CommunityPam's House Blend

They're not WMDs when we use them

When I go off on my anti-Bush tirades, I am often accused of hating America. A part of the “blame America first” crowd, so to speak. Well, truth is that I was born here and I love America. I love her so much that when atrocities are committed in America’s name, I am deeply shamed. I love her so much that when our leaders support inhumane policies of torture and war crimes, I am embarrassed to call myself American. I love her so much that I grew up believing that America was the greatest force of good in the world, and that we held ourselves to a higher standard than the tyrants and thugs who don’t care for their own people and care even less about others.

I never thought America could be involved in despicably heinous acts like these:

(Christian Science Monitor) RAI, the all news state-run satellite channel in Italy, aired a documentary Tuesday that accused the United States of using chemical weapons against the civilian population during a November 2004 bombardment of Fallujah. AKI, the Italian news agency, reports that the documentary, entitled “Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre” and aired on the first aniversary of the assault on insurgents in Fallujah, includes interviews with former US soldiers and with residents of Fallujah who say that during the assault on the city the US military used the chemical white phosphorus.

“I heard the order being issued to be careful because white phosphorus was being used on Fallujah. In military slang this is known as Willy Pete. Phosphorus burns bodies, melting the flesh right down to the bone,” says one former US solider, interviewed by the documentary’s director, Sigfrido Ranucci.

“I saw the burned bodies of women and children. The phosophorous explodes and forms a plume. Who ever is within a 150 metre radius has no hope,” the former soldier adds.

RAI says the use of white phosphorus in built-up areas amounts to the illegal use of chemical weapons, although the BBC notes that such bombs are considered incendiary devices. The US military admits to using the weapon to illuminate battlefields in Iraq, and says it did so in Fallujah, but insists it did not use it in civilian areas. Washington is not a signatory of an international treaty restricting white phosphorus devices.

Pay no attention to those pictures (like the one above and other) of Iraqi civilians chemically burned to death by white phosphorous. America does not use white phosphorous as a weapon, even though we won’t join the rest of the world in banning the use of white phosphorus as a weapon. We didn’t need to sign that treaty because, after all, we don’t use white phosphorus as a weapon.

The Independent reports, however, that the documentary offers video and photographs it alleges proves that the white phosphorus was used “indiscriminately” on both insurgents and the civilian population.

Photographs on the website of RaiTG24, the broadcaster’s 24-hours news channel, show exactly what the former [US] 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 turned the consistency of leather by the shells.

But maybe we were using white phosphorus to light up the battlefield and we didn’t intend its use as a weapon. Maybe some of those burned Iraqis were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. War is hell, and there will be civilian casualties, but it is not like America would go out of its way to use a known incendiary substance against the native population and then cover it up. (“Hello, Russ? Vietnam flashback is holding on white courtesy phone…”)

La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper which recently broke the story on the Italian government’s involvement with the forged Niger-Iraq uranium documents, reports the documentary also broadcast what it claimed is proof of the use in Iraq of a new napalm formula called MK77. The use of the incendiary substance on civilians is forbidden by a 1980 UN treaty. The use of chemical weapons is forbidden by a treaty that the US signed in 1997.

Yeah, and the use of torture as an interrogation tool is banned by the Geneva Conventions. We signed those, too. (“Hello, Russ? Chief Sitting Bull is holding on the red courtesy phone. He wants to tell you he’s shocked that the US is ignoring a treaty…”)

The US, through the State Department, has categorically denied the accusations of using chemical weapons in Iraq. While they were at it, they denied anyone in the White House had anything to do with outing a CIA operative, they denied that anyone higher than an enlisted grunt had anything to do with those awful photos at Abu Ghraib, and they denied Sean Connery was the best James Bond.

Denial ain’t a river in Eqypt… it’s the official policy of the Bush Crime Family.

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