From the comments:
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.
There ya go.
*** Update ***
Before we get into another debate about things military thatthose with no military experience will not understand, DPICM is Dual-Purpose Improved ‘CONVENTIONAL’ Munitions.
FASCAM is the stuff that, as a tanker, always scared the shit out of me- mines always make me jittery.
*** Update ***
Even more bizarre (or perverse) is that Kos is pushing that WP is somehow a chemical weapon. Kos, who frequently mentions his military service, should know better. Particularly since he was an artilleryman, and should know a little something about White Phosphorus rounds. Granted, Kos worked with MLRS, but I am willing to bet they get a little training in the types of munitions used by 13B’s and other MOS’s.
*** Update ***
*** Update ***
From a sane commenter at Kos:
I think the commenters here are doing the redefining. We have a definition of chemical weapons, and a list of prohibited substances, from the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Yes, it would be stunningly ironic if the army had used chemical weapons. But come on, if Saddam had used napalm and white phosphorous in the invasion, and the administration had been all, “See? See? Chemical weapons! Told you!”, this board would have been aflutter with people doing the same cursory research I just did (look up Chemical Weapons Convention) and realizing that, no, those aren’t really chemical weapons. They’re chemicals, and they’re weapons, but they’re no more chemical weapons than a stick of dynamite is.
I guess 5.56 rounds are chemical weapons, given that the accelerant is a chemical.
*** Update ***
Enough said, I will be the first to retract my shock and awe when I first read the story. Over reacted a bit. I will now sit quietly about this issue until we have some actual facts to discuss.
Ahh, the glory of liberating and democratizing the Iraquis with white phosphorous. They must have been hiding the weapons of mass destruction. Maybe we should nuke em just to be sure. Saddam must be proud of his successors.
Maybe Jason who apparently is well informed could tell us why we are fighting this war and how exactly the Iraquis in Fallujah are or were a threat to those of us in North America. Maybe then we could put the use of WP in perspective.
Napalm’s not a chemical weapon either. But our own horror at its effects did make more and more of us wonder if the people running our effort in Vietnam had clue one what they were doing. To the people in Iraq the choice of being burned to death by WP or choking on their own liquified lungs may seem a little academic.
This is basically what my take was on the issue. I’m deeply disappointed by the anti-skeptics who overstated this issue.
War is Hell. War is not Humane.
Although we still have the problem of the GOP apologists having to explain all of this to the Iraqis we’ve killed, and hope they are as understanding.
I hear WP also cures cancer. Side effects are pretty bad, though. ‘Specially for kids.
New Pew Poll just came out and it has President Jack Daniels at a 36% approval rating, down from 40% last month. Republican support (you know, “the base” you hear so much about?) drops from 89% a year ago to 77% today.
Nice chart to be found here stacking George “We Don’t Torture” Bush’s disastrous numbers next to those of another infamous Republican, Richard “I Am Not A Crook” Nixon. While Georgie is getting close to Dick’s approval number (36% to 27%), he is still a couple of spits away. But at the rate Little Georgie is loosing pressure, might not be too long before two of the worst presidents ever draw even.
You know, things would probably be a hell of at lot more humane in Iraq if we could just find those WMD our president said were there.
I hear they’re taking a terrible toll!
“There is nothing prohibiting a commander from using WP rounds against an armed enemy in the field”
But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about using them in a city, a city full of civilians—not against a standing army in the field.
I can think of a alot of things I would personally feel were permissible in a combat situation against an actual opposing army that I wouldn’t support using in a crowded city.
I mean, assuming that we have a greater goal than just killing the enemy. If we have a vested interest in winning hearts & minds as well as winning militarily, then I think more restraint in other people’s cities is warranted.
But if we’re going to wage a scorched earth campaign on a city, let’s just be honest about it and nuke it (not that I support that—I don’t).
Jason – Thank you!
I came across this Wikipedia entry the other day on the Philippine-American War (which was a classic case of scorched earth camapaign), and I thought the brutal honesty of this wartime cartoon was refreshing (albeit horrible):
Kill every one over ten.
I think you should all ignore the video and believe that the rain of white fire is HE or SHAT or something similar.
Ignore visual proof and go with what the army tells you happened, its always better that way.
I don’t know..it just strikes me as kind of sad that we’re debating whether or not WP is illegal or a chemical weapon or whatever it is, apparently it melts people, why are we doing this in Iraq?
When I initially supported the war, I knew there was a chance that it wouldn’t go as planned, that unforeseen things could happen, I knew that, yes, war is hell, even if it’s like the gulf war with very few casualties. But I never thought, even in my darkest reservations, that we would be melting the skin off of people in Fallujah.
I have no idea what to think about any of it anymore.
At any rate, I’m glad Jason was able to clear up what he cleared up. Thanks for your post, and obviously more importantly, your service.
You see here is the problem and I’ll try to put it succinctly in one word. CREDIBILITY. This administration and, pertinent to this issue, the Defense Department has none as far as I am concerned. Zero. This lack of credibility is the result of the Defense Department lying about the heroic exploits of Private Lynch, lying about how Pat Tillman died. Intentional lies. We’ve also know about the fake “letters to the editors” that soldiers were told to write. We all saw that little scripted “chat” that Bush had with some of our soldiers (one of which was found out to be a PR person). We heard the military deny bombing a wedding party in Iraq but then we saw the video that proved that is exactly what had happened. We’ve heard how we’ve killed dozens of Zakowi’s “top lieutenants”. Credibility is a very precious commodity and one that this administration has squandered for transient propaganda purposes.
So I’m sorry Jason I’ll not believe what you say anymore than I will believe any of Rumsfeld’s minions. Sad state of affairs we live in but one that this administration brought upon itself.
Slide: You are so right. It’s like when Georgie Bush talks about how “we don’t torture” on the one hand while Dick Cheney and the rest of the admin thugs are doing all they can to squash John McCain’s anti-torture bill. Hell, Georgie even said he would veto it! His very first veto would be to keep an anti-torture bill from being put into law.
This is our national disgrace.
Actually rereading the whole post, it was good right up until this, which wins the strawman of the day award:
As much as I disagree with the overstatement of what happened, they are not doing it to score cheap political points. There are people in this world who have a real fundamental sense of moral justice, and based on their interpretation of what they are seeing they are flat out appalled that our nation would do something like this.
There is no slander of the troops at all. The only reasoning for that statement is to try to deflect criticism in a dishonest fashion.
Gee- an I was under the impression that accusing our troops of using chemical weapons was kind of slanderous. And then, when it is pointed out that WP isn’t a chemical weapon, the same individuals who made the intial accusations (or believed the accusations), then hem and haw and say “But isn’t it awful that we are doing this?”
Really though, no one is ‘slandering’ anyone. Just accusing them of using chemical weapons and poisoning lots of innocent civilians. No slander, though!
I think having veterans arguing in their blogs about weapons is just great entertainment. Something the whole family can enjoy!
Stormy and Darrell can weigh in, and the whole thing is educational and wholesome fun!
Best of all, it diverts attention from the fact that the government is a bunch of doofuses running around with their heads up their asses!
And let’s not forgot all those wonderful acronyms!
I just LOVE military acronyms.
Do you score wingnut points for saying ‘troops’? Clearly the anger is directed at the ones giving the order (if one was given) to fire WP in a civilian area. Sometimes I feel real bad for your students.
I think I posted here a bunch of months ago that on days when you hit the comment section first, I don’t even need to post since I would basically be echoing everything you had already said. So I think this is the first time I’m disagreeing with you. If someone accused our troops of using chemical weapons, when in fact they hadn’t used chemical weapons, “slander” is being kind about it.
I’m particularly disappointed in Kos..normally I love the guy, but at least for today, he can go screw himself.
The whole Philippine Insurrection is a bracing episode of American military history that most Americans don’t even know happened. It was brutal, but we succeeded. Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie (and the previous President, Grover Cleveland) all were members of the Anti-Imperialist League. Twain wrote “to the person sitting in darkness,” making scathing fun of our imperial pretentions there. He wrote a parody of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, too.
But more horrifying was the way the war was prosecuted. American soldiers found themselves plodding through jungles fighting guerrillas who practiced hit-and-run tactics. Our boys, and our generals, got frustrated and angry and killed without mercy, butchering entire villages. (Or, on Samar, a good portion of the island’s inhabitants.) We ran “reconcentration camps” to keep the insurgents from civilian support. Then, as now, we didn’t count the casualties but at least 100,000 civilians died. Probably many more.
Many of our officers and NCOs had, of course, fought a counter-insurgency campaign before: against Native Americans. What kind of Indian is a good Indian? Those attitudes were carried over the Pacific. Even those not in thrall to racism (remember, this was 1900) were shocked and angered that the ungrateful Filipinos resisted our generous attempt to bring them American law, order, and “freedom.” It didn’t help, I suppose, that the Filipinos had translated our Declaration of Independence into Spanish and Tagalog and were posting copies of it all over Manila. The Army promptly confiscated them, one officer telling a Georgia reporter that the Declaration was “one damned incendiary document.”
Some sense of how bad the fighting got can be derived from the Army’s decision to replace the .38 revolver as the standard-issue officer’s sidearm. Apparently in the southern, Muslim islands, Moro tribesmen ingested hallucinogens before battle, so that .38 caliber bullets weren’t enough to stop them. The M1911 Colt .45 was designed to solve that problem.
But then World War I came, and then in the 1930s FDR promised to set the Philippines loose by 1945, and we all forgot about the episode. Curious that the military forgot all the lessons, too, given that — for all the bloodshed — we actually crushed the insurgency that time. Some of the lessons might have come in handy after 1964. Oh, well.
Why wouldn’t Wp be considered a chemical weapon? Its not a wmd but it is a chemical and if its used as a weapon (which doesn’t appear to be the case here) its a chemical weapon. Right? If its the chemicals that kill you…..
What killed you the accelerant or the the chunk of metal that was accelerated? I realize you were being snarky but it raises a point. If a chemical is weaponized at what point does it become a chemical weapon? Whats the threshold that apparently WP does not step across if used as a weapon? Someone said commanders can use wp as a weapon against enemy troops. Are they not using a chemical weapon? I’m not passing judgement, just want to understand how it works.
Big news over on CNN right now is about the investigation Frist and Hastert are launching into the Senatorial leak of information on the locations of the secret CIA prisons for purported terrorists. The so-called “Second CIA Leak” is getting some momentum in the press.
According to Frist the suspected blabbermouth is a Republican.
Bets anyone? I’ll put my cash on McCain.
Team Torture. They always get their man.
JG- The ones giving the orders to use WP would be 22 year old lieutenants, 27 year old captains, 23 year old staff sergeants, and those people in the theatre doing what they are trained to do.
In other words, the troops.
Believe it or not, Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are not personally authorizing every round fired.
You guys can take your ‘wingnut’ bullshit elsewhere, please. I just love when you guys disagree with me, all of a sudden I become uber-wingnut of the VRWC.
In this case, you simply don’t know what you are talking about.
Really though, no one is ‘slandering’ anyone. Just accusing them of using chemical weapons and poisoning lots of innocent civilians.
Is the fact that WP is not a chemical weapon per se the important thing here? Am I missing something. According to what I am reading, the effects of WP are very similiar to chemical agents and the difference between these types of weapons is largely legalistic and technical.
So what can we do with your ‘lefty’ bullshit? I share your love, but in my case it is when you accuse anyone who disagrees with YOU of being an uber-leftist Deaniac.
Can we hold you to the same standard that you want the rest of us to adhere to? (And incidentally, I don’t think you are a wingnut.)
Indeed, I find the whole thing to be very confusing. But then, if this were a class on “Chemical Weapons”, I’d be the annoying kid in the class going “Teacher, is White Phosphorous a chemical weapon? What about chlorine gas? Are some cleaning products considered precursors? What about phosphorus trichloride, I hear that’s a precursor…” etc., etc. :)
I don’t have any substantive comment, but I liked this:
Soldiers are mainly made up of chemicals as well, though perhaps they’re better classified as biological weapons.
Listen, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a military expert but are you trying to tell me that a 23 year old Lieutenant is the one that makes the decision to utilize a controversial (to say the least) munition like napalm? That is not the type of decision that is made at a higher level? How about a small tactical nuke, can a 23 Lieutenant also decide to use that if he thought it was the right munition? John, come on you are being so dishonest here. If napalm was used it would reflect on the civilian leadership of our military and not the guy carrying out the orders and pressing the button.
I can’t stand when the right wants to position those of us that criticize the war effort as being against the troops. Go shove that straw man argument where the sun don’t shine.
Well, waving the red flag in front of the bull, and then pulling it away at the last moment … that’s an art form. That’s what makes the great toreadors!
Ahh. I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.
Slide: It is an unfortunate tendency of the Bush years that responsibility is rigorously avoided by those at the top, and just as rigorously assigned to those at the bottom. The Abu Ghraib trials and sentencings being fine examples of this arrangement in action.
People who were raised in the kinds of lofty surroundings of our chickenhawk Republican elite have always understood that blame is something best assigned to the help.
So to John’s point, yes, it is about junior officers having to take responsibility for the use of controversial weaponry upon civilian populations. Certainly it cannot be expected that those who issued the orders for their use could ever be expected to own up to the crime.
But let’s not call this WP stuff WMD or chemical weapons, OK? Even if it is. Our service people are in deep enough shit over there already.
Look, I think everyone agrees that WP is not legally considered a “chemical weapon.” Would it make a hell of a lot of difference if we had saturated the area with anti-personnel rounds? The women and children end up as dead, and they aren’t real comfortable during the dying.
Anyone who thinks that “humane war” isn’t an oxymoron is deluding themselves. The soldiers are doing their jobs, and unfortunately their jobs require them to kill innocent people along with the enemy. It is a noble idea to attempt to minimize human suffering during war, but it cannot be eliminated (or even close to it). I do think that stories like these are very important to remind us how evil war is, but blaming our soldiers for doing their jobs using whatever legal means at their disposal is unfair to them.
And therein lies the problem. WP isn’t a ‘controversial’ weapon.
Jason correctly observes:
Roll Call of Scumbags and Idiots:
Remember when I was talking about credibility? Here is another example. The Pentagon initially said it didn’t use napalm in Iraq but when confronted with evidence they finally admitted they did and tried to explain their lie this way:
Oh, and about napalm:
Twenty somethings are authorizing what weapons are used in theatre? Thats you’re position? Or are you being lazy and assuming I’m someone who thinks before any round is fired Bush or Cheney has to make a call and so your put down will end the discussion? Nice try. Maybe you’re doing it unconsciously but you do find ways to put attention off what the main subject is when its something you’re defending. You’re trying to put down talk by throwing a ‘Support the Troops’ yellow magnet in the room. The troops aren’t at issue here and you know it. If anyone is pissed at troops its some fringe kook and you’re playing to him to steer the discussion. FOX style. Nobody but the biggest idiots, who should be ignored anyway, is impugning the troops, the guys on teh ground, for any action that is clearly ordered from a higher position. Clearly because it can’t be ordered by low ranks.
If you want ‘lefty’s’ to go away stop putting on your ‘reasonable republican’ personality once or twice a week. Stay the wingnut you can be and you’ll have your old crew back eentually. Yelling at us won’t work.
Look, everyone just admit the basic truth of the underlying argument to yourselves here. You want the other guy to be wrong, and by other guy you are probably thinking of the most extreme commenter on the opposite end of the spectrum from yourself. (likely Darrell or Slide.)
Now take a deep breath and admit two other fundamental truths..
A: It should indeed be possible for our military to rain all sorts of hell down on their opponents. That’s the fucking point of artillery in fact. If you admit the need for militaries in general, and I think everyone here does, then you should let go to its logical conclusion.
B: Nobody wants to see innocent people, regardless of race, creed or color horribly mutilated and killed. This isn’t LGF, they don’t all have it coming to them. What most people are instinctually reacting to here is seeing more civilians killed. Again.
I know as a left-leaner myself that seeing people that were most likely innocent die pushes all sorts of buttons, I know as a realist that photos of those horrible deaths are going to lead to more car bombs down the road.
I wish to god that Bush and his crew had never started this thing. Regardless of when he declares “Victory!” We, as Americans, are going to be bitter and divided about this for a very long time.
huh? says whom? Controversy all over the fuckin place
Clue us in. The usage of WP as an anti-personel munition is widely regarded in the military and Chemical Warfare regulatory bodies as non-controversial?
Perhaps it is, but is it really surprising the general public might be a little shocked about it?
Wow Darrell, way to stick it to those scumbags, what with their not liking folks burning to death and what-not.
Where do you get troop hater out of that statement?
The interpretation is up to perception.
While I believe and agree that WP rounds are not “chemical weapons”, the interpretation that I have been reading from some is that they are, when they are used to gas people out. The question really is, is that how they were used?
I don’t know that we have a full answer to that, but I rather doubt it. I suspect they were used as they are intended to be, as smoke screen for troop movements. I recall reading a story of soldiers in Vietnam doing something very similar to take out machine gun nests. That is, pop off some smoke to hide their movements, and then pull in an anti-tank gun and fire into the nest. Not uncommon and not unusual.
Also the point of “accusing the troops”, again, what is at stake here is not accusing anyone. It is dismay at what WE are doing as a nation.
I’m not saying I agree with their statements, I am merely pointing out that they are being severely misinterpreted. I think purposefully misinterpreted for the partisan gain they are being accused of.
Yeah, Pelikan, because this has nothing to do with their smearing the military as an “occupying army” which is “targeting civilians” etc. And of course, we can see from their words that they, like you, have only the noblest of intentions, right? Talk about dishonest extremism. Pelikan is the poster child for it
That statement fell under the category of “Idiot”, not troop hater. Some of the other quoted statements were hateful smears on the troops made by human filth
While most probably true.
This reinforces a pattern of behavior I find disturbing. That is, whenever military matters go wrong, our “leadership” does everything in it’s power to blame the grunts.
I even see it here amongst your responses. You keep trying to deflect any questions away from leadership into a strawman argument that people are accusing the grunts of doing something bad.
Look. We all feel bad for the grunts who are stuck over there in the sand. Trying to use their suffering to deflect an argument is pretty dishonest.
It’s times like these where I regret the passing of Col. Hackworth. He would have known the right thing to say to put this issue to an end.
yes. 22 year old LTs and young officers and sergeants are calling those in, most definitely. It is a standard shell.
That was, even by the standards of this comments section, stunningly incoherent.
Yes. When you state that ‘our troops’ used ‘chemical weapons’ to ‘massacre civilians,’ you are smearing the troops. Whether you mean to or not.
Add to it that it was neither a chemical weapon, nor an intentional or careless massacre of innocent civilians, and the statement is only slightly more offensive.
While you can continue to rant and rave that only ‘higher ups’ would order the use of WP rounds, I sit here completely confident that junior officers and NCO’s can and do deploy these weapons.
No one is blaming the grunts of anything- well, maybe some of you are. The grunts used a weapon. Some of you got the vapors because it is a scary weapon or one you don’t understand. I state that higher ups aren’t required to authorize use of these weapons, because they are standard rounds that junior soldiers can use.
You then assert that what I am doing is part of a troubling trend of leadership blaming the grunts. I beat my head off of a table and go pour a scotch, washing my hands of the lot of you.
The interesting thing about this discussion, is that I’m used to having these arguments, but from a different angle.
Back in the 1990s, it was the wingnuts who were accusing our law enforcement and military of all sorts of human rights abuses. They supposedly used unlawful tear gas at Waco, or they misused snipers at Ruby Ridge, or they bombed innocents in Kosovo.
So I understand the points well, I just have a hard time taking seriously wingnuts who were all outraged by the very same actions, the only difference being who was the President.
What was awesome was in 2003 when the wingnuts were distributing smears against Gen. Wesley Clark, straight off the counterpunch.org website!
Everyone–There is no way to fight a war, especially a counter-insurgency, without civillian casualties. WP is not illegal. You want to be pissed about it–be pissed at your legislators that didn’t sign onto the UN Convention illegalizing incendiaries. Don’t be pissed about the soldiers trying to do their jobs with whatever legal means are at their disposal. Remember–their first job is to finish the mission, their second to protect themselves and their compatriots, and third to prevent injury to civillians. They felt that WP was the best way to do it, it was legal, and they used it.
I don’t recall unlawful tear gas being an issue of primary controversy. It was the burning deaths of many women and children. But thanks for playing
misused snipers = shooting a 14 year old boy in the back killing him.
Steve, those examples are sooo analogous to Iraq. You really seem to be really intelligent
I am blowing kisses at you right now, Shygetz. In a strictly macho, heterosexual way, of course.
With this, I agree. Totally.
This and the James Joyner link are exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Thanks, John.
I still think there’s an issue with the extent to which this was used in civilian areas, since urban warfare isn’t as cut and dried as a battle between troops out in the field.
In the battle for the hearts and minds (in Iraq and out), the use of WP in this manner is likely to not be positive. Regardless that the kos crowds response is technically incorrect (and I’ll even hazard hysterical), many people will view it the same way as Abu Graihb.
You know, it technically isn’t torture and all. You don’t understand the regs. Just a bunch of fraternity pranks.
Their eyes may be technically lying to them, but it won’t carry the day. Millions of Muslims are going to see those pictures.
Don’t be surprised if the Pentagon sets new rules on the use of WP.
Glad to see some sanity return around here. It is a good thing to have a lib sidekick, but please wait for evidence of something more than what was presented this afternoon.
But they’d be wrong.
Abu Ghraib is about humane treatment of prisoners.
Whereas this WP thing is about fighting a war. If one doesn’t like the war being fought, that’s a policy decision. Work to end the war and end the fighting. But you can’t put people in harm’s way and then carp about how they use the weapons and methods they have been given and trained to use. You can’t tie their hands when they are under fire.
Well, I’m going to defer to John Cole’s superior military experience for the time being. I am not knowledgeable enough to question what he says. But, as we have seen all too frequently, there often can be a plausible excuse for inexcusable behavior. (i.e. the sadistic night crew at Abu Gharib doing their own thing). I’ll let the story play out and see where it goes but a couple of points. 1) just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is necessarily moral 2) I don’t believe the military to tell us the truth 3) using weapons like WP and Napalm will not win the “mission” if the mission is to defeat the insurgency which is only fueled by such atrocities. 4) the “grunts” on the ground have my greatest respect and they are only the followers of orders not policy makers.
to be continued…
No? How about this example of minimizing collateral damage to surrounding buildings
But in a combat situation, the Patton rule applies: Kill the other sumbitch.
Before the war starts, or after it is over, you can argue the fine points.
Bob In Pacifica
Look, it can be WP, napalm, whatever. An occupying army that burns civilians is generally viewed negatively, except for Stormy and a couple others. Dealing with whether or not it’s technically a chemical is fine for when charges are presented at the Hague (that seems to be the standard around here, “Hey, fuck off. I burned those babies with standard ordinance!”), but I think it’s clear that killing and maiming civilians is not a good way to win a peace. It’s a fucking awful way, because it doesn’t work.
As far as John Cole’s statement pinning the use of WP on the second lieutenants as opposed to Cheney and Rumsfeld, please!!! You give a group of soldiers weapons and objectives and tell them to use these weapons to do that objective and they’ll do it. It’s the same reason why America is looked on by the rest of the world as a bunch of torturers. First you get the President’s lawyers explaining away the Geneva Conventions and then you get CIA black ops guys torturing prisoners and pretty soon everyone thinks it’s okay to shove glow sticks up prisoners’ butts. Everybody’s doing it.
Which means that Stormy will always be able to find her way to the Laphroig when the power’s out. If she walks backwards and looks over her shoulder for the liquor cabinet.
Ahhh, sweet sanity.
Thanks John, and thanks Jason.
This just demonstrates the problem with DKos: it reinforces the worst craziness on the Left. But, it’s nice to see at least a few commenters are sane.
and pretty soon everyone thinks it’s okay to shove glow sticks up prisoners’ butts. Everybody’s doing it.
Ahhh, supporting the troops by calling them all torturers, I see.
Please, spare me the collected wit of General Patton. So, anything at all is ok in war? That is basically what you are saying. Guess you were with the “lets nuke Hanoi” crowd too. Where are we heading in this country? Do anything to win the battle. Do anything to get info from a detainee. Do anything to spy on American citizens. Do anything to convince Congress and a nation of the need to go to war. Do we have any moral responsibilities anymore?
Damn, I’m getting depressed.
Well, that was the argument for neutron bombs also. The Euros didn’t think it was a great idea because they cared less about their buildings than their bodies.
WP might be the finest weapon known to man, but those pics played on Al-Jazerra won’t convince them of WP’s efficiency.
Ah, supporting the torturers by twisting the issue, I see.
I mean, to be fair, this is war. You can’t in good conscience say, “Shooting people with WP is wrong. Light’m up with hot lead if you want to play by the rules.”
War is hell. Soldiering is hard work. And if someone opened up on my with an AK-47, I wouldn’t wait to change clips before returning fire. If you don’t want people being shot with WP rounds, get our troops out of Iraq. That’s really you’re only solution.
You said: “Listen, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a military expert but are you trying to tell me that a 23 year old Lieutenant is the one that makes the decision to utilize a controversial (to say the least) munition like napalm?”
My answer: Precisely.
It is the commander of the engaged force on the ground that determines the type of ordinance desired. The guy calling in the artillery is either going to be the line platoon leader (23-25 years old for active duty units, or 23-37 years old for reserve/Guard units,) or the company FIST team chief.
The FIST team is a five-man artillery element typically attached to infantry companies to assist and advise the company commander in directing indirect fires. The FIST team leader is an entry-level officer’s job in the artillery, and is never higher ranking than a lieutenant.
If the company is dispersed, then it could well be a sergeant calling in a platoon’s fire mission.
And the ordnance the element in contact wants, the ordinance they get.
Authorizing the use of tac nukes is reserved for the White House, because of the “no first use” policy.
But any forward observer, right down to a private E-1, can call for WP, HE, or DPICM. FASCAM authorization is held a little higher in the chain of command, because that can potentially affect the unit’s mobility.
But WP is very much a standard and available munition, and a staple of the FO’s tool kit.
a guy called larry
What’s the matter with you guys? Don’t you know the only war to be used for comparative purposes is WWII? I can’t believe you would stoop so low as to bring up a war that was a side effect of another war that was pumped for months in the press before action was taken! Then, after hyping a tragic event (with no evidence to connect the target regime), we put boots on the ground, kicked their ass big-time quick, resulting in a grueling
occupationliberation that lasted years. Give me a break.
Fortunately, that all worked out so well that the Philippines gained independence (from us) after only 49 years. And Cuba libré? Let’s say that after 107 years, well, pretty soon now…
I’m serious. WWII only.
Oh, don’t be an ass. “Let’s nuke Hanoi” would have been a policy decision, and I’d have opposed it. But you cannot send people into combat and then pick nits over how they carry out the mission and employ the weapons and training they have been given. If you don’t want them doing that, then make the policy decision to get them out of there. When they are in harm’s way, get the hell out of the way and let them do their jobs.
You know, most people, when they deploy a lame ad hominem argument because they don’t have the factual comprehension to do anything else, nor the intellectual honesty to admit that they’ve been trumped, at least have the discipline to restrict the ad hominems to the person they’re arguing with.
You’ve actually been reduced to trying to refute my arguments with ad hominems directed against someone else entirely: the Administration.
But the Administration isn’t here. Just me.
Nevertheless, if it is more important to you to be skeptical than be informed, I can’t help you.
Jason, I defer to your obvious knowledge on the subject. Again I will have to wait and see how the story plays out to get other perspectives on the appropriateness of the use of WP in this situation. I’ll listen to both sides and I have been educated here by both you and John on a number of the issues surrounding WP but what I think both of you are missing is that these are not, and should not be, purely military decisions. For instance I’m sure our military could have gone in and destroyed the Badr militia last year but we would have most likely destroyed a sacred city in doing so. We rightly decided that that would not be in our long term best interests. The same may apply here, was the benefit of using such a weapon out weigh the damage it may do to us in other ways. (giving the insurgents a propaganda victory and recruiting tool). Again, I don’t know enough at this point to conclude either way.
That’s probably something better addressed to the Administration. I’ll confine my comments here to what I have specific knowledge about and training in: Fire, maneuver, and logistics doctrine at the company and battalion level.
My post of 8:50 pm is redacted, based on Slide’s post of 8:52, with my apologies.
Guys, if you don’t believe Jason, read Lieutenant Neil Prakash’s blog. He’s a tank commander who graduated high school in 1998. He describes routine use of WP in at least 3 situations I can remember, one of which was Fallujah.
And despite what some would have you believe, it’s a pretty safe bet that like the vast majority of our troops neither Jason or Neil are shoving glow sticks up prisoners’ butts.
There are a few more choices ppGaz, like making policy decisions as to what weapons and means of warfare are acceptable and which are not. Using a weapon like napalm should not be allowed in my estimation. That is a policy decsion made by the Pentagon. If the troops are given napalm to use as they see fit then I have no argument with the troops using any weapon at their disposal. So AGAIN. AGAIN. my beef is not with the troops in using a particular weapon my beef is with the POLICY of allowing certain weapons to be used in theater.
apology accepted. Jason, I did not mean to question your honesty even if it did sound that way. I am just very frustrated that the Pentagon has lied to the American public so often that they cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Democracy requires transparency and honesty in government or the whole thing breaks down. I no longer trust my government to tell me the truth. And that is incredibly frustrating to me.
Yes, but those questions are political questions. Once you send the troops into harm’s way and the shooting has started, the time for carping about these things is over. You can’t create a situation where military decisions on the ground are being screwed with by politicians and civilians who aren’t there.
Well, thats exactly what this administration did with regards to Falluja. There was so much political interference it was a joke. Everything the Republicans used to claim happened in Viet Nam was done in spades in Falluja. The decisions on the ground were being made in Washington to great frustration of the poor Marines that had to wait like sitting ducks for a decison to be made.
And discussing the use of a particular weapon or tactic by our military by civilians in the US is not “carping”, its called democracy. Policies are changed by having such discussions. Again… not to blame the troops but to put pressure on the policy makers to make policy that is consistent with the morals and values of the United States of America. We are STILL a fucking democracy aren’t we? for the time being anyway?
Well, you’re not listening. I’m saying, democracy is fine, but you can’t practice it in combat. Before, or after, but not during. During combat, if your people are equipped and trained to carry out their mission in a certain way, then you have to get out of the way and let them do it. Otherwise you are going to get people killed. And by that I mean, our people.
If WP is a chemical weapon, then we need to start at the very beginning and indict FDR for war crimes since US forces used tons of WP in WW II. Germans didn’t like it.
I guess it was good enough to kill off Nazis under a Dem, but not good enough for Jihadis under a Republican.
I’m glad somebody, even if it’s just a guy named Larry, picked up on the other unsavory aspects of the Philippines thing (cf. “yellow journalism”).
But then somebody had to go and get all hallucinatory again:
Okay, again from the beginning. In the year of our Lord 2003, we (the USA) sent an army to Iraq, and conquered it. Though there was no formal surrender, we sort of compensated for that by pulling down Saddam’s statue. From that point to this, we (the USA) are the occupying power. This is according to international law and God-damned obvious common sense. Thus, our army is the “occupying army.” If you don’t like the word “occupying,” then write to Mr. Orwell’s corpse and ask him for a suitable Newspeak replacement.
When we (the USA) sent our Army to root the insurgents out of Fallujah, the first and the second times both, we targeted civilians. Because this is a counter-insurgency war where that kind of thing happens, and because none of the insurgents so far as I know were drawing a salary from a nation-state and none were wearing uniforms. So there was almost no way to know which adult males were capable of bearing arms against us. So we refused to allow all males age 15 to 45 to leave the city. And then we leveled the city and used napalm — sorry, Super Happy Have A Nice Day Phosphorous Stuff.
This isn’t Jason’s fault, it isn’t Sgt. Grunt’s fault, it’s the fault of the US military command, which after Vietnam didn’t want to talk about or train for counter-insurgency warfare so prefers to use lots of firepower even in cities. But even more than that, it’s the fault of George W. Bush and his Administration who put our Army there with no plan for the occupation and half the number of troops they should have had.
This is a never-ending combat. We might as all well be quiet and march behind George.
TallDave now provides us the link that reminds me where I first heard all these “chemical warfare” allegations for the first time. Fallujah. A long time ago. Now the combat tactic, which was not covered in the MSM in Fallujah, or discussed post-Fallujah (to my knowledge) is now mainstream. Al-Jazzera all the time.
Had anyone bothered to think about the “PR” side of this earlier, we wouldn’t have another perception clusterfuck to deal with now.
But I’m sure none of this will influence jihadi’s/Iraqi’s to kill more US troops.
WP mortar shells were the second most fired round in WW II by US artillerymen. We made over 3 million of them.
“Smoke shells made up a large fraction of the service’s output of mortar ammunition. Authorized smoke fillings included white phosphorus (WP), a solution of sulphur trioxide in chlorosulfonic acid (FS) and titanium tetrachloride. “The American white phosphorus ammunition was outstandingly good,” wrote Generalleutenant Ochsner after the war. These shells threw up a large volume of dense white smoke that was useful as a marker or as a smoke screen. Burning chunks of phosphorus flying through the air frightened enemy soldiers. Phosphorus could ignite dry underbrush, hay, paper and other combustibles and thereby serve as an incendiary. And, finally, the agent could cause casualties among enemy troops by inflicting burns. Mortar squads fired quantities of WP second in volume only to HE. Over three million WP shells came from filling plants in the United States, more than all other mortar shells, excluding HE, combined. In comparison, the service procured only one-third of a million FS smoke shells, and none containing titanium tetrachloride.”
“The battalion went on to
Northern France and contributed immensely to the
captures of Saint Malo, Dinard, and Cap Frehal in August
of 1944. The battle plan called for the mortar companies
to fire WP on the fort at Saint Malo. On 16 August, Charlie
Company fired hundreds of WP rounds on the citadel. A
communications wire that ran from the fort to the outside
was cut with the assistance of the 86th. A day later, the
enemy capitulated. In his surrender, the German
commander, Colonel Andreas von Aulock, cited the WP
barrage as his reason. Two officers and two enlisted men
from the battalion were among a group of American
officials who accepted the surrender of Colonel von
Aulock at the citadel at Saint Malo.”
Good enough for the Greatest Generation. Good enough for Generation x or Y or whatever.
It is a lying smear to say that our military “targeted civilians”. In urban combat, the unfortunate reality is that civilians do get killed, but they were not targeted.
You rail like a loon over political decisions in Fallujah, but you would, given your way, take away WP and other necessary weapons our troops utilize.. at a cost of american military lives.
a guy called larry
That’s what I’m talking about! Well done Aaron. War is Hell, and so is history.
The Germans called our WP shell “Whispering Death.” I wonder what the term is in Arabic?
‘Firing a total of 47,561 rounds of mortar ammunition during the period August 24th to September 19th, the actual dates of the Brest Crozon peninsula fighting, this battalion supplied an extremely high volume of accurate close-in supporting fire, and contributed materially to the fall of Brest and the capture of the Crozon peninsula. It was here that German prisoners of war nicknamed our WP shell “Whispering Death.”‘
We even used it to blind the enemy:
‘During the Battle of the Ardennes, the battalion proved its capabilities and fighting qualities, assisting in holding the enemy from penetrating our left flank. Time after time, desperate forces of Nazi tanks and fanatical infantry rolled toward our lines. Each time our mortars belched their “Whispering Song of Death.” White phosphorus blinded and burned the Nazis, tank drivers lost their sense of direction and charged crazily into trees, off roads into ditches, into men, and into each other. German foot troops became panicky and vainly sought cover. Finally the enemy offensive lost momentum and began retreating.’
I’m sure some of these old veterans are still around. Perhaps DKos should start a campaign to prosecute them for war crimes. HURRY – NEED TO GET THESE EVIL AMERICANS IN THE DOCK IN THE HAGUE BEFORE 2006 ELECTIONS.
It’s not about marching behind George. It’s about …
Aw fuck, I’m tired of saying the same thing and having you guys pay no attention.
And no, it’s not never-ending. The political reign of the potatoheads is coming to and end. In the meantime, let the soidiers fight the war as we prepared them to do, and find something else to bitch about …. there’s plenty of material out there. Meantime, see if you can drum up an army willing to go overseas and fight with paintballs and rubber bullets.
Reading over some of the analysis of the stunning Tim Kaine victory over some faceless Republican in Virginia, and one thing that really jumps out is the incredible amount of support the Democrat got in Norfolk.
Norfolk is a big military town. Now why would a military town be giving an unusually large majority of its vote to a Democrat?
Do you think that maybe the folks there just are not all that excited about the War President and the Republicans these days? After all, Bush did campaign for the Republican.
If WP is a legal weapon, then it’s legal. People who know this stuff say it’s legal.
The war in Iraq is a travesty, a Big Bad Thing, and its architects make me wish I believed in a Hell to send them to, and that I believed in a God who would send them there right now.
But there’s no “nice” way to die in a war. A bullet-riddled body looks just as bad; the person who used to live in it experienced just as much agony; and dead is dead.
There are many war crimes being committed in Iraq, from targeting civilians to torturing and murdering prisoners. We don’t need to invent more.
“However, the difference between these chemical warfare agents and other substances not classified as chemical warfare agents (e.g., white phosphorous and napalm) is largely technical and legalistic.”
As I recall the simple is that one is made to kill humans and the other not. Therefore VX and GB are chemical agent, but a similarly toxic pesticide is not, even though they both kill at the same concentrations. Chlorine gas produced to be used on people is an agent, Chlorine gas produced to make caustic for industrial production is not.
I’d say WP is as much a chemical wespon (ie chem agent) as HE, gunpowder, or RDX is.
“but I think it’s clear that killing and maiming civilians is not a good way to win a peace. It’s a fucking awful way, because it doesn’t work.”
History has shown that it can work. If you mean it doesn’t always work, then that is true, I agree it’s not a good way (meaning morality not effectiveness) but the city fathers of Carthage prove you statement to be simply wrong. It was a good(effective) way that worked quite permanently for the Roman’s after they got scared enough and pissed off enough to do it.
Darrell, as usual, cuts to the chase by avoiding all the juicy fact-laden stuff:
I haven’t been railing, much less like a loon. Our boys are waist deep in Big Muddy and whatever weaponry they choose to use to keep their body parts knit together is fine by me. But using Not-Napalm!(TM) in a city is going to roast civilians. Tough fucking shit. For the civilians, for the insurgents, and for the United States of America which looks like a big imperial bully.
That is counterinsurgency warfare.
You can call it “liberation,” you can call it “pacification,” and you can tell me we’re turning a corner or seeing light at the end of a tunnel or whatever the hell you choose. If our troops are more numerous today than when Saddam’s statue fell, and they’re being picked off in larger numbers this year than last, that tells me more than all the methane Donald Rumsfeld’s piehole could ever emit. We’re screwed.
And if you’re trying to
piss down my back and tell me it’s rainingexplain how our use of Not-Napalm!(TM) in an urban area is really just fine and dandy and going to win us lots of friends in the region, go right ahead.
Cole, when you can explain why mustard gas (which kills by burning lung tissue and skin) is a chemical weapon, and why WP (which kills by burning lung tissue and skin) is not a chemical weapon, get back to us.
Until then, stop making excuses for american atrocities.
You know, some of you guys need to decide whose side you’re on. The purpose of war is to kill so many of the enemy that you destroy their will to fight while losing as few of your own as you can. Or as Patton put it, No dumb bastard every helped his country by dying for it. You help your country by getting the other dumb bastard to die for his. Or somethin’ like that.
War is nasty business. And it should be. Because if it wasn’t, we’d use it too much. If you think WP is bad stuff, you sure as hell ain’t gonna like Hellfire missles or 500 lb smart bombs when you see what they do to human beings.
We’re trying to kill terrorists. Not piss them off.
Kos’ sudden(?) ignorance is hardly a surprise. The left has shown time and again that reason, fact and truth go out the window when it comes to taking down Bush. There is no limit to this desire and they have no shame.
No? In this thread, I don’t believe I ever addressed the issue of whether you were, or were not a ‘loon’. However, I did quote you verbatim earlier in a large block quote, and based on what you wrote, I believe it’s clear that you’re a lowlife sack of shit. For example
Ah yes, the US military willfully targeted citizens is what you have alleged. Let’s be clear about that. That our means our military sought out and targeted civilians for murder. Like so many leftists, you are another in a long line of sacks of shit, nothing more. your words say it all. I’m sure your mother is proud.. that is, assuming she’s not a crack whore
Darrell gets his funk on and calls me a lowlife sack of shit. Cool! Game on.
Hey, you drizzling buttwheeze, you said I was raving like a loon. If you’d like me to blockquote that, I’d be happy. Are you that lazy, or that illiterate, so that you don’t remember?
Then, he insults my mother by (yes, again) wilfully ignoring bleeding reality:
Yeah. Our military willfully targeted civilians. Since you haven’t quite got it yet, though it’s been repeated about two dozen times, I’ll type the next part very slowly.
US forces ordered all civilians to leave Fallujah. We prevented all males between the ages of 15 and 45 to leave Fallujah. Then we hammered the shit out of the city and treated all people within said city as though they were combatants. Apparently we also used Not-Napalm!(tm) on the city and, if the Italian media is to be believed, we liquidated (literally) men, women and children. Some of whom were non-combatants, some of whom were combatants.
Oooh, but here’s the best part, you ignorant slut: all of them were civilians, since we’re not at war with a nation-state. That’s not to say all of them are protected by international law, by any means: non-state actors who take up arms against an occupation army are subject to some pretty stringent treatment as partisans under that law.
But they’re civilians.
I was raised on my mother’s farm, and both my mother and I can swear like farmers. So, you useless pile of horseshit, if you want to trade insults, both I and my mother could kick your flabby incontinent chickenhawk ass all over six counties. But if you’d rather stick to the world of facts and reality (ha!), we could do that, too. ‘Sup to you.
I know that at some point Darrell will finish up filming his sister’s interracial bukkake session, return to the computer, and feign ignorance about calling anyone a loon. So here it is, blockquoted:
There “he” is, telling us that I’m railing. Like a loon. This from a coward and a traitor. Or is he only committing treason by condoning anti-American behavior on the part of our Administration? Only the demons of Hell will know the truth.
Simple. WP is an incendiary, where the primary mode of action is combustion. Mustard gas is an irritant and a corrosive, where the primary mode of action is chemical burns, not combustion. One is illegal to use under US law. The other is not. Think WP is an atrocity? Blame your congressmen who did not vote to ratify Protocol III of the UN Convention on weapons bans (circa 1980 and beyond). That’s their job–determine what tools are acceptable for use in warfare. The Pentagon’s job is to determine what strategy is best using the tools that the civillian authorities have approved (including WP, in this case). The soldiers’ job is to accomplish the mission, preserve his life and the lives of his buddies, and prevent unnecesary civillian casualties, in that order. Being angry is fine, but direct your anger at the people responsible for keeping WP legal. That’s not the soldiers and, unless I missed something in DC, that’s not Bush.
Its not quite so simple. WP’s are indeed legal in and off themselves if used as intended (illumination, smoke screen) but their use may be prohibited if used intentionally against individuals.
Well, gunpowder is a mixture of checmicals. Is it a chemical weapon?
Mustard gas acts primarily by chemical action. WP acts primarily by combustion. WP will burn up most anything, while chemical weapons tend to act just on living things like tissue, or people.
It’s such an obvious set of distinctions, one wonders how you can ask the question with a straight face.
Slide–I am pretty sure that we did not sign the UN protocol banning incendiaries. Therefore, our use of WP as an incendiary is not illegal.
In case anyone is still following this, it seems that WP bombs and rockets are no longer in the US inventory. Artillery rounds galore, but no rockets or bombs.
Those of you who think incendiaries are illegal (WP or firebombs, which you may call napalm if you want to be technically wrong) please READ the CONVENTION which the US *did* sign in 1995:
It’s not a law exactly, it’s a convention, and it says that incendiaries should not be used if the civilian casualties will be disproportionate to the military effectiveness, nor should it be targetted specifically at civilians (like what happened in WW2, for example).
Some people died? That sucks. Welcome to war. If you want to help prevent wars in future, maybe you can work out a peaceful way to get rid of genocidal dictators. That would be great, if you could, the rest of us have been working on it for about 100 years without luck. While you’re at it, see if you can convince the terrorists, who are committed to destroying us all for no reason, to give up and go home.
Nicholas–While you are technically correct, your callousness is stunning. This is a symptom of a civillian populace that has no draft, and has not known war on its own soil for several generations. Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent–now if only we could stop being so damned incompetent.
Because it is our duty to enforce what is right and just (on a selective basis) since we are…
Team America: World Police
“The M1911 Colt .45 was designed to solve that problem.”
Not completely wrong, but not an accurate description, either. The 1911 was an evolution of John Browning’s autopistol designs dating back a decade or more starting with the .32 Model 1900, and was originally chambered for a .38 caliber round similar to a .38 Super. It was only after the Army decided it wanted a .45 bullet that Browning created the .45 ACP cartridge for the pistol.
But back to Willy Pete.
Where is the evidence that Fallujah was a “civilian city” at the time of the attack?
The vast majority of civilians left the city as they were warned, and the bulk of those left behind were combatants. Intentions were announced well ahead of time that this was going to be a warzone, and noncombatants were allowed and actually encouraged to leave. Look back to media coverage (and despite the lies told by Popham, journalists were embedded every step of the way, as the Kevin Sites mosque shooting video and the famous “Marlboro Man” picture proved), and you will see that civilians were very, very rare, and hardly ever encountered.
WP most assuredly burns through clothes, and even light steel. WP DOES NOT get into your lungs, nor does it mimic any of the other gas-like symptoms ascribed to it in som many posts above. When used, it diffuses burning solids, not a liquid nor a gas, and you can walk through the smoke breathing it in without any long-term ill effects, as soldiers do here in North Carolina at Camp Lejune and Fort Bragg while training.
WP is used to screen our soldiers from enemy troops, not as a primary weapon, and if it had been used as a weapon, it would have had to have been in such quantities that the embedded journalists would have noticed their use.
But what did we hear at the time from the journalists who were there? NOTHING.
WP was never used as mass attack weapon, nor were a significant number of civilians killed in Fallujah, becuase almost all the city’s civilians fled before the attack, and the ones that remained were individuals guarding scattered bits of proprety, they were not concentrated masses.
Only after the mists of time make people forget what really happened can this clearly false story be floated.
WP probably never killed anyone in Fallujah. Not a single soul.
You want my to beleive that it did, you better produce an autopsy, not the words of a hack journalist, a Sunni biologist, or a politically-motivated soldier who just happens to be a far left-wing blogger.
Show me bodies of people wounded or killed examined by a real doctor. Till then, this story is just hot air.
This is wrong
Sorry, but the US is not a signatory to the Protocol on incendiary weapons, so even if WP is an incendiary weapon and is used in such a manner by the US military, it’s still a legal use.
Another Rovian Conspiracy
Yes White Phosphorus is not a “chemical weapon” as the term is commonly used. It is a “conventional weapon”. It is also banned by a couple of treaties the US has not signed, so uncontroversial seem like a bit of a stretch. Yes, Kos should know better than to provide his credibility to the “chemical weapon” label. So yes, saying that our troops were using “chemical weapons” is wrong. Perhaps some of the confusion comes from the fact that The smoke form WP does cause lesions on your throat and lungs and choke you with mucus, although not nearly as effectively as other agents designed for such effects. (I’d be a little more careful next time you go traipsing through it at Camp Lejune and Fort Bragg) These effects can surely look and feel a lot like those caused by some chemical weapons even though they were casued by WP which is not a banned chemical weapon. But people who don’t know the difference are ignorant and those who pretend not to are malicious.
While we’re slicing shades of grey, let’s remember that the stigma on “chemical weapons” exists only because we’ve previously agreed not to use that particular set of weapons, not because the weapons in the banned class are more or less lethal, or more or less indiscriminate, or more or less horrific in their effects.
“Good enough for the Greatest Generation. Good enough for Generation x or Y or whatever.”
No, you fool! Our moral sensibilities are ever so much more evolved than theirs! Everyone born before 1946 is teh facist!!
“I have got to tell you guys that the liberals who are tearing their hair out about WP being an illegal chemical weapon are some of the liberalest, most ill-informed (liberal), liberical people on the planet right now. You guys are making liberals of yourselves.”
I made it better.
I have to caveat this as an Artillery Officer, Former Gunner Instructor and having fired it in combat.
WP is great stuff, it is very effective for certain missions. However, I would hesitant in tactical fire direction to use it as the primary lethal munition.
Generally it takes way too much to have a “Chemical Weapons” like effect. True it does crystallize in the lungs and cause “dry land drowning.” However in order to do that you have to shoot a hell of allot of it. The thermal effect, can burn up to 5000 degrees, causes much of the WP and smoke to go up. With round like the M110 WP round only has 14lbs and the M825/A1 only around 3 lbs, there is not much to work with. So to poison someone out or suffocate them you talking mass missions.
It is interesting to try and determine where the question lies in this thread. What are you hoping to determine? Should WP be used at all? Was WP used on civilians? Is the use of WP moral, legal, or tactically/strategically sound? I would assert that you should focus you inquiry and debate on an agreed question, the thread is very open ended right now and so confusing and frustrating.
Being a former artilleryman, I have had some experience in the use and effects of WP, and have participated in several discussions on its use. I do not think my personal opinions will do much to advance the inquiry here, and so shall reserve them. However, I would hope that those who post here are doing so in order to come to some form of concord or conclusion about a question mutually agreed upon. Using a forum such as this for partisan silliness, ranting, or attempts to garner respect for one’s technical knowledge seem pointless.
So, WP? It may or may not have been used. It’s alleged use may or again may not have been against civilians. It has a unique and debatable relationship with law concerning the use of weapons. Furthermore, beyond legal specifications, the use of WP against enemy forces or against noncombatants, whether inadvertently or not, also forces moral debate. These are all worthy avenues of debate, and their may be more, but I propose that it would satisfy you all more if you were to be systematic in your debate, working one of these issues at a time. In that manner, you may all gain some closure and substance from this forum, and communicate in a more meaningful manner.
I submit this to you all with the utmost respect, being myself highly interested in the debate and its conclusions.
My dad has two wooden bomb looking things. They are made of wood and are about 18 inches long with metal ends. He obtained these at a base during WW2. He says that they were at one time filled with phosphorus and used as target markers. He would like to know the name of these, but I cannot find any information about those particular markers. He is 85 and this is very important for him to know. Please let me know if you can locate any information about these.
Saudi Arabia and Libya were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters
who came to Iraq in the past year to facilitate attacks.