Tha presnit sez: "The other [v...,
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if I was responsible for investigating myself I'd never come up for prosecution, either...,
old boss same as the new boss:
Diane Warth notes a new report from an Italian paper on the use of white phosphorous during last year's Fallujah campaign - which, if used on human targets, would be a rather gruesome unconventional weapon - as was reported at the time, e.g.:
artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.
Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, said, "The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted."
Would that be a direct violation of existing international law? Apparently not. But I'm not particularly up on these fuzzy legal matters, which isn't particularly useful anyway because it's the same people ordering their use that write the laws governing it: e.g. the US has refused to become a signatory to conventions banning the use of cluster munitions, so it just gets filed under Worst Practices of the Exercise of Military Force by those responsible scholars of our treaty obligations. Same thing goes for napalm, which has been used rather more liberally in the illegal campaign to prevent the use of unconventional weapons on the people of Iraq.
It might be somewhat relevant, in terms of prosecuting moral outrage, that like the US, Saddam's Iraq was one of the few nations that refused to sign the International Treaty to Ban Landmines, the napalm-banning and clumsily titled CONVENTION ON PROHIBITIONS OR RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF CERTAIN CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS WHICH MAY BE DEEMED TO BE EXCESSIVELY INJURIOUS OR TO HAVE INDISCRIMINATE EFFECTS AND PROTOCOLS [*], and for that matter the International Criminal Court (George W. Bush erased Bill J. Clinton's signature from the Rome Statute - I understand that was a first. Wouldn't it be cool if you could just unsign laws you wanted to break?). So Iraqis can't really take it up by legal recourse either, can they? Then again there's plenty of shit the USG has signed that it has happily violated. Can I sue?
So many ways to incinerate human flesh by the most unpleasant means possible, so little time!
update: The US Military says it used white phosphorous "as a potent psychological weapon" against human targets. It doesn't fall under the restricted weapons of chemical weapons conventions, but I can only imagine that's because nobody's ever thought to use it as a weaponized means for inducing massive chemical burns on a target population. Pretty fucking sick.
update update: 11/5/05 - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), in some sort of "30Something" bitch session (they ain't whinin', they bitchin'!) at what must be midnight in D.C., actually raising this subject on the floor of the House. Good.
Damnit, buermann - This signature never happened - or is CFL citing a different treaty? I'll drop 'em a line.
"RAI also discovered the use of a napalm-like formula called MK77, which has been banned since a 1980 UN treaty and which the US signed in 1997."
The US is allowed to melt people to death because it refused to sign a piece of paper declaring that to be a heinous crime. All hail the murderous butchers who are above the law? Who decided that image was a good one?
posted by Diane
@ 2005-11-08 20:55:04 | link
I could be wrong. We may have acceeded to it without a signature, though Bush may have revoked Clinton's accension or signature, as such.
posted by buermann
@ 2005-11-08 21:26:36 | link
They mean this treaty ( I think ). Here's the e-mail reply:
The use of the incendiary substance on civilians is forbidden by a 1980 UN treaty. The use of chemical weapons is forbidden by a treaty which the US signed in 1997
In response to this report the US is playing a semantics game by claiming that the MK-77 an incendiary weapon and not a chemical weapon--the US has not signed up to the relevant protocols governing the use of incendiary weapons. An MK-77 is made up of a cocktail of chemicals.
The Italians are clearly considering the chemical cocktail that makes up the Mk-77 fire bombs to be chemical weapons, the semantic quibbling about whether they are incendiaries or chemicals is moot.
posted by Diane
@ 2005-11-08 21:47:07 | link
The Italians can sue!
I wish them the best of luck.
Doesn't it all seem sort of moot since the invasion was such a flagrant violation of the UN charter? Nevermind the tonnage of depleted uranium dust injected into the country's ecosystem. Nevermind the occupation's regular violation of basic geneva convention statutes regarding the occupation of a foreign country. And certainly we should nevermind the US violation of the UN resolutions it invaded Iraq to enforce.
Thank Bush that the UN is no longer threatened by the terrible curse of irrelevance!
posted by buermann
@ 2005-11-09 03:09:10 | link