White Phosphorous

#1
This has been all over the news this morning.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4440664.stm

Two things to satisfy my own curiosity.

1. When did White Phos become a banned substance.

2. I remember reading/hearing somewhere that a survey was carried out after Op Cooperate that suggested that
when given a choice of nade, white phos was used over the L2.

So assuming that as a country (UK) that complies with and therefore not acting in contravention (during cooperate) of the various protocols and treaties regarding the use of NBC. Why are the spams being mulahd now?

Just a thought.
 
#2
Because p1ss-poor journos can't be arrsed to do their homework and find out that it isn't a scheduled substance under the terms of the CWC, nor does it, or any other incendiary, come under the legal definition of a chemical weapon. It also makes a nice OTT story that can be easily understood by the blubberers despite it being a complete load of tosh. The initial stoy in the independent said there was definitive proof because there were pictures that showed the skin 'dissolved' whilst the clothes were unaffected so a 'chemical weapon' had to have been used, so it had nothing to do with the bodies having been left for a few weeks and decomposing then!? Folks just see that it is a chemical, therefore it must be a chemical weapon which is a complete load of tosh.
 
#3
"Used against civilians" - how can one tell when the terrs 'uniform' is the same as non-terrs use when lounging by the pool.
"Used othewise than illuminent/smoke generator" - The terrs had ample warning and were well dug in/spidered. If the use of WP saved the life of even one coalition soldier, it was valid. If any civilians were injured, they had only themselves to blame. They have seen how US wages total war so they knew the risk. They were told to evacuate so it was their own fault they were in line of fire. The old apology that they had no means to move will doubtless arise - they got around all right when the looting was on.
WP=NBC, I don't know. US says that in this case it was not NBC but a thermic weapon - people died of burns and not NBC. Bit of a thin line and we come back to yes/no on the Geneva convention debate.
"Video evidence that civilians were killed" - how would we know? See first point about terrorists 'uniform'. How do we know that those shown with burns were WP and not house etc. fires.
 
#4
Article II of the CWC defines a chemical weapon as a substance that causes injury or death by directly interfering with 'life processes', therefore sarin affecting the nerve endings causes it to be defined as a CW, but incendiaries cause injuries as a side-effect of the combustion process. It's a thin line, but legally no incendiary is a CW unless it also has a direct chemical effect on the body and is used with that method in mind.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#5
The reason CS etc is also excluded from the CW convention even though it is technically a chemical agent is purely to enable its use as a riot control agent. The use of WP as a smoke generator is well known, the US tactic was to use the smoke and pyro effect to flush out our insurgent friends, once in the open they were sent to paradise in accordance with their own particular beliefs. The reason this is beng made an issue is that this tactic is effective and it terrorises the terrorists, they will use the anti war brigade and the usual assortment of Guardian readers to try and have this perfectly legal tactic stopped. I'm just a little disappointed in the lack of Napalm in the morning.....
 
#6
So what will it be next by these tw@t journos "Troops use metal bullets and bayonets to fight!" Is there anything in our armouries/ammo compounds that these lefty, soap dodging, dog on a rope freaks will allow us to use?
 
#7
It does make me laugh that journo's make a big deal about the likes of WP, landmines etc because they hurt people etc etc, yet bullets are ok!!!!! A very simplistic statement I know, but i find journo's always take this type of thing out of context and promote news that is seemingly bad!

OS
 
#8
I dont think that the main problem here is that WP was used, its the fact that the septics lied about its use, the govt saying it was only fired into the air in order to illuminate the area and then senior military commanders and troops on the ground saying that they fired it directly at enemy positions.

Another example of badly told lies about a war thats losing public suppport, the whole chemical weapon bit just (and i apologise for the pun although none intended) fans the flames.
 
#9
SHOCK, HORROR.

US use deadly chemical RDX to kill Iraqis. RDX is an odious chemical which when used in a certain manner strips the skin and body tissue off of civilians and can crush there internal organs causing death and pain and stuff. Our journalists having studied the obscure acticle of the chemical weapons convention are completely convinced that the US military are using chemical agents. We have found the smoking gun!!!!!
 
#10
Just the usual hand-wringing tosh from the same people who foisted a ban on landmines on us. What's next, sterile scalpels to be used in place of bayonets so as to conform with our duty of care to the enemy?

WP grenades and Arty munitions are effective weapons of war, and as far as I was aware before this flared up (Geddit?), are legitimate to be used against the enemy. If you don't want weapons of war to be used, don't put soldiers in a position where it's necessary to use them.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#12
I remember a similar fuss when it was reveals that at one point during GW1 Some US unit had driven an Armoured bulldover of some sort along a line of trenches burying the Iraqs inside it. As a result trench complex captured, zero Allied casualties.

What difference between trenches collasped by artillery and a bulldozer?

Again it was to do with the Govt denying that it happened in the first place.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#13
The argument being used by the pro terror people is that civilians were targeted. I seem to remember however that the US gave notice that Civvies were to leave the area in accordance with international law. If they chose not to do so and bearing in mind that the terrorists wear civvies against international law, then the US have nothing to be ashamed of. They used a legal and effective weapon in line with the law. It's nice to know that the lefties are complaining, means it had the required impact and that the insurgents are shitting themselves about it's use.
 
#14
Hang on, before everyone describes the article as tosh, back in 1980 in Netheravon, I was taught that WP was banned from use against foot soldiers. It's use was valid only as an obscurant, i.e. to conceal movement or to degrade optical systems in tanks etc. It had also been found that the heat generated was sufficient to disrupt helicopter landings, hence the concept of dolly-mixing HE and WP on helicopter landing sites - WP causes the helicopter to hit hard, HE engages troops. The warning was that if a survivor of this onslaught had WP burns, it may be difficult to prove that his injuries were not intentional and could lead to a War Crimes trial.
 
#15
Fang Farrier: re the bulldozer, wasn't the main issue that the Iraqis had their hands in the air at the time?
 
#16
putteesinmyhands said:
Hang on, before everyone describes the article as tosh, back in 1980 in Netheravon, I was taught that WP was banned from use against foot soldiers. It's use was valid only as an obscurant, i.e. to conceal movement or to degrade optical systems in tanks etc. It had also been found that the heat generated was sufficient to disrupt helicopter landings, hence the concept of dolly-mixing HE and WP on helicopter landing sites - WP causes the helicopter to hit hard, HE engages troops. The warning was that if a survivor of this onslaught had WP burns, it may be difficult to prove that his injuries were not intentional and could lead to a War Crimes trial.
I remember this issue from the 1980s as well. As an FOO we were told that WP was not a legal munition for AP use -and use of proximity fused WP was a definite no no. However I also are call a consensus that if we had to fight Ivan in a general war, this might be the least of the transgressions on the laws of war.

We may be hoist with our own petard as I think its the Brits who first kicked up about the use of fire weapons when the Germans first used flame throwers in 1915. We then added this to ther list of examples of Hunnish Frightfulness. However it didn't stop the Briots from using WP grenades to clear bunkers in WW1 or using flame thrower tanks in ww2. Using incendariy weapons against civilians has been defined as a war crimefor a long while,but it didn't stop the Brits or Germans from doing so in WW2.
 
#17
I am a bit hazy on this but I think that:

1.WP is legal to use for illuminant (trip flare) or obscurant (smoke grenade). When used in an offensive ro (e.g.to burn) they contravene the Geneva protocols. I think the spams got in trouble for using CS down tunnels in vietnam and then shooting the terrorists who emerged (i.e. not as a riot incapacitant).

2. Flame weapons (napalm, thermo baric shells) are legal. So glueing someone up with flaming napalm is OK but not with phosphorous.

Its a funny old world. As i say dont quote me but I think the above is the case.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#18
I seem to remember WP grenades being used against Iraqi trenches and bunkers by us in the First Gulf War, guess what? it saved British lives and I didn't hear anyone compalaining about it's use. (Except the Iraqis but they were dead shortly afterwards anyway) The bottom line is, you have to use smoke to cover your movement, if a WP grenade inadvertantly rolls into a trench, well that's just bad luck.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#19
putteesinmyhands said:
Fang Farrier: re the bulldozer, wasn't the main issue that the Iraqis had their hands in the air at the time?
Can't remember it that clearly so you're probably right
 
#20
Oh dear - I feel another rant about the utter inability of our side to effectively operate in the info ops arena coming on. The nuances of the legal standing of the use of a particular ammunition nature are irrelevant to the target audience we need to influence to gain victory in this conflict. They see the US burning people to death in the middle of a town, lying about it then coming clean once they are found out. My view differs from that, but then again I'm not the one strapping on a semtex waistcoat.

Unless and until the US get the point that killing insurgents with methods that generate more insurgents doesn't actually get you anywhere I can't see things ending well. And yes, it isn't fair, life generally isn't.
 
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