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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Hot in the City


“The fighting in Fallujah, Iraq has led to a number of widespread myths including false charges that the United States is using chemical weapons such napalm and poison gas. None of these allegations are true.
Qatar-based Internet site Islam Online was one of the first to spread the false chemical weapons claim. On November 10, 2004, it reported that U.S. troops were allegedly using ‘chemical weapons and poisonous gas’ in Fallujah. (‘US Troops Reportedly Gassing Fallujah’) It sourced this claim to Al-Quds Press, which cited only anonymous sources for its allegation.
The inaccurate Islam Online story has been posted on hundreds of Web sites.
On November 12, 2004, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a denial of the chemical weapons charge, stating: ‘
The United States categorically denies the use of chemical weapons at anytime in Iraq, which includes the ongoing Fallujah operation. Furthermore, the United States does not under any circumstance support or condone the development, production, acquisition, transfer or use of chemical weapons by any country. All chemical weapons currently possessed by the United States have been declared to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and are being destroyed in the United States in accordance with our obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention."
To its credit, Islam Online ran a Nov. 25, 2004, story carrying the U.S. denial.
In both stories, Islam Online noted that U.S. forces had used napalm-like incendiary weapons during the march to Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Although all napalm in the U.S. arsenal had been destroyed by 2001, Mark-77 firebombs, which have a similar effect to napalm, were used against enemy positions in 2003.
The repetition of this story on Islam Online’s led to further misinformation. Some readers did not distinguish between what had happened in the spring of 2003, during the march to Baghdad, and in Fallujah in November 2004. They mistakenly thought napalm-like weapons had been used in Fallujah, which is not true. No Mark-77 firebombs have been used in operations in Fallujah.
[…]
Finally, some news accounts have claimed that U.S. forces have used ‘outlawed’ phosphorus shells in Fallujah. Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. U.S. forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters.”
-US Department of State, January 27, 2005

“They only used it to light the way. Nothing to worry about.”
-Skippy


“U.S. forces in Iraq have used incendiary white phosphorus against civilians and a firebomb similar to napalm against military targets, Italian state-run broadcaster RAI reported on Tuesday.
A RAI documentary showed images of bodies recovered after a November 2004 offensive by U.S. troops on the town of Falluja, which it said proved the use of white phosphorus against men, women and children who were burned to the bone.
‘Burned bodies. Burned children and burned women,’ said Englehart, who RAI said had taken part in the Falluja offensive. ‘White phosphorus kills indiscriminately.’
A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said he did not recall white phosphorus being used in Falluja. ‘I do not recall the use of white phosphorus during the offensive operations in Falluja in the fall of 2004,’ Lieutenant Colonel Steven Boylan said.
An incendiary device, white phosphorus is used by the military to conceal troop movements with smoke, mark targets or light up combat areas. The use of incendiary weapons against civilians has been banned by the Geneva Convention since 1980.
The United States did not sign the relevant protocol to the convention, a U.N. official in New York said.”
-Reuters, November 8, 2005

“WP [i.e., white phosphorus rounds] proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired ‘shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."
-Field Artillery Magazine (printed by the US Army), March 2005

After pounding parts of the city for days, many Marines say the recent combat escalated into more than they had planned for, but not more than they could handle.
‘It's a war,’ said Cpl. Nicholas Bogert, 22, of Morris, N.Y.
Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused.
[...]
The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call ‘shake 'n' bake’ into a cluster of buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week.
They say they have never seen what they've hit, nor did they talk about it as they dusted off their breakfast and continued their hilarious routine of personal insults and name-calling.
-North County Times, April 10, 2004

“When conventional ammunition like white-phosphorous and high explosive deteriorates from exposure, toxic chemicals leak out of them and contaminate the soil, said Rizzo.”
-US Department of Defense, October 27, 2005

“One year ago this week, US-led occupying forces launched a devastating assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja. The mood was set by Lt Col Gary Brandl: ‘The enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He's in Falluja. And we're going to destroy him.’
The assault was preceded by eight weeks of aerial bombardment. US troops cut off the city's water, power and food supplies, condemned as a violation of the Geneva convention by a UN special rapporteur, who accused occupying forces of ‘using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population’. Two-thirds of the city's 300,000 residents fled, many to squatters' camps without basic facilities.
[…]
The US also deployed incendiary weapons, including white phosphorous. ‘Usually we keep the gloves on,’ Captain Erik Krivda said, but ‘for this operation, we took the gloves off’. By the end of operations, the city lay in ruins. Falluja's compensation commissioner has reported that 36,000 of the city's 50,000 homes were destroyed, along with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines.
The US claims that 2,000 died, most of them fighters. Other sources disagree. When medical teams arrived in January they collected more than 700 bodies in only one third of the city. Iraqi NGOs and medical workers estimate between 4,000 and 6,000 dead, mostly civilians - a proportionately higher death rate than in Coventry and London during the blitz.”
-Guardian Unliminted (UK), November 10, 2005

“Someone want to explain to me how we were ‘saving’ the Iraqi people? And after that you can explain to me why this doesn’t resemble Vietnam at all. There are days I’m really scared for my country. The military lies to your face and then the administration wants you to blindly trust them. Torture and using incendiary devices against civilians is not what my country does. I have no idea some days where I’m living anymore.”
-Skippy

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