Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In our name, but again, not in our news

Pictured above is Razia, an eight-year-old Afghani girl scarcely a year older than Sasha Obama. The house in her village was hit with a white phosphorus bomb. Her two sisters were mercifully killed instantly in the 2300 degree chemical fire that has eaten away the flesh of little Razia.

Phosphorus only needs oxygen to burn, and it will burn until the phosphorus is gone or deprived oxygen. It is also poisonous. So, besides incinerating any flesh, organs or bone it touches, a mere 50 milligrams is enough to kill a person, as the poison attacks the heart, liver and kidneys.

The use of white phosphorus on civilians and the places where they live is a violation of 1980 amendments to the Geneva Convention. But then, our unrepentant violation of the “quaint” Geneva Conventions by committing torture has already made a mockery of international law. The soviet-built Bagram Air Base, where Razia is being treated is another site where we have been warehousing and torturing suspects in our “war on terror.” More than two dozen prisoners have been murdered, tortured to death or have died without autopsies being performed--another violation of treaties our country promoted and signed.

The two countries which produce and use white phosphorus for their arsenals, the United States and Great Britain, have prevented its classification as a chemical weapon. They argue that it is used only for illuminating the battlefield at night, routing the enemy from dug-in positions and to create smokescreens for our troops. The evidence runs to the contrary, as the savagely burned bodies and victims in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Gaza by the Israeli military, attest.

Dollar and Cents

There is an alternative to white phosphorus: red phosphorus. Red phosphorus is less poisonous and relatively harmless. However, our military doesn't use red phosphorus because it's "too expensive.” This is the same military that has seen its budget increase eight percent a year for the last eight years, increasing its share of our GNP by over two percent. If you think that increase is due to only our wars, think again.

Not in our media

I didn't find these images on an American media web site. I found them on Here we are inundated with partisan sound bites and entertainment coverage like the days and pages of “news” on the death of Michael Jackson. Our media rarely spends any time on war, and we don't see pictures of our wars. Until recently, we couldn't even see pictures of the flag draped coffins of our soldiers who have died without just cause in our criminal campaigns.

With the highest percentage of journalists killed in any war, and with what few journalists left embedded with our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are left in the dark about these wars that have already gobbled $1.2 Trillion. Despite great intelligence and maps, I find it more than a coincidence that the same tank that took out Iraqi state television, also destroyed the Baghdad studios of al Jazeera and attacked the Palestine Hotel filled with journalists from all over the world. Our government doesn't want us to see, hear or read about these unjustifiable wars, no less their consequences.

More recently, our military said it would show the world a video that would prove it didn't kill over 120 civilians in a village several months ago, claiming only about 30 died. It didn't show it, and no one will see it. After examining their video, the military retracted their claim and said they wouldn't release the footage because it would only inflame and embolden our “enemies.” I think the images of Razia show we are already inflaming the people of the region.

I cry for Razia, and the families of the hundreds of thousands of innocents, like Razia's sisters, needlessly dead because of our unwarranted invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. However, I cry more for my once beloved country.

The Spin?

I did a Google search and found that there were a few sites carrying an AP (embedded at Bagram) "feel good" story about our American military doctors saving her life, gaving her the doll, etc., but no mention of the illegality of using white phosphorus. A few British papers covered the story, but for the most part their angle was "who was responsible?" Some are blaming the Taliban! But really, the blame is on the United States and NATO for creating this situation by their invasion, occupation and indiscriminate killing of civilians.

1 comment:

  1. good post Carl.

    You can find about the Israeli use of W.P. by doing a google search on "white phosphorus gaza". Tack on "schoolyard" to the search and the link

    comes up. The post does a good job explaining the use of the US made M825A1 projectile. Illumination, my ass. Along with depleted uranium and cluster bombs it's a sad commentary on the US military. Evil.