The Pentagon on Monday denied using white phosphorus in Iraq. The next day, they admitted that it had been used against insurgents in Fallujah.
Today’s UK Independent has full coverage of this and other recent cover-ups in U.S. military operations.
The most sickening aspect of this is that by at first denying the charges, the government appears to be concealing the worst. It seems American media has become afraid to break stories such as these and the CIA secret prison story only two weeks ago. And now, we realize that it REALLY might be for the best interests of the U.S. image abroad to NOT publish such article with the assumption that the Pentagon is already familiar with the top news of the day in Europe and elsewhere.
The alarm sounded early this week in the Pentagon and they issued a flat-out denial of using white phosphorous for anything other than as a smoke-screen. Astute bloggers jumped on this topic, and uncovered whether it was anti-Americanism, or justified broke earlier last week in Europe after the broadcast by RAI in Italy and then Sky (doesn’t Murdoch own sky)?
WP is not a chemical weapon, but as the Independent explains, it is against Article 35 of the Geneva Conventions to use weapons that cause “superfluous or unneccesary suffering.” The Conventional Weapons Convention bans the use of WP:
against military targets “inside a concentration of civilians except when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians”.
The Pentagon’s denial, then admittance of the use of WP forced even coalition allies to retract statements that they had made
The Pentagon needs a Public Relations professional. In today’s world of blogger’s and transparency of any public documents, getting caught in a lie can be fatal. The use of WP in Fallujah had already been written about in the military rag Field Artillery (.pdf) as I pointed out over a week ago.
Despite whatever implications the U.S. government and military may face regarding the use of white phosophorous as an incendiary device, (CNN tonight says they are investigating the use of WP as a “chemical weapon,” which we already know is not how it is classified – it is thermally activated) considerable damage has already been done to the country’s program in Iraq, especially the accountability of the Pentagon.
If only they would stop trying cover all of the bases defensively and get proactive. If this is nation-building abroad, it is surely at the expense of the nation at home. Today, Sunni’s describe the torture endured at prison camps that were until this week unknown to U.S. troops. Meanwhile, they are not trusting Shi’ite leadership in investigating the shi’ite run prisons. Sounds like Iraqi leadership is taking a page out of our own book of “how to investigate yourself” democracy. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh published an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal slamming the government for avoiding a probe] into Able Danger. And Robert Scheer in his debut column at his new home, the SF Chronicle, repeated his shout for and end to flat-out white lies.
Perhaps once again the media is frightened of WHAT ELSE we may find out if we press the issue of the recently released DITSUM No. 044-02 Defense Intelligence Agency Report, which claims:
The Bush administration’s key evidence for the apocryphal Osama bin Laden-Saddam Hussein alliance — said by Bush to involve training in the use of weapons of mass destruction — was built upon the testimony of a prisoner who, according to the DIA, was probably “intentionally misleading the debriefers.”
The Public is ahead – and just imagine where the government must stand now in the eyes of the world. Curtain call to Hawkish Dem. John P. Murtha for producing today’s Seismic Shift in Congress:
The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.
I will try not to vomit while I read for you the reaction from our Speaker of the House Dennis J. Hastert’s (R – IL) blog:
[Murtha and the Democrats] would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the President is on foreign soil.
Gimme a break – we’re in this together. Now, let’s work on cleaning up this mess!