From The Ape Man, in comments here.
Please pass the preceding link around to all antiwar blogs you frequent. The relevant excerpt is as follows:
Protocol III – Geneva Conventions
2. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons.
The "White Phosphorous is not a banned munition" meme is already taking root in the print media. We must shame them into telling the truth about this.
He has more on his blog
PS. US used white phosphorus in Iraq
The Pentagon has confirmed that US troops used white phosphorus during last year’s offensive in the northern Iraqi city of Falluja.
Tags: White Phosphorus Fallujah
The UN Convention bans the use of incendiary weapons against civilans, not against humans. See for yourself:
Of course any deliberate engagement or targeting of civilians is
already a war crime. so that the US has not signed this one is not of especial import except to say that we aren’t bound by it expressly.
White Phosphorus is not banned.
It also isn’t a chemical weapon. We are signtory to the Chemical Weapons Convention which defines chemical weapons. See here:
So it isn’t a chemical weapon and it isn’t banned.
Indiscriminate use is. The stories circulating do not support that
contention. See here:
Bogert received the coordinates for the targets and recorded them on a map. This is proper procedure. He’s receiving coordinates from a Forward Observer, indirect fire weapons never see their targets, the FOs do. The coordinates are plotted so that it is known what was ordered where. There is also a verification that takes place in the call for indirect fire to avoid problems with numerical transposition or other mistakes.
Well aren’t they good little soldiers. Just following orders no doubt. And should hundreds if not thousands of innocents get roasted to death, oh well, that’s of no concern.
How convenient the US refuses to sign a treaty most other nations have. Some would say this makes them a rogue nation, an outlaw among nations. This ‘allows’ them to incinerate whoever they want and pretend there are no consequences (like the outrage of the world, the collapsing authority of the US, the blowback from all the invasions.)
I know, I know, they’re just doing their job, following orders. So was Eichmann. And he went to prison.
Following orders is not a defense and we all know that. We are responsible for our conduct and we are not required to follow illegal orders.
You really ought to check the links I provided, Bob.
Eichmann didn’t go to prison!
I confess to not understanding the concentration on white phosphorus. It’s nasty stuff to be sure, but so is napalm and household lye, which can produce much the same results when exposed to skin. There’s some misinformation floating around about it, like it can’t burn clothing (I can testify from personal knowledge that it can!). It also has legitimate military uses (if you concede that there are legitimate uses of the military) such as in tracer bullets and in illumination rounds.
If the argument is about incendiaries generally, then I understand the concern. But if it’s just against white phosphorus in general, I don’t get it.
Joe: Ok, ok, Eichmann was sentenced to death, my mistake… (But I’m assuming he was in prison before that!) Also, the argument is about incendiaries in general, with WP a focus.
RTO: I did check the links. There is ample evidence and reports coming from the Independent et al that WP was used in heavily civilian areas. If skilled Pentagon evaders want to split hairs about something many find repugnant, well, they did that during ‘Nam too.
If the US wishes to win their hearts and minds of Iraqis, firebombing them is a really bad way to do it. It might “make sense” militarily, but it is beyond counter-productive politically, on the ground, and does little but make the insurgency stronger.
Which is a mistake the US military made in Vietnam too. A war that they lost. I expect they will lose this one too, and in the words of Pat Buchanan (of all people) just before the war started, “this is the end of American Empire.”
Once again the powers that be have us splitting hairs and discussing the detail. It is obvious that WP is a slow and horrible death and is totally indiscriminate, legally right or wrong is not the point, the legal position on most situations change.Morally it is repugnant and is the type of action that the Bush/Blair paraded before us as unacceptable actions by their chosen enemy. A part from the horror inflicted on the people of Iraq it shows up their total hypocrisy. I also agree that napam is equaly indiscriminate and equally horrible. Signing up or not signing up or not signing up does not in anyway minimise the horror of the action.