[eDebate] newstrega's best joke: obama using white phosphorus
Mon May 18 14:00:26 CDT 2009
when the nazis do it, it's evil. slave reparations make white phosphorus legitimate for the black president according to the conyers' bill. burning women and children is necessary to scare al-qaeda and catch osama bin laden.
U.S. Fighting Off White Phosphorus Allegations, Again (Updated)By Nathan Hodge May 11, 2009 | 1:19 pm | Categories: Af/Pak, Miscellaneous, Weapons and AmmoWhile American and Afghan leaders engage in a bit of kabuki theater over whether U.S. airstrikes will continue (hint: yes), there are fresh accusations over the types of weapons the American military is using. Once again, U.S. forces? incendiary white phosphorus rounds are scorching civilians, human rights groups charge.Yesterday, Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai pleaded the case for an ending airstrikes thatcontinue to claim civilian lives in Afghanistan.The Obama administration?s reply? Don?t count on it. In an interview broadcast yesterday on NBC?s ?Meet the Press,? Karzai said the United States and its allies must be on a ?much higher platform? to fight insurgents in Afghanistan.?Our villages are not where the terrorists are,? he said. ?And that?s what we kept telling the U.S. administration, that the war on terrorism is not in the Afghan villages, not in the Afghan homes. Respect that. Civilian casualties are undermining support in the Afghan people for the war on terrorism and for the, the, the relations with America. How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly??Karzai, as you?ll recall, was hoping for a halt to air strikes when President Barack Obama took office; he said he raised the issue personally. But Obama?s national security adviser said that was not going to happen. In an interview yesterday on ABC News, National Security Adviser James Jones said: ?We?re going to take a look at trying to make sure that we correct those things we can correct, but certainly to tie the hands of our commanders and say we?re not going to conduct air strikes, it would be imprudent.?U.S. commanders, Jones said, would ?redouble [their] efforts to make sure that innocent civilians are not killed,? but they also expect to have the ?full complement? of offensive weaponry at their disposal.The exchange comes as the kind of weaponry being employed by coalition forces is now coming under much closer scrutiny. During a probe into civilian casualties during a huge firefight in Farah province, Afghan doctors claimed that they had seen unusual burn injuries on some of the bodies, raising the possibility that white phosphorus munitions had been fired.Use of white phosphorus rounds has become a subject of extreme controversy. White phosphorus munitions like the M825A1 155-mm artillery round can be used to place a quick smokescreen or to mark enemy targets for further bombardments. But direct contact with the stuff can cause particularly gruesome burn injuries. And as human rights advocates argue, using white phosphorus in populated areas has thepotential to cause indiscriminate harm to civilians. That question was raised during Israel?s recent campaign in Gaza; and the alleged use of white phosphorus has opened the coalition in Afghanistan to accusations of ?war crimes? as well.The U.S. military denied the use of such weapons in Farah, countering that Taliban fighters are the ones using white phosphorus in recent attacks. The Associated Press, for instance, cited U.S. documentsdescribing an attack by militants on a NATO outpost in Logar province with two rounds of white phosphorus fire.Human Rights Watch, for one, is skeptical about reports that the coalition used white phosphorus in the Farah airstrike. But the group is not convinced that the coalition has completely refrained from using white phosphorus rounds, either. The watchdog group recently issued a statement urging the NATO forces to reveal the results of an investigation into an incident in which an 8-year-old girl in Kapisa province was allegedly burned by white phosphorus munitions. According to the Human Rights Watch report, NATO denied the girl?s injuries were caused by white phosphorus. But the military did not deny using the munitions during the engagement, which took place in Alahsay district of eastern Kapisa Province, where there has been a series of nasty fights with insurgent groups in recent months.?White phosphorus causes horrendous burns and should not be used in civilian areas,? Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, says. ?NATO and U.S. forces need to reassure the people of Afghanistan, already alarmed by high civilian casualties, that these munitions are not being used unlawfully.?UPDATE: David Hambling here. Human Rights Watch may be skeptical about the claims that WP was used in the Farah firefight. But the Guardian?s coverage of the incident makes it sounds a bit more likely:Dr. Mohammad Aref Jalali, the head of an internationally funded burns hospital in Herat, said villagers taken to hospital after the incident had ?highly unusual burns? on their hands and feet that he had not seen before. ?We cannot be 100% sure what type of chemical it was and we do not have the equipment here to find out. One of the women who came here told us that 22 members of her family were totally burned. She said a bomb distributed white power that caught fire and then set people?s clothes alight.?- Nathan Hodge and Noah Shachtman
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