Thursday, April 02, 2009

Phosphorus Follies 
An old friend sends me this piece on the old "White Phosphorus Is Used Against Civilians" chestnut written by Juliet Lapidos over at Slate:

Actually, though it's obvious the reporter does better than a lot of folks in reporting the issue, the two hours she spent reporting this piece wasn't enough to make up for her utter lack of background knowledge on the topic.

As a result, she can't tell shit from shinola when assessing her source documents, and therefore seems to place the idiotic allegations of Human Rights Watch at the same level with military doctrine and the Law of Land Warfare and the long experience of fire support experts.

Finally, she falls flat on her face with this passage:

White phosphorus has an iffy legal status.

No, dumbass. It doesn't. It's perfectly legal to use on the battlefield. As you yourself note:

No treaty bans the use of white phosphorus against strictly military targets, although there is a debate over whether it ought to be classified as a chemical weapon and prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Yes. The debate is between sober, informed people who understand the munition and its uses on the battlefield on one hand, and ignorant morons on the other. Your problem, Julia, is that you still can't tell the difference.

Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons outlaws the use of "incendiary weapons" on civilians or on military targets located within a concentration of civilians. The protocol, however, specifically excludes munitions that "may have incidental incendiary effects, such as illuminants, tracers, smoke or signaling systems."

And herein you falsify your own assertion. White Phosphorus, as used by U.S. and Israeli forces in the smoke/signal/illumination role, is exempt from the convention.


Because on the urban battlefield, white phosphorus saves lives, you dolt!

Splash, out


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