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US admits using white phosphorous in Falluja

fish08

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Not that big in itself, as it can be used for illumination, but through its use as an "anti-personnel" weapon it could be seen as tantamount to the use of a chemical weapon.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international ... 79,00.html

Did US troops use chemical weapons in Falluja? The answer is yes. The proof is not to be found in the documentary broadcast on Italian TV last week, which has generated gigabytes of hype on the Internet.
...
Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for "Military purposes... not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". But it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people. A chemical weapon can be "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Co ... 31,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4440664.stm
 


nawbut

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great minds...

sorry that we crashed at same-purposes. You got there seconds ahead of me - I bow...
 

badinage

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saying that a white phosphorus grenade is a chemical weapon, is like saying that a smoke grenade is a chemical weapon: which would make virtually every army in the world guilty of using chemical weapons.
 

Bogwarrior

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badinage said:
saying that a white phosphorus grenade is a chemical weapon, is like saying that a smoke grenade is a chemical weapon: which would make virtually every army in the world guilty of using chemical weapons.
Badinage, the video can be seen at Clearinghouse.com. It's clear white phosphorous, is more than a smoke grenade. It's a way of napalming cities, without using the N word. If some terrorist explodes a white phosphorous bomb in some tube station, no doubt the Media will describe it as a chemical attack. Watch the video please.
 

nawbut

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it depends

badinage said:
saying that a white phosphorus grenade is a chemical weapon, is like saying that a smoke grenade is a chemical weapon: which would make virtually every army in the world guilty of using chemical weapons.
It depends on what you do with your smoke grenade; do you lob it into a city street where people have easy options of egress, so that they can disperse? or do you stuff it down some poor sod's throat, strap it in place with duct tape, pinch his nostrils with a tightly sprung clothes peg, and set it off and walk away?

Two very different uses of the same item...but smoke isnt nearly as dramatic as white phosphorus - it doesnt burn the skin right down to the bone like that does...and those who use it know this...
 

fish08

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badinage said:
saying that a white phosphorus grenade is a chemical weapon, is like saying that a smoke grenade is a chemical weapon: which would make virtually every army in the world guilty of using chemical weapons.
Have you read the circumstances over this issue? There are "reasonable" uses of White Phosphorous, but it seems these levels have been exceeded. It can make a very nasty weapon.

Bogwarrior said:
It's a way of napalming cities, without using the N word.
Well, again, it can also be used for less ominous purposes. It may be worth of note that certain forms of napalm were also mentioned in this debate as part of the original invasion. Going back to Monbiot:

There were widespread reports that in March 2003 US marines had dropped incendiary bombs around the bridges over the Tigris and the Saddam Canal on the way to Baghdad. The commander of Marine Air Group 11 admitted that "We napalmed both those approaches". Embedded journalists reported that napalm was dropped at Safwan Hill on the border with Kuwait. In August 2003 the Pentagon confirmed that the marines had dropped "mark 77 firebombs". Though the substance these contained was not napalm, its function, the Pentagon's information sheet said, was "remarkably similar". While napalm is made from petrol and polystyrene, the gel in the mark 77 is made from kerosene and polystyrene. I doubt it makes much difference to the people it lands on.
 

badinage

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fish08 said:
There are "reasonable" uses of White Phosphorous, but it seems these levels have been exceeded. It can make a very nasty weapon.
Oh I know that. I remember reading a auto-biography of an Irish officer fighting in the British Army in Italy in World War 2. At one point, his unit is sneaking forward toward enemy trenches at night, when his scout gets caught in barbed wire. The Germans see him and fire, hitting him once in the stomach (a very painful but non-fatal wound), but also hitting and igniting a white phosphorous grenade in his webbing, lighting up the area. The whole battlefield then went silent as they listened to this poor bastard scream his head off as the white phosphorous burnt through his skin, burnt his intestines, all the way through to his spine, with the guy flailing and ripping himself open on the barbed wire. Its a horrendous, horrendous way to die. The officer shot him in the head once he'd managed to not vomit.

Bogwarrior said:
It's a way of napalming cities, without using the N word.
But napalm isn't a chemical weapon either.

Bogwarrior said:
if some terrorist explodes a white phosphorous bomb in some tube station, no doubt the Media will describe it as a chemical attack. Watch the video please.
Quite possibly, but the media would be wrong to do that.

Nawbut said:
It depends on what you do with your smoke grenade; do you lob it into a city street where people have easy options of egress, so that they can disperse? or do you stuff it down some poor sod's throat, strap it in place with duct tape, pinch his nostrils with a tightly sprung clothes peg, and set it off and walk away?
The smoke grenade still wouldn't be a chemical weapon.
 

Bogwarrior

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But isn't phosphorous a chemical?
 

badinage

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Bogwarrior said:
But isn't phosphorous a chemical?
isn't gunpowder a chemical? Does that mean the IRA used chemical weapons in an urban centre when they fired AK47s in Belfast?

There are chemicals of some kind in pretty much every weapon in a modern arsenal. Standard explosives in basic artillery are technically chemicals. Smoke grenades are technically chemicals. etc etc

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_weapons: "Chemical warfare is warfare (and associated military operations) using the toxic properties of chemical substances to kill, injure or incapacitate the enemy.

Chemical warfare is different from the use of conventional weapons or nuclear weapons because the destructive effects of chemical weapons are not primarily due to any explosive force."


Under that definition, using a cigarette lighter to set fire to a hut in a Vietnamese village would technically be a chemical weapons attack.

The Chemicals Weapons Convention:
http://www.opcw.org/html/db/cwc/eng/cwc_frameset.html



...
I can't seem to find a video on www.clearinghouse.com. Does anyone have a direct link?
 

Simon.D

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_weapons
"Under this Convention, any toxic chemical, regardless of its origin, is considered as a chemical weapon unless it is used for purposes that are not prohibited (an important legal definition, known as the General Purpose Criterion)"

White Phophorous upon burning forms phorphorus pentoxide.. a highly toxic substance.. So when phosphorus particles melt there way into someones flesh, besides the extensive burning the victim is also poisoned with this substance.

So by the above definition.. it is a chemical weapon when used as an incendiray device..

Smoke grenades don't have the same effect, because much smaller particles are used, and most probably fully oxidise before coming before coming in contact with a person, and would't have the similar penetrating capabilites.

However a smoke grenade used in a confiined space could be considered a chemical weapon.
 

badinage

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White phosphorus is not listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It can be legally used as a flare to illuminate the battlefield, or to produce smoke to hide troop movements from the enemy. Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for "Military purposes... not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". But it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people. A chemical weapon can be "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm"
hmm, I didn't know that. That's a pretty wishy-washy argument though - like I said it means setting fire to a building with a cigarette lighter means the lighter fuel is being used as a chemical weapon. If my pyromaniac neighbour burns down my house tonight by pouring petrol through my letter box then igniting it with a cigarette lighter, it means I have been the victim of a chemical weapons attack.
 

Pax

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This is a chemical weapon used against a civilian target.

Read Simon Jenkins take on this in today's Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Co ... 84,00.html
Iraq is miring all who touch it. What does Tony Blair say when he reads that American forces at the siege of Falluja used "shake-'n'bake" shells on residential areas? White phosphorus, as reported by George Monbiot on these pages yesterday and confirmed by the Pentagon, is worse than napalm. Since it is "chemical" in its effect on humans, it falls under a ban by the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention for use against "areas of high civilian population".

One of the most-cited reasons for toppling Saddam Hussein was his deployment of chemical weapons against his own people. That does not justify us in using them. If Sir Christopher Meyer is right, Britain never complains to Washington over what happens in Iraq. But when the full story of these decisions is told, serious charges should be laid against British ministers. Will they use Donald Rumsfeld's line, that "stuff happens"?
 

badinage

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Pax said:
One of the most-cited reasons for toppling Saddam Hussein was his deployment of chemical weapons against his own people. That does not justify us in using them.
Right... Hussein uses poison gas on an entire town, killing 5,000 civilians. The Americans use legal white phosphorus grenades to set fire to individual buildings they believe insurgents were in. And we're supposed to believe its the same thing? If someone had told them they would get prosecuted for using chemical weapons, then they would have just switched to using high explosive artillery shells on the buildings.

I've no problem with saying the assault on Fallujah was an unacceptable war crime, but to say using white phosphorus in this manner is a chemical weapons attack akin to Hussein's NBC attacks, is really pushing it...
 

Bogwarrior

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badinage said:
Pax said:
One of the most-cited reasons for toppling Saddam Hussein was his deployment of chemical weapons against his own people. That does not justify us in using them.
Right... Hussein uses poison gas on an entire town, killing 5,000 civilians. The Americans use legal white phosphorus grenades to set fire to individual buildings they believe insurgents were in. And we're supposed to believe its the same thing? If someone had told them they would get prosecuted for using chemical weapons, then they would have just switched to using high explosive artillery shells on the buildings.

I've no problem with saying the assault on Fallujah was an unacceptable war crime, but to say using white phosphorus in this manner is a chemical weapons attack akin to Hussein's NBC attacks, is really pushing it...
First of all 5000 civilians did n0t die in Halabja. The Iraqi forces gave the residents 48 hours to leave, as the town was at the time held by Kurdish rebels. Most left ,some didn't. The majority of those killed were Kurdish rebels. It was almost a mirror image of the Falluja scenario, only different chemicals were used, and better spin applied.
 

watch-this-drive

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badinage said:
Right... Hussein uses poison gas on an entire town, killing 5,000 civilians. The Americans use legal white phosphorus grenades to set fire to individual buildings they believe insurgents were in. And we're supposed to believe its the same thing? If someone had told them they would get prosecuted for using chemical weapons, then they would have just switched to using high explosive artillery shells on the buildings.

I've no problem with saying the assault on Fallujah was an unacceptable war crime, but to say using white phosphorus in this manner is a chemical weapons attack akin to Hussein's NBC attacks, is really pushing it...
The moonbats have long since stopped applying lodgic to their arguments, the lack of honesty in approaching the debate is very off putting and is a terrible disservice to pacifists who dont use an half excuse to scream attacks at Bushitler McChimp

Cindy Sheehan reckons that the US has launched a nuclear war on Iraq
 

fish08

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watch-this-drive said:
The moonbats have long since stopped applying lodgic to their arguments, the lack of honesty in approaching the debate is very off putting and is a terrible disservice to pacifists who dont use an half excuse to scream attacks at Bushitler McChimp

Cindy Sheehan reckons that the US has launched a nuclear war on Iraq
You're off topic.
 

watch-this-drive

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fish08 said:
You're off topic.
I was responding to Badinage saying that the comparison was way off base.
I pointed out that the Moonbat brigade has been very consistent in making ridiculous comparisons.
 

nawbut

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wishy arguements that dont wash

badinage said:
That's a pretty wishy-washy argument though - like I said it means setting fire to a building with a cigarette lighter means the lighter fuel is being used as a chemical weapon. If my pyromaniac neighbour burns down my house tonight by pouring petrol through my letter box then igniting it with a cigarette lighter, it means I have been the victim of a chemical weapons attack.
c'mon! This is infantile; the attempt to posit some notion of equivalence between an individual, criminal act of arson with a lighter, and the actions of the United States' military, equipped with the greatest arsenal of weaponry ever seen on the planet.

Lets try another one; my shoes are composed of chemical compounds - if I kick someone have I just committed a chemical attack? :roll: Spuriouser and spuriouser. There is, indeed, a wishy-washy arguement here...if people were not being melted alive I could almost laugh at this...

The point you miss is that the one (arson) is a criminal act by definition, the other (war) is not always necessarily a criminal action. When we consider how many times they have lied about the manner of its prosection, however, a certain common criminality suggests itself - there, you might have a point :wink:
 


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