"It was ugly, it was detestable, but it was also necessary"

Den krönika som William Arkin på Washington Post skrev i förrgår om användandet av vit fosfor som vapen i Fallujah innehåller några mycket intressanta kommentarer. Att använda fosforn för att lysa upp stridsplatser har använts länge, men uppenbarligen är det inte första gången man använder det som vapen heller. I kommentarerna till krönikan har flera ex-soldater skrivit inlägg där de berättar att fosforn användes som vapen mot fiendesoldater som grävt ned sig i bunkrar och grottor, framför allt under den amerikanska invasionen på Okinawa under andra världskriget men också i Koreakriget på femtiotalet. En väl beprövad metod med andra ord. Läs och lär.

If I had a problem with entrenched fighters who I was not getting effects on with HE rounds, it would be an obvious recourse to a field artilleryman to employ the "shake and bake" fire mission as described in Field Artillery Magazine (though in this case it is "bake and shake") Doctrinally, one of the most effective uses of this particular fire order is on a petroleum depot, as the HE rounds will pierce the storage tanks or blivets, while the WP will ignite it. I also read that American takers used WP rounds as an integral part of a technique to reduce the Germans fortified positions in the hedgerows during the Battle of Normandy.

White Phosphorus is not an illegal weapon. Any reporter saying otherwise is flat wrong. Phosphorus munitions were used extensively during the Battle of Okinawa, along with flame throwers, as that was the only effective way to kill the ememy lodged in the caves on the island. Just in case nobody else remembers, a HELL of a lot of CIVILIANS were hiding in those caves and died from military action. It was ugly, it was detestable, but it was also necessary. There was no effective means of sorting the people dangerous to the military (Japanese soldiers, Okinawan soldiers, or civilian resisters mistakenly trying to protect their families), from the innocent civilian population. That said, white phosphorus is REALLY NASTY stuff. You have to smother it with something to prevent oxidation (water doesn't work if I remember correctly) and SCRAPE it off.

During the Vietnam War, going through BCT/ AIT, our DI's made a joke about calling in Fire-For-Effect with WP on "LBE in the open." See, it would have been a war crime to call in WP on personnel in the open, and besides, human bodies don't burn that well. But to use WP to set their Load Bearing Equipment on fire, while they were wearing it, well, that would be OK

As a veteran of Vietnam and as a soldier who was a "Forward Observer" I have seen up close the effects of the use of Willy Peter as we called it. We used it to mark a position so we could pinpoint the accuracy of conventional shells from cannon. I do not recall ever anyone thinking about WP as a weapon. To use this in Fallujah is a war crime and contrary to the Pentagon civilians were killed or should we say incinerated. Stay tuned folks as soon we will have to admit we used a napalm like product also in the "shake and bake" strategy. God help us. JV President Vets for Peace Mpls.

För övrigt berättar Daily Kos att vit fosfor produceras på ett enda ställe i USA: Pine Bluffs Redstone Arsenal, in Arkansas. En liten uppmaning till antikrigsdemo åtföljer informationen. Vi får väl se vad som händer i Pine Buffs framöver. Mer om Arkins krönika finns också på Yabosid's Log.