Wednesday, November 09, 2005

1 year later: Footage From the Napalming of Fallujah

As others have posted today, the Italian state broadcaster RAI aired a documentary yesterday, "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre." Among the most distressing footage is that of severely burned bodies--burns that completely eroded skin and subdermal tissue, leaving bone exposed. This sort of injury is consistent with the use of a Napalm-like substance known as "White Phosphorus." The November 2004 attack on Fallujah was collective punishment and that, on its own, should qualify it as a war crime. The US Military admits that it uses White Phosphorus but denies that it is illegal. Those who are familiar with independent reporter, Dahr Jamail, will remember that he reported the use--and gruesome aftermath--of White Phosphorus as early as last November. I distinctly remember Jamail speaking with Laura Flanders in Dec 2004 about it too (in the context of whether or not Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld should be tried for war crimes by countries like Canada and Germany; Bush had just completed his first visit to Canada). Furthermore, there were reports from Britain that an MP, Alice Mahon, had chosen to resign her seat upon hearing about White Phosphorus in Iraq (Sunday Mirror, Nov 28, 2004). So...the world knew. What's so special about the documentary? Incontrovertible Footage.

Democracy Now aired the RAI documentary on Tuesday morning. You can download the entire RAI film from the Democracy Now site. Afterwards, Amy Goodman moderated a discussion that included a Pentagon spokesmen, a former US servicemember who had witnessed the events in Fallujah and the RAI documentarian.

[click "Read on, MacDuff!" to continue reading]

The Pentagon spokesperson denied that White Phosphorus is illegal and accused RAI of propaganda. However, he admitted that the substance was used in Iraq:
LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: [...] White phosphorus is used for marking targets for both air and ground forces. White phosphorus is used to destroy equipment and other types of things. It is used to destroy weapons caches. And it is used to produce a white smoke which can obscure the enemy's vision of what we are doing.
The US Soldier/witness also recounted how his commanders had explicitly waited out the clock of the 2004 Presidential Election, before proceeding with the attack on Fallujah. Nobody wanted to "move" until Bush's win had been confirmed. The Pentagon spokesperson denied this but Amy Goodman pointed out a Knight-Ridder report from last November about this very thing:
They are quoting a senior Iraqi Defense Ministry official who requested anonymity because he wasn't an authorized spokesman. This from Knight Ridder. It says, "We had to stop some operations until the U.S. elections were over. The Iraqi government requested support from the American side in the past, but the Americans were reluctant to launch military operations because they were worried about American public opinion. Now their hands are free." And this was a piece that appeared out of Knight Ridder, November 3, 2004, with the headline, "Bush Expected to Move Quickly on Iraq." This after the election.

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