Tuesday, November 15, 2005

White Phosphorous

The United States admitted to using white phosphorous shellsas an offensive weapon in  the siege of Fallujah in 2004.  White Phosphorous is not a perfume endorsed by Elizabeth Taylor, it’s a high temperature weapon that sends off an intense white light on impact.  Whether or not, it’s officially a chemical weapon, it’s hard to describe it as anything else.  
Should  you be hit directly by white phosphorous you will burn so severely that there will be no way to stop the burning (water likely only makes it worse), there will be any number of toxic smells and after effects.  It’s a painful horrifying death as cruel as poison gas, napalm, or agent orange.  The charges first came up in an Italian magazine.  The US initially denied them, then denied that they used them as weapons, and now they deny using white phosphorous against civilians.  The US is also trying to suggest that there’s nothing explicitly illegal about white phosphorous.  In fact, it is apparently permissible as a kind of marker to light up an area for other kinds of bombs.  In this case, the military used white phosphorous to flush out its targets then hit them with “conventional” weapons.  Some of the evidence includes reports from soldiers claiming that they had seen enemy corpses that had been left ash white from being hit by white phosphorous.

I thought we went into Iraq at least partly because Saddam had used chemical weapons on other people.  The President insists that we don’t torture.  I’m relieved to hear that, even though if what we are doing with some detainees is not torture, I’d be hard-pressed to explain the differences.  I imagine he’ll also affirm that we don’t use chemical weapons, it’s just that it’s now documented that we used weapons that do everything chemical weapons do.  

I believe that virtually any human is capable of most anything.  One of the big differences is that some realize what they’ve done, they show remorse and take steps never to do it again.  Others never take responsibility or acknowledge their own actions.  Sadly, I already know which of the two sits in the White House.

Torture in the Green Zone

The following is a list of precautions for phosphourous from Your Encyclopedia on Phosphorous
"This is a particularly poisonous element with 50 mg being the average fatal dose. The allotrope white phosphorus should be kept under water at all times due to its hyper reactivity to air and it should only be manipulated with forceps since contact with skin can cause severe burns."


At 11/18/2005 02:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all too much. Yes, Virginia, we do white phosphorous.

A doctor I saw said it was even worse than the jellied gasoline napalm -- that it did not stop burning until it burned through all the flesh to the bone. Gods, what has happened to America? I feel such shame and horror.

That these monstrous people diddle with semantics while Iraq burns is so atrocious.

(Please note my new url -- I was migrated to blogharbor when myblogsite suddenly decided to get out of the free blog or any blog business. I can't say yet how it will go. The interface is similar and in a month, they'll charge $9 a month.)

At 11/18/2005 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

That's the reason I simply looked up the chemical description of phosphorous. I left out the part where it talks about it being a "nerve agent".

At 11/18/2005 03:26:00 PM, Blogger benny06 said...

I saw a post about this on another blog and I was appalled. Yet we complain about WMD's that don't exist anymore.

Equally appalling is what is happening to Rep John Murtha. He is a good patriot, and now the White House has the gumption to smear his name just because he questioned their decisions.

At 11/18/2005 10:53:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

The White House would smear Rosa Parks if it came out that she had opposed the war before her death.

At 11/20/2005 05:17:00 PM, Blogger coffee & comedy said...

I think one of the primary causes of war is overly nationalistic or religious people. If we are to solve the problem we have to promote a certain level of uniformity amongst humans. This will help people think twice before unleashing such weapons.

At 11/20/2005 06:00:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Coffee and Comedy,
thanks for dropping by. I agree, too much identification with nation, particular god, political party, etc. is getting in the way of our learning to simply be humane.

It's pretty simple, if you don't want to be burned to death by lethal chemicals, then don't do it to anyone else.


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