Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

The big breakthrough.

The BBC is now reporting "US used white phosphorus in Iraq" and that "it was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," (RealPlayer) according to an admission by Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable. Now, even the rather stodgy Times of London has chimed in. How long before the US press follows suit on a story which, admittedly, should be more of a US news story than either a British, Italian, or Asian one? How long can they tolerate their own silence?

"When you have enemy forces that are in covered positions that your high explosive artillery rounds are not having an impact on and you wish to get them out of those positions, one technique is to fire a white phosphorus round or rounds into the position because the combined effects of the fire and smoke - and in some case the terror brought about by the explosion on the ground - will drive them out of the holes so that you can kill them with high explosives," Lt. Col. Venable said. No mention was made as to how you guarantee that such a use will not kill civilians.

By the Pentagon's own pre-invasion estimates, approximately 1500 to 3000 insurgents were thought to have been in Fallujah. The estimated number of Iraqi dead in the attack was between 6000 to 11000 people, however, with an unspecified number of maimed and wounded Iraqi civilians.

A spokesman at the UK Ministry of Defence said the use of white phosphorus was permitted in battle in cases where there were no civilians near the target area. It is for this reason that the British have made it their policy not to deploy white phosphorus munitions against possible mixed civilian/insurgent targets in Iraqi cities.

Update: Story finally makes it to CNN, courtesy of Associated Press.

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