Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More dumbass journalists... 
This time in Israel

"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law.

Let's put aside the flunk-out-of-freshman-comp quality of the prose (this dope DESPERATELY needs an editor) - phosphorus shells are decidedly NOT forbidden by international law.

Rather, they are standard issue in virtually all modern militaries, and part and parcel of modern fire support - and have been for nearly a century.

The rocket unit commander stated that Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) platforms were heavily used in spite of the fact that they were known to be highly inaccurate.

Well, it's not that they are inaccurate, so much as they were never designed to be a precision weapon in the first place. The MLRS is essentially a grid-square eraser, and primarily designed to devastate motor pools, brigade support areas, and in the counterbattery role to blow the shit out of the enemy's rocket and artillery gun parks.

Which, come to think of it, is exactly what they were used for.

Think of it...Rockets and artillery shells have a time of flight. That time of flight varies according to the weapon, range, charge, and trajectory, but it is significant enough that a mobile rocket launcher (or gun, or mortar tube mounted on the back of the truck) can skedaddle out of the lethal radius for a smaller counterbattery weapon before the incoming return rounds find their target.

If you have a high-value target (such as a scud launcher or dangerous katyusha launcher), and you aren't concerned about counterbattery fire yourself, because the enemy doesn't have the technology, you would consider launching an MLRS strike, because you can also take out the klick or so in any direction.

Really, if the local inhabitants object to the hazards of falling objects, perhaps they shouldn't let Hezbollah launch rockets from their back yards.

You wouldn't use the MLRS in every case.... it paints with an awfully broad brush, it's expensive as Hell, and yes, proportionality is an issue. If a battery of 105s will do the job, you'd use those. But if you have several launchers in one place, or if you have a real high value target, or you catch one out in the open, or you sight a company or battalion sized unit on the move in the open, then hell, yeah, you'd use one.

The cluster rounds which don't detonate on impact, believed by the United Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon, remain on the ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the landscape with thousands of land mines which will continue to claim victims long after the war has ended.

40 percent? I call bullshit.

But you might fire a FASCAM with submunitions, which is by design an artillery-delivered minefield. You'd use those, for example, to cut off a fleeing enemy, or to make it difficult for him to attack through restricted terrain.

And they are quite legal.

It has come to light that IDF soldiers fired phosphorous rounds in order to cause fires in Lebanon. An artillery commander has admitted to seeing trucks loaded with phosphorous rounds on their way to artillery crews in the north of Israel.

Phosphorus rounds are not illegal, nor are incendiaries. Their primary purpose was probably for marking, however. And I guarantee you every artilleryman in the world has seen phosphorus rounds because everyone has got him. This stupid little puppydog reporter is breathless over his scoop.

A direct hit from a phosphorous shell typically causes severe burns and a slow, painful death.

No, dumbass. A direct hit from a phosphorus shell (and learn how to spell it, will ya?) causes an instantaneous death. A piece of phosphorus that lands on your skin will cause a severe burn, but death is far from "typical," unless you get a lot of it on you.

What this drooling ignoramous doesn't seem to grasp is that the garden-variety HE round is far, far more lethal.

International law forbids the use of weapons that cause "excessive injury and unnecessary suffering", and many experts are of the opinion that phosphorous rounds fall directly in that category.

No. Not a single expert believes that, because the real experts know that white phosphorus marking rounds are specifically exempted from chemical munitions treaties, and they are in widespread use by every modern military in the world.

The International Red Cross has determined that international law forbids the use of phosphorous and other types of flammable rounds against personnel, both civilian and military.

Wrong on many different levels. This ignoramus needs to have his press credentials revoked, or go back to covering high school tennis teams. The International Red Cross is not the arbiter of what munitions are legal and what are not. And phosphorus is fair game to use against all military targets. It is not kosher to deliberately target noncombatants (the term "civilian" does not apply to post-modern battlefields such as Lebanon) - but that is true of the .22 long rifle as well as the white phosphorus round.

This is one reporter that seriously needs a whack upside the head with a clue bat. Where do newspapers get these dumb runts?

All this without a single named source. Without a single place named. Without a unit named.

This is what passes for journalism at Haaretz?


Splash, out


Similar to the NY Times Plame pseudo-scandal, these so-called human rights activists posing as reporters are going to get what they ask for, and choke on it.

Hey, what the hell, they want us to get rid of WP as a marking and smoke round, I'm all for it. There are alternatives. A simple battery round of HE will do a heck of a job to stir up a smoke screen or mark a target. Of course you might kill *a lot* of innocent people because you don't really have any way of adjusting fire, other than by trial and error, but hey, who ever said rationality is a concern here. That's not the point; scoring some cheap moral grace is.
While the "WP = illegal chemical weapon" meme is deeply imbedded in the anti-war and we-can-do-nothing-right camps, I do hope that you sent this incompetent (and his editor) the gist of your message.
This guy is like the jokers that want to ban tasers because they can result in medical complications.

No problem, dude, we'll just go back to putting people in the morgue with jacketed hollow points.
It is appalling that reporters no longer seem to even attempt to get their stories right. They are all more interested in making a point or trying to sensationalize the story for readership. I am sure that is why they are so full of errors, omissions, misrepresentation and shallow coverage. They just don’t really care if they have it right.

On MLRS: the new American versions are now pinpoint accurate. No more shotgun approach. I don’t have specifics, but from what I have seen and heard, they are essentially small GPS guided missiles. Don’t know how much of the new verses the old they have or may use, but now each missile can have a specific destination.
MLRS doesn't have a WP round - at least ours don't and we're the ones who designed it.
And another thing...

MLRS is not "highly innaccurate". It is, as Jason says, an area weapon (at least the basic MLRS round is). But the center of that very large 'burst' radius is going to be exactly where we want it to be.

We've got other variations, including guided MLRS, that are more precise, but it's likely they were using the standard MLRS round in the counterfire role in Lebanon.
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