Look (none)
            I can understand why our military would find these munitions useful in combat but I haven't argued for or against the use of incendiaries like WP in Fallujah. If it were up to me we wouldn't even have invaded Iraq - so none of this shit is sitting well with me. However, I can still be rational about the reality that we're all stuck in now.

            The mission to subdue Fallujah was just one of the Catch-22 realities that we've burdened our military and Iraqi civilians with.

            The accusations here and in other diaries has been that the use of WP was unlawful. My point is that, however abhorrent the consequences of using incendiaries may be from an ethical standpoint, the contention that it's use violated law has not been satisfactorily established.

            Now, with respect to your questions... No, giving advance warning to civilians is not, nor will it ever be, entirely successful in encouraging innocent people to leave their homes, businesses, reluctant family members, pets, etc., behind - regardless of what dangers are headed their way. But in the case of war, civilians who remain are ostensibly still taken under consideration by military commanders - to the extent that the mission will allow.

            In a case like this, a forward observer keyed the target and made necessary adjustments before the fire for effect was deployed; it wasn't some indiscriminate way to clear grids. That means that some troop on the ground saw a serious threat to his supporting unit and either he requested a specific payload of WP - based on that threat - or it was designated for him by a controller. This routine isn't necessarily designed to protect civilians but it does establish that a legitimate threat to our troops existed.

            I don't, personally, hold any commander or troop to a standard more rigorous than hoping that innocent people will pay heed to fair warning and take cover to the best of their ability in a situation like that. Beyond that, I expect troops and commanders to use their best judgment, about whether or not someone in their midst is a harmless civilian, when it's practical in combat. But I recognize that that's incredibly difficult to gage correctly 100% of the time under duress. Still, innocent people invariably suffer and die in war - no matter how much commanders and troops try to limit the dangers to them. The potential for this kind of misery increases exponentially when combatant forces have chosen to use the status of civilians and typically civilian environments as cover for their own mission.

            What you think of as "cognitive dissonance" is my idea of not insisting that our troops be wounded or die rather than risk making a tragic mistake with the lives of civilians that had ample warning to leave. Sure, innocent people stuck around and it sucks to know that we killed some of them in Fallujah. I feel sick about that and I'm sure the vast majority of our troops do too.

            But if this country and our troops suck for incidentally killing complete innocents in places like Fallujah, then how much do you think it sucks for combatants to use an entire civilian population - all of the men, women and children -  as camouflage for their war with our troops?

            I'm real clear on this point - with or without your nod of agreement; no matter what, my estimation of our troops that accidentally or unavoidably kill innocent people in an effort to bring countersunk combatants to the surface will never be harsher than my estimation of the bastards that put those men, women, and children in mortal danger to begin with.

            For the record, I think it's perfectly legitimate to revisit the use of munitions like this - as a policy - but that's not the same thing as declaring the use of them a war crime on the fly. Incendiary munitions like these are just some of the tools we've given this military and our troops the authority to use in ways that are consistent with protocols to which America is signatory. That's reality. Accusing our troops of committing crimes against humanity for using the weapons they're entitled to use, in manners consistent with policy, is foul play - no matter how much you hate the idea of them being at war to start with.

            From my standpoint, though, nobody in this nation has any damned right to deploy our troops with the expectation that they suffer or die, rather than offend some policy-in-progress awareness of what war really looks like on page A-1.

             I may hate the fuck out of this war and every idiot that voted to do it - but I refuse to condemn the legitimate and legal actions of troops to make that point. And that's why I get pretty pedantic about matters like these. I don't have to like the situation we've put any of these people in - all I have to know is that our military is conducting their missions legally. All the emotional baggage that comes with it, I throw into the laps of elected representatives and the civilian command structure at the Pentagon.

            •  Very good comment... (none)
              ...I disagree with a few of your points but it was a well-reasoned argument so I'm not going to further comment except to clear up the fact that I don't think you characterized my view of the troops correctly and thats important to me as a veteran myself.

              It is NOT a crime that the soldiers/marines themselves committed because they were following lawful orders.  It is the civilian leadership that authorized and approved and ordered the type of attacks that have committed the crimes in my opinion.  Its like when a pilot gets given the coordinates of a place to drop a bomb and its 300 miles away so he can't see the place where it explodes.  He is given those coordinates by his superiors.  If it was a children's hospital, would the pilot be guilty of the crime or would his superiors?  I think the pilot is absolved of that action but the superiors should be held accountable for murder, its that simple...

              -5.0, -4.87 -- I have the same rating as the Dalai Lama??? Yeah surprises me too... "Wake up every day and live like you mean it"

              by I Want My American Pride Back on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 11:33:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you (none)
                Please understand, I did not take you to be blaming our troops, per se, for any of this. I apologize if my comment did not make that clear.

                Between you and me, I hate all of this.

                I hate that we've asked our military to do the impossible - create a healthy democracy at the end of damned sledgehammer. I hate knowing that our troops and commandeers are doing and witnessing things we never, ever should have put them in a position to do or see. I hate arguing with generally like-minded compatriots about our military's duties and limitations. I hate knowing that tens of thousands of innocent people have suffered and died for the horrific judgment and grotesque instincts made policy by the criminally insane and deluded in Washington DC. I hate contemplating what all of this is doing to America's dignity and honor. And I hate knowing that my body will lay dead in a cold, hard grave before I find the graciousness to forgive this entire administration and every member of the Congress that set this in motion.

                I hate it all.

        •  I think our attempts to separate combatants (none)
          from non-combatants consisted of simply besieging the city then allowing women, children  and the elderly to leave, but forcing all males "of fighting age" to stay.  I don't think that seriously qualifies as separating civilians from combatants.  In fact it probably added to the number of civilians left behind in the city, as I recall some news stories of families staying behind rather than leave 15 or 16 year old sons to face the attack on their own.

          I'm 99% sure that it was at Fallujah that we used the "fighting age" criteria for separating civilians from fighters, but I will look for a citation just to be sure.

          •  From the Asia Times (3.50)
            A top Red Cross official in Baghdad now estimates that at least 800 civilians have been killed so far - and this is a "low" figure, based on accounts by Red Crescent aid workers barred by the Americans from entering the city, residents still inside Fallujah, and refugees now huddling in camps in the desert near Fallujah. The refugees tell horror stories - including confirmation, already reported by Asia Times Online, of the Americans using cluster bombs and spraying white phosphorus, a banned chemical weapon.

            The talk in the streets of Baghdad, always referring to accounts by families and friends in and around Fallujah, confirms that there have been hundreds of civilian deaths. Moreover, according to the Red Cross official, since September Allawi's Ministry of Health has not provided any medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in Fallujah: "The hospitals do not even have aspirin," he said, confirming many accounts in these past few days from despairing Fallujah doctors. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of US military reprisal...

            The Pentagon maintains there are no civilians in Fallujah... In yet another echo of Vietnam, for the Pentagon any dead Iraqi in Fallujah is a dead guerrilla fighter - and just like in Vietnam this figure includes "noncombatants", women and children. In Fallujah, the Pentagon declared, after fully encircling the city, that women, children and the elderly might leave, but not men and boys from ages 15 to 55. This implies that most of the 50,000 to 100,000 civilians trapped in the city may be these men and boys - many with no taste for war - along with the unlucky elderly, women and children who were too poor to leave. But under Pentagon logic the problem is solved: everyone inside the city is a fighter. Thus no need for relief from the Iraqi Red Crescent or anyone else.  

            -- Counterinsurgency run amok; Asia Times, 18 Nov 2004.  

    •  How do you square your statement about legality (none)
      with this, published a few comments above yours:

      (4) Burster Type White phosphorus (WP M110A2) rounds burn with intense heat and emit dense white smoke. They may be used as the initial rounds in the smokescreen to rapidly create smoke or against material targets, such as Class V sites or logistic sites. It is against the law of land warfare to employ WP against personnel targets.

      •  Those are DoD regs. (none)
        Not international law. And that is precisely what Blanchy is pointing out. That arguing that these were illegally used to target personnel not fixed material targets is the slam-dunk argument.

        Not that these "illegal weapons" were used, because they are NOT illegal, either under international law nor U.S. law.

        The wepaons were not and are not illegal, but how they are being used is against DoD regs. and morally indefensible and disgusting.


        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:36:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Guess what all counts as material (none)
        Bunkers, buildings that people are in, ammunition.  Do you think there was any of that near the targetted insurgents.  Don't try to pretend that war nicely boils down to all these rules.  You are ALLOWED to kill (murder, if you prefer) people in a whole variety of manners.  

        Trying to play gotcha with these rules might get you somewhere in the court of public opinion, but is going to be really hard to prove as illegal.

    •  It is illegal when used against people (none)
      Let me repeat:

      • the substance/weapon is not illegal itself.
      • it is legal to use for light, smoke, destruction of equipment etc.
      • it is illegal to use against people. Firing into a city -- well, what do you think?
      •  AExactly the point (none)
        And why people need to read and understand what both you and Blnachy have posted.

        THAT is the legitimate argument to be making, and a slam-dunk (and not in the Tenet sense of that phrase).


        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:47:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  do you think (none)
    Chimpy will now hide in a hole and wait to be caught..........don't all chemical weapons users do that

    Darth Cheney is already in that hole

    He may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot. Send him back to his father and brothers...

    by distributorcap on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:00:22 PM PST

  •  The next thing you know.... (none)
    the wingnutosphere will just switch gears in an instant and be screaming and ranting about how the Army publication itself is run by liberal extremists who have 'infiltrated' the military.

    Its never about the truth with the right. Its about controling the discussion in a way that makes the truth debatable by describing facts as opinions and opinions as facts.

    This should make the GOP even more nervous about 2006 and 2008, because when they lose the Senate and maybe, God willing, the House over the next few years they will be facing a real hostile crowd of folks interested in uncovering the truth... and nobody is going to give a shit what Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter think is the 'truth' in the corridors of power while they do it.

    Hypocrisy is the intellectual cornerstone of American conservatism.

    by LeftHandedMan on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:01:04 PM PST

  •  I guess this means the next time this nation... (none)
    is caught up in a war against a "real" nation-state, the DoD crew can fully expect troop to be engaged by similar tectics...

    All deals are off the table, evidently.

    I'm sure North Korea is looking into using industrial solvents and other shit to flush out U.S. forces at the DMZ. China is ramping up their production of WP munitions, readying for the eventual day that they will have to "shake and bake" the Nationalist scum from their hardened positions around Taipei. India and Pakistan will exchange WP rounds, as needed in Kashmir...

    And the beat goes on.

    People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

    by rgilly on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:01:12 PM PST

  •  Lies, and damned lies! (none)
    When is the public going to wake up to this administrations lies and the lying liars who tell them?

    It's napalm all over again...

    You go to war with the indictments you can prove, not the ones you'd like to prove. -Billmon

    by Joon on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:01:23 PM PST

  •  I'll only believe McLellan or Cheney (none)
    My cool-aid says that no one else can tell the proper truth. Well, maybe President Bush if he's been properly briefed. (That was snark of a sort)

    So, it's a fact. How do we stop it?  

    Oh, and Hitler Hitler Hitler. Nazi, Nazi, Nazi.

    What do members of the Repub. leadership say when they bump into Pres. Bush? "Pardon me."

    by mungley on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:01:27 PM PST

  •  I want to cry (4.00)
    We have become a mirror image of our enemies.

    Where is my America?

    •  Worse. (4.00)
      We have become the image we painted of our "enemies" . . . (were they ever really that bad?).

      Your America (for better or worse) is still here . . . it's your American government which has been "occupied" and corrupted.

    •  America is right here, on this message board. (none)
      In the midst of all the horror that's been posted here, and perhaps instead of growing angry with one another, we ought to look around and bask in the outrage.

      THIS is America. Glorious first amendment and all. Unfortunately, it's taking refuge online instead of proudly standing up in the real world...

  •  A family member... (4.00)
    who was involved in the assault on Fallujah, mentioned what they called "shake and bake" (he is artillery) in a conversation we had when he came home. He told me I really didn't want to know what it was, and that he really wasn't allowed to tell me.

    I wish I knew then...

    like a stake through the head of your ding dong...the white trash poet

    by the white trash poet on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:02:00 PM PST

    •  Man (none)
      I am sorry that he was there. I am glad that he made it back safe and I hope that he is whole again in mind, body, and spirit.

      Unf, this is going to head in the direction of an Abu Gharaib where the lower level troops that fought for our country take the fall and the generals and politicians that sent them in, will stay on as incompetent ever.

      Will be framed as lower level soldiers "misused " weapons and that they had unintended consequences.

  •  Weren't those in Rainbow Six 3? (none)
    A video game sure as hell doesn't justify it, but I could have sworn I threw one at a guy named magnetbody2000.. he died shortly thereafter.
  •  Field Artillery Magazine? (none)
    They got a magazine for every interest!!

    In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

    by Paul in Berkeley on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:04:31 PM PST

  •  shake n' bake (none)
    "Shake n' bake" says that these guys knew EXACTLY what the effects of white p were.

    This is stunning.  It's also stunning that they continue to lie even though there are apparently mountains of evidence all about.    

    •  it means they are soldiers (none)
      that little piece of jargon exactly describes the tactical use of WP since at least WW2.

      they wouldn't be in the field using the munitions in the arsenal without knowing it.

  •  Very sad indeed (none)
    Add that to the HE (High explosive) and DU (Depleted  uranium) ammunition and we are leaving.  Both US soldiers and Iraqis will pay well into the future for this Admin's (war) crimes.  
  •  FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!!!!!!! (none)

    When you consider something sacred, you will never pollute it.

    by Dmitri in San Diego on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:06:56 PM PST

  •  They buy fire bombs as well- U. S. solicitation (none)
     13-- MK77 Mod 5 Firebomb, NSN: 1325-01-286-3586; P/N: 923AS652; approximately 993 each



    General Information

    Document Type:  Sources Sought Notice
    Solicitation Number: W52P1J04-R-0077
    Posted Date: Jan 13, 2004
    Archive Date: Apr 13, 2004
    Original Response Date: Feb 13, 2004
    Current Response Date: Feb 13, 2004
    Classification Code: 13 -- Ammunition & explosives
    SetAsides: N/A
    Naics Code: N/A  

    Contracting Office Address
    U.S. Army Field Support Command, ATTN: AMSOS-CCA, Rock Island, IL 61299-5000
    A firebomb is a thin-skinned container of fuel gel designed for use against dug-in troops, supply installations, wooden structures, and land convoys. Firebombs rupture upon impact and spread burning fuel gel on surrounding objects. One or more ignite rs and fuzes are used to ignite the fuel gel mixture upon impact. Firebombs are used primarily for low level attacks. The Mk 77 Mod 5 firebomb holds approximately 75 gallons of fuel gel mixture and weighs approximately 500 pounds when filled. The container is cigar-shaped, non-stabilized (will tumble end over end when released from the aircraft), lightweight, and is made of aluminum. It has a 14-inch suspension between the lugs and provides two filler holes, which are 31 degrees down from the t op of the container. The filler holes are covered by filler caps, which are secured by retainer rings. The filler caps prevent foreign objects from getting inside the container during shipping and storage, and provide a sealed closure after the container i s filled with fuel gel before fuzing. The filler holes also provide for the installation of the primary fuses. During fuzing procedures, the filler caps are removed and replaced by igniters, which seals the closure. The production of this item basically requires welding of the aluminum bomb sections in a specific shape, casting filler caps, and a 10 PSI air pressure test for leaks. Fuel gelling mixture beads and MS3314 Suspension Lugs will be government furnished mat erial. Top level drawings are available upon request. Interested parties should send a written response to Mary C. Hill as above, email:, phone 309-782-6654.
    Point of Contact
    Mary Hill, 309-782-6654
    Email your questions to U.S. Army Field Support Command at
    Place of Performance
    Address: U.S. Army Field Support Command ATTN: AMSOS-CCA-M Rock Island IL
    Postal Code: 61299-6500
    Country: US

    Goverment-wide Numbered Notes
    USA-Specific Numbered Notes
     You may return to Business Opportunities at:
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  •  There ARE weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (4.00)
    We have met the enemy, and he is... us.
  •  hmm (4.00)
    Why does the Army hate America?

    /okay, I need to put this cliche to rest

  •  When Chickenhawks are in charge.... (4.00)
    they act in a vacuum.

    THEY never saw - up close and personal - what happens in combat..... and THEY don't see - and smell - the results of their "policy decisions"

    Ironic... most veterans - notably Eisenhower - view force as a LAST resort.

    Any one else wondering if the  current Chickenhawk crew in National Leadership would even make it through Basic training?

  •  Two reasons to be angry (4.00)
    First, and obviously, the US should not be violating the Geneva conventions.  WP is not technically a chemical weapon, but as has been posted elsewhere, its use in this manner is still prohibited.

    Second, this sort of action creates a moral equivalence between the Bush Administration (actually the US) and Saddam in the Arab world.  The Arab world, and even some posters here, have either denied outright or downplayed the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988. There have been all sorts of rationalizations - the disproven assertion that Iran actually gassed the Kurds, the allegation - also false - that the attacks were against enemy combatants and not civilians, and outright denial that the attacks occurred.  Now, they can respond - the Kurds deserved it, and anyway, the Americans use chemical weapons.  

    •  Angry because.... (4.00)
      our government burnt innocent people alive.  Think of our your reaction if this was your family burnt to a crisp.  If we are debating the morality of using weapons such as these indiscriminately on innocent people, then America is fucked.  America already fell and will never get up.
      •  the emotionalism confuses the point (none)
        unfortunately, a modern military has lots of ways of dishing that fate out to people, and it happens in war. what is at issue here is a violation of restrictions on WP use that we agreed to. this is not a case of chemical weapons, WP is not defined as such, and the horrible nature of the injuries it causes does not change that.
        •  and you're claiming (none)
          that that is what will be said by the Arab world? I assume that you're responding to this thread.

          Forget the technicalities, let me spell it out clearly... this diary is about the US Army admitting that they used WP munitions on Fallujah.

          That single fact will fundamentally alter the nature of this war in the minds of many people. Images like what you have seen above will become the icons of this era...defining the war for future generations.

          No one will give a crap about the fact that we technically avoided violations of restriction on WP use. All they will remember is that the US Army burned babies. That is what this thing is about.

          The US Army is burning babies, and here are the images to prove it.

          New information? ... no, we've known it for two-and-half bloody years, but due to difficulties in media access, lack of openness etc, we have never gotten images like these before a national audience. Now we might.

          This information may end the war man, that's what we're talking about.

          We'll probably never live this down in world opinion.

          •  You misunderstand me (none)
            no, that was not my point at all.

            and in no way was I trying to argue that this was not a horrible act and a violatin of the way the US military has legally committed to fighting our wars.

            my point was that as the left in the US make their arguement about this incident, it is important to keep the facts straight. making the charge that this is a use of chemical weapons, in the same way that Saddam was accused of doing during the Iran/Iraq war, is simply false for the reasons I cited.

            I can envision a situation where John Kerry, Wes Clarke, John McCain, and Janice Karpinski are invited to discuss this issue. and I can see their being challenge by the statement that some on the left are claiming this to be a use of chemical arms. and all four of them will have to reject that charge because as military people they know it to be wrong.

            and that is what the right in this country will remember. another "crazy" charge made by the "blame america first crowd" that should be ignored at the outset.

            that is all I am seeking to avoid.

      •  Also angry because (none)
        my party - the liberal wing of the Democratic party - essentially had no policy, said and did nothing during genocides in Iraq in 1988 and 1991.  Peter Galbraith and Claiborne Pell tried after the chemical weapons attacks of 1988 - but there was no public outrage back then.

        Not justifying US atrocities now - far from it.  However, it does seem that many progressives' outrage meters remain at half-way or less, even in the face of abuses involving far larger numbers of people - in Congo, Zimbabwe, Sudan, etc.

    •  WO use is not prohibited by the GC (4.00)
      Those are DoD regs.

      This seems to have been a violation of those regs. but to statte that we are violating the GC with this will not stand up.

      Go for the legtimate argument, not this one.


      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:42:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm kind of suprised (none)
      that the DoD would deny using WP in this way rather than claim that its use was minimal ("isolated cases", "bad apples", "these things happen") or that its use is normal ("used in every conflict since WWII", "have to use WP to save the lives of Marines"). Denying a fact which is published in a soldier's magazine seems sloppy, to say the least.

      I wonder if anyone will try to interview that mortar team again or if they'll be whisked away..

    •  Moral equivalence: Bush and Saddam (none)
      The moral equivalence was not created by this one act, but by the entire history of the Bush administration! Bush is our Mussolini (no, he's not a Hitler). His "justifications" for his actions are no better than Saddam's. This is why we must demand the resignation of the entire administration long before 2008!

      I'm a linguist, licensed to use words any way I want to!

      by MakeChessNotWar on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 05:11:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't get their story straight (none)
    The military spokesman interviewed on Democracy Now on Tuesday 11/8/05 insisted that this phosphorus weapon was used to make visibility difficult for the enemy. Which seems to be consistent with what is reported here.

    So where did this "illumination" idea come from in the first place? It has the marks of a coverup.

    They play footage from the Italian RAI documentary if you haven't seen it, you should.

    The sundown on the union was made in the USA, sure was a good idea, till greed got in the way. -Bob Dylan

    by PoPEar on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:14:46 PM PST

    •  It is used for both (none)
      We need an artilleryman to cover specifics, but from previous discussion, I believe it would be used to illuminates in an airburst and creates a smoke when fired onto the ground.
      •  WP only good for smoke/burning, not illumination (none)
        Maybe somebody somewhere conflated the terms "incendiary" with "illumination"--WP is used for smoke and incendiary effect.

        Any anti-personnel uses of WP are definitely non-doctrinal.

  •  Nice fucking job George and company. (none)
    Nicely done Bush administration, now we really don't have to worry about our international stature anymore. We don't fucking have any to worry about now thanks to you and Willy Pete.

    Just when you think the stupidity meter has bottomed out, we get proof that George and company can push it even lower. Unfucking unbelievable un-American stupidity.

    "I don't reject conservatism because it is followed by conservatives, I reject poor thinking, which conservatives seem especially expert at."

    by dicta on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:14:53 PM PST

  •  Did anyone catch Randi Rhodes today? (none)
    I have to confess to not having read all the diaries about the Italian program, so I'm not clear on all the details about the story, but Rhandi had a guy on who is apparently some sort of expert on weapons(?) I only caught the end of their conversation, but he was basically saying that white phosphorous would not cause skin to burn underneath un-burned clothing. Both he and Randi were stumped as to what might cause this.

    They weren't saying that something terrible hasn't happend, or isn't still happening over there. Rather that we don't have all the facts about what they're really doing.

    Is there anyone who caught the whole segment who can give more info about the discussion?

    I took note of the guy's website:

    • (none)
      That's a pretty hardcore site.  Obviously some grains of salt are required, but I'd be listening to any analysis from their experts; if they say something else is going on, something else is probably going on.  And we probably don't want to know what it is.

      Phosphorus is an evil substance; you can't put it out without a chemical suppressor - water just makes it mad.  And the poster above who noted the dangerous toxic cloud effects is right - a teaspoon of it can evacuate a pretty good-sized building.

      Great job, US.  Why is it that with overwhelming superiority, we have to do shit like this?

      Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

      by Phoenix Rising on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:54:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Didn't catch the show... (none)
      casperr said Randi and her guest were stumped as to what type of weapon would burn flesh underneath un-burned clothing. There are a couple of 'types' - both burn meat but not cloth and you've probably got a "commercial application" of one of these technologies in your kitchen right now.

      Both 'types' are specifically anti-personnel weapons. Nukes are banned (though we continue to develop tacticals). I don't know if microwave weapons are banned by treaty or convention. I don't know if either is deployed in Iraq.

  •  I am actually tearing up (4.00)
    I am so fucking ashamed to be an American today so fucking ashamed..SO outraged..

    Jesus Christ...These sick bastards...

    The dream that was America is dying under these twisted, demented fools.  This is a part of our history now...Done. Forever. It cant ever be taken back.

    American heritage tainted for eternity

    •  Shame (4.00)
      belongs only to those who supported the war. And even they could  channel it into something constructive - such as opposing any politician who still supports the war. No compromise - or you're guilty too.  
      To this day, there are still 200,000 Fallujahn's who are unable to return to their city. They are fugitives forced to live in unimaginable conditions. Those were the people who left Fallujah on orders of the US military. They have been ignored and forgotten. I guess the military figures that they ought to be happy to have escaped their hellfire. Fallujah was an indiscribably beautiful ancient city before we destroyed it.  And during the massacre of Fallujah, America lost its soul - and so few Americans noticed. (No small thanks to a pentagon-controlled media.) The recent military  Operation Steel .. (something, I forgot) on Al Qaim, is said to have been as brutal as the assault on Fallujah. We have to stop this. NOW.  
      •  No, shame belongs to all of us (none)
        With the exception of the few War Tax Resisters - really, your tax dollars and mine paid for this atrocity and now you want to pretend you have no culpability?

        I can see why the rest of the world regards Americans as a bunch of complete fucking morons.

        •  I feel no shame (none)
          because I have felt anger and pain and frustration from the time that Bush began drumming about war. Most importantly, I stayed informed. That meant any news source but US news.  I spoke out and was told to shut up because I was being un-American. (I have a foreign accent .. this does not help.) I wrote to my representatives. I fought with every person I knew who supported this war. I got ill with shingles (caused by stress) because of the fighting within my extended family over this war. One son-in-law wanted to volunteer for Iraq ("because they attacked us on 9-11" - the imbecile!)  I told him I would injure him so that he could not go. (He's since come to his senses and is thankful to me.) Make orphans of my grandchildren because he believed Bush and Cheney and the neocons? Over my dead body. No, I feel no shame. I did what was in my power, and and my immediate family and I were very much alone in all this. Face it, most people supported this war until it looked like it couldn't be won.
          •  So sorry I ranted (none)
            I really am. It's just been such a long time, almost three years. In a way I'm so relieved that the war is finally being seen for the lie and atrocity it is. Like a 3 year old boil was lanced.
      •  Najaf was beautiful too. (none)
        Where was everyone in 1991 when a quarter of Najaf was flattened, 20,000 residents were executed, and George I golfed in Kennebunkport while the US army sat in Kuwait and watched the disaster unfold?

        This is NOT to get the US off the hook now.  It does bother me that so many people who are so involved in Iraq now had so little concern during the rebellions following the first Gulf War.  The US was responsible at that time for encouraging a revolt against Saddam and then doing nothing when the population was brutalized.  

        And no, I'm not a troll.  All I'm saying is that there have been some huge crimes of omission as well as crimes of commission.  

  •  Let's see the White House (4.00)
    try to spin their way out of this one.
  •  OK, two things: (none)
    1. Bush and his administration and his party are committing so many atrocities, coverups, lies, etc, that in effect they are overwhelming all of us. It's almost like it's a tactic. Simply blow our minds away with their criminal behavior. The papers can't keep up with it (not that they try), and our minds can't assimilate it all. We might be able to focus on one crime for a bit, but then 5 more crop up. It confuses your average American, especially when they toss in their usual spin and Orwellian-chatter, and when they manage to find a Democrat who has done something wrong to point to as if that evens it all out.

    Whether it's an intentional strategy or not, it'll likely work to some degree.

    2. Is there a site outlining in easy-to-read detail the crimes and lies committed by Republicans in the last 5 years?

    •  Yes (4.00)
      Veterans For Peace PDF file

      Laws violated by President George W. Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney, public officials under their authority, and members of the U.S. military under their command, sufficient for impeachment

      "The truth is a noble cause".

      by BOHICA on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:32:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great Document (none)
        I had not seen that before or heard of that group (not that it doesn't sound like every other interest group in the country).  I gave you a 4 for that post.  Everyone should read that document carefully and follow the links.  I'm at work, but I'll peruse more thoroughly later.  Thanks again!

        Keep your constitution close my friends, and read it daily.

        by smokeymonkey on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:00:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My old unit - 2/2 Infantry (none)
    That was disturbing to see...
  •  Children were there (none)
    Don't forget, this city was full of non-combatants. Not the picture of an empty city with only a bunch of bin ladens running around that the pentagon paints.

    Children with dolls and toy guns. Pregnant mothers. Men in their 20s and 30s who only wanted to do their best to protect their families. Grandparents for gosh sakes.

    This was a major offensive and early reports that came out were that the city was pretty much leveled.

    The sundown on the union was made in the USA, sure was a good idea, till greed got in the way. -Bob Dylan

    by PoPEar on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:22:59 PM PST

  •  All warfare is based on deception (none)
    I prefer to keep the following fortune cookie maxim in mind when listening to any military source about anything, especially in the prosecution of a war:

    "All warfare is based on deception". -- Sun Tzu

    Honesty is not a martial virtue!

    We must raise the cost of tyranny.

    by zyx zyx on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:23:50 PM PST

  •  USA ! USA ! USA ! (none)
    We're #1!
    We're #1!



  •  2/2 infantry - RAMRODS (none)
    That's what we are, our batallion's nickname.  
  •  Do You Think There Are Enough Shrinks... (4.00)
    practicing to heal the troops when they find out what they have done to civilians?  No wonder the suicide rate is so high among our soldiers.  Impeachement is no where near enough.  Bush and Cheney deserve life in prison for what they have done to the people of Iraq and to our troops.
    •  And they know (none)
      And they know that or they wouldn't be against the International Criminal Court.  There exact justification for opposing it is that it could mean that American troops were brought before an international court.  Um, yeah, that would be the point.  This is just one of the many examples of the USA's isolationism of late.  No to Kyoto, no to ICC, international law has no bearing (we invented it anyway, right?), etc.

      Keep your constitution close my friends, and read it daily.

      by smokeymonkey on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:04:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make sure to save copies of this... (none)
    I'm sure there will be an "edited" version of that pdf file posted in a couple days.
  •  Does this mean that since we are now (none)
    a rogue nation using chemical warfare that other nations would have the right to use preemptive warfare against us?
    •  Yes (none)
      it would

      I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

      by jillian on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:37:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  WP is not a CW covered by the CWC (none)


      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:39:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Any toxic chemical (none)
        which is used illegally, is classified as a chemical weapon under the CWCs General Purpose Criterion.
        •  And that is the legitmate arugemnt (none)
          That these weapons were sued illegally, not that the weapons are illegal in and of themselves.


          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:19:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your claim was that (none)
            "WP is not a CW covered by the CWC." I dispute that, as it is a CW under the CWC when used illegally. Thus, calling the weapons legal or illegal "in and of themselves" makes little sense when their application is not defined and does not address the issue of whether WP is a chemical weapon, as the classification (as a CW) of this this dual use weapon depends not only on properties, but also in its use.
      •  Well.... (none)
        Arms control status

        Use of white phosphorus is not specifically banned by any treaty, however the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (Protocol III) prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations or by air attack against military forces that are located within concentrations of civilians. [2] The United States is among the nations that are parties to the convention but have not signed protocol III.

  •  "we were aiming at the equipment" (none)
    When I was in the Army (85-91) (But not in the Artillery), the wink wink nod nod cliche regarding this kind of targetting was "we were aiming at the equipment" (and the bodies go in the way). Since equipment isn't directly covered by Geneva this was the "ah shucks" way of rationalizing this.
  •  Semper Fry. :-( (none)

    Where am I? Who turned out the rights? - JW -

    by John West on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:34:07 PM PST

  •  someone remind me again on which side we are on? (none)
    the good or the bad?
  •  US troops were hit too (4.00)
    The reality is that white phosphorous rounds hit US troops as well:
    U.S. marines scurried for cover Tuesday, Nov. 9, [2004] to avoid being burned by "white phosphorus," which was fired as a smoke screen for U.S. tanks but landed on their own positions.
  •  Just did a quick write up on this on Phillybits (none)
    Put up a couple of the excerpts but I'll be coming back in a few hours to follow your links a little more thoroughly so I can write up something a little more extensive, include more links, and ultimately a summary of all the links I've gathered so far including news reports, the foreign agencies, the blogs, and everything else.

    Thanks much for this update.

  •  This just sickens me (none)
    I gave them the benefit of doubt. I totally ignored those Italian reports - didnt think they were credible. I guess I was wrong. WE are the evil motherfuckers in the world. No wonder the world hates us.

    The whole bunch of these Bushco motherfuckers should be tried as war criminals for the genocide of the Iraqis. This is genocide, not war.

  •  I'm really making my reps (none)
    work for their pay.

    This is making MY talking points to my elected reps.

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:36:18 PM PST

  •  PDF changed to HTML here - Fallujah Documentary (none)
    US Army Admits USE of white
    phosphorus as weapon
    (link to HTML version of PDF Docs)

    Top Left hand corner of page.... I changed the PDF into HTML structure for easier perusal... I have the broadcast video of the Italian Documenary up in Flash Format and WMV download and clips of Mark Manning's footage from Fallujah.
  •  And how is (none)
    this not a chemical weapon? Isn't one we are there supposed to be that Saddam used chemical weapons against the Kurds? And we are now using a "legal" chemical weapon that just melts flesh on contact but doesnt cause a seizure like Saddam's? So we are saints and saviors while Saddam is a beast?
    •  Yes, but, you see, the reason we're (none)
      really there is so we can set up our missile shield and counteract those nukes that the Chinese and Russians have and, if those went off, the damage would be much more widespread and devastating.  So, a couple thousand are being incinerated now, so the whole region won't be nukes when we have to intercept the missiles shortly after they are launched (which makes more sense than waiting until they are about to hit the U.S. mainland).

      Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

      by hannah on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 03:55:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There WILL be an investigation and blame assigned. (none)
    Unfortunately, the investigation will revolve around who leaked the information.
  •  Perspective (4.00)
    Just in case anyone is wondering, I did some cocktail-napkin math based on the reported kill radius of 150 meters for WP rounds. Thus, my operating assumptions are (1) the 150 meter radius claim is accurate, and (2) I am capable of long division without egregious error. Unless I screwed up, the 150 meter kill radius equates to an area of about 17.5 acres.

    Something to think about.

  •  Looks like Sgrena... (none)
    Was right.


    The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

    by Shapeshifter on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 02:54:53 PM PST

  •  Bastards (none)
    I realize I'm probably going to get troll rated for saying this, but thank god they're not 'my troops' from my country. I don't have to pretend to support them no matter what.

    Sorry. Just had to say that. Otherwise I'd probably have exploded with anger or something.

  •  Welcome to war? (none)
    All this fussy nonsense about WP seems to me like re-arranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. I don't get why this particular issue is such a big deal. The military uses DU (which is poisonous), cluster bombs, .50 cal bullets, all sorts of shit used to kill people & kill targets.  It's like when the wingnuts get all in a lather about beheadings.

    So the US military uses WP munitions against targets while we're at war. SO WHAT???!!!

  •  I am shocked and awed and want (none)
    to shake and bake some people really good. Guess who?
  •  "Shake and Bake Mission" (none)
    The phrase "Shake and Bake Mission" also appears in a Google cache of a gaming board. (The source page is now blank). The discussion starts out with the use of weapons in-game, but segues into apparent discussion of real warfare tactics.

    Dave the dragon
    here squishy squishy squishy
    Dungeon Crawler

    Joined: 29 Jul 2004
    Posts: 287
    Location: south bend Indiana
    Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 4:24 pm    Post subject:   
    Im not sure about that. All I know is when we run shake and bake missions (alternate Frag with White Phospherus) All you get is cooked chuncks. The frag chuncks em, and the WP cooks them.

    Here's something odd: I googled the URL of the link for the next page in the forum (Page 2) and got this message:

    We're sorry...

    ... but we can't process your request right now. A computer virus or spyware application is sending us automated requests, and it appears that your computer or network has been infected.


    Fascinatingly, the message disappeared when I trimmed the 143-character URL to "" but re-appeared when I stretched the URL to "" (and disappeared when I trimmed off the last zero again). Amusingly, for those who remember the first Manchurian Candidate, the shorter working URL is 57 characters long.

  •  WP (none)
    I get it. It's another GOP conundrum. We're debating the use of tear gas why again? I think it's pretty obvious from this that the Army doesn't have a problem using chemical weapons.
  •  perhaps now (none)
    people understand a little better some of those
    outraged "foreigners" that visit here from time to time. Outside of US, this isn't news.
  •  It's a fucking war (none)
    What did you all expect?  Everyone to hold hands and roast marshmallows?  

    This is a perfect example of why I am against war as anything but a last resort.  Now we're stuck there and our methods will turn increasingly barbaric until we either win or pull out.  There is nothing our military could do that would surprise me.  NOTHING.  

    I don't know if WP is illegal, and frankly I don't care.  It's barbaric along with the whole fucking Iraq conquest and occupation.  We are barbarians.  

    So nice for this to be done in my name...

    -7.38, -5.90 "It's called the 'American dream,' because you have to be asleep to believe it." - George Carlin

    by Subterranean on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:22:00 PM PST

    •  I totally agree with you (none)
      This whole thread is completely pointless. Is death by WP any more or any less horrible than getting your entrails blown out by a fragment from an off-target 155mm arty round using "legal" high explosive and bleeding to death and in pain?

      We were lied and cajoled into war, a war which has been a monstrous mistake. I suppose the Marines could throw socks and high fructose corn syrup instead at their targets. But to go froth mouthed about a particular weapons platform or munition with all the other stuff that has gone in as a waste of time IMO.

    •  Perhaps (none)
      you could bring yourself to consider that this wasn't any old fucking defensive war, but an invasion of a country that had never threatened the US AND had been softened and made defenseless by years of sanctions?
  •  Interview (none)
    Good interview on this over at Democracy Now!
  •  I'm glad you picked up on this (none)
    I was afraid the über-blogosphere was going to pass on this one.

    My post yesterday: In our name: chemical weapons used in Iraq

    A comment heavy with links (wow!): US Army publication proves weaponized use of white phosphorus

    I got it from The Heretik, who's writtten about this before.

    We need the MSM to pick up on this! These horrors have to stop!

  •  MSM Works for Rove (none)

    What a fricking disgrace.  The Merkan media shoulda been all over this, but they care nothing for human life, nothing for honor, nothing for truth, nothing for keeping the public informed.

    They care only about money, and nearly all of the journalists have either been bought outright (they are 'assets") of AmeriKills or they have been blackmailed or love the big salaries, easy sex, celebrity, travel and other perks of the job.

    Thanks to the diarist for nailing this motherfucker down.  We have become, unabashedly, what we lied to all the world saying we were fighting to defeat.

    "In this world limits are not only inescapable but indispensable." (Wendell Berry).

    by proudtinfoilhat on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 03:34:46 PM PST

  •  A day when I'm glad I'm female. (none)
    I can go into a corner and sob that my country is doing such a horrible thing to people, and it'll be written off as just a weepy girl.

    I just wish I could have done more--something--to stop this.

  •  After reading to that description.... (none)
    ... all I can say is "Jesus. War is hell."
  •  Listening to Randi Rhodes right now (none)
    She's just now airing in Portland. She's talking to some guy whose name sounds like John Pike and has a Web site,

    Both Randi and her guest seem utterly confused by this issue. What are we using over there? What did the footage from the Italian documentary show?

    I haven't seen the photos, and won't seek 'em out. But Randi said she saw some, and it looked as if some people's skin was burned to the bone whereas others had leathery skin. Her guest said leathery skin is indicative of bodies being left out to rot in the sun.

    The guy Randi was talking to, who seemed pretty knowledgeable, said white phosphorous isn't going to burn skin while leaving clothing intact. He didn't think the pics he saw from Fallujah were compatible with WP. Neither one of them thinks it is compatible with napalm, either.

    The segment ended with both he and Randi saying that the military needs to own up about what is being used (that's a given), because it is likely either something new or something banned.

    •  This Does Not Address Admissions In Diary (none)
      The Diary author is not talking about what we think happened or the Italian piece, he is discussing apparent admissions in literature and elsewhere by the U.S. military that it uses this chemical material in this manner.

      There is a big difference from discussing the one thing, based mostly on allegations that would have to be further investigated but which indicate a very good possibility of war crimes, and admissions of useage of a toxic chemical in a manner that would be prohibited by law by the potentially guilty party in other contexts.

      These admissions would also indicate that useage and responsibility rests at a much higher level than the grunt level.

  •  How high did this go? (none)
    That's my question -- who ultimately signed off on this?

    "There is no god, and I am his prophet." SocraticGadfly

    by steverino on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 04:05:47 PM PST

  •  US troops use of WMD not surprising (none)
    After all, aren't we trying Saddam on charges listed in teh Nuremberg Charter (that, essentially, by not subscribing to International Crimes Court, the U.S. doesn't which to be subject to itself)?

    The video is horrific, and a well done piece in the name of anti-Americanism. Blame, or leaks are irrelevant at this point - because HERE WE ARE. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to somehow work to improve the image of America abroad (and at home for that matter).

    GWB nearly killed me when he tried to Katrinafyingly gave best wishes to those struck by a deadly tornado in Indiana from his post in South America over the weekend. Jorge, the tens of thousands of innocents that have been killed over the past few years in Iraq are people two!

  •  The Awakening (none)
    I am concerned about too much focus being put on whether or not use of this stuff in this manner is "illegal." Narrowly focusing on this particular weapon and the particular members of the military that used it or authorized the use of it, even if successfully pursued to a conclusion, would only result in the conviction of a few low level guys who "should have known better than to use ol' Whisky Pete in this manner."

    The issue is much broader than this, and it involves the entire manner in which we are fighting this war now. We are now using an entire cornucopia of awesome munitions. Is aerial bombing of villages any less lethal than using mortars to deliver Whisky Pete? Are we using MK77 as an anti-personnel weapon? (There is much confusion on this, but I don't think WP is the same as MK77 -- and someone should tell that to Randi Rhodes before she confuses everyone even more.) How about cluster bombs?  

    All of these are weapons with legal and illegal uses. Are we systematically using the entire arsenal at our disposal in an illegal manner? It is an important question. It sure sounds like we are, but there is a much more important issue that cries out for attention.

    What the heck is going on here?

    We went to Iraq to defeat an army. Our soldiers went their to defeat their soldiers. In that context the use of our awesome destructive capabilities, even if used in a manner bordering on illegal, could conceivably be justified. Let me say that if I was in a tight spot and the only way out was to "shake and bake" some of the opposing army men, I would be mightily tempted.

    But, this is not the current situation in Iraq.

    We easily defeated their army. We rolled into Baghdad and took over the city. We may have expected to be greeted as liberators, but we were not. We we greeted as conquerors, occupiers.

    The enemy changed from the Iraqi Army to the insurgents. Conveniently insurgent is the name now given to anyone who opposes our domination, and can easily be extended to anyone who gets in the way of our bullets and bombs.

    When you here that 55 insurgents were killed in some bombing raid along the Syrian border, it simply means that 55 people were killed using an indescriminate weapon. Our military may say that they take great pains to target only insurgents, but when they are mixed in with the population and derive their support from the population I suspect that it gets pretty easy to feel justified in just "calling it in" and taking out the whole rotten mess, non-combatants, women, children and all.

    This is the stage of our moral decay. We have devolved from a noble army going off to war to fight another noble army. We are now an army of occupation engaged in tactics to subdue a population that doesn't want use there. Targets are not tanks and planes and infantry. Targets are cities that are insurgent strongholds.

    We are bombing cities in the land that we have liberated. We are fighting young boys who have picked up weapons because their families are gone, their homes demolished. We are breaking down doors and searching houses, women and children because they may harbor insurgents.

    It is not going well, and we are getting frustrated. Armies are not good at restraint. Perhaps we thought it would be possible to conduct an aseptic war. Remember how much we heard about precision bombs that could just get the bad guys. Well, we've come to decide that their are a lot more bad guys, and we've progressively justified the use of less and less precise weapons. Now we are targeting cities and towns, and laying waste to them to get the bad guys. But the bad guys are everywhere, and these tactics just create more people willing to join the struggle against us.

    There can be no end to this escalation of pointless carnage unless we awaken to the reality of our predicament. We are not fighting a war any more. There is no enemy. There is just a shattered nation, full of people who hate us enough to take up arms and try to kill us as well as anyone who collaborates with us.

    It is time to wake up America. Let's go home.

  •  Your link.... (none)
    Early in the story was to a U.S. State Department site.  Hope you can contact those "misinformation" clarifiers and show them what the Army has to say!  Thanks for the article.  Wonder if Al Frankin has this??
  •  A former Infantry SGT (2.50)
    Nobody has the right to say "US fucking Army" unless they served in it.  On to my points.

    WP is used primarily for marking targets for airstrikes (by helicopter or jets).  It can also be used to screen the view of the enemy.  It is delivered primarily by artillery, mortars, or aerial rockets.  It can be used against personnel, but is typically not as effective as a high explosive for killing people.  It can be used to drive people out of an area into the open where they can be more easily killed.

    Flares that illuminate an area and float down on parachutes are typically magnesium and anyone would be hard pressed to confuse these two weapons.

    Napalm is for killing people.

    As a former infantry sergeant, I am hard pressed to believe that ANYONE on the ground would intentionally target civilians and civilians alone.  The nature of the battle on the ground from the perspective of the soldiers with feet in the dirt dictates this would be a tactically futile effort and only serve to exacerbate an already extremely hostile environment.  These people, 18-30 year old soldiers, are put into situations where their lives depend on making decisions we (now civilian) can't even fathom. I myself can't imagine having to decide for instance: how do I get these guys who are shooting at me out of the school house or hospital they are occupying?  Do I shoot back at the guy shielding himself with a child while he fires his AK at me?  These are things people really need to think about before they start making statements like "we are using chemical weapons against the Iraqis".  They aren't Chemical Weapons as the vernacular is normally understood and to characterize them as such is just pure spin.  

    The tragedy is that war is killing.  Nobody is spared from this tragedy; civilian, soldier, insurgent, children, or otherwise.

    It's just a sad situation forced upon our soldiers.

    •  Fucking US Army (none)
      As we saw in New Orleans, just because you order an evacuation, doens't mean that all obey. In fact the rich obey. The US Army had to know that Fallujah has thousands of civilians in it, yet the fucking US Army razed it anyway, subjecting the poor, the invalid, the old, children, widows, etc. to directly experience the joys of WP.
  •  Be all you can be: (none)
    An arsonist of human flesh.


    Defending bad taste and liberalism since 2005.

    by jurassicpork on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 05:32:05 PM PST

  •  I think it's worth mentioning (none)
    that Jon Corzine now has the power to appoint an anti-war Democrat to the Senate, versus a party insider we're not so sure about.  We need all we can get.

    Support IWT
    Independent World Television
    The Alternative to the Corporate Media

    by Cool Blue Reason on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 05:41:38 PM PST

  •  what will we do (none)
       when another regional conflict occurs?Will the US still have the moral authority to stand before the nations of the world ,when the next threat to world peace occurs?Will they listen to us or will we have to cajole,threaten or bribe them?And will they not be secretly rooting for our enemies if we again suffer a terrorist attack?

    The implications of this war will live not with us but with the next generation as nations like China will see that we only honor international norms to suit ourselves.

    Think how far we've come from September 12,2001 when as news of the attacks spread whole nations wept for us and our dead.The world was united in its outrage,but i'm starting to fear that the next time(God Forbid)it will be crocodile tears.

    Go harry go! The American People.

    by blacklib on Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 06:33:05 PM PST

  •  Toxic Chemical and Chemical Weapon Definitions (none)
    I'm no expert, just using my google to verify and look up facts.

    AND ON THEIR DESTRUCTION (the "Convention")

    In the Convention, "Chemical Weapons", as defined, can be a "Toxic Chemical", as defined.  What seems to be important, and this is where the useage in Fallujah comes into play, a Toxic Chemical can become a Chemical Weapon when you look at the specific given uses, purposes, design and quantities in a specific context.  These definitions are inadequate to determine what exactly would be looked at, but I think we can consider these issues in discussion, and given what we've seen, the evidence may indicate that a toxic chemical, White Phosphorus, became an extremely potent and horrific chemical weapon in this context.  

    It would be bad if the forms of distinction undermined the purpose of this Convention, which was to absolutely outlaw the use of toxic chemicals in an indiscriminate manner in warfare.

    1. "Chemical Weapons" means the following, together or separately:

    (a) Toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited under this Convention, as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes;

    (b) Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in subparagraph (a), which would be released as a result of the employment of such munitions and devices;  

    (c) Any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions and devices specified in subparagraph (b).

    "Toxic Chemical" means:

    Any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals. This includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, and regardless of whether they are produced in facilities, in munitions or elsewhere.

    It seems as though there are indications that this chemical substance, White Phosphorus, may have multiple uses which can and have been claimed to have inadvertently caused death, but which, according to testimony, news reports and military literature, in actuality soldiers and likely commanders may have used intentionally to cause death indiscriminately by a process known as "shake and bake".  I would gather that this indicates that further scrutiny and investigation is required (likely mandated by law) to determine the facts, and that efforts to cover-up the facts will also ensue if the facts are true.  A cover-up likely has already taken place if the facts are true.  Should the facts indicate war crimes were committed, then certainly those failing to perform their oversight responsibilities, as well as those who covered up the matters might be held to be morally, if not legally liable for what may be an atrocity of historic proportions.  

    Not being a legal expert on these matters, and really only a citizen using my google, I'd have to say that there are, as I understand it, legal doctrines that take responsibility right up to the highest level when crimes like these are committed, if crimes were committed.  It seems to me that responsibility for immediate actions should rest in congress, but if the MSM will not report this issue in the United States, it is likely no such action will take place.  Only a few venues have touched the story, and as of yet, it has not received attention by a broadcast or cable news outlet.

    Not being at all expert on this, I hope that other like-minded persons, with expertise and looking to hold our country to a high standard, will comment or bring their expertise to bear in this discussion.

    •  Recommended Article (none)
      Legal Issues Concerning Military Use Of Non-Lethal Weapons

      Let's look at a relevant section in that article, dealing with the "Legal Framework" for the use of non-lethal weapons [emphasis added]:

      Principles of the Law of Armed Conflict

      1. According to article 36 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1977[48] (hereafter Protocol I), any High Contracting Party has the obligation to assess the legality of a new weapon in light of the provision of the protocol or other international instruments. The main relevant provisions are articles 35 and [51]

      2. Article 35 expressly prohibits arms that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering. Article 51 prohibits arms that are indiscriminate in their effects. Even a leading country like the United States -which did not ratify Protocol I- recognizes these principles as "legally binding as customary law".[49] The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion on nuclear weapons, confirmed the meaning of these rules: certain weapons can be illegal, whether a specific treaty prohibits them or not.[50]

      The "superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering" principle

      17. As far back as 1625, in De Jure Belli Ac Pacis, Grotius demonstrated the necessity of temperamenta belli (or imposing limitations on the destructive power of weapons to be used). The Hague Regulation of 1907 repeated this principle in article 22, stating: "the right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited."51 Since then maxims such as "Kriegsraison geht vor Kriegsmanier" ("the necessity of war take precedence over the rules of war") or "Not kennt kein Gebot" ("necessity knows no law") do not seem to have prospered. The prohibition of superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering is a corollary of the above limitations. The object of combat is to disarm the enemy; therefore it is prohibited to use any means or methods that exceed what is necessary for rendering the enemy hors de combat. This has always been applied to the existing weapons and to the development of new technologies. It has been affirmed as early as 1868 in the Saint Petersburg Declaration, in which the Parties "reserve to themselves to come to an understanding [...] in view of future improvements which science may effect in the armament of troops, in order to maintain the principles which they have established, and to conciliate the necessities of war with the laws of humanity."[52]

      The "discrimination" principle

      18. This is a fundamental principle of the law of armed conflict, if not "the most fundamental".[53] Specifically applied to weapons, this principle prohibits the means or methods of warfare that cannot be directed against a specific military objective and are thus of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilians objectives without distinction (article 51 par. 4, Protocol I). An example given by the U.S. is SCUD missiles during the Gulf War.[54]

      See also, Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1)

      Note: Sorry for the odd formatting, couldn't seem to get the entire article to format the same.

  •  shake 'n' bake? (none)
    Excuse me, but how do you train people to use this kind of language about unleashing hellish torture on innocent human beings?  Just can't quite get my mind around it....
    •  Yes. Good question. (none)
      (a) Trivializing those horrendous things they're doing to salve their consciences. Downsizing atrocity.

      (b) Depersonalizing by using - what is it, videogame language? - I don't know, I don't play them.

      (c) Damping the inescapable horror with forced humour

      (d) Just using crisp professional code which transmits better on the battlefield, like 'Willie Pete' for 'White Phosphorus'.

      Whatever. That's the language of people who've detatched themselves from the carnage they're dispensing so thorougly and indiscriminately.

      I may be wrong, and hope I am. I would like some battlefield veteran to correct me.

  •  and the cliff's notes version (none)
  •  Forgot to insert (none)

    ...standard wingnut rant of ineffective, corrupt and useless UN.  If France and China had such problems with the war, certainly thay could have abstained?

    Oops, forgot, France has other things on its mind (locking up any black kid the gendarmes pick up for 10 months) and China doesn't want to interrupt its rape of Tibet, oppression of Christians and Muslims, etc.  They wink at us, we wink at them.  

  •  Republicans are in full denial (none)
    Attack the source, claim it isn't a chemical weapon, no big deal. Check out the reactions of war criminals here:

  •  I'm frustrated with this. (none)
    I was reluctant to run with it but finally did last night, posting this info to my favorite gaming forum.

    I'm going to have to distance myself from it now because this looks like horseshit.  I'm embarassed and actually even a little pissed off that Atrios and Kos made it sound like it was finally a solid story.

    How do we know the WP wasn't used for its intended purpose but very clumsily, or by soldiers that didn't appreciate its proper use?  I need that clarified.  This doesnt pass the smell test without better confirmation.  

    Sorry.  I should have waited.  I should have read the accompanying material more closely before going with it.  I feel like a goddam Judith Miller right now.

    •  What?! (none)
      Did you read the quotation in the very beginning of this diary? They admitted that they used WP as a weapon. In what way isn't that solid?

      "I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas." -Winston Churchill

      by Johannes on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 03:06:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  To be fair, the residents (none)
    of Fallujah were told to get out of town, just like the residents of New Orleans.

    The failure to be obedient is sufficient evidence of resistance, which is not to be tolerated.

    Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

    by hannah on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 03:37:45 AM PST

    •  Fair my ass (none)
      As we saw in New Orleans, the poor, the sick, the elderly and the weak were unable to leave. The US did not provide the vehicles for those who could not leave. Nor did it provide tent hospitals and camps with running water and food stocks. It condemned the people left inside the city to death, most of whom were not insurgents.

      We're medieval cocksuckers.

  •  When your only tool is a hammer (none)
    every problem looks like a nail. (Or like your thumb in the case of Prez).

    When your only tool is an awesome, hideous, overwhelming, overpowering, collossal weaponry capability - when that's just about the only dimension in which America remains way way superior - every problem looks like something to be blown out of existence.

    Don't solve it, just annihilate it. Civilians or insurgents? That's nuance, and 'I don't do nuance'.

  •  How f***ing ironic (none)
    Sy Hersh is in the background (C SPAN) as I read these posts ...
    Mr. Hersh came to national prominence by "breaking" the My Lai story.

    " Wasn't the civilian population of Fallujah evacuated, with notice that it was about to become a hot war zone? Didn't this happen over several days, with ample transport? Therefore, wasn't it a fair assumption that anyone within range during the battle was a combatant? I recall the evacuation being described as having been pretty complete. In fact, I recall folks on the blogs complaining about what a mean thing it had been to evacuate everyone like that."

    "They were VC" was used by the Army and Calley's defense team in the runup to his trial.  Hell, the soldiers questioned in the Pulitzer Prize series by the Toledo Blade, used the same argument just last year.  Believe Bob Kerrey may have used it in his come to jeebus "I may have been involved in atrocities" moment a few years back.

    LIFE Magazine graphiclly put My Lai in the nation's face, and after that there was no sitting on the fence about Vietnam.

    Americans have been spared of any of the "ickiness" of this war thus far, save for occasional pictures of valiant but wounded soldiers.

    Imagine, for whatever reason (slow news day, shrinking viewership) some MSM outlet goes with this.

    Imagine, Americans sitting down to catch the news only to hear Brian Williams warn "Due to the graphic and disturbing nature of these images"

    All the well informed comments above about Army Regs, DoD Field Manual, Chemicals used, wont matter a rat's ass.  There'll be all kinds of talk about "Peace with Honor"

  •  The Hypocrisy of U.S. Policy (none)
    If it is indeed true that the U.S. military used "white phosphorous" on the population of Iraq, it is committing the crime they accused Saddam of prior to the invasion, i.e. that of using chemical weapons "against it's own people", since the new Iraqi army is now an active participant in the fighting and the U.S. bears an implicit responsibility for Iraq's citizens as an occupying power.

    The support for and complicity in Saddamm's crimes involving chemical weapons by the U.S. in the 1980's is likewise a textbook case of hypocrisy.

    This is not to mention that the use of chemical weapons is specifically banned by various treaties, to which the U.S. is a high contracting party. This is similar to the use of torture: an outright rejection of humans rights and defiance of international treaties. If the U.S. weren't a super power, it would certainly be a rouge state (in the international sense) by any standard of the word.

  •  Smoke, Incendiary, or Caustic (none)
    If the US used WP or anything else as a chemical weapon in Iraq it should stop. This doesn't give the insurgents the right to take over a constitutional democracy and destroy it.

    White Phosphorus
    WP can have 1 of three effects:
    1. WP can contact the skin and react directly in a caustic manner, in which case it is a banned chemical weapon.
    2. WP shells can create heat and act as an incendiary, like napalm. This is legal by treaty.
    3. WP can generate a lot of smoke which obscures vision and can be very irritating to mucous membranes. In sufficient concentrations, WP smoke could be a chemical weapon, but a weak one, compared to Sarin, Tabun, VX and all that.

    In the case of Fallujah, the targets were hit by regular artillery which proved non-effective because the targets were well under cover. The US Army then put WP shells in the same artillery cannon and fired same-sized WP shells, which presumably landed in pretty much the same place as the regular artillery. Since the regular artillery shrapnel did not reach the enemy, then the direct effect of the WP shells couldn't have reached the enemy either. This leaves smoke effect, inside a bunker. The smoke could have gone around corners, down stairs, and under doors.

    Imagine being in a bunker, pounded by loud artillery, where you suddenly cannot see to shoot, cannot be seen by the enemy and cannot be seen by your commander and your eyes may be watering. What the same "Field Artillery" article said was that the insurgents ran out of the bunker and were killed by regular artillery. This explains the Army description of WP as a "Psychological weapon".

    And since the WP did not kill the people it was aimed at it probably didn't kill anybody else either, although the evidence is not tight here.

    If autopsies had been performed on those oddly-decayed bodies we would know more.

    We are simply jumping to conclusions if we assume that the use of WP was as a "Chemical weapon", since that requires an Intentional Toxic effect.

    The direct use of any weapon against civilians is of course, illegal, chemical or not. But in Fallujah, the enemy doesn't wear uniforms, so it may be hard to tell the difference. This is one reason that the various treaties and conventions require combatants to wear uniforms. On the other, hand, those people could have died of the flu and we wouldn't know the difference. The movie isn't enough evidence to decide.

    It is not too late to exhume some of the bodies and to look for residues of White Phosphorus. This should be done.

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