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June 18, 2005

Vietnam

Juan Cole, channeling Britain’s The Independent:

As the scandal of the Downing Street Memo continues to percolate, it was confirmed on Thursday that the United States military used napalm-like incendiary bombs called MK77 in the Iraq War and then lied to their British allies about it. MK77 and napalm materials cling to the skin an inexorably burn the victim, and most countries in the world consider their use barbaric and something close to a war crime. The UK is signatory to a pledge not to use the weapons. British parliamentarians are now revisiting the question of whether MK77 was used against Fallujah last November. Persistent rumors circulated that the US used chemical weapons in that attack. Although MK77 is not classified as a chemical weapon, if it were used, it might help explain the rumors.

The U.S. claims that the bombs were only used against military targets that were “away from civilian targets.” This avoided breaching the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which permits their use only against military targets. If they were used in the assault on Fallujah, the convention was amost certainly breached.

During the war, Pentagon spokesmen disputed reports that napalm was being used, saying America’s stockpile of the weapon had been destroyed. That claim rested on the flimsiest of technicalities:

Apparently the spokesmen were drawing a distinction between the terms “firebomb” and “napalm.” If reporters had asked about firebombs, officials said yesterday they would have confirmed their use.
What the Marines dropped, the spokesmen said yesterday, were “Mark 77 firebombs.” They acknowledged those are incendiary devices with a function “remarkably similar” to napalm weapons. Rather than using gasoline and benzene as the fuel, the firebombs use kerosene-based jet fuel, which has a smaller concentration of benzene.
… “You can call it something other than napalm, but it’s napalm,” said John Pike, defense analyst with GlobalSecurity.org, a nonpartisan research group in Alexandria, Va.

Uruknet reports this story from an Iraqi standpoint, along with some graphic images. So far, the U.S. mainstream media isn't reporting it at all.

Posted by Stephen at 2:15 AM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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