02 december, 2005

Hvidt fosfor og virkeligheden

En argt antiamerikansk italiensk dokumentar startede for et par uger siden en sag om at USA skulle have bragt "kemiske våben" i Fallujah - nemlig hvidt fosfor. Enhver person, der ved bare det mindste om hvidt fosfor som andvendt i militæret - også det danske - ved, at de beskyldninger er helt hen i vejret. L.A.Times har en god gennemgang:

What are the facts? What is the law?

The corpses shown in the Italian documentary had blackened skin, consistent with putrefaction after death. Their decayed condition provided no indication of the cause of death — except that it was unlikely to have been white phosphorus. The bodies did not have the localized burns expected from WP particles, and their clothes were not burned as they would have been if they had been hit by a shower of WP particles. White phosphorus was indeed used to burn enemy combatants in Fallouja, but the unfortunates depicted in the Italian documentary probably died from some other cause.

Furthermore, the use of white phosphorus against military targets is not prohibited by any treaty. Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilian targets, to prevent future Dresdens. It also restricts the use of incendiary weapons against military targets adjacent to concentrations of civilians, but it only applies to bombs dropped from airplanes, not shells fired by artillery as was done in Fallouja. In any case, the United States has not ratified and is not bound by this protocol.

Another argument being made is that white phosphorus is an illegal chemical weapon, a poison gas. Bloggers soon found a couple of U.S. government websites containing documents that seemed to assert that WP was a chemical weapon. Closer reading revealed nothing of the sort.

Widely ignored in all this is the ultimate source authority, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is the international agency supervising the global destruction of chemical weapons. It flatly states that "napalm and phosphorus are not considered to be [chemical weapons] agents."