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    "All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free."..., 2005-11-17 16:59:53 | Main | "According to U.S. intelligenc..., 2005-11-18 14:26:29

    psychological weapons:

    The London Times:

    The most directly applicable international law is Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons [which the US never signed]. Under this, the use of white phosphorus is prohibited as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations. It is also banned (with clear inspiration from Vietnam) in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas.

    It is not at all clear that white phosphorous, which is normally used as an incendiary, does primarily incendiary damage on human targets. From Protocol III:

    1. "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 a combination thereof, produced by
    a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target.
    
        (a) Incendiary weapons can take the form of, for example, flame
    throwers, fougasses, shells, rockets, grenades, mines, bombs and other
    containers of incendiary substances.
    
        (b) Incendiary weapons do not include:
    
         (i)  Munitions which may have incidental incendiary effects, such
              as illuminants, tracers, smoke or signalling systems;
    
        (ii)  Munitions designed to combine penetration, blast or
              fragmentation effects with an additional incendiary effect,
              such as armour-piercing projectiles, fragmentation shells,
              explosive bombs and similar combined-effects munitions in
              which the incendiary effect is not specifically designed to
              cause burn injury to persons, but to be used against military
              objectives, such as armoured vehicles, aircraft and
              installations or facilities.
    

    White phosphorous has incendiary effects, but it causes chemical burns on animal matter:

    Pathophysiology: White phosphorus results in painful chemical burn injuries. The resultant burn typically appears as a necrotic area with a yellowish color and characteristic garliclike odor. White phosphorus is highly lipid soluble and as such, is believed to have rapid dermal penetration once particles are embedded under the skin. Because of its enhanced lipid solubility, many have believed that these injuries result in delayed wound healing. This has not been well studied; therefore, all that can be stated is that white phosphorus burns represent a small subsegment of chemical burns, all of which typically result in delayed wound healing.

    Few studies have investigated the degree of tissue destruction associated with white phosphorus injuries. In the experimental animal model, most tissue destruction appears to be secondary to the heat generated by oxidation.

    Thusly it would be covered, in generic terms, by principles limiting both the use of incendiary and chemical weapons, and whether it is more one than the other isn't entirely clear, because this is probably the war in which anybody thought to use it as a "psychological weapon".


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-11-17 17:29:53 CST | link





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