pentagon admits to using chemical weapons in iraq..

Discussion in 'Politics & Diplomacy' started by dan e 1980, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. dan e 1980

    dan e 1980 Guest

    Pentagon admits using white phosphorous in Iraq
    Nov. 15, 2005. 07:22 PM

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Pentagon officials acknowledged Tuesday that U.S. troops used white phosphorous as a weapon against Iraqi insurgents during the battle of Fallujah last November but denied an Italian television report the flammable material was used against civilians.

    Lt.-Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, said while white phosphorous is most frequently used to mark targets or obscure a position, it was used at times in Fallujah as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants.

    "It was not used against civilians," Venable said.

    The spokesman referred to an article in the March-April 2005 edition of the U.S. army's Field Artillery magazine, an official publication, in which veterans of the Fallujah fight spelled out their use of white phosphorous and other weapons. The authors used the shorthand WP in referring to white phosphorous.

    "WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition," the authors wrote.

    "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 (high explosive)" munitions.

    "We fired `shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."

    The authors added, in citing lessons for future urban battles, fire-support teams should have used another type of smoke bomb for screening missions in Fallujah "and saved our WP for lethal missions."

    The battle for Fallujah was the most intense and deadly fight of the war, after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003. The city, about 55 kilometres west of Baghdad on the Euphrates River, was a key insurgent stronghold. The authors of the "after action" report said they encountered few civilians in their area of operations.

    Italian Communists held a sit-in Monday in front of the U.S. Embassy in Rome to protest against the reported use by U.S. troops of white phosphorous. Italy's RAI24 news television aired a documentary last week alleging the United States used white phosphorous shells in a "massive and indiscriminate way" against civilians during the Fallujah offensive.

    The U.S. State Department, in response, initially denied troops had used white phosphorous against enemy forces.

    "They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."

    The department later said its statement had been incorrect.

    "There is a great deal of misinformation feeding on itself about U.S. forces allegedly using `outlawed' weapons in Fallujah," the department said.

    "The facts are that U.S. forces are not using any illegal weapons in Fallujah or anywhere else in Iraq."

    Venable said white phosphorous shells are a standard weapon used by field artillery units and are not banned by any international weapons convention to which the United States is a signatory.

    White phosphorous is a colourless-to-yellow translucent wax-like substance with a pungent, garlic-like smell. The form used by the military ignites once it is exposed to oxygen, producing such heat it bursts into a yellow flame and produces a dense white smoke. It can cause painful burns to exposed human flesh.


    oh the hypocrisy!

  2. This has been reported by some independent journalists for close to a year and a half now. There have been several reported cases of it being against civilians (and reports of people being burned alive and other horrific scenes).

    Sick, disgusting, and just like all the human rights violations, will be almost completely ignored by the media and politicians (both Republican and Democrats) will begin their talking points campaign trying defend the use of White Phosphorous just as they defend the use of torture.
  3. ganjavih

    ganjavih Guest

    ...and the irony.
  4. dan e 1980

    dan e 1980 Guest

    and a gun isn't a weapon. it's a means for transporting metal over short distances.
  5. dan e 1980

    dan e 1980 Guest

  6. White Phosphorus isn't a chemical weapon.

  7. I wasn't being sarcastic. WP is completely legitimate as a weapon, provided it's used against military targets. There's a good article on this at . You might notice that even the organization that's trying to ban chemical weapons thinks that WP isn't one.

    I haven't seen anything indicating that the US deliberately targeted civilians with WP or anything else.

  8. dan e 1980

    dan e 1980 Guest

    white phosphorus, aka -whiskey pete has a blast radius of aprox. 150m. any human in that area will burn to the bone or get seriously injuried (wishing they had died). breathing the vapours will cause blistering in the airways, choking you to death.

    white phosphorus is just like napalm. if someone creates a gun that works exactly like a gun but is made from plastic, does that mean that it is ok for people to use that gun?

    if you watch the video, you will hear personal accounts of american soldiers. you will also see the effects of white phosphorus on men, women, children & animals.
  9. dan e 1980

    dan e 1980 Guest

    watch the video from 17min on.
  10. bizorky

    bizorky Guest

    napalm is made with gasoline

    is gasoline a weapon?

    oh, I just had to ask.
  11. dan e 1980

    dan e 1980 Guest

    During World War I both the Allies and Germany used gasoline (petrol) as a weapon in flamethrowers, but gasoline by itself burns too quickly to be an effective incendiary device. A substance was needed which would produce a powerful and persistent fuel but would not consume itself too quickly.

    Though researchers had found ways to make jellied gasoline earlier, many of them required rubber as a principal component, which during wartime was a scarce commodity. In 1942, researchers at Harvard University (led by Dr. Louis Fieser) and the U.S. Army Chemical Corps found a rubber-less solution: mixing an aluminum soap powder of naphthalene and palmitate (naphthenic acid and palmitic acid, sodium palmitrate) with gasoline. This produced a substance which was highly flammable, yet slow burning. In World War II, incendiary bombs using napalm as their fuel were used against the German city of Dresden and during the firebombings of Japan.

    After World War II, further refinement and development of napalm was undertaken in the United States by the government and its affiliated laboratories. It was then used in the Vietnam War. Modern "napalm" contains neither naphthenic nor palmitic acids (despite the name), but often uses a bevy of other chemicals (including benzene and polystyrene) to stabilize the gasoline base. This new substance was named 'napalm B' and is manufactured by Dow Chemical Company.

    See Bombing of Tokyo in World War II and Bombing of Dresden in World War II for more information on the usage of napalm in the Second World War and chemical warfare for more details on chemical weaponry

    no, gasoline isn't a weapon unless its used to hurt people. but if you think about it, it's hurting us very slowly. i guess you could say it's a weapon.

    napalm is made with gasoline but has special additives so it doesn't get consumed too fast and is solely manufactured to be used as a weapon.
  12. That would be Willie Pete, and it's only 150m for very large artillery rounds. Most smoke rounds are from smaller mortars, and are around 50m.

    That's just untrue. I've breathed phosphorus vapours myself, and it's not that bad. Not much worse than cigar smoke.

    There's nothing stopping the use of napalm either.

    I did. There's nothing in there indicating they deliberately targeted civilians. I don't doubt that civilians were killed, but there's a big difference between deliberately targetting civilians and collateral damage.

    It's actually made with jet fuel now. Not a big difference, but just so you know.

  13. EnviroTO

    EnviroTO Guest

    If white phosphorous is used to create a chemical reaction and is used as a weapon... that would make it a chemical weapon would it not? Gasoline isn't a weapon, lit gasoline projectiles are a weapon (i.e. molotov cocktails), and gasoline dumped over a large area and lit would be a chemical weapon.
  14. That argument has been tried before, and the OPCW's position is that WP is a thermic weapon, not chemical. Chemical weapons are classified as such by their toxic properties, not their ability to burn.

  15. Canuck 36

    Canuck 36 Guest

    Regardless in how its killing is defined, can anyone deny dumping Phosphorus into the environment does cause great harm and is probably linked to increases in cancer rates?

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