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Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons

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US Admits Using White Phosphorous in Fallujah (November 16, 2005)

Despite initial denials, the US has admitted to using white phosphorus, a powerful burn-inducing chemical, as a weapon during the November 2004 assault on Fallujah. US officials had previously claimed that white phosphorus was only used to provide smokescreens and illumination. Though not directly listed as a chemical weapon, some experts say the explicit use of white phosphorus against people would classify it as a chemical weapon. The US-led invasion of Iraq was largely justified on the grounds that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed and used chemical weapons. (Guardian)

Iraq's Hazardous Waste a Health Risk: United Nations Environment Program (November 12, 2005)

Iraq's environment has suffered from years of conflict and neglect. According to a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), thousands of sites have been heavily contaminated with toxic compounds, chemicals, and pesticides. The report, which assesses five "hot spots" bombed or looted during the US-led invasion, highlights Iraq's environmental and public health risks. To view the report, click here (CBC News)

US 'Uses Incendiary Arms' in Iraq (November 8, 2005)

An Italian news report provides evidence that US forces dropped massive quantities of white phosphorous on the city of Fallujah during the November 2004 assault. The chemical, which US officials claim was used to illuminate the night sky, produces serious burns capable of dissolving flesh. As a US soldier stationed in Fallujah at the time noted, "anyone within a radius of 150 meters is done for." Though Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons prohibits the use of white phosphorous as a weapon, the US is not a signatory. (BBC)

Radioactive Wounds of War (August 25, 2005)

Some US soldiers returning from Iraq have tested positive for contamination from Depleted Uranium (DU). In 2003, the Pentagon prevented the United Nations from testing Iraq for DU levels. In addition, the US government shirks its responsibility to test soldiers for DU contamination. While the Pentagon claims that DU poses no health threat, experts agree that it is toxic and can lead to cancer in those who have been exposed to it. (In These Times)


US in U-Turn Over Gulf War Syndrome (November 3, 2004)

The UK, US, Australia and Canada have denied that troops in the Gulf War had been exposed to the nerve gas sarin due to "insufficient evidence" until recently, when medical researchers definitively linked the chemical agents to a specific disease suffered by 30% of Gulf War veterans. It is very likely that the disease also affected many civilians. (New Scientist)


Cluster Bombs Kill in Iraq, Even after Shooting Ends (December 16, 2003)

According to a report from US Central Command, the US used approximately 10,800 cluster weapons during attacks on Iraq and the UK used around 2,200. Although the number of victims of such raids is impossible to verify, one anti-war group estimates that at least 372 Iraqi civilians were killed. Further, these weapons leave behind unexploded bomblets that threaten to kill more non-combatants even after the initial attacks are over. Even though there is no specific convention on cluster munitions, international humanitarian law generally prohibits the use of weapons that kill indiscriminately and cause unnecessary suffering to civilian populations. (USAToday)

Tons of Depleted Uranium Polluting Iraq (December 1, 2003)

US Central Command has admitted that its troops fired 300,000 munition rounds coated with depleted uranium (DU) during the hostilities. A quantity of DU the size of a pencil eraser emits radiation 1,000 times above the safe exposure level. (Yellow Times)

US Admits it Used Napalm Bombs in Iraq (August 10, 2003)

Although the US Pentagon has denied the use of agent napalm in Iraq during the 2003 attacks, Marine pilots and their commanders admitted they employed MK-77 firebombs against civilians, which has the same effect. According to the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility, this weapon "takes up an awful lot of medical resources and creates horrible wounds." The US is one of the few countries that still use napalm-type bombs, which are banned by a 1980 UN Convention and cause indiscriminate harm and unnecessary suffering. (Independent)

Gulf War Syndrome Soldiers Threaten Legal Action (May 27, 2003)

After suffering symptoms similar to the "Gulf War syndrome," four soldiers involved in the second Gulf war have threatened to sue the Ministry of Defense of the UK. (Guardian)

Pentagon Challenged Over Cluster Bomb Deaths (May 9, 2003)

The Pentagon's claim that only one civilian died from a cluster bomb is challenged by Iraq Body Count, an organization that monitors civilian deaths in Iraq. They state that the Pentagon does not make any reference to ground-launched or artillery cluster bombs. (Iraq War)

TV Not Concerned by Cluster Bombs, DU (May 6, 2003)

"That's just the way life is in Iraq" (May 6, 2003) The US media have been quick to declare the war against Iraq a success. But they do not provide reports on the consequences from cluster bombs or the dangers of depleted uranium. (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)

Aftermath: Cleaning Up the Mess (April 29, 2003)

The cost of the war probably does not include the clean up of widespread use of cluster weapons and Depleted Uranium (DU) in Iraq. Children are in particular danger because some canisters look like emergency food packs. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Fighting is Over But the Deaths Go On (April 28, 2003)

Several people have been killed by unexploded ordnance and landmines in northern Iraq that have been left by the Iraqi army and US warplanes. (Guardian)

Lack of Data Slowing Cluster Bomb Cleanup (April 27, 2003)

Cluster bombs are claiming victims almost every day throughout Iraq, causing civilian mine-clearers to request the map coordinates of cluster bombing targets. (Los Angeles Times)

Irregular Weapons Used Against Iraq (April 7, 2003)

This document presents the devastating weapons used by US and UK forces in Iraq. For example, the cluster bomb with its devastating functions is very similar to landmines. (ZNet)

US Using Cluster Munitions in Iraq (April 1, 2003)

Human Rights Watch reports that US ground forces in Iraq are using cluster munitions with a very high failure rate, creating immediate and long-term dangers for civilians. According to Steve Goose, executive director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. "Iraqi civilians will be paying the price with their lives and limbs for many years."

US Forces Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons is "Illegal" (March 30, 2003)

US and UK forces are using depleted uranium shells in the war against Iraq, and deliberately floating a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons. (Sunday Herald, Scotland)

'Silver Bullets' That Kill, and Kill Again (March 26, 2003)

US tanks are going to use depleted uranium that enables them to penetrate the armor of Iraqi tanks. But the so called silver bullet, previously used in the last Gulf War, has a catastrophic impact on the environment and the health of those in the area. (Asia Times)

US Prepares to Use Toxic Gases in Iraq (March 3, 2003)

The US might use riot control agents CS gas and pepper spray in a war on Iraq. This action could undermine the credibility of the Chemical Weapons Convention and legitimize chemical warfare as a tool of war. (Independent)

The Nuclear Option in Iraq (January 26, 2003)

Military analyst William M. Arkin argues that US plans for the possible use of nuclear weapons against Iraq represent a significant lowering of the nuclear threshold by lumping nuclear weapons in with other military options. (Los Angeles Times)

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