Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The double standards just keep on coming. 

As we all know the primary justification for the U.S. invasion of Iraq was their supposed posession of weapons of mass destruction. As we also know, it turned out the U.S. government was lying about those weapons and that Iraq in fact did not have them.

Now, in a rather bitter irony, it turns out it is the U.S. military itself that has been using proscribed weapons in Iraq, among them white phosphorous and a chemical similar to napalm:

Italian state TV, Rai, has broadcast a documentary accusing the US military of using white phosphorus bombs against civilians in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
Rai says this amounts to the illegal use of chemical arms, though the bombs are considered incendiary devices.

Eyewitnesses and ex-US soldiers say the weapon was used in built-up areas in the insurgent-held city.

The US military denies this, but admits using white phosphorus bombs in Iraq to illuminate battlefields.


Jeff Englehart, described as 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.

Last December, the US state department issued a denial of what it called "widespread myths" about the use of illegal weapons in Falluja.

"Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Falluja, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters," the US statement said.

However, the Rai film also alleges that Washington has systematically attempted to destroy filmed evidence of the alleged use of white phosphorus on civilians in Falluja.

And here is more on the napalm:

In the documentary called "Falluja: The Hidden Massacre", RAI also said U.S. forces used the Mark 77 firebomb.

It cited a letter it said came from British Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram, saying 30 MK 77 weapons were used on military targets in Iraq between March 31 and April 2, 2003.

"The only instance of MK 77 use during (Operation Iraqi Freedom) occurred in March/April 2003 when U.S. Marines employed several bombs against legitimate military targets," Keefe said.

He said the chemical composition of the MK 77 firebomb is different from that of napalm.

So we have accusation by U.S. troops that they used these weapons but official denials from higher up the chain of command. I'm sure the astute reader will know who is more likely to be telling the truth. And unfortunately this won't be the first time the U.S. has used these sorts of weapons. In Vietnam they used napalm and a very toxic defoliant called "agent orange" which wound up killing a lot of their own soldiers. In Kosovo they used cluster bombs against civilian targets. In all their recent wars they have used depleted uranium as a tank projectile. Lets also remember they are one of the few countries opposed to banning the use of land mines. And, as pointed out in the articles, the U.S. refused to sign the part of the Geneva convention that banned these inhumane weapons!

So once again we see the complete hypocracy of the U.S. Anyone accused by the U.S. of terrorism is dealth with immediately and often violently. Yet the U.S. itself harbours accused terrorists. The U.S. invades other countries because it thinks they have weapons they shouldn't have. Yet the U.S. itself used weapons that violate the Geneva Convention. The U.S. insists on the humane treatment of captured Americans yet uses torture on those it captures. The U.S. doesn't allow foreign interference in its political campeigns yet routinely meddles in others.

I could go on. But it is just too long and tiresome a list.


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