Would Saddams use of Chemical Weapons on the Kurds be any less heinous if it were not considered illegal? According to globalpolicy.org, 'If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone.' White Phosphorous is a particularly nasty weapon, regardless of its legal status.
that my friend is the crucial difference here. a NON illegal weapon being used on terrorists GOOD. an ILLEGAL weapon dropped on women and kids BAD. If saddam had dropped falafal flavored candy on the kurds that wouldnt have been bad, but he dropped poison gas, so discussing silly what ifs is pointless. my opinion, if a terrorist gets hit with WP and it burns him up, he wont be able to run away as fast so we can shoot him easier...
Is your moral compass entirely contingent on what the technicalities of a law say? This sort of 'the enemy are so repugnant that any measures are appropriate' logic is the same sort of justification that elements of the Insurgency use to defend Car-Bombings and Beheadings. FYI, White Phosphorous may be deemed 'legal' according to the US State Department, but it is *illegal* according to most other countries. Its also considered illegal by the Geneva Convention (to which the US is still a party, despite recent events). Allow me to quote:
Geneva Conventions, Protocol 3: Protocol and Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons.
"incendiary weapon means any weapon or munition which is primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat or combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target."
In addition, not only is WP illegal, its indiscriminate.
Protocol III was proposed in 1980 as an addition to the Geneva Conventions. The US didn't sign it and is not bound by it.
Even then it doesn't prohibit what the US did in Fallujah. You can read Protocol III here: http://www.icrc.org/IHL.nsf/FULL/515?OpenDocument . It relates only to its use against civilans, and has specific exceptions for uses as obscurants. The US used WP in two situations, first as an obscurant to aid movement, which is allowed by the convention, and second against entrenched combatants with no civilians nearby, which is also allowed.
Protocol III of the Geneva Convention, which, as has been pointed out, the US DID NOT sign, most definitely DOES NOT prohibit the use of WP on the battlefield.
Please read Article 2:
Article 2 Protection of civilians and civilian objects
1. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects the object of attack by incendiary weapons. 2. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons. 3. It is further prohibited to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by means of incendiary weapons other than air-delivered incendiary weapons, except when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken with a view to limiting the incendiary effects to the military objective and to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. 4. It is prohibited to make forests or other kinds of plant cover the object of attack by incendiary weapons except when such natural elements are used to cover, conceal or camouflage combatants or other military objectives, or are themselves military objectives.
If you will kindly read Section 3, Article 2 carefully, you will notice that incendiaries are specifically ALLOWED, if the target is a discrete military objective.
Heck, this protocol even allows you to attack trees with incendiaries, if the enemy is using them to hide, or if you are waging war ON the trees!
WOW rediculous! White phosphorus is NOT a poisonous fume killing gas. I've breathed it in plenty of times myself when I was an canoneer. So, when you say Saddam used chemical weapons like sauren and mustard gas, which he did and then compare Whilly Peet. It's totally rediculous! The two weapons systems are miles apart. WP is used to create smoke to screen from the burning effect of white phorphorous that won't kill you if you inhale it. Unlike sauren, VX and mustard gases. Oh I also might add the wanna be truck bombs that insurgents use mixed with chlorine gas, <cheapskate mustard gas> might be a better target for you to go after.
I am working on my next book. It will tell the complete story of Phantom Fury. I have been researching and have found:
1. Nearly all the civilians in Fallujah had left the city prior to the fight in November.
2. The American forces used WP smoke rounds to mark targets and to disorient the enemy by engulfing them in smoke. WP was not used to burn the enemy.
3. I have personally interviewed 2-2s Battalion surgeon. She states emphatically that she never saw an enemy burn victim - dead or alive. Many bodies laid in the streets for days and suffered severe bloating and decomposition. Some of the photos of these enemy bodies were used in the WP burning claims.
4. I have ABC film crew footage of the Marines finding enemy WP mortar rounds.
The discussion of the legality of employing WP on enemy forces is interesting, but does not apply for Operation Phantom Fury. We never used it to burn enemy forces and certainly never used it on civilians. If anyone has any solid evidence to the contrary, I would be interested in seeing it.