Tuesday, November 30, 2004
( 7:29 PM )
We are using Napalm in Iraq. And while Bush skates free for approving its use, Tony Blair hasn't been so lucky.
On Saturday, Labor MPs have demanded that British Prime Minister confront the Commons over the use of the deadly gas in Fallujah.
Halifax Labor MP Alice Mahon said: "I am calling on Mr. Blair to make an emergency statement to the Commons to explain why this is happening. It begs the question: 'Did we know about this hideous weapon's use in Iraq?'"
Furious critics have also demanded that Blair threatens the U.S. to pullout British forces from Iraq unless the U.S. stops using the world’s deadliest weapon.
The United Nations banned the use of the napalm gas against civilians in 1980 after pictures of a naked wounded girl in Vietnam shocked the world.
The United States, which didn't endorse the convention, is the only nation in the world still using the deadly weapon.
When I heard this news, I was devastated and had no idea what to think. I went to the Internet to look into it and found that I shouldn't have been surprised. Here is a report from over a year ago:
American pilots dropped the controversial incendiary agent napalm on Iraqi troops during the advance on Baghdad. The attacks caused massive fireballs that obliterated several Iraqi positions.
The Pentagon denied using napalm at the time, but Marine pilots and their commanders have confirmed that they used an upgraded version of the weapon against dug-in positions. They said napalm, which has a distinctive smell, was used because of its psychological effect on an enemy.
A 1980 UN convention banned the use against civilian targets of napalm, a terrifying mixture of jet fuel and polystyrene that sticks to skin as it burns. The US, which did not sign the treaty, is one of the few countries that makes use of the weapon. It was employed notoriously against both civilian and military targets in the Vietnam war.
The upgraded weapon, which uses kerosene rather than petrol, was used in March and April, when dozens of napalm bombs were dropped near bridges over the Saddam Canal and the Tigris river, south of Baghdad.
Of course we didn't sign the treaty. Why would we participate in reducing the use of a weapon the use of which can only be described as an atrocity? Why wouldn't we use this horrendous concoction of kerosene mixed with polystyrene that actually causes human bodies to melt? What in God's name are we doing?
It is difficult for me to fathom the use of this weapon in my name as an American. There isn't even the "thinning out the jungle" reason to use it in Iraq. What else is there to burn there except human beings? And now we are dropping it on cities like Fallujah, with concentrated populations of people, including those who are just trying to survive this chaotic hell we've created for them. I don't really know how to feel yet because I'm both stunned and confused. I am in the generation born during Vietnam, so I have no adult memory of it. But my husband was in his late teens/early 20's at that time. So I asked him, how did he handle the use of napalm during Vietnam - how did he deal emotionally with its use against the Vietnamese? He said that they did what they could, took to the streets and tried to disrupt its production and shipment. But do people even KNOW about this? I haven't seen mention of it on any of the major blogs, and obviously, it's not in our news.
I honestly am reaching a point where I don't know what to think about our troops anymore. I want to support them because they are being forced to serve in an unjust war and are being pushed beyond their limits. But they are committing atrocities. I have no way of knowing what they are going through, the pressures and fear they face every moment, the ferocity of combat. But I have a hard time understanding how they seem to so easily resort to inhumanity - even though history shows this is the most common pattern in war. I just honestly don't know what to think anymore.
Napalm. God help us.