America’s Chemical Burns

I’ve been trying all day to think of something to post around the news that the United States — your country and mine — used chemical weapons in Iraq; specifically, in Fallujah, with devastating effects on insurgents and civilians.

Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.

… In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: “I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it’s known as Willy Pete.

”Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone … I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for.“

Photographs on the website of RaiTG24, the broadcaster’s 24-hours news channel,, show exactly what the former soldier means. Provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah, dozens of high-quality, colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelised or turned the consistency of leather by the shells.

I saw those pictures that the article references long ago, back when the rumors were spreading that the U.S. was using napalm in Fallujah. The news was there for anyone who cared to look. I looked. It just happened that most of America was happily looking the other way.

I feel like I’ve been watching a movie with a friend who’s slept through most of it, has finally awakened and is now loudly catching up with the plot. Meanwhile I’ve been watching the whole damn thing.

The problem is they picked the movie.

It’s just irritating. Honestly, I wish they’d just go back to sleep.

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About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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2 Responses to America’s Chemical Burns

  1. RodoMXOZ says:

    It is truly a pity that the US general public has been asleep through Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and now this in Fallujah, of the US using chemical weapons in Fallujah.

    Less hope they don’t spin this one again or try and deny it, or that it goes under the "oh well it happened" rug.

  2. Mark Kraft says:

    A March ’05 publication by the US Army confirms that US soldiers used white phosphorus offensively in the Battle of Fallujah. This directly contradicts recent statements made by the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as a previous statement by the US State Department — located at — that WP was used "very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes".
    Here is the story on artillery use in Fallujah from the March/April edition of the US Army’s "Field Artillery Magazine" :
    The article specifically states:
    "The munitions we brought to this fight were . . . illumination and white phosphorous (WP, M110 and M825), with point-detonating (PD), delay, time and variable-time (VT) fuzes."
    "WP 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."
    What the article does not say, however, is that there is no way you can use white phosphorus at ground level without forming a deadly chemical cloud that kills everything within a tenth of a mile in all directions from where it hits. Obviously, the effect of such deadly clouds weren’t just psychological in nature.
    This claim of "shake and bake" is further confirmed in a news article by an embedded journalist at the time. See
    "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. . . 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."
    You can also direct people to the video of the Italian broadcast, which made the original claims, which is online at
    and at
    Hope this helps,
    Mark Kraft

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