Did the US use white phosphorus in Iraq?

U.S. denies using white phosphorus on Iraqi civilians.

I didn’t post a link to the pic’s of the people were alledgely killed by white phosphorus. They were too “graphic” (even for me) but they can found on the web.

Eyup!

White phosphorous is nasty stuff. It spontaneously combusts and then produces it’s own Oxygen, so it’s almost impossible to extinguish. Hence it’s usefulness as an incendiary.
As I understand it though, the US is not a signatory to the relevant treaty which bans the use of this stuff as a weapon. So, technically there was no breach.
So the question really is "Did the US target Iraqi civilians"
I would like to think that the answer is "No"

Steve

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So the question really is "Did the US target Iraqi civilians"
I would like to think that the answer is "No"


But given that those in charge are in the habit of torturing people, and have very flexible moral views, I’d lay odds that the answer is “yes.” This is supported by testimony of some soldiers. It absolutely requires investigation.

:(

Quote (TomS @ Nov. 09 2005,07:11)
It absolutely requires investigation.

I'm sure the Dems will create a huge investigative committee and spend millions of our tax dollars so they can issue a "report". Granted, I'm not so sure our guys even need to be over there but since they are... you want them to face AK-47's, RPG's and home-made bombs with sticks, sling-shots and rocks? I have a lot of friends who are in the military and many who were in the military. They do not intentionally target civilians. There can be and I'm sure there is on occasion, collateral damage.

War is ugly. :(

TG

Eyup!
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But given that those in charge are in the habit of torturing people, and have very flexible moral views, I’d lay odds that the answer is “yes.”


There are certainly cases of that, but (unlike WW2) I do hope the official policy is to target combatants rather than civilians.
I understand that, given the nature of the conflict in Iraq, the distinction between combatants and civilians is not clear cut.
Mistakes will happen and I am prepared to accept that, with regret and sympathy for the families bereaved.

Steve

The distinction is clear, the problem is knowing if the person in front of you is a combatant. TG, you set up a false dichotomy. It is not a case of “either we use whatever means we want or we get killed.” Every major ethical tradition that allows war says that there are certain things you cannot do in a war, no matter how attractive. You can’t rape children, for exmaple, and you can’t use chemical weapons. Even enemy combatants have rights. Obviously non-combatants do as well. In any case, we could simply get out of there and stop killing people.

Anyone see the Italian documentary? It’s on the web, link from crooksandliars.com. Just watch the last 2 or 3 minutes of it and tell me that those people were killed justly. By the way, its footage from american troops targeting enemy soldiers in trucks, killing from a distance as if it were a matter of ordering a beer at the pub. Unspeakably atrocious. Totally immoral, contrary to the moral codes of all religions. Go watch it.

I don’t know if we use W.P. but I’m concerned about the allegations. It seems like we do use for some purposes according to what I’ve read. I wouldn’t be surprised if we used it in Iraq.

TG - this isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat issue - it’s a military issue. BTW - the Republican now want some investigations into the recent leaks.

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American troops targeting enemy soldiers in trucks, killing from a distance as if it were a matter of ordering a beer at the pub.


Because they have found that approaching these lunatics to negotiate is suicidal! The nut-balls will blow themselves up if they think they’ll take someone else with them. Again, would you rather they throw rocks at 'em?

I have no reason or want to hurt or kill anybody. If it is clearly a situation of an aggressor or me though… it ain’t gonna be me if I can help it. You are right. The situation gets nasty when the combatants are not clearly identified. THAT make the insurgents the lowest form of scum there is. They hide amongst civilian women and children endangering them in the process.

I don’t want to argue the point… I just wish people would not be so quick to deride our military men and women when they have NO IDEA what it is like to be in a hostile environment 24/7 with people looking to kill you by whatever means they can find. Our troops just wanna do their job and come home alive and hopefully, leave Iraq to a people who want to live and prosper peacefully with the rest if the world.

What do you guys think the world would be like if the US just said “Aw to heck with ya’ll!” and closed all our off shore bases, pulled all our CVBG’s home and just sat back and watched?

Think about it.

TG
Quote (Mr Soul @ Nov. 09 2005,10:40)
I don't know if we use W.P. but I'm concerned about the allegations. It seems like we do use for some purposes according to what I've read. I wouldn't be surprised if we used it in Iraq.

TG - this isn't a Republican vs. Democrat issue - it's a military issue. BTW - the Republican now want some investigations into the recent leaks.

I agree with the Repub/Dem thang there Soul man.

WP is most commonly used in battlefield lighting. Flares dropped from aircraft, shells fired into the sky via artillery or mortars or launched from ships offshore. The magnesium flare is more popular for naval use however. (Or at least use to be...)

TG

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If it is clearly a situation of an aggressor or me though


It is not such a case. We should not be there.
Quote (TomS @ Nov. 09 2005,13:07)
It is not such a case. We should not be there.

While that may be true... the troops over there are only following orders and trying to stay alive. Support the troops. Question the leadership.

TG

That didn’t fly when it came to prisoners and torture though, now did it?

Support the troops - Bring them home.

Phoo - I’m proud of you!

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US 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.”


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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.


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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.


No need for an investigation. This is accepted proceedure as per the US Gov and Mil. And this isn’t even the most diabolical weapon on the battlefield. Can you all say “radiation”. I knew you could.

KingFish