A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Chemical Weapons?

So, after several denials from the Bush administration, a lieutenant-colonel from the Pentagon admits that the US have used white phosphorus during last year's offensive in the northern Iraqi city of Falluja. "It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC. He then went on to deny that the substance - which can cause burning of the flesh - constituted a banned chemical weapon. So nice to be so subtle in your aruments!

The truth here is that there have been lies and this in no way helps to bring about peace. I can't really see the difference between a person melting away from acid burns through the actions of Saddam Hussein and the same effect being caused by the US Army in its desire to "shake and bake" those they deem unfit for any form of dialogue. The niceties of Pentagon-speak are lost on me!

As I have said before, General Sherman said that "war is hell" and George Bush should recognise this. If he is going to go on "waging his war on terror" wouldn't it be a good idea to play it by the rules and not let the gung-ho generals out of the bubba box?

This use of "chemical weapons" does the cause of spreading democracy no good at all. Those who preach need to practice first. As with charity, democracy begins at home. What democratic rights did the poor folk left behind by Katrina have? Two weeks of hand-wringing and a faded memory it seems!


The UN Convention bans the use of incendiary weapons against civilans, not against humans.
See for yourself:

Of course any deliberate engagement or targeting of civilians is already a war crime. so that the US has not signed this one is not of especial import except to say that we aren't bound by it expressly.

White Phosphorus is not banned.

It also isn't a chemical weapon.
We are signtory to the Chemical Weapons Convention which defines chemical weapons. See here: http://www.opcw.org/html/db/cwc/eng/cwc_frameset.html

So it isn't a chemical weapon and it isn't banned.

Indiscriminate use is. The stories circulating do not support that contention. See here: http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2004/04/11/military/iraq/19_30_504_10_04.prt

Bogert received the coordinates for the targets and recorded them on a map. This is proper procedure. He's receiving coordinates from a Forward Observer, indirect fire weapons never see their targets, the FOs do. The coordinates are plotted so that it is known what was ordered where. There is also a verification that takes place in the call for indirect fire to avoid problems iwth numrical transposition or other mistakes.

Well, I take your point, but you seem to have a low opinion of fair warfare. By being so close to the line on the use of white phosporous, and thinking there is no reason to be ever so slightly bothered, does give a reason for some of us to be concerned. "Shake & Bake" is what the Pentagon was out to do. Sounds nice coming from an administration led by a born-again Christian!

The Americans have a liberal approach to international law - if it suits them they follow it, if it doesn't they do what they want.

This is also true of their bestest friends in the Middle East - the number of war crimes committed by Israel is enormous.

Unfortunately, they are the two countries in the world who have the least respect for international law.

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