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Here's your white phosphorous scandal trivia question of the day. Ready?
Which of these quotes comes from Jeff Englehart, the ex-soldier now starring in the Italian documentary about White Phosphorous use in Iraq?
a) ...a former US soldier who served in Falluja, tells of how he heard orders for white phosphorus to be deployed over military radio - and saw the results.
"Burned bodies, burned women, burned children; white phosphorus kills indiscriminately... When it makes contact with skin, then it's absolutely irreversible damage, burning flesh to the bone," he says.
b) "White Phosphorous was used, which is definitely, without a shadow of a doubt a chemical weapon".
c) When I joined the United States Army I swore an oath to ?serve and protect the Constitution of the United States?, not an ignorant greedy little fuck like George Bush or any of his court jesters in the White House. And by writing and speaking against his policies and his war and his grossly high death tolls, I know in my heart that I am still, to this day, fighting to protect all the constitutional rights that his administration is robbing from us everyday.
d) The Iraqi insurrection, in itself, is what I believe to be an honest rebellion. Because it is a guerrilla war against an illegal occupation enforced by our conventional military force, with far superior weapons and technology, it seems obvious that acts of terrorism are also acts of desperation.
The answer is "all of the above".
You can find even more quotes in his interview with Socialist Worker Online.
I took a look at this on my blog. Biggest problem is that he claims WP was used in illum rounds. Last time I checked WP is great for smoke, great for burning, but crappy for light. The stuff used in illum is magnesium, not WP. Any soldier knows that. The dumb Italian journalist who put together the documentary claiming US use of Chem weapons could have discovered that if he had checked any of his facts.
This is one of the silliest charges yet... unfortunately the ignorant will eat it up.Posted by NOTR at November 9, 2005 06:38 PM
So far this is what I have discovered about this "scandal":
* They claim WP is a chemical weapon when it clearly is not.
* They claim WP was used for illum; many people say it is not used that way.
* They claim WP was dropped from helicopters; others have claimed that there is no such delivery system.
* They claim WP was used as an incendiary; people who were there claim it was used as smoke only.
* They claim to have seem bodies clearly burned by WP (skin burnt, clothes intact). From what I and others know, WP burns clothes - or anything which gets in its way. That type of injury seems more consistent with other conventional weapons like HE bombs.
* Others are claiming incendiaries have been outlawed. That is not true; the US seems to have signed a convention restricting their use to military targets (to prevent more Dresdens and Tokyos it seems).
So are there ANY claims being made which are not obviously or ostensibly false? Did they do any research at all?
I give this 0 credibility because it seems like everything has been twisted to make the US look bad. In my experience that suggests the accusations are totally groundless; otherwise they wouldn't have to stoop to fabrication.
(b) sounds like the moonbat canards regarding depleted-uranium munititions as WMD ... WP does not exhibit several essential-nastiness elements of chem weapons -- wide-area dispersion, lethality at low concentrations, and persistence after deployment all come to mind.
c) sounds like he's channelling Cindy Sheehan. Pure moonbattery, IMO. BTW, Mr. Englehart -- we know how greedy guys act ... they join up with Oil-For-Food. And regarding those death tolls -- google "Victor Davis Hanson" and check out some of what this historian says regarding the conduct of this war.
d) riddle me this, Mr. Englehart -- when was the last time a legitimate insurgency against an occupation made a point of targeting innocent noncombatants as standard operating procedure?
People who are defending their homes simply don't target innocent people, especially their fellow citizens -- that runs counter to human nature and the very motivations behind such an insurgency. No, the kind of "insurgency" that targets the innocent is the kind fueled by greed, lust, and fanaticism.
In other words, the illegitimate kind.
And, I thought AMERICA was the occupier? We're just the enforcer here?Posted by Rich Casebolt at November 10, 2005 02:29 AM
Nice try, Nicholas,.
"They" don't claim that WP was used for lighting purposes. This is what the U.S. military claimed it was used for. That appears to have been a lie.
"People who were there" did not claim it was used as "smoke only." The Army's own artillery magazine says it was used as an offensive weapon.
Again, I'm agnostic about the use of WP in war. That's not my issue, at least at the moment. My issue is that the U.S. military seems to tell lies like everyone else breathes, i.e., by reflex action. And anyone wonders why the American public has turned against the war?Posted by Wilson Kolb at November 10, 2005 06:18 AM
OK, I found this document, from the *State Department*, not US military:
Which says Phosphorus rounds were used for illumination only, and this article in the Field Artillery Magazine:
, which says they were used for "psychological purposes" as well. I'm not sure what psychological purposes are, exactly. It sounds like they are saying that they fired the rounds for non-illumination purposes.
The second document is a lot more recent. Perhaps the first document was written before these events, as parts of that document are dated DURING the attack on Fallujah. Perhaps it was an honest mistake. Perhaps it is misleading. I really don't know; we'd have to find out where the author got the information.
I think it's misleading to characterise it as a statement by the military when it's actually by the state department. I don't know what caused the discrepancy but suspect communication problems.
So, there's still no evidence it was fired at, or near civilians. Which was the original accusation, right? So, where's the evidence? I'm still waiting.
Here is a comment from a US soldier:
"I read the link you gave me to the State department and I am quite in awe myself. My only explaination I can think of is that whoever is their PR guy just isn't too bright or was trying to cover their own asses. I said it once, and I'll say it again, WP isn't used for illumination. It's a weapon, it kills. Still though, I've never seen WP as a conventional chemical weapon since the primary use of WP isn't to kill personnell but destruction of vehicles, equipment, structures, etc."
"The author of a news article thinks we fire WP for illumination. It goes to show how much he really knows what he's talking about. I would imagine if we wanted illumination one would use, *gasp*, illumination rounds..."
So, yes, I suspect the State Department stuffed up. Either didn't do their research or were trying to mislead. I don't see why they'd bother trying to mislead when they have perfectly rational reasons for doing what they did; so I'll assume idiocy. Remember the rule of thumb:
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
Wilson, based on this comments thread from the past, the evidence, in terms of both amount and plausibility, is far greater that you are a liar, than what we see from the Army here.
You strain at gnats ... and swallow the camel of peace through impotence whole.
You seek, in the name of "preventing torture", to restrain our goverment in ways that show a callous diregard for how our enemies ... with the help of both the well-meaning and the hate-America components of the Left ... would be able to twist and distort those restraints, with the help of an activist judiciary, into freedom for themselves -- regardless of whether or not it makes America safer and more free.
You once said that what you wanted was for America to do the right thing ... well, the right thing includes the exercise of common sense in dealing with those who seek to kill us, even while in our custody, so that they cannot turn their seeking into action -- ever.
You ignore that common sense ... simply because you don't trust this Administration to exercise it within the bounds of the socio-political environment they must operate in (i.e. in an environment where other members of our own government substitute Leftist idealism for common sense).
You have yet to answer me ... beyond the standard moonbat boilerplate ... why you don't trust them. IMO, I think that for you, it goes well outside this war ... you just use the war as a convenient club to beat the President, and disregard everything else about this war that you're bashing in the process.
Show me someone who has done it BETTER than this Administration ... I dare you.
Put up ... or shut up.
Poor Rich. Poor Nick. Poor wingnuts. Once more, you and the U.S. government have been caught in a lie. And like so many liars, your response is to tell another lie. Eventually that kind of thing catches up to you, and eventually it catches up to your Liar in Chief, too.
What should we call him now? George W. "We do not torture" Bush? The man couldn't tell the truth to save his life. No wonder only one-third of the public supports him (the brain-dead one-third) and growing majorities of the public oppose every aspect of this war.Posted by Wilson Kolb at November 10, 2005 04:07 PM
Oh and by the way, I don't have any problem with the Willysnout comments. They were very astute, if I may say so myself. :)Posted by Wilson Kolb at November 10, 2005 05:03 PM
OK, I had a look at the pictures of bodies from Fallujah. I wish I didn't have to and hope never to do that again, but the tirade of disinformation forced me to.
Guess what? None of them were burned. They all died from regular trauma. I'm not even a doctor and I can tell. Burnt skin looks different from decomposed skin.
So, there goes the "WP used on civilians" theory. I'm pretty convinced that WP was used on enemies, but not in large quantities. I'm also convinced the State Department got their information wrong. I still don't see that anything has been done which was wrong, other than the grossly mis-informed statement we've pointed out.
I keep seeing articles posted from irreputable news sources. Now, we already know that journalists are lying and fabricating. This WP thing is a prime example. Therefore I treat articles from suspect journalists with great suspicion. I'm sorry but you're not going to convince me of torture allegations or anything else for one simple reason: I trust the military members more than I trust the media.
It's entirely possible someone has been tortured. It's also possible that higher-ups approved it. However, as I said, there's so much fabricated evidence and hyperbole floating around we'll probably never know the truth.
It especially doesn't help to call that which is not torture, torture. How can I trust people who don't even know the meaning of the words they use?
Yes, obviously Wilson would agree with Willysnout's childish comments, since they're so anti-american, as he obviously is.
I don't have any particluarl love of Americans but I won't believe the worst of them without some kind of non-fabricated, non-invented proof. In the media, that sort of thing seems impossible to come by.