Nov 21, 2005
A documentary, aired by the Italian state television, RAI, on November 8, showed that the U.S. military used white phosphorus in its attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004. White phosphorus burns very violently in air. It was used by the U.S. in World War II and in Viet Nam along with napalm, another highly flammable chemical.
After this information hit the airwaves and printing presses in Europe, U.S. officials admitted that they had been using white phosphorus as a weapon in Iraq – something they had expressly denied before. “It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants,” a U.S. military spokesman told the British media, “not as a chemical weapon against civilians.” Compare these words with those of a U.S. marine who was interviewed by Italian TV at his home in Colorado: “I saw the burnt bodies of women and children. When white phosphorus explodes, those within 500 feet can’t escape the cloud it forms. It burns the body to the bone.”
Right now, U.S. troops are engaged in “Operation Steel Curtain,” an offensive on several Iraqi towns along the Syrian border, which the U.S. military claims harbor insurgents. Iraqi Red Crescent officials, quoted in the Washington Post, reported 29 civilian deaths. CNN showed the ruins of a house where neighbors said 19 people had been killed in an airstrike. How many more dozens, or even hundreds, of civilians are being killed? How many of them are being burned with white phosphorus and napalm? How many thousands of civilians are being left homeless, as the 300,000 residents of Fallujah were last year?
We don’t know. But one thing is certain: every day under U.S. occupation brings more death, destruction and suffering to Iraqi people. And thus, every day under U.S. occupation turns more Iraqi people against U.S. troops, who pay the price of the murderous decisions made by their top commanders.