November 13, 2005

Hey Anonymous Asshole

Remember when Seal posted about the white phosphorus and you stepped to him with some bullshit about "oh no, God forbid the military use actual weapons in actual military conflicts?"

Well, why don't you click on this link and look at what, exactly, white phosphorus does to human bodies? I imagine you'll be momentarily disturbed, but the massive self-assuredness engine in your limbic brain which apparently drives your entire psyche should kick in a few seconds after that, and you'll be okay again, warm and smug (get it?) in your little cocoon of arrogance and self-righteousness.

If any people possessing a basic empathy infrastructure click on that link, though, watch it. They're hard to look at and I can't make it past the first page.


  1. 1. The pictures are pretty gruesome, but I don't see any indication on the web page that they have anything to do with white phosphorus.

    2. I know nothing about WP, but I'm curious -- what do you make of this?

    Malchow says that 1) phosphorus isn't exactly a weapon, 2) nor is it prohibited by treaties/international law, and 3) if the US really wanted to burn people alive in this way, napalm would have made a lot more sense.

    Of course, he says it in his trademark style, but try addressing it on the merits.

    I'm really hoping that Seal will answer question #2, but any of the other LGBers are free to change my impression of you.

  2. Actually click on Malchow's sources and read them. White phosphorus is usually used to illuminate dark places, such as anywhere when it's dark outside. Which means that a chemical reaction within the charge generates a shitload of light and heat. Predictably, if you hit somebody with it, it will chemical burn the absolute shit out of them.

    I'm not going to cite the various testimonials from military peoples on the comments sections of Malchow's source readings that tell you that WP burns like a motherfucker. You can do that yourself.

    Keep in mind that you would not have needed to be impressed if you had actually clicked on the links provided therein instead of depending on Malchow's ability to analyze text written in English, which we all know is a faulty, temperamental sum-bitch.

    Malchow's assertion that we have better stuff to burn the fuck out of people with is probably true, but he's also making it up. My equally uninformed but much more logical guess is that we used WP because it's not banned, whereas after Vietnam people are generally skittish about napalm and other horrible things of that nature.

    Plus, depending on who you ask, WP is actually banned in use as an incendiary weapon. The reason it's not banned is because it's ok to use it to light up the dark.

    Malchow, as usual, is just full of shit.

  3. BMC:
    WP is not expressly banned by international treaty because its primary purpose is non-lethal and arguably non-harmful, i.e. it is not used directly to harm people. (Paragraph b is important here.)

    However, I'm entirely unconvinced that this means it should be used. It does have demonstrably harmful effects and ones that are wholly unnecessary to fulfill the required mission objectives. Burning civilians probably wasn't a necessary part of the siege of Fallujah.

  4. Let me elaborate a little bit on what I just said.

    The government wouldn't proscribe people carrying or using lead pipes to do a job--like plumbing--even though a lead pipe used in certain situations and with questionable intent may cause severely negative and harmful effects. The lead pipe is clearly not designed for the purpose of hurting people. But that does not mean it can't hurt people or that someone should use it in a situation where it could hurt people.

    Should it be used recklessly? No. Is it a potential weapon if it is? Yes.

  5. Anything that creates light uses a chemical reaction. Most of these that are suitable for military use involve smoke/flame/other that could be really bad if they touched you or you swallowed it or breathed it. Are we to sacrifice military necessity because a product not intended to hurt someone might hurt someone who is also the enemy? If the problem is that people misused the lights deliberately as a chemical weapon, then they should be reprimanded and soldiers should be trained in proper use, as with any other law of warfare.

    Also, isn't the reason we use the lights at all so soldiers can see the enemy in order to shoot them? Whether someone is killed because they're too close to the light or because they're shot a few seconds later in that light does seem largely irrelevant.

    Or think of it this way: a tank is not designed to run people over, but it probably happens and it probably does very bad things to people. It's probably very painful and very disfiguring. Are we to also ban tanks because someone might be hurt in an unintended use?

  6. I didn't read Seal's comments. I agree : "Should it be used recklessly? No. Is it a potential weapon if it is? Yes."

  7. I think it is important to note that a) what is being objected to principally is the employment of such a potentially harmful method in a situation where it could result in avoidable civilian casualties. Ostensibly, not all Iraqis are enemies, even those in Fallujah at the time of the siege or are at least non-combatants and have significantly separate rights from belligerents. b) the point of any chemical weapon treaty, convention or agreement is to just arbitrarily ban the use of such weapons. Do other (conventional) weapons or substances cause more harm? Yes. So why don't we just ban the most harmful weapons? It's an arbitrary choice, but it has been made and it is agreed upon by a large portion of the world. Undermining it by cutting corners is probably not overall beneficial to the States or to the protocols of warfare.
    c) It is inconsistent to use Saddam's employment of chemical weapons as a reason for war and then to use a chemical in a situation where it acts like a weapon.

  8. Thanks. This makes more sense.