US-style democracy in Iraq – incendiary bombs and white phosphorous!

Shocking images have confirmed that white phosphorous bombs were used during the US Army attack on Fallujah last year, aimed at people directly, burning many of them alive, including civilians, women and children. If anyone doubted the real nature of the occupation of Iraq, now they have no excuse.

The truth eventually emerges. An old peasant saying “lies have short legs” is very apt to describe the latest revelations about the use of chemical weapons by the US army in Iraq. They not only used them, causing terrible deaths, but they also lied about using them. They obviously think that by denying it the problem would go away.

Shocking images have been reported by several sources. They confirm that white phosphorous bombs were used during the US Army attack on Fallujah, not, as they have tried to claim, to create a smokescreen behind which the US troops could move or to illuminate enemy positions. No, these bombs were aimed at people directly, burning many of them alive, including civilians, women and children. This highlights the real nature of the occupation of Iraq.

The Italian state TV RAI has made available a very interesting and revealing video on its website, although it wasn’t broadcast on the main RAI state TV channels in Italy. Anyone who wants to see it online, or download it (free) can access the Rainews report "Falluja, la strage nascosta" [“Fallujah, the hidden massacre”] available in Arabic, English and Italian. You can see the pictures for yourselves and listen to US soldiers describe how the bombs were used. There are also Iraqi witnesses and human rights campaigners trying to make the world aware of what really went on.

Some media sources have tried to belittle the report, saying that it doesn’t really prove that white phosphorous was used, defining it a “turkey”! You watch the video for yourselves and judge!

Even a magazine, Field Artillery, published by the US army itself published in its March edition an article where officers from the 2nd Infantry boasting about the use of this lethal chemical. This is what the officers say: "White Phosphorous, WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE [high explosive]. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out." Similar reports were published elsewhere.

They have tried to hide behind the fact that white phosphorous is not classed as a chemical weapon because it is only “legally” supposed to be used as a smokescreen or to light up the sky. The problem is that when used against people it burns right through their skin and can kill anything within 150 metres!

The US state department has been part of the cover up job, denying that the substance was ever used for anything else but as a smokescreen and to “illuminate enemy positions”. But this isn’t the first time they have lied about what kind of chemical weapons they have been using. Previously they denied the use of napalm in 2003 only to have to admit in 2004 that they had used “mark 77 firebombs” which don’t actually contain napalm but kerosene and polystyrene.

An official document of the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), a body linked to the State Department, published a report on December 9, 2004 in which it bluntly denied any use of incendiary bombs or of white phosphorous.

We quote: “The fighting in Fallujah, Iraq has led to a number of widespread myths including false charges that the United States is using chemical weapons such napalm and poison gas. None of these allegations are true.”

It goes on: “There is a great deal of misinformation feeding on itself about U.S. forces allegedly using "outlawed" weapons in Fallujah. The facts are that U.S. forces are not using any illegal weapons in Fallujah or anywhere else in Iraq.”

The document lambastes all those sources, some of them Arab, that were spreading these so-called “rumours”. One of them was Islam Online. The document says, “To its credit, Islam Online ran a Nov. 25, 2004, story carrying the U.S. denial.” So not only were they lying, they even had the cheek to go after anyone who dared expose what they were really doing!

We live in a wonderful world where you simply have to change the name, the word you use to describe something, and one is expected to believe that all is fine. You see, it isn’t napalm, it is kerosene. The bombs are only used to “illuminate” enemy positions, not to kill. You can play with words but the real horror that the Iraqi people have had to suffer, and continue to suffer, cannot be swept away with clever use of the dictionary.

We have been lied to systematically. The people of America and the whole world have been lied to. The whole argument to justify the war was a lie. Saddam Hussein was supposed to be a danger to us all. In Britain we were told that he could strike the country within 45 minutes. All the lies have been exposed one by one. But they continue to lie, until they are caught red-handed.

The irony is that Saddam Hussein emerges from this as being far more truthful than Bush or Blair. He denied having chemical weapons or WMDs and to date none have been found. Saddam Hussein did use chemical weapons against his own people in the past. He was no saint! But now we have the so-called “liberators” bombing the people of Iraq with chemical weapons. We were told Saddam Hussein could use chemical weapons, but now it is the “forces of democracy” that have used them.

Finally, a week ago on November 10, under the pressure of the truth, which eventually always emerges, the IIP was forced to update its December 9, 2004 report with the following statement:

November 10, 2005 note: We have learned that some of the information we were provided in the above paragraph is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, which produce smoke, were used in Fallujah not for illumination but for screening purposes, i.e., obscuring troop movements and, according to an article, "The Fight for Fallujah," in the March-April 2005 issue of Field Artillery magazine, "as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes…." The article states that U.S. forces used white phosphorous rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds.”

These “revelations” may come as a shock to people in the west, but the Iraqi people already knew the truth before the US military were forced to admit it. This may help people around the world to understand why the Iraqi resistance is so resilient. The Iraqi people can see the real nature of the occupying armies. They are not liberators but robbers and oppressors. In such conditions no amount of legal manoeuvrings, no amount of heavy bombing, will break the will of the Iraqi people to be free. The resistance will be further strengthened. As we have said many times, Iraq is a quagmire. The US army cannot win. It will eventually be worn down. The only problem is that the more difficult the situation becomes, the more desperate the US military will be. Before they are finally defeated they will inflict even more suffering on the Iraqi people.

All of this comes as no surprise to us. There is no such thing as “humane” war. And the US military that devastated Vietnam and earlier used nuclear weapons on the people of Japan, have not changed their spots. They will use whatever means are necessary to win a war. They care nothing for the poor people who get in their way, whether they be “combatants” or just women and children. Their greed for profit has no limits. Marx described capitalism as having come onto the scene of history with blood seeping out of every pore of its body. The blood keeps seeping every day and the victims are millions of ordinary working people around the world.

This is the horror of the capitalist system. This is the barbarism of which Marx wrote. His perspective in fact was one of “Socialism or Barbarism”. Barbarism is already all around us. Unless we achieve a world that is not driven by the profit motive such horrors will continue to occur. The people of Iraq have been given a very bitter lesson in what a class society is and what it means for their daily lives. Their salvation can only come from the struggle to remove this system.

  • Troops out of Iraq now!
  • Let the workers and peasants of Iraq decide their own fate!
  • For international working class solidarity against the capitalists of all countries!