Italian documentary alleges that US forces ‘used chemical weapons’ during assault on city of Fallujah
In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: “I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it’s known as Willy Pete.
“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 metres is done for.”
Photographs on the website of RaiTG24, the broadcaster’s 24-hours news channel, www.rainews24.it, show exactly what the former soldier means. Provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah, dozens of high-quality, colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelised or turned the consistency of leather by the shells.
A biologist in Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, interviewed for the film, says: “A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-coloured substance started to burn, we found people dead with strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact.”
These rumors have swirled around since the original attack on Fallujah. For our own sakes we’d better hope that there is some rational explanation for all this.
The Independent (UK) was wrong to describe White Phosphorous as a ‘chemical weapon.’ It is an incendiary weapon. Protocol III of the 1980 UN convention on weapons bans incendiary weapons such as white phosphorus, but while the US has ratified the convention it has not signed onto Protocol III.
More than 80 countries have ratified the protocol and no longer stock incindeary munitions such as white phosphorus. Make of that what you will.
A significant question is (1) the nature of the WP munitions used, and (2) whether Fallujah could be considered a civilian area at the time of its use. Even UN Protocol III, which does not bind the United States, specifically limits its scope to civilian areas.
With respect to (1), evidence suggests that the phosphorous weapons were anti-personnel rounds with a significant casualty radius rather than ordinary tracers or flares.
A trickier question is whether Fallujah was a civilian target. We know for example that the army warned the civilian population to leave. Is it possible for every civilian who wants to leave to do so? I don’t know the answer to that.
*** Update #3***
James Joyner has the definitive run-down on WP.
Why do we need a rational explanation when Bush can just claim that “we don’t use chemical weapons”. Besides, its only a case of fraternity hazing on a slightly larger scale…
Can’t understand the surprise here. after all, we sold the stuff to Saddam back in the glory days of Ronald Reagan.
White Phosphorous is not a ‘chemical weapon,’ it is a conventional incendiary weapon. These people don’t know what the hell they are talking about.
There are white phosphorous artillery rounds, grenades, etc. Ever wonder why tracers glow? It isn’t because they are red hot.
The willingness of some to believe EVERY nasty thing published about the military and the US still astounds me.
Napalm is also an incendiary weapon. Not being a chemical weapon does not make it ethical to use.
Rummy didn’t sell “white phospherous” to Saddam when he was over there peddling weapons a few years back? Hmm. Well I sure hope Poppy and the Carlyle boys took it out of his commission check! After all, they sold the Butcher of Baghdad everything else.
John, here’s an article you might enjoy:
Bush Has Borrowed More Than Previous 42 Presidents Combined.
“According to the Treaury Dept, from 1776-2000, the first 224 years of U.S. history, 42 U.S. presidnts borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign govts and financial institutions, but in the last four years alone, the bush administration borrowed $1.05 billion.”
Fiscally conservative Republican? Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!
Tim F., with all due respect, every army in the world uses this stuff. White Phosphorus is not even a weapon, it is used for illumination and cover. Have you ever seen a movie where they launch, air-drop, or shoot a bright, glowing, burning object in the air attached to a parachute? Platoon, We were Soldiers, just about any war movie after Vietnam with a battle at night portrayed the use of this stuff, so you’ve probably seen it.
It is not listed as a chemical weapon by the Geneva convention or the U.N. Please, it is hard enough to win this war against this enemey without you believing and trumpeting even the most ridiculous charges. We’re supposed to be on the same side. Maybe before you start worrying about everything bad they say about us, could do some research first.
I spent a cringing half-hour watching the documentary, via Crooks and Liars. Not only horrifying pictures of people whose skin had melted away, but interviews with American soldiers, who said, in essence, “Yes, it happened.” I cannot say how horrified I was.
John, you and disagree on many things, but we have similar roots in love of country and basic decency. This should not have happened. Whatever “rational explanation” the usual suspects come up with will likely strain reality and/or belief to the breaking point. There are some things we just can’t do.
The USA is committing precisely the worst war crimes that Saddam is accused of committing.
Photos from the Italian documentary:
The English version of the Italian documentary is available online here:
Note : The first 5 minutes is a flashback to napalm use in Vietnam, then it switches to Iraq.
The documentary is very graphic and may be disturbing.
JC is right that it’s not a chemical weapon or banned by treaty.
But it is HIGHLY illegal to use WP as a weapon against human beings.
You might want to look at the video on RaiTG24’s site. It appears that, rather than “bright, glowing object(s) attached to a parachute”, the white phosphorous was deployed over wide areas via starburst shells. They show shells bursting in the air and sending out showers of flaming balls and clouds of corrosive gas over a wide area. I’m not all that familiar with how WP is normally used. John, is indescriminate bombing with WP like this a standard method? Wouldn’t blanketing an area with clouds of highly corrosive gas be considered use of a chemical weapon?
It’s not what people mean when they talk about chem weapons. We use it, I assume, because it’s nasty and we can. I’m sure we use any number of weapons that do horrific things to the people they are used on – welcome to war, I’d think.
Well, at least we didn’t use WMD’s eh?
But seriously, what’s the point of this comment John?
Pardon me if I wait until I see this elsewhere.
They don’t name any of the soldiers who gave them information and they end the story like this
I wonder if the soldier was named Massey.
John…John…don’t give Tim anymore ‘ammunition’ than he should have. White phosphorus is NOT primarily a weapon, it’s for lighting up the damn battlefield, signaling and smokescreens. Tim, is it OK if our military can see the enemy, or shield itself from them? So glad to hear it. It would be an oddity if there weren’t traces of it anywhere we have been in close combat.
It is true that it can be used in bombs and rockets, and it is a nasty little substance when used in this manner. It was used in the firebombing of Dresden, the Gulf War, and by the Taliban against US troops in one instance. It has not been banned by any treaties, and I can’t see how it could be banned given it’s primary uses.
Bottom line, Tim, it is probably true, but it isn’t really a stunning revelation that white phosphorus was used in the battle for Fallujah-or anywhere in Iraq.
Wounds from Gun shots/bombs/artillery rounds/axes/swords can be horrifying too.
Using your logic, we should not use those too.
Our troops could use baseball bats but OMG they can cause horrifying wounds too.
I’m going to do my best to maintain a civil tongue here, since its not a Jeff G post.
For those of you that want to excuse the use of white phosphorous based on the fact that we have not signed onto the specific article, Fuck You with a large dirty stick.
Get off your high horses about how we removed a brutal dictator that killed his own people and look at what happens to civilians touched by this stuff. Think about it! It never stops burning, it is the worst pain you can think of.
We are supposed to be the humanitarian giant in the world, the country everyone looks up to, the one that sets example and follows it. Where has that gone? Even Satan Reagan and Bush the Smarter never quite when this far, why are you so ready and eager to excuse it now? You think your “terrorism” is the greatest threat to the US? No, right now this kind of shit breeds terrorists like maggots on meat. Our blatant hypocracy, our “do as we say, not as we do” mentality under Bush the Dumbest.
And its happening in our names, its happening with some of you cheering, your hands clapping louder while the smell of burning flesh wafts about you.
Congrats, Chickenhawks, your time to roost is almost upon you.
The question is whether it was deployed as an anti-personnel weapon. Anyone who willfully uses it against human beings belongs in the Hague.
The question is whether it was deployed as an anti-personnel weapon. Anyone who willfully uses it against human beings belongs in the Hague.
That said, folks on the left shouldn’t get too breathless in condemnation of what has yet to be proven.
She was released, probably after the italians paid a ransom. She was carrying the footage of the fallujeh assault. On her way back, the following happened:
I am in no way saying this is proof that the US military tried to assasinate this reporter to keep this film from the light of day. But, don’t questions have to be asked. Wasn’t this suspicious when it happened? The italians had their own hearings and decided that the US’s story wasn’t straight. The gaurds at the checkpoint were told that there was a car with a reporter that had just been rescued on the way. They opened fire on it. Their story was that it didn’t stop, and they opened fire until the car stopped, in front of them. The bullet holes coverning the rear of the car tipped the Italians off that something was up. Now we do have quite a motive. Again, I am accusing no one, but we need to know what happened.
Illegal or not it’s a bloody stupid weapon to use in urban fighting with many civilians around.
If it was used as is alleged, it was highly immoral. The morality of a weapon does not depend on whether it was on a specific list of banned items. Nor whether it should properly be categorized as incendiary, rather than chemical. Nor whether there are non-immoral uses of a particular device; that tracers are acceptable is irrelevant to the question of whether it is acceptable to blanket an area in phosphorus, killing people in their beds.
The irony of all this is that we invaded the country allegedly to “disarm” Saddam of weapons that had little tactical value, but were allegedly immoral. Nobody I knew lay in bed at night concerned that Saddam was going to unleash his arsenal of mustard gas.
I suppose there are some true “blame America firsters” out there, John. But I’ll be honest. I am far, far more concerned about the “blame America neverers”.
America has been a beacon to the world. Sure we occasionally got blamed for things that we didn’t deserve. But so what? America is strong enough to withstand the occasional unjustified accusation.
What America is not strong enough to withstand is the whittling away of our moral position. Torture? Preventive wars? Phosphorus on civilian populations? Napalm? Secret prisons? Rendition? Locking up American citizens arrested on U.S. soil without due process? That is not an America I can be proud of. What kind of chickenshits are running this country that they feel the need to resort to these tactics to feel safe?
What about napalm?
The Marines used white phosphorus as an anti-personnel weapon in Fallujah:
The US considered white phospherus a chemical weapon when Sadddam Hussein was trying to make it:
I should clarify something I said:
I said WP was illegal as used against personnel. I meant to say that it was illegal to use in civilian areas.
How is WP used against enemy personnel morally different from sarin, VX, mustard, etc.?
On the most important level, it doesn’t matter whether the story is worse than RAI and Sgrena told, or if they made the whole damned thing up.
It doesn’t matter, because most folks around the world (let alone in the Middle East) will believe it is true. They will believe it because WE are the occupying power in Iraq, and almost three years after the invasion we can’t control the country. We face an insurgency and counter-insurgency warfare is always ugly. For whatever cultural and military reason, counter-insurgency warfare conducted by Americans tends to be very ugly, probably because we like to substitute firepower for American blood. We always have, it’s just an American quirk.
If you are fighting an insurgency after invading and toppling a regime, even if that regime was nasty, you will be the bad guy.
Some of us folks on the paleocon right warned you people about this. We warned you not to trust Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, et. al. The real problem isn’t the execution of the mission; it’s the mission itself. It was and is the crackpot execution of a crackpot idea. And we’re all going to keep paying for it until someone grows a set and tells us what we already know: we have to get out.
Any insights from John or others with military experience? This charge is way too serious to jump to conclusions on.
What would make the liberals happy? If we fired at the insurgents with rubber bullets? Maybe Zell Miller is right and they would prefer spit balls.
Officials confirm dropping firebombs on Iraqi troops:
Mark 77 firebombs are better for the environment than napalm:
Is napalm also used for purposes other than as a weapon to destroy enemy personnel? honest question, I don’t know and i hope someone can tell me. Is it used like WP?
I gave my insight. WP is not a chemical weapon.
It doesn’t make it un-ethical to use either, as you have implied. Others have declared military use of WP to be ‘immoral’. Its use as tracer fire makes it quite valuable.
In Fallujah, our military gave the citizenry ample notice to leave before coming in to clean the place out of murdering terrorist vermin. Most did leave. There were not many ‘civilians’ left in Fallujah afterward for the fight
Then please, what is the difference? Melting flesh or having your nervous system shut down. What is the difference?
Apparently, that isn’t what happened here, or there wouldn’t be a story.
As always, IF the story is true.
Ah, The old Chickenhawk slur.
Lines, have you served in the military under Kosovo? I find that most people who use the Chickenhawk slur have not served.
You should also read this
WAR: A Response to Juan Cole
Let’s not confuse gruesome and gory with immoral. Maybe we should ban 120 mm SABOT rounds, because when they impact a hard target such as another tank, the DU liquifies, bores through the tank, sets off their fuel and ammo as well as the spalling effect send shrapnel all over the interior of the tank, shredding and burning the opposition alive.
Or maybe we should ban bullets, because 5.56 rounds, when they enter flesh, bounce around shredding the internal organs.
Those are pretty gory and gruesome, too, every bit as bad as being burned. The fact is that it has been asserted that ‘chemical weapons’ were used, That is false.
Gee, Darrell, I don’t see anyone here complaining about the use of tracer fire, nor about the usage of flash grenades. I definately don’t see anyone complaining about the use of phosphorous flares, when used as a lighting device.
What I see are people upset that the military has admitted to the usage of a Napalm type material, against civilians, and to using white phosphorous in a civilian area.
But your post goes way beyond all of that, you actually blame the civilians! Way to go, that really took guts.
So if it’s not a chemical weapon, there’s nothing to talk about? The allegations, true or not, seem to be a lot worse than just a couple civilians being struck by stray tracers.
When you go to war, any and all methods should be used to minimize your casualties and maximize your opponents in order to win. It’s pointless fighting a battle with one arm tied behind your back. If you’re not prepared to use those methods to win, well, there’s a simple solution – don’t go to war at the drop of a hat.
Gee Paul L, I was unable to serve due to a health issue, well above those of “anal cyst” Limbaugh, or “too busy” Cheney. I definately didn’t use the “too many minorities took all the openings” excuse. I do, however, have tons of friends and family in the military, and I don’t use the Chickenhawk label lightly. Those that excuse the usage of incendiaries and mass destruction chemicals arn’t supporting our troops. They are supporting the death and destruction of Iraqi’s.
I support wars in defense of America, I support our troops wherever they may be, through communicating with them, to sending them essentials. Cheerleaders support it with 59c. magnets and knee-jerk defense.
Flame me all you want, but think about why you’re doing it, first.
M. Scott Eiland
Hmmm. This seems to be a familar pattern among our friends on the left:
(The Left) “The US is guilty of X! X is Y!”
(Inconvenient Reality) “Uh, X is not Y [followed by evidence that X is not Y]”
(The Left”[after long pause] You should be ashamed of yourself for caring that X is not actually Y!”
(Inconvenient Reality) “Um, OK, whatever.”
You seem to be setting up a straw man with the 120 mm SABOT defense. Those types of weapons don’t result in the deaths of significant numbers of civilians. The issue here seems to be the indiscriminate use of the WP. The military has the right, indeed the obligation, to use the most effective weapons available to defeat the enemy. I don’t have any problem with a flamethrower being used to clear out an enemy bunker if that’s the most effective way to do it. It’s a gruesome way to die, but that’s war. I would have a problem with blanketing a neighborhood with napalm, killing combatants and non-combatants alike. IF the Italian report is true, that seems to be what we did with the WP.
Lines is pretty representative of the left on this thread. Read what he says as he and others on the left here try to smear our military: the US, according to him admitted the use of a Napalm type material AGAINST CIVILIANS.. in a “civilian area” which, as I pointed out, the civilians who were not terrorists or supporters of said terrorists were given ample opportunity to leave. But none of that matters, because the US military used WP “against” civilians.
WP is not considered a chemical weapon, is that because it is only supposed to be used as a lighting device? If it were being used as a weapon, wouldn’t it be a chemical weapon?
Point taken, gruesome death is gruesome death. In fact, I think this is all silly. I don’t understand why VX is somehow more evil than a 500 pound bomb, or cluser bombs. Death is death. But, I think the debate is determined by some assumptions set up by the Bush administration, and others:
-Bio and chem weapons are more evil than conventional weapons
-If someone uses chem and bio weapons, that is proof of their evil-doerness
Add to that that we are on record as not using WP or napalm against personnel (I don’t know what treaty, or if there is a treaty, someone tell me, what is our legal stance on WP and napalm against people)
All those items together, make us hypocrites for bashing saddam for gassing the kurds, or it makes us ‘evil-doers’ for melting those in Fallujeh (and Darrell, there were plenty of civilians. Not everyone was able to get out. Men of fighting age WEREN’T ALLOWED TO LEAVE)
Either this type of warfare is evil, and no one should be allowed to get away with it, or it isn’t.
i’m with steve on this one. this is a pretty serious charge, and i’d like to get some input from military types and more background about this report before trying to come to a personal conclusion.
More smears on the military, telling us WITHOUT EVIDENCE, that use of WP on civilian population was “indiscriminate”. Take a close at the left and who they are. Without any solid evidence or understanding of the substance they are talking about, they leap at the first chance to smear the military. doubt me? re-read this thread: “Immoral”, “indiscriminate” “against civilians”, US military personnel who used it “should be in the Hague”, etc, etc, etc
What? That same excuse could have been used by SH when he launched WMD against iran. “The most effective weapon I had to minimize my casualties and maximize my opponents in order to win was VX nerve gas.”
Until Darrell and Stormy are upset about it, it can’t be that important. Old news, move along.
Bob In Pacifica
Seems like I mentioned this six months, a year ago, in my blog, and I sure as hell didn’t research it. It was out there as common knowledge in the blogosphere, so I don’t think this is big news, just news that was ignored back then. I think the original claim had been napalm, because of the number of burn victims.
Napalm, white phosphorous, neither is particularly pleasant to experience.
The problem isn’t so much the weapon here (hey, we don’t do international treaties anymore), war is a nasty business, you know. (An aside, many in the Bush Administration DON’T know.) The problem is that as an occupying army you have obligations for protecting the population, not burning civilians. Hurting people is not the way to win the peace.
It’s always a problem with occupying armies.
This has nothing to do with civilians, to me. The US has decided that napalm type of weapons should not be used against personnel. What seems to have happened, is that we used WP as a weapon, not to light up the night. Of course civilians died also, it is an urban war zone. Civilian casualties are a cost of war, you try to minimize them, but they are going to happen.
Lines: If you believe that the Iraq war does not help the defense of America argue that instead of the disingenuous Chickhawk meme.
McQ on the Chickhawk meme.
It’s an attempt by the left in this country to stifle debate. And it’s a contemptable attempt.
While war is hellish no matter what substances are being used to kill, it is generally agreed that we should not make it anymore gruesome than it already is with unconventional warfare, and I’ll support that. However, it seems clear that the military will get as close to that line as possible until told to stop. The MK-77 is barely distinguishable from napalm in its effects, but no one yet has gotten around to calling on the US to examine it. I would not be surprised that WP shells were used quite a bit in Fallujah, as anti-personnel, even though that may not have been their intended use- military people know what that stuff does, I’m sure.
It’s just not as cut and dry as a “chemical attack”. I think a civilian panel should be appointed after Iraq to reexamine our methods, but I won’t condemn our military for using what’s at their disposal when their lives are on the line. It is dirty fighting, to be sure.
I think the generals who made the call for it should be held to account but tracing this back to the eeevil chickenhawk neocon cabal on top of all this is a bit much.
Is there anyone out there that can settle something for us?
What is the US policy about using napalm or WP as a weapon against personnel, as in dropped on people with the purpose of killing them?
Bob In Pacifica
Tim Worstall, I think “bloody stupid” would be an understatement. If there was a delivery system in place to rain the stuff down on an area, and it was deployed over civilians, it’s criminal. I want to see these people in the dock at the Hague.
And when did you hear me complain about whether SH could have used WMD against Iran? That’s right, never. Besides, if he did, they could have had their own little ethnic war there and we probably wouldn’t have had such a convenient and fabricated excuse to go over there ourselves.
The US issues WP rounds for use against machinery and equipment. It is quite possible that a round was targeted incorrectly or civilians were in an area where the insurgents were firing from and the US had reason to believe there were no civilians in the area at the time the rounds were targeted. The point I am trying to make is, we don’t know the whole story yet and we shouldn’t condemn the US military just because they are the US military.
I really hate being on the same side as ‘progressives’ when stories like this come out. They love to be ashamed of the US military and jump to any conclusion that will help them do that. If you want to be ashamed, be ashamed of Bush not some 23-year-old second lieutenant or 19-year-old corporal who may have made a mistake while people were trying to kill them.
Umm, we hashed this to death yesterday on dKos. Most of us who looked into it, and ultimately questioned the allegations.
So we want more information. I know I for one don’t quite trust Italian news sources blindly. Especially when they’re basically repeating accusations from arab news sources.
I’m not too impressed with the accusations of “All the left believe the worst… blah blah blah whine whine whine”, especially after yesterday’s little tirade with bitchphd. Everybody appears to be guilty of jumping to conclusions, when you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about and you don’t research.
Well, that is, except for us skeptics.
No restrictions on using napalm-like substances in combat. As another poster above pointed out, the military no longer uses napalm, but has replaced it with a very similar, but more ‘environmentally friendly’ incindiary replacement which doesn’t have the hot-button name of “napalm”
Do you feel stifled, Paul L? I’m so sorry, let me take it all back. Now does that feel better?
You poor baby. I never understood my stifling was upsetting you and Darrell and all the other people that like to cheerlead an illegal war, thus enabling the original perpetrators of the crime to continue their activities and possibly expand them.
That from Juan Cole.
Reading that, together with JC saying that WP is not a chemical weapon……….it seems that the military may actually be within their rights to rain down WP on enemy personnel at will. Since we haven’t ratified Protocol III, even though we agreed to it.
Bob In Pacifica
metalgrid, the hearty talk about being willing to use any weapon in order to win sounds good on Sunday morning in the locker room before the team hits the field, but unfortunately the refs in this game (i.e., The World, International Treaties, etc.) call those weapons fouls.
Besides, the war is over. Remember? Ours is an occupying army. An occupying army targeting and killing civilians in torturous ways puts the U.S. on the level of the Nazis wiping out villages in revenge for partisan activities. If you watched old WWII movies you’d have seen that that’s not the way to win over the hearts and minds of the civilians.
I wonder if, at nights, George Dubya picks up a picture of Grandpa Prescott Bush and thinks, “Gee, you funded the Nazis during World War II. Dad used old Nazis for his CIA. But I AM A NAZI!!!”
You see, a lot of the people in the streets in Argentina lived through a fascist romp down there a few decades ago and they don’t like it or the people who export it.
WP is not banned in combat.. neither is gasoline for that matter. what’s your point?
Cool. Does it say “new and improved!” on the cannister?
It is a weapon and it has legimitate uses. If the insurgents were firing an anti aircraft gun at US soldiers and the soldiers called in an artillery strike using WP rounds to silence the AA gun then that would be a legitimate use of WP.
Despite what you may believe the US military does not target civilians. There is more to the story than what we have heard so far. In my mind, anyone who wants to condemn the US military based on what we know about this right now is someone who already has their mind made up about the US military.
Irony! Get your red-hot irony!
See my second update. On the battlefield it’s just another way to die. It’s in civilian areas where the question gets tricky.
The “Get Saddam Because He Pissed on Poppy” War was the United States acting as an aggressor nation against a nation that had not harmed us (if you want to go to the Saddam/terrorists connection, shouldn’t the target have been the Saudi royal family and Saudi Arabia as far more clearly associated with 9/11 terrorists?).
The types of weapons employed are much less problematic than giving up the American tradition of defensive wars only. If one country can decide that another country and its leader is corrupt, potentially threatening and can be replaced by force, then ANY country can make the same decision and the United States is now in no position to oppose such behavior. Throwing away 230 years of American history in the use of our military will have repercussions well beyond the fate of Saddam Hussein.
The chickenhawk line is complete and utter BS. Can we only use our military during times when we have a president that served? Do I not get an opinion just because I didn’t join the military? Do only former military men get to be in civilian leadership positions?
Yes, it is frustrating watching Cheney play super hawk, when he had ‘better things to do.’ But fight the actual battle, why we should or should not have gone to war, instead of name calling and rhetoric.
Sorry, just my 2cents
Oh please, we own the refs.
Besides, if you really wanna know how I feel about the US presence in Iraq, docG (November 8th, 2005 at 11:57 am) sums it up pretty well.
Except for the fact that people commonly call it napalm (similarly, see “Napalm B”) because the weapon in question is “the direct successor to napalm”. It’s the “Mark 77” instead of the “Mark 47”, y’know, and “commonly referred to as napalm in US Military slang”. I wonder how that plays out…
I love these semantic differences, as a programmer it makes me feel right at home. It’s sort of like watching geeks argue about how C++ isn’t C.
how can it not be considered a civilian area. We told the civilians to leave, but:
1) any male of fighting age (14-45ish) were not allowed to leave
2) how many older people were not able to walk out of town to a refugee camp or to another town
3) how many mothers with infants were not able to leave
4) how many families of fighting age men that weren’t allowed to leave had to stay for a variety of reasons
Just because we say we are coming in, and tell civilians they should leave, does not mean that we can act as if the entire town is a free fire zone. It was a densely populated city.
If they ever get upset about anything this administration has done, that’ll be a sign that the apocalypse is at hand. It’s in the Book of Revelations, right after the rivers turning to blood.
Or was the use of WP in areas of the city that had already been largely destroyed and/or evacuated of citizens? You and I don’t know the answer to that. Furthermore, is it necessarily wrong or immoral to use WP in an urban shooting battle? You have suggested that it is. How about other weapons in an urban firefight?
First, I’m fairly certain that the Mk-77 bomb is still Napalm. Second, I believe the NCTimes article states that these were fired from mortar tubes (although the article uses terminology that’s sometimes more applicable to a towed howitzer; putting the round into the business end of the gun is not one of these). Third, a 150-m kill radius on a mortar round would be rather remarkable, I think, so there’s some problems with the source.
Well, for starters, I meant what you left off the quote,
From what I’ve read, napalm use is banned, however, the MK-77 round is quite similar but not the same substance.
WP as used for a weapon is considered a poisonous gas, and as such, banned as well.
Good luck getting Willy Pete off the battlefield, though. Too many uses for it. Nail the commanders for these decisions or lack of oversight to use it indiscriminately. It is at the very, very least, bad PR, and at worst, an atrocity.
I think the radicals on the left would like to believe that all this shit comes across the President’s desk, or Rumsfeld’s. Field commanders make these decisions in the heat of a battle. Some things don’t go all the way up- but we like to think that they do so we can blame someone visible.
Well there you have it. Calling chickenhawks “chickenhawks” is stifling the debate in this country.
Funny that chickenhawks should be so sensitive about this.
But then again, they are very sensitive men.
You know, honestly. You don’t have to convince me. You don’t even have to convince Michael Moore. We’re all completely obvlivious to this point. The only reason any of us on the left bring this up is because…
You have to convince the people of Iraq.
That’s the problem with warfare. There is no such thing as a Humane War, and I laugh at the conservative moonbats who keep trying to claim there is. War is about fucking killing people. You try your damndest to limit the scope to military targets, but you can never be perfect, can you? That’s why you only go to war when you positively have to. When someone has attacked your country, and you have to defend yourself. You’re completely and entirely justified to use every means at your disposal to utterly destroy the enemy. Not so when you are trying to fight a Humanitarian War of Occupation, you know… for their own good.
Every civlian that is killed, is more fuel for the fire in Iraq. That’s what the British learned in the early 20th century when they tried the same stupid thing in Iraq. Come blazing into the city with machine guns and bombs… and next thing you know Akhmed’s mother is killed, and you’ve just turned him, his cousins and uncles into a squad of raging beserkers.
So please go do your whining to the Iraqis about how unfair they are being when they complain about soldiers mistakenly killing civilians.
I know I for one am really getting fucking sick of it.
A couple of minor quibbles with Update 2:
I’m sure I know what you mean here, but the wording is a tad ambiguous.
I do. The answer is “No”. Imagine, for example, Katrina. Now imagine that New Orleans is ten times poorer, and in the middle of a war zone.
Sorry guys but this whole affair strikes me as yet another Troublesome if true Instapundit post.
We have no idea if it’s true, and even if it’s true, we have no idea if it was justified or not.
One things for certain, the battle of Fallujah was the most nasty urban combat since Hue.
There are some people who command for the use of military force, not because they are strong, but because they are weak and they fear the appearance of being weak. Someone like Eisenhower would have never gotten us into the Iraq war. He wouldn’t have needed to. He’d defeated Hitler, he didn’t need to prove himself to his daddy.
The only reason you are claiming the chickenhawk line is bullshit, is because you know it’s correct.
Try defending Bushies war policy in and of itself. Don’t attack the critics on technicalities. It makes you look like a whiner and a wimp.
I added a link to the original text. The Protocol specifically bans incendiary weapons from civlian areas. Presumably, if you feel like dropping it on a battlefield enemy that’s fine.
We haven’t yet ratified Protocol III so I’m not even sure whether it matters in this case.
Radicals on both sides think crazy shit. Radicals on the right might blog about the evil aetheists and about how the only decent thing Jesse Jackson has ever done is to stand up for the poor Terry Schiavo that was ‘sentenced to die a cold lonely death by the courts.’ But, I wouldn’t pay them much attention either.
Lines: My feelings do not enter in to it. I think the Chickenhawk meme is a bunch of BS and when I see it used I will say just that. I could also say that your stifling is cheerleading against the troops.
Logically, make the case that this is an illegal war (as opposed to Kosovo) and that being in Iraq is not in our best interest. And if your arguments have merit, I will consider them. Anti-war slogans/talking points currently do not seem up to job of convincing me.
I am not whining about the Iraqis complaining about civilian casualties. I am whining about progressive wingnuts jumping to conclusions about alledged ‘atrocities’ commited by the US military.
Anal cysts will do that for you.
Excellent point. Hyperbole used to stir up the clueless masses on the left
Is anyone really questioning that Fallujah was an urban battlefield? Also of note, Fallujah was not occupied by coalition forces, as was claimed upthread — if it were, a seige would not have been necessary. It was a no-go area for US troops where the only “coalition” representation was the Iraqi-only Fallujah Brigade, which was essentially just Insurgents Lite.
Civilians were given ample time to leave, and 70,000 of them were escorted out of the area by our military before any attacks took place. Whoever stayed behind were likely either terrorists or supportive civilians who were betting on the wrong horse, and there are always dire consequences for losing that bet in wartime.
That being said, I’d feel more morally at-ease if we used guns and grenades, too (or Kung Fu!), but are we really willing to turn that 2000-casualty statistic into 5000 or 8000 because we feel ill thinking of the damage that WP can do, if used for purposes other than intended?
That’s just nutty, only uninformed, deluded radicals would think that. The rest of us know it comes from Cheney’s desk! :)
I wouldn’t have a problem with using napalm or WP or whatever against an enemy troop position in the field. It’s war, after all, and I suspect the reason we have treaties against using biological or chemical weapons has very little to do with it being too mean a thing to do to the enemy troops.
But it seems to me that when you’re in an urban area, instead of being out in the field with no one but enemy troops to worry about, the definition of what’s prudent changes somewhat. I don’t accept that you can just make a big announcement for all the civilians to leave and then assume it’s ok to just firebomb the place. You know a lot of people aren’t going to leave and, to the extent that matters to you, you can’t just wish it away.
Whoooaaaa! I have never supported the War. I just think the Chickenhawk meme is out of line. Not serving in the military does not make you unfit to lead the country. In fact, I would tend to lean towards a civilian as opposed to a former general, all other things being equal.
There are plenty of other reasons W is unfit to lead this country.
Paul L.: Its illegal because we were lied into it.
3) Yellow Cake
4) We know where the WMD’s are….
Those are all verified as lies. Lies to congress, lies to the American People, lies to the military and lies to the world.
And calling cheerleaders chickenhawks isn’t anti-troop. Come on, thats just a stretch. You can do better than that.
By the way, the point of the whole chickenhawk thing isn’t that you’re not allowed to have an opinion unless you served. The point is that if you didn’t serve, you shouldn’t go around cheerleading for the war or treating it all as a big game of “cowboys and arabs,” as I saw on RedState the other day.
War is a serious business and it should be taken seriously. I wouldn’t say a Clinton or a Bush has no rights to take us to war, but I’d feel much more comfortable with an Eisenhower because I would know he truly understands the seriousness of his decisions.
We didn’t “just firebomb the place” jackass. Because firebombing the place would have saved the 40+ marines who died precisely because we didn’t just bomb the hell out of it
again, military age men were not allowed to leave. Any male between about 14 and 45 had to stay. We didn’t want the insurgents slipping out of fallujeh and into mosul. Many of these men had families with no where to go, and no way to survive without them. They couldn’t just pack up their Rangerover, buy some Evian, and head to their summer homes. 70,000 were escorted by US troops? Out of 200-250,000. this was a city with civilians.
It is an attempt to stifle debate and the anti-war left way of crushing dissent with their view. Kind of hypocritical.
I remember when the Iraq war was starting and no one was listening to the anti-war left, they screamed “stop crushing our dissent” which meant listen to us and stop debating with us about the war because we know we are right.
Here is a repeat of the question I gave to Lines.
Have you served in the military under Kosovo? I find that most people who use the Chickenhawk slur have not served.
Hey, lay off this post, guys! If Lines says they’re “verified,” then that’s good enough for me!
I admitted that I went overboard on Schiavo. I’m an atheist, ‘tho.
If AQ uses WP mortars against the next WV football game, would that be a conventional or chemical attack?
I understand what you are saying here. I guess to me, the distinction is that W keeps saying ‘It’s hard work’ and not knowing what that means. I cringe when I think about him saying “you are either with us or against us” because it becomes apparent that he doesn’t understand international relations as well as 90% of the 22 year old Poly Sci graduates.
My problem is the cheerleading, even if it came from eisenhower. Cheerleading is a very nice way of saying propoganda, corner turning, dead-enders, evil-doers, cakewalk, up is down. I don’t care if he fought a war or not. There are civilian leaders that would be hesitant to use force when they should, and former military leaders that would be gung-ho at the drop of a hat.
Of course I would be more comfortable if someone else was in charge.
RonB’s point that there should be an inquiry into whether this use of white phosphorus is acceptable seems right to me, regardless of whether this falls into the category of chemical weapon of incendiary device.
Chemical weapons aren’t banned because an edict from on high declared them bad, they are banned because a collective decided that their effects are too horrible. People may come to a similar conclusion about white phosphorus used this way, too. And I think it’s legitimate to say, “The effects of this weapon are similarly horrible to the effects of chemical weapons,” and be appalled, even if the use of that weapon is technically acceptable.
That’s not the same thing as saying the US used chemical weapons in this circumstance. That’s saying we used something as bad as chemical weapons. I’m not sure that’s an accurate statement, but the initial evidence makes me think it’s worth further investigation.
the complete and total disintegration into moral degeneracy of the right is demonstrated by their attempted “defense” of this atrocity.
“Its not a chemical weapon”?!?! BULLSHIT. Its a FUCKING CHEMICAL. It was used as a WEAPON. You inhale the shit, and it burns out your lungs—just like MUSTARD GAS. Mustard gas will also BURN THE SKIN. Just like White Phosphorus. So cut the crap with the “its not a chemical weapon.”
Gee Mac, lets go over this again:
1) Drones: they can fly remote drones to New York. Turns out the “drones” were made of balsa wood and duct tape and had already been dismissed by the UN before the claim was made in the US.
2) Inspectors: the lie “Saddam kicked all the inspectors out” is pretty funny, considering Bush requested that Hans Blix’s team and the IAEA team be removed a week before the US invasion. And this lie was made while Hans Blix was in Iraq.
3) Yellow Cake: DIA and CIA sources both knew it was a forgery and requested that it not be in the SOTU.
4) “We know where the WMD’s are…” And they are where now? Rumsfeld stood there and told a bald faced lie to the American people.
And yet you still think this administration and its pet war have credibility
Not everyone’s cut out for the military (I’m a lover not a fighter, heh), but I think a more realistic comparison might also include, “Were you a de-facto cheerleader of Clinton’s policies towards Kosovo at the time?”
Of course, I always respect sensible anti-war positions as well. I’d just like it if some people were more consistent in their advocacy and principles.
again, military age men were not allowed to leave. Any male between about 14 and 45 had to stay.
you know what. I was extremely disturbed by the photos of the victims.
But I didn’t get literally nauseous until I saw the wingers on here trying to pretend that this was “acceptable” — that it wasn’t a chemical weapon, that Fallujah was a military target, etc.
The pictures were disturbing. The excuses are sickening.
Nice. A thick skinned good sport. Bravo.
Exactly. I was shouted down before the war, and for two years because I was stereotyped as a liberal. My opinion didn’t count. Now the left is trying to knock down arguments because of the source, because it is coming from a chickenhawk.
And, there is no reason to do this. They are out there saying, still today, that SH was a danger, and we had to stop him immediately. Make fun of that, and knock down that argument.
1) Drones – Did he have drones? Could they be adapted to become weapons.
2) Inspectors – What lie about inspectors?
3) Yellow Cake – Prove it, British intelligence still stands by this. Your man Joe Wilson was proved to be a liar by the Senate intelligence.
4) We know where the WMD’s are…. WMD were not the only reason to go to Iraq and while no WMDs have been found, it seems Saddam had programs for WMDs that he could “rev up” once sanctions were lifted.
What about the weapons we found that Saddam was forbidden from having by the 1991 cease-fire agreement?
What about them? Would UN Inspectors have found them? Had they already been catagorized? If you are referencing the lone shell containing mustard gas from the ’80s, then you’re just making yourself look bad.
I answered the other 4. Programs do not count as “weapons”, dual use equipment doesn’t count as a “program”. With active inspections, there wouldn’t be any more “programs”.
And if you think Joe Wilson is the liar here, then I’m done talking to you, you’re a whackjob and you ignored everything that has been found.
Regarding WP, Mr. Cole summarizes it quite well. I’d only note that the US wasn’t the one seeking to maximize it’s tactical advantage by intermingling with civilians. Who put those civilians at risk–the insurgents or coalition forces?
Cub, I have been guilty in the past of making the same excuses every Bush/troop supporter no-matter-what made about our actions in Iraq, and have recently done a volte-face-I really want us to get out. Now. For them and the US at large. High level filtering of data to make the case for Iraq did happen, and I do blame the White House for that. But I still have not been convinced yet of the various abuses committed by the military in Fallujah and Abu Ghraib etc are the result of the same high-level direction that made the case for war in Iraq. Some field commanders are just no good.
What weapons would that be? White Phosphorus rounds?
Whatever, everything you got left are excuses.
Hey, I’m with you 100% — who needs “links” and “sources,” anyway? People with no imagination, that’s who! And I just don’t care if some unimaginative robot-guy disagrees with me. Plus, who knows what the definition of a “lie” really is? What is it, in some book or something? I’m no linguist, and I just happen to agree with you that being incorrect makes you liar. When my little daughter spells her name “CLAIER” instead of “CLAIRE,” I gently take her cute face in my hands and scream “LIAR! YOU DIRTY LIAR!! I will not raise a stinking LIAR!!!!” Because being wrong makes you a liar in our book, right?
For some reason, I’d almost believe that about you.
Besides… why would you lie about it? :)
Hey, I’m a stickler about the truth. That’s why I’m never wrong!
I would agree one hundred percent about high level responsibility for the use of WP in fallujeh. I would say that it was a field commander. As we have eventually uncovered, we aren’t prohibited from using WP, and we openly maintain stockpiles. Why wouldn’t we use it?
i completely disagree about AG, but let’s not get into that here, that discussion has a tendency to turn a thread into a name calling disaster.
Sure it is. Worked for Camelot, right?
No. Saddam had program related activities. The White House was quite careful about NOT saying he had programs. And if by “rev up” you mean have an active nuclear weapons program within 10 years then yes, you would be “accurate”
You guys on the right are so willing to be lied to. You need something ANYTHING to believe in. Like a battered wife. “Yeah, he beats the ever loving crap out of me, but he’s really sweet when he’s not drunk”
Nonsense–she represents people on security issues regularly and knows that stuff like the back of her hand–she would easily qualify as an expert witness.
Lines, Paul L is lying. No evidence was found to support his contention that “Saddam had programs for WMDs that he could “rev up” once sanctions were lifted.” Duelfer, who was one of those people (like Kay) whose reputation was at stake because of their unequivocal public assertions that Saddam did have WMDs, went to great lengths to argue, despite finding no evidence, that Saddam could have revitalized a WMD program.
oops…pasted the wrong quote in the previous post. (and I even checked the preview and edited my own comments….)
The reporter said chemical weapon but since its not a chemical weapon nothing in the article means anything now. Well done wingnuts.
Its really very simple. You cannot use willy pete as a weapon. As tracer, fine. As illumination flares, fine. Firing it as a weapon, not fine.
What would make me happy is that we concentrate our deadly force on the insurgents. Blanketing a city with WP is not exercising proper restraint to me. Yes, that’s right, when you are supposed to be a “liberating” force, you have to exercise some restraint. I don’t want to hear any shit about “by any means necessary”, “this is war”, etc. No fucking shit. That’s why it should be a last resort. You cannot occupy a country and declare a city an insurgent target. Even if you ask nicely and carpool people out. If you are going to defend indiscriminant use of any and all weaponry, just go ahead and nuke the place…
Here’s why the chickenhawk slur is silly. As I’ve noted repeatedly in the balloon-juice comments, I’ve deployed to Iraq and will be going back in a few months. What if I were to simply endorse every pro-war argument voiced here, regardless of its veracity, coherence, consistency, and logical soundness? Does that make those arguments magically worthy of consideration? Why?
And while I actually have a great deal of respect for Steve S despite our policy disagreements, his statement here makes me want to scream:
That’s what war supporters are trying to do, but they keep getting attacked on technicalities, and arbitrary ones at that. Is it enough that someone is a veteran, or do they have to be a veteran of a specific conflict? What if they were on active duty, but were stationed outside the theater? Do they have to have engaged the enemy, or suffered a wound? What if they weren’t wounded, but simply injured in an accident? How many months/years of service qualifies someone to advocate for the war without being called a hypocrite? Do they have to be combat arms, or CSS, or what? Even if someone were to put together the checklist of what consitutes a ‘chickenhawk’, you’ll notice that none of these specifications actually address the merits of war.
Okay Mac here’s a good link with this lovely quote
Since they were only next to each other no WMD, right?
My “links” post was in response to Lines, not you. I should’ve been clearer. Nice link, though, and well executed.
Here’s why the chickenhawk slur is silly. As I’ve noted repeatedly in the balloon-juice comments, I’ve deployed to Iraq and will be going back in a few months. What if I were to simply endorse every pro-war argument voiced here, regardless of its veracity, coherence, consistency, and logical soundness? Does that make those arguments magically worthy of consideration? Why?
your rebuttal doesn’t work, because it doesn’t address the argument being made by those who criticize the “chickenhawks” — that they are far too willing to risk the lives of others in situations that they would avoid at all costs. Its the hypocrisy of the chickenhawks that is the issue, not their lack of military experience per se. Basically the chickenhawks say “This is a cause worth having OTHER people die for….but not me.”
Veeshir, sorry for misspelling your name. I was lying when I typed it before, I guess.
Lying bastard. You and your mis-typing ilk are turning this country into a sewer.
The point is this, idiot. Sure, gasoline is allowed onto the battlefield, it comes in handy for moving around those heavy tanks. Heck, I even employ it to move around my car. But I don’t use it to burn leaves and the Army sure as shit cannot use it to pour all over an Iraqi family and light ’em on fire.
I know that’s not what we are talking about in this case, but that’s the bullshit argument you are throwing out there. Just because a substance is allowed, does not mean every application is allowed. And even if every application is technically legal, it doesn’t make it right.
For us to go to war and overthrow a government because it bad stuff to civilians, should mean we do everything possible to do a better job than the previous oppressor.
P.S. The preview is working at all for me right now.
I read something like this almost every day. It sounds so very nice. It is a lie:
We targeted civilians in the Philippines in 1899-1901. Brigadier General Jacob Smith ordered US troops to turn the island of Samar into a “howling wilderness.” Our forces were ordered to shoot every male over the age of 10. And they did.
We targeted civilians in World War II. They just finished rebuilding the Frauenkirche in Dresden, you know.
We targeted civilians in Vietnam. What is a “free-fire zone,” exactly? How do you know if all the civilians have been evacuated from it before you issue the order to fire?
I don’t point this all out to make us more ashamed of our military. If we hadn’t bombed the crap out of Nazi Germany, we wouldn’t have won the war. But people, please, stop with the Howdy Doody innocence. War is horrible, and the way America fights its wars is very horrible. We targeted Fallujah, a city of hundreds of thousands, and we killed civilians. That’s what war is, and counterinsurgency warfare virtually guarantees that kind of thing.
I meant isn’t working. Though for this comment, it is. Maybe the blockquote is jamming it up?
Well, stickler, considering that the ROE expressly forbids the targeting of non-combatants in Iraq, even going so far as to identify what consituted a non-combatant, I’d have to say that, contra your history lesson, we don’t intentionally target civilians. Whether the ROE is adhered to is another question, but that’s based on the troops in question.
Once again, we find another that argues that the baby-eatting activity was technically ok, since once the baby is eatten, there is no proof that the baby eatting had ever occurred.
Congrats, Mac, you’re awarded today’s baby-eatting apologist award!
It appears though, that baby eating was legal.
What kind of chickenshits are running this country that they feel the need to resort to these tactics to feel safe?
I think the generals who made the call for it should be held to account …
If you want to be ashamed, be ashamed of Bush not some 23-year-old second lieutenant or 19-year-old corporal who may have made a mistake while people were trying to kill them.
It is not Bush, or some General, or anyone running the country making the decision on what weapon to employ at the unit level. WP grenades and flares are issued at the squad level. Based on what we know at his point, the most likely case is that it was artillery shells, used as a screen or against a legitimate target but with unfortunate collateral damage.
It is a legitimate weapon. It is not a WMD. I for one would not think to question the call made by the Lt. or NCO on the ground in the middle of urban combat.
How about saving some outrage for the ‘insurgents’ who have used WP artillery shells in IEDs and intentionally targeting civilians?
a guy called larry
Hey, I liked the “Saddam could attack the USA with drones” story! To pump anyone with enough fear to believe that insanity was pure genius.
It isn’t a lie. The US military does not fire its weapons with the intent to kill civilians or with blatant disregard for civilian lives. That doesn’t mean civilians aren’t killed by the US military it simply means that civilians aren’t the intended targets of their fire.
We didn’t target Fallujah in order to kill civilians. We targeted Fallujah in order to kill insurgents. That is a very basic distinction which you don’t seem capable of making.
Wow! Go away for a few hours and the comments explode.
I see a lot of candidates for the League of the Usual Suspects, as well as many worthies who have engaged them head on. Many comments on WP; not so many on napalm 2.0 (also known as Mark-77, which is definitely anti-personnel).
I’m not going to wade in on the legal technicalities of WP use. Yes, it’s used to “light up the sky.” Common sense, if not decency, says that that’s different than deliberately lighting up people. By analogy, I have an oil lamp, which, when I’m in the mood, lights up my living room. That’s rather different than soaking someone with the oil and striking a match.
If Paul K. (who cited me specifically) does not understand that, he should please inform me which state I should stay out of.
Please no more variations on “war is hell.” I know that. That is why they should never be initiated for less-than necessary reasons.
Here p.lukasiak Have some evidence that Saddam could have revitalized a WMD program. Does this make you a liar?
Nuke program parts unearthed in Baghdad back yard
The fact you still believe Joe Wilson means I do not want to argue with you anymore.
“Hope Like Hell This Isn’t True”
The left hates the war and grasps at straw upon straw. You know, if they didn’t cry wolf so often, I might worry. Thanks for dumping on the good soldiers who fight to protect your rights
The issue is not one of service. Obviously President Clinton had no service, and yet I don’t regard him as a chickenhawk. It has to do with willingness to put others at risk, while coupled with a strong desire to protect your own ass. Clinton didn’t believe in Vietnam and he fought enlistment. Bush did believe in Vietnam, just not for himself… so he got daddy to get him into the Guard. Do you see the difference?
Now it’s interesting that you equate the charge to one solely of service, because that was the very charge made against Clinton. That he hadn’t served at all, so therefore he didn’t understand the honor and valor of our armed services. This charge became poisonous and corrosive, and I blame it for a large part of the discipline problem we are seeing today in the Armed Forces.
Don’t believe me? Admiral Crowe, chairman of the joint chiefs under Reagan endorsed Bill Clinton just because those charges made him furious.
Now please explain to me why Republicans where justified in making those charges… or the charges they made against Kerry in 2004. But the charge of chickenhawk is bullshit. Please, I’d love to hear an explanation.
It’s not an argument to say that someone is being hypocritical, it’s an ad hominem attack since it doesn’t actually address the debate. Were one to just observe the supposed hypocrisy and move onto the argument, I’d still be bothered by ‘chickenhawk’ slurs but wouldn’t mind it so much. Too often the chickenhawk slur instead is used as some sort of definitive conclusion to the debate.
I may be misinterpreting you, but are you saying that you have to have skin in the game to take a given position? That rules out the body politic deciding policies on a whole host of issues. Can you advocate a tax increase on people in a higher income bracket? Can you advocate stricter use of force rules by the police if you’re not an officer required to execute them?
If it’s a matter of the seriousness of war–which is a fair distinction–The US has sent troops all over the place over the course of its history, “from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli”. Oftentimes, the casualty rates on these excursions are low, but I don’t think it’s the lethality of an armed conflict that mandates service in order to be a proponent. More to the point, I don’t see how we can say that the chickenhawk argument has much validity if we are to retain a commitment to civilian control over the armed forces. To me, it seems like an argument that is both arbitrarily applied and made in bad faith in order to prematurely close off opposition.
I will admit that I find Operation Yellow Elephant rather amusing.
As I said before, it doesn’t matter what we think.
It’s the people of Iraq who matter. Please go explain your justification to them and see if they will accept it as a valid argument.
Oh, upthread I thought someone said “we don’t target civilians.” Now, it seems, we don’t intentionally target civilians. I’m sure the corpses are reassured by that distinction. International law, since the Nuremberg trials, is a little less forgiving.
Whether the ROE are adhered to? That sounds a little vague. You belittle my little history lesson, but are you seriously denying that we firebombed Dresden? Why did the Frauenkirche need rebuilding, then?
We aren’t fighting the uniformed forces of a nation-state. We’re fighting an insurgency against our occupation. They are, therefore, civilians who are fighting us. How do you determine which adult males in Fallujah are innocent pizza delivery men and which are insurgents? Our solution to this problem was to arbitrarily prevent all males aged 15-45 from leaving the city, and then leveling the city. We targeted civilians. You can put whatever lipstick you’d like to on this pig, but it’s still a pig.
It’s facile to point out that the US hasn’t banned the use of White Phosphorus – only 80 other nations have. Meanwhile, rightwing commenters are dancing around the idea that even Protocol III of the 1980 UN convention (the one those 80 nations ratified) says only that WP shouldn’t be used on civilian targets and the military had told all civilians to leave Fallujah. Did Katrina teach them nothing? Telling all civilians to leave is simple plausible deniability. The military knew it was impossible for all civilians to leave then went ahead and bombarded with WP anyway. These were no illumination rounds – the footage and the reports from the time make it clear they were used as artillery rounds for concentrated barrages.
Regards, Cernig @ Newshog
Veeshir – Lies make it around the world in the time it takes the truth to get it’s pants on, as they say.
The U.S. Army’s hopes that it had found Iraqi chemical weapons proves to be yet another false alarm
That’s interesting that the story is being spread in a recent op-ed, over six months since the Army published the true findings.
I’m out of time for now, so please forgive the brevity of my response. It wasn’t Pres. Clinton’s lack of service that bothered folks, it was his anti-war stance. It might have been principled, but I think that even old school war protestors like Ppgaz would admit that the anti-war movement in the 1960’s often let their arguments descend into attacking the military as an institution versus the war itself. Pres. Clinton’s protests in a foreign country and his infamous quote about how he ‘loathed the military’ in particular grated us.
I’m not going to touch the whole sordid “Purple Heart” nonsense, but from my perspective the opposition to Sen Kerry wasalso based on how he executed his post-war protests. Winter Soldier hearings, tossed medals/ribbons, etc. Those aren’t chicken hawk arguments, those are arguments that these gentlemen were willing to smear the troops they would lead in their execution of their activism.
I’ve really got to go, but Stickler’s post requires a response:
Stickler, I never saw or abided by the ROE used by our armed forces in WWII. I’m just saying that just because we did something in the past doesn’t mean that we’re doing it now. In fact, we’re explicitly forbidden from doing it.
As for adhering to the ROE, considering that the ROE is a general order, it matters whether it was adhered to since those soldiers found violating the ROE are essentially on their own and can’t be considered as acting on lawful orders.
If we’re wrong when even one noncombatant is harmed by our actions, regardless of what steps we take to minimize that risk, how exactly are we supposed to fight an enemy that seeks to exploit our compassion by hiding behind and amongst civilians? Where is their culpability in this?
Correction–the ROE isn’t necessarily a General Order, since the ROE is actually carried through the OPORD under coordinating instructions.
Come on. First, I am part of what you call ‘the left’. Yes, I was against this war from the beginning.
But, I have never dumped all over the good soldiers who fight to protect my rights.
Protesting that our military uses WP to kill insurgents, and kills civilians in the process, is not dumping on soldiers. it is dumping on those that have decided that this is a weapon that should be used. Not even dumping on the Field Commander that used it, he was within his rights to do so. But, at a higher level, our military, Congress, etc, decided that a new environmental friendly napalm was an acceptable way to kill people.
It is perfectly reasonable for you to believe that this decision was correct, but accusing those of us that don’t of ‘dumping on the troops’ is a bit disingenuous.
Wasn’t the Republican National Committee trying to get people to call Bill Clinton “Willie Pete” for a while? I seem to remember something like that. I guess that proves, in a way, that this is Clinton’s fault, doesn’t it?
I’m in no way fishing for any sort of “gotcha!” moment out of you, so please don’t take this question the wrong way as I am merely curious as to your take: Do you think the U.S. should have signed on to Protocol III, or do you think we’re better off having not signed on to it?
Also, the Chaz Batch Era continues next week. Bring beer.
This is my last post on this subject for this afternoon. While I generally am skeptical about this story and believe it is a misinterpretation of events.
I would like it, however, if we could start putting some names to the ordinance that people think was used. I understand the WP being used for signaling, but I’m a bit confused by the people suggesting it is used for lighting up an area.
My understanding is that candle flares generally use magnesium, not phosphorus. They also have parachutes attached to them, they don’t explode in midair. For example… the M583A1, which is a 40mm grenade round launched from A M79 or M203 launcher.
Or the LUU flares dropped from airplanes. Or the M721 60mm Mortar rounds.
The M722 is a WP mortar round, and it is indicated as being a smoke cartridge for spotting.
I’m just a bit baffled by some of the comments suggesting WP as an illuminating device, because I don’t see anything to suggest that’s what it is used for.
I’m not making any accusations here, and I still suspect this claim is BS. But it seems to me like it would be helpful to the level of debate to accurately identify what is what.
Pmm, you ask some reasonable questions.
Specifically, we shouldn’t have let Fallujah spin out of control in the first place, and maybe we shouldn’t have tried to root out the insurgents the way we did.
But broadly, and I can’t say this enough, this is counter-insurgency warfare. “Hiding behind and amongst civilians” is what insurgents do. It has been so since the Spanish coined the term “guerrilla” fighting against Napoleon’s men. They’re not trying to “exploit our compassion,” they’re trying to make their own countrymen hate us enough to join them, or at least not rat them out to us.
All the rules and good intentions in the world won’t change that fact. The obvious response is, therefore, don’t get into a situation where you’re fighting an insurgency. If it looks likely, and it should have to our nation’s leaders in 2003, then prepare to fight the insurgency with cleverness (don’t fire the Iraqi army) and as many troops as you can get (remember Shinseki?). And even then, you’re going to kill civilians and probably a lot of them. Winning hearts and minds is expensive, bloody, and tedious. That’s why the Powell Doctrine became de facto military policy from 1975 to 2003.
One last comment, and then I have to leave…
I see no fundmental difference on the merits of the charges. They are the same.
The difference is really just one of perspective. I personally never understood the swiftboaters, or the complaints about his medals. At no point ever did Kerry dishonor our soldiers, instead he was standing up for them and questioning the motivation of the leadership in forcing them into a demoralizing situation. You obviously feel differently, that questioning the leadership is wrong and what matters is you come home, and you’ve got your medals that say you were there.
I don’t think either side is necessarily wrong from their point of view. I just point out that this is the difference in perception and why two different groups can arrive at two different opinions on very similar issues.
It’s definately unhelpful to the political discourse. The problem is, and this I now agree with far more than I did years past… It is not beneficial to the liberal position to have a unilateral cease-fire. That is, until Republicans admit that they are wrong to smear Americans the way they do, it is a fact of life that Democrats must engage in the same behavior.
Do you at least agree with that point?
I don’t know if someone clarified this before, as I didn’t read through the entire thread, but hopefully I can shed some light on what WP rounds do.
WP rounds burst on the ground, and give off white smoke, light, and heat. There is also Red Phosphorus, which gives off less light. They are used primarily as marker rounds for air attacks. When an air attack is being conducted on a target in support of advancing troops, a mark is used to make sure the pilots are properly oriented on the battlefield, i.e. to make sure they bomb the right target and don’t mistake friendly troops for enemy. (I forget the exact jargon, but it’s a “hasty” attack, as opposed to a more “deliberate” or “pre-planned” attack that might use GPS bombs or laser guidance.) The Forward Air Controller will literally get on his radio and say, “From the mark, north 200 [meters],” for example. The heat, smoke, and light make the phosphorus rounds useful in day or night, regardless of whether th pilot is using his eyes, a FLIR, or NVGs (NVGs is when you would use RP, so the light from WP doesn’t wash out his vision).
So if advancing US troops want to use an airstrike against an enemy position, they will fire and adjust HE rounds onto the target, and then fire a WP round 30 seconds before the bomb is to hit to mark it for the pilot. The fact that this burns some enemy troops is incidental, but, if everything goes well, they will be put out of their misery shortly.
Also, there’s nothing illegal or especially immoral (in a wartime context) about dropping WP on enemy troops to burn them. There’s nothing illegal about hitting or killing civilians with it either, as long as you’re aiming at legitimate enemy troops. (As for morality, it’s a question of commander’s discretion at that point, i.e. sparing civilians in the area vs. mission accomplishment/protecting your troops. From everything I’ve read, we’ve been bending over backwards to avoid killing civilians, but it of course happens.)
I’m a combat veteran of Iraq. Mostly Ramadi. I’m an infantry officer.
I have got to tell you guys that the knuckleheads who are tearing their hair out about WP being an illegal chemical weapon are some of the stupidest, most ill-informed, hysterical people on the planet right now. You guys are making idiots of yourselves.
Yes, I’ve seen the pictures. And I’ve seen similar effects in real life.
Not from WP, but from good old fashioned HE, which can “caramelize skin” and “leatherize skin” and cause severe flash burns.
I saw their effects because I saw what happened to Iraqi civilians after HE IEDs went off. Sometimes it happened to the guys who were setting them up.
Doctrinally, WP is used as a marking round. You pop off one or two WP rounds on the target, and then you call the air to fire up the WP round with whatever ordnance is appropriate.
You can also use WP if you desire lethal effect but a smaller blast radius. For example, if there is a structure nearby you don’t want to damage. It’s conceivable to use WP in order to minimize collateral damage, while still getting steel on the target.
It’s standard to use WP as the initial part of a smoke obscuration, and even as a navigational aid (though that’s unlikely in Iraq thanks to GPS.)
WP can also be used to force the enemy to abandon a ditch, to escape the burning bits of phosphorus. He can then be engaged with direct fires or DPICM.
There is nothing prohibiting a commander from using WP rounds against an armed enemy in the field, nor should there be. This idea that DPICM is somehow more humane than WP is a feel-good illusion propogated by people who lead sheltered lives.
Others are simply reaching for any argument, no matter how outlandish, with which to slander our troops with vile and ill-informed accusations in order to score cheap political points.
The fact is that Sherman was right: War is Hell, and you cannot refine it. The best you can do is put your head down and get the nightmare over with quickly.
So how does what you claim compare with the video? How about the “shake and bake” used in an area containing civilians?
Most of the leftish posters here are against the war and are attaching this type of “immoral attack” to the administration that lied us into the war and created an environment where it becomes somewhat necessary to use such tactics to achieve goals.
But hey, I’m a lefty, and according to people like you, I’m just a troop hater commie bastard that should move out of America, right?
No. But if you’re trying to conflate the legal and doctrinal use of WP with illegal weapons of mass destruction, you’re still stupid.
As for the video, I didn’t see any effects on the corpses therein that could not have come from HE. You just don’t get it.
And today’s winner of the straw man award is Lines:
Well done, Lines. Everyone give him a round of applause for that!
I work hard to create those straw men, they don’t create themselves.
Its just the thing after the baby eatting contest.
What is WMD is only a matter of opinion. And often sill debate ensues. People often confuse unconventional weapons with WMD.
What about the daisy cutter bombs used by the US in Afghanistan. So big that as US commentators gleefully described “it creates a mushroom cloud just like a nuclear bomb.” Sure its not radioactive but …..
Would you rather gas 5 insurgents or blow up 10 civilians.
Mass Destruction means destroying masses. Chemical weapons are “unconventional weapons” and often less effective than “standard” weapons at Mass Destruction.
Color me stupid, I knew the positive on those barrels was false. I just forgot and took the first link I could find.
Here’s a better one
The US found 2 tons of low-enriched uranium and removed it from Iraq and the only story about it is that the UN is angry at us for moving it out of Iraq. That’s why it’s sometimes hard to prove that WMDs have been found because the lede is buried. The headline should reflect that the US found approximately 1.8 tons of uranium, enriched to a level of 2.6%, another 6.6 pounds of low-enriched uranium, and approximately 1,000 highly radioactive sources. But instead it’s a story bashing the US for making sure that the uranium was safe.
Combine that and the centrifuge found in a rose garden and I understand how absolutely nobody could ever assume that Saddam would want to reconstitute his nuke program.
Anti-personel WP rounds, right.
You mean, evidence that I can cherry-pick suggests it.
We don’t use WP as an anti-personel weapon because it is too dangerous to be used in conjuction with our troops. It is an illumination round, fool.
Of court “the Left” won’t hesitate to jump on anything that defames the troops. They even nominated the guy who made his career doing it. But you support the troops, right.
This photo (see below) and the accompanying caption tells another tale than the conspiracy theory concocted by RAI and passed on by the BBC and the Independent. The day this was released, and the role of Berlusconi and RAI, should not be overlooked.
For more, see http://wooleyswamp.blogspot.com/2005/11/chemical-weapons-for-breakfast-no.html
PHOTO LINK: http://www.iht.com/slideshows/2004/11/10/africa/falluja.php