Independent Christian Voice

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"Shake 'n Bake": U.S. use of white phosphorus weapon ignites debate

From BBC News:
The Pentagon's admission - despite earlier denials - that US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in Falluja last year is more than a public relations issue - it has opened up a debate about the use of this weapon in modern warfare.

The admission contradicted a statement this week from the new and clearly under-briefed US ambassador in London Robert Holmes Tuttle that US forces "do not use napalm or white phosphorus as weapons".

The official line to that point had been that WP, or Willie Pete to use its old name from Vietnam, was used only to illuminate the battlefield and to provide smoke for camouflage.

'Shake 'n Bake'

This line however crumbled when bloggers (whose influence must not be under-estimated these days) ferreted out an article published by the US Army's Field Artillery Magazine in its issue of March/April this year.

The article, written by a captain, a first lieutenant and a sergeant, was a review of the attack on Falluja in November 2004 and in particular of the use of indirect fire, mainly mortars.

It makes quite clear that WP was used as a weapon not just as illumination or camouflage. [more]

Now, as we frame this debate about whether or not it's legal or right to use such a weapon, let's remind ourselves of the standard set by the current commander-in-chief back in 2001:

First, we must always maintain the highest ethical standards. We must always ask ourselves not only what is legal, but what is right.
So the question we must ask ourselves is not whether or not using this weapon is legal, but rather is it right or wrong. If you look at the pictures, there can be no way to justify it. Look at the pictures, Mr. President, and tell me how we can do it. We're more of a threat to Iraqis for use of WMDs than Saddam ever was to us.

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