Saturday, April 30, 2005

Meet "Willy Pete."

Way back at the beginning of the second offensive on Fallujah last November, which I dubbed "Operation Phantom Victory" in a letter to the Reverend Moon's Washington Times, (A play on the actual short lived military designation, "Operation Phantom Fury.") I wrote to Dahr Jamail, an unembedded journalist in Iraq, (Who has recently returned to the U.S) that I thought the then media frenzy over the death of Yassar Arafat would knock "Falluja right off the front page. By the time we find out how many marines and Fallujans have died in this pointless exercise, no one will care." (Turns out we still don't know exactly how many Fallujans died.)

He replied, "Just give it some time. And there will be outrage." Well, in a sane world he would be correct, but this is America in 2005. No one cares and we've got Bush for another four years.

Since Dahr has returned, though, there has much talk in the leftist media and "blogosphere" about his assertion that the U.S. used chemical weapons in Fallujah.

He quotes a witness to the U.S. bombardment in Fallujah as saying:

"They (US military) used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud. Then small pieces feel from the air with long tails of smoke behind them. "He explained that pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt peoples skin even when water was dumped on their bodies, which is the effect of phosphorous weapons, as well as napalm. "People suffered so much from these, both civilians and fighters alike."

My first impression was that Jamail's eyewitness might have been describing one of the "non-lethal" chemical weapons of the type the Russians reluctantly admitted they had deployed during the Chechen hostage rescue attempt that subsequently killed 117 hostages along with the Chechen terrorists. The Israeli 2001 chemical attack in Khan Younis also came to mind.

I queried Madtom of "This Fucking War" on this issue of the U.S. employing chemical weapons (As today we hear of the Kurdish victims of Saddam's chemical massacres) and he pointed me to a blog entitled "Armor Geddon," in which there is a post by a marine who was involved in the assault on Fallujah.

1st Lt. Neil Prakash writes that on November 8th 2004:

"In preparation for the assault, artillery guns dropped white phosphorus or "Willy Pete" on the city. The FA guys later told us this was the newest WP in the way it deployed. Whatever it was, it was incredible. As the rounds came in, they burst in the air several hundred feet above the ground. They streaked towards the ground in little spider trails burning bright orange. The WP hit the ground creating a thick white smoke screen but it still burned bright orange on the ground. This lit up the battlefield for the main effort, and created a smoke screen."

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry states: "White phosphorus is used by the military in various types of produce smoke for concealing troop movements and identifying targets. White phosphorus is a waxy solid which burns easily and is used in chemical manufacturing and smoke munitions. Exposure to white phosphorus may cause burns and irritation, liver, kidney, heart, lung, or bone damage, and death. (EPA)."

This certainly sounds like a plausible explaination of what was going on there. Judging from the marine's quote above and the description of White Phosphorus at the ATSDR web site, that this is at least part of the answer to the mystery of what our military dropped on Fallujah in our new "Hue city in the making."

[Also, see my letter to the Washington Times: April 4, 2004 regarding the first attack on Fallujah.]


Blogger madtom said...

Well it's OK, except that I don't think that the Use of WP as described by Redsix constitutes the use of "chemical weapons". It does however point to the truth behind the many of the conspiracies out there. Like I said, "there is some truth to the stories", but unfortunately it's not what you seem to think.

"This certainly sounds like a plausible explaination of what was going on there"

You got this right, as far as I'm concerned. I am almost sure that all this has hammered out over at Raed's a while back, I could be wrong about it though.
I did like the articles you found to go along with they story, very informative. good gob.

10:08 AM  
Blogger William Duane said...

Well, I said "my first impression" was chemical weapons might have been used. I didn't mean to make it sound like they were. I don't know what was going on there. WP is a type of chemical that has the effects of a chemical weapon on humans and the environment for sure.

My mind is still open on the subject.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Myst said...

As of The independent (Britain) today, you can settle the fact that is is NAPALM.

US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war

Apparently the US told the UK before that it was not using NAPALM but they finally have admitted to the UK that they were, in fact, using it.

Since there are no forests or jungles to burn away, I see no point in using Napalm unless you are trying to cause maximum damage/injury. The weapons are The MK77 bombs, an evolution of the napalm used in Vietnam and Korea, carry kerosene-based jet fuel and polystyrene so that, like napalm, the gel sticks to structures and to its victims. The bombs lack stabilising fins, making them far from precise.

Napalm is an internationally reviled weapon and Iraq didn't deserve that.

Thanks for the link madman...

4:17 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

Your welcome, anytime I can be of service.

2:18 PM  

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