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  •  or when the IDF used (21+ / 0-)

    White phosphorus in Gaza?

    They have been using white phosphorous since 2007, the u.s. used it in the battle of Fallujah in 2005.

    •  Every time phosphorus is mentioned, I flash to (6+ / 0-)

      that picture of the little girl.   No way do I want to look at your link.

      Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 06:36:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The issue is wmd's (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, Sandino, elwior, artmartin, suzq

        I was trained in CBR warfare during the Vietnam War. Like most things each precedent we set for man's inhumanity to man (and woman) get's bumped up by people who think in terms of shock and awe and attrition as designed to reduce the will to fight.

        Weapons of Mass Destruction in antiquity were limited to things like armies, but they had no problem killing cities with five figures of civilians expeditiously. As recently as Falujah they still don't.

        The use of plague delivered over the walls of besieged cities full of starving people with catapults loaded with infected meat might qualify as a particularly horrendous example because its thought to have led to the black death which wiped out most of Europe int he 13th century.

        Blankets infected with smallpox may have wiped out most of the indigenous population of North America back when America was just getting started.

        In the Modern sense we can go back to the Civil War and include sapping and mining battlefields, machine guns, and artillery. Gas was used in the first world war and the incendiary destruction of cities, nuclear weapons and holocaust were used in the second.

        No military weapon is particularly pleasant to be on the receiving end of. Weapon's of Mass Destruction that kill civilian populations would obviously include the bombs and incendiaries used to fire bomb Dresden and various other German and Japanese cities before we decided that nukes could wreak the same or greater damage with just a single bomb.

        People fighting to the death whether it be suicide bombers or snipers, or peasants placing punji stakes and booby traps in all the trails around their village make it pretty clear that our desire to kill each other continues unabated.

        Since then genocides like Rwanda and the cold war attempts to destabilize various parts of what were perceived as the communist sphere of influence have just continued unabated until they have wracked up more casualties than all the horror of WWI and II.

        By Vietnam napalm, and white phosphorus were in common use against civilian populations along with bombing, strafing, mines and agent orange which continue to kill for decades after a war is over.

        Big guns, drones and large bombs kill by concussion as well as shrapnel and their killing radius can easily be a hundred meters. Shock and Awe in Iraq killed innocent civilians by the hundreds of thousands in the name of a lie for which no one has ever been punished.

        In Afghanistan our allies against both the Soviets and the Taliban were bandits, drug dealers and warlords; likewise wherever our covert actions have required force extenders; our use of drugs, prisons, kidnapping, torture, and murder to weaken civilian populations has been notorious all over the planet since the days of Fenimore Cooper and his description of Rogers Rangers raids on the Abenaki of New England.

        The iron rain of plechettes that we used in the Gulf war and our ability to destroy entire armies with napalm, white phosphorus, and other clever instruments of destruction have not gone away and war has not become less horrible.

        At present our ability to contemplate the imminent death of our entire species in all the nasty little ways caused by climate change and hinted at in all the apocalyptic sci fi we have watched for the last half century ought to be considered the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, but I don't see a lot of people recognizing that yet.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:06:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It wasn't blankets, it was PEOPLE (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          White Europeans with a shit-ton of diseases and a shit-ton of immunities moving into an area inhabited by people who had neither.

          Nobody needed to do anything intentionally - the diseases WERE going to rampage out of control and WERE going to mow down the defenseless indigenous population no matter what.

          The rulers of the Inca Empire started dying of smallpox several years before the first white man set foot across their borders. That's how bad it was. That's how fast it traveled.

          IMHO "smallpox blankets" should be relegated to Conspiracy Theory territory, because for the most part it's exactly that. In almost all cases (Jeffery Amherst et al possibly though not definitely excepted), the relevant factor was accidental, unintentional exposure - not just to smallpox, but to all the white man's diseases. (It is now thought that leptospirosis is what wiped out the coastal Massachusetts natives and left the area open to colonization - or, if you prefer, invasion. And it was probably contracted via exposure to vermin escaping from the boats of white fishermen.)

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 09:34:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The specific incident was the seige of Fort Pitt (0+ / 0-)

            The Siege of Fort Pitt involved the purposeful transmission of smallpox to the Delaware.

            Officers at the besieged Fort Pitt had already exposed the Indians in just the manner Amherst and Bouquet were discussing. During a parley at Fort Pitt on June 24, 1763, Captain Simeon Ecuyer gave representatives of the besieging Delawares two blankets and a handkerchief from the smallpox ward "out of regard to them" after the Delawares pledged to renew their friendship.[3] While the exact meaning of his phrase was unclear, a later invoice appears to clearly establish the purpose was transmittal of smallpox.[4]
            You are correct that whenever populations without immunities to diseases enter upon virgin soil, opportunistic diseases cause widespread devastation. In the Americas this must have been the case when the first populations of Paleo hunters arrived and migrated east, west and south through North and South America.

            It was probably the case when the first Vikings arrived, may have separately transmitted North American venereal diseases back to Europe with Spanish, Portugese and French explorers and almost certainly decimated indigenous populations everywhere in the Americas.

            From the 16th century through the early 20th century, no fewer than 93 confirmed epidemics and pandemics — all of which can be attributed to European contagions — decimated the American Indian population. Native American populations in the American Southwest plummeted by a staggering 90 percent or more.
            I'm aware of many cases of the transmission of contagious diseases by accident
               Bubonic plague: An often fatal bacterial disease that affects the lymphatic system and then the entire body.
                Chicken pox: A contagious viral disease.
                Cholera: An often fatal intestinal disease commonly caused by drinking water contaminated with the cholera bacteria.
                Diphtheria: Often deadly infectious bacterial disease that damages the heart and nervous system.
                Influenza: A contagious viral disease that can be deadly for people with weakened immune systems or other systemic problems.
                Mumps: An acute contagious viral disease that causes fever and a swelling of the salivary glands and can also damage the pancreas, testes, and ovaries.
                Pleurisy: A serious lung inflammation that is often the result of a systemic viral or bacterial disease like tuberculosis.
                Scarlet fever: A contagious bacterial disease caused by an infection and causing fever and throat problems.
                Smallpox: The killer — a highly contagious viral disease causing back pain, high fever, and the development of small pustules on the skin. Smallpox has a fatality rate of approximately 30 percent.
                Typhoid fever: A bacterial infection of the digestive tract, sometimes fatal, that is caused by eating or drinking salmonella-contaminated food or water.
                Typhus: A bacterial infection spread by ticks and fleas that causes high fever and delirium and can be fatal.
                Whooping cough: An infectious bacterial disease that causes violent coughing and a very recognizable shrill inhalation sound.
                Yellow fever: An often fatal viral infection spread by mosquitoes and causing liver damage, hemorrhaging, high fever, and vomiting of blood.
            What I was referencing specifically was the intentional use of biological warfare by Europeans in the Americas following in a longstanding tradition of biological warfare in the Old World, most notably in the crusades but also in the hundred years wars.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:16:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There's a catch to the Fort Pitt incident (0+ / 0-)

              in that smallpox was already on the loose in the area, so no one can be sure whether any intent to transmit it had any more effect than random casual exposure. Certainly the two chiefs to whom the questionable items were presented continued healthy.

              There was still a lot of "magical thinking" attached to diseases, particularly smallpox, because the causative agent was unknown and would remain so for about another hundred years. The clearest illustration of this is Nathaniel Hawthorne's (apparently little-known these days) short story, "Lady Eleanore's Mantle". Lady Eleanore arrives at Boston with a fantastically embroidered mantle that was said to be the last work of a dying seamstress (strongly implied to have died of smallpox just after she finished it), and a smallpox epidemic breaks out in her wake, affecting first those who were closest to her while wearing it, then others, and finally(!) her. The epidemic ends after the mantle is ceremonially burned.

              Hawthorne did not, could not have had clue one as to the actual transmission of the disease, and drops several hints of black magic. The mantle is "cursed", there is an attempt to break the curse by offering Lady Eleanore "holy water", and finally its destruction ends the epidemic.

              If it's
              Not your body,
              Then it's
              Not your choice
              And it's
              None of your damn business!

              by TheOtherMaven on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:36:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  For that matter perhaps Ecuyer's wording is (0+ / 0-)

              ambiguous because he was engaged in "magical thinking": as long as the chiefs remained friendly, the disease would spare them; but if they didn't, it would destroy them. (Didn't work, obviously.)

              The list rather carelessly left off measles, which was another huge decimater - and we have eyewitness accounts of its devastating effects on the native Hawaiians.

              I also note that you left out the last sentences - which were emphasized with a pointing finger:

              But Indians dying from European diseases did not mean they were always intentionally infected. A lot of the death toll was due to just plain "biological bad luck" — immune systems that had never been exposed to European diseases and, thus, were unable to fight them off.
              Out of the "93 confirmed epidemics and pandemics", probably 92 had no intentional human causation whatsoever. Certainly the (arguable) worst of them, the upper Great Plains epidemic of 1837-38, did not - it was all due, at the very worst, to the stupidity, greed, and pigheadedness of one riverboat captain who would not turn back or change his schedule, even though smallpox had broken out among his crew from a stop in St. Louis. (By this time inoculation and vaccination as preventive measures were known, and there were attempts to immunize the native population - with mixed success and at least one dismal failure.)

              There is little evidence that the Norse had any epidemiological impact on the Americas, partly because they were a thrice-winnowed population themselves (Scandinavia to Iceland to Greenland to Newfoundland, with more diseases left behind on each leg) and partly because their numbers were so few and their visit(s) so short.

              Even most of the "biological warfare" in Europe was unintentional, the result of conducting siege warfare in conditions where basic sanitation was not only not understood, it was utterly unknown. (Again, there is only one clearly documented case - the Mongol siege of the Genoese outpost of Kaffa (modern-day Feeodosia) in the Crimea in 1347. This incident is sometimes blamed for bringing the Black Death on Europe - certainly the disease followed well-established Genoese trade routes.)

              If it's
              Not your body,
              Then it's
              Not your choice
              And it's
              None of your damn business!

              by TheOtherMaven on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:36:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  New Minas (7+ / 0-)

      The Burning of Fallouja
      White Phosphorous raining on humans.
      A war crime of the highest order.
      I was so pissed at the time, I made this piece.
      Holy crap, I`m still mad every time I see it in my archives.
      I best just shut up right now.


      I`m already against the next war.

      by Knucklehead on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:48:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What prevents us from individually signing treatys (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that ban the use of military weapons and other WMD's on civilian populations?

        For that matter, where politicians, the mic and government agencies are clueless and just not doing their jobs, isn't it our responsibility as the owners of this country to step in and clean up the mess?

        I sometimes get the impression that all over this planet people not protected by being located somewhere near the center of large empires where they might feel relatively safe from retribution are scared to death.

        Acts of terrorism such as hijackings and suicide bombings make even those populations pretty apprehensive.

        I can remember when most Americans didn't feel like the shit was about to hit the fan.

        At a very minimum we could attempt to mediate climate change as one weapon of mass destruction we all have a vested interest in controlling.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:30:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Funny, I can't remember those times (0+ / 0-)

          "Duck and Cover", cower in the hallways, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye - wake up in the middle of the night sweating with terror at the sound of an unexpected plane overhead - endless worry over every international incident - Is this IT? Is this when they lose it and drop The Bomb?

          Some of us reached adulthood under the shadow of that terror. Some of us thought, in the fall of 1962, that we would never see another Thanksgiving, or another Christmas.

          For those who did not live through those times, no explanation is possible. For those who did, no explanation is necessary.

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 09:41:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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