Monday, September 09, 2013

Hypocrisy and Chemical Weapons

I'm not claiming that Assad is an angel or that Syria using chemical weapons is not evil. Only that there have been times the United States did not consider using chemical weapons so bad.

Gaza - 2009
White Phosphorus (Willy Pete) is an incendiary weapon. It is a self-igniting chemical that burns at 5000 degrees C. It burns flesh to the bone. It has a limited military usage to generate smoke screens. The Israel Defense Force used it as an anti-personnel and terror weapon during Operation Cast Lead, Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. While several human rights groups denounced this use of chemical weapons the United States was officially silent.

Iraq - 2004
Insurgents were so well established in the city of Fallujah American generals decided to use a tactic called "Shake and Bake" where chemical weapons (again White Phosphorus) are deployed to force people out of hiding so they can be killed with anti-personnel bombs. Obviously, the United States approved of the use of chemical weapons by American troops.

Iran-Iraq War 1980-88
During the third year of Iraq's war with Iran, President Ronald Reagan sent Donald Rumsfeld to become Saddam Hussein's BFF ("The Enemy of My Enemy Is Mr Friend" foreign policy theory). The US provided spy satellite intelligence to Iraq to help them target their chemical weapon attacks. The United States also sold biological and chemical weapon agents to Iraq that it used against Iran.

Vietnam War
Sure, it was a half century ago, but the United States did spray over 20 million gallons of chemical weapons (Agent Orange) over South Vietnam and adjoining countries with the expressed goal of forcing civilians to abandon their rural villages. Five percent of all children born in Vietnam suffer from birth defects caused by Agent Orange. The United States also extensively used chemical incendiary weapons (napalm) against both military and civilian targets.

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