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Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons

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Coalition Forces have used indiscriminate and especially injurious weapons in Iraq that are banned by international conventions or widely considered unacceptable. The US has extensively used a napalm-type incendiary bomb known as MK-77 that is considered inhumane by many human rights organizations as it burns victims to death. Further, the US made use of white phosphorus against ground targets in densely populated areas, which causes grave injuries.

During the 2003 invasion, the Coalition also used cluster bombs and depleted uranium, a radioactive substance which may have long-term harmful effects on the environment and on human health. The use of these weapons is strictly prohibited under international law, as they do not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants and cause indiscriminate harm and unnecessary suffering.

UN Documents

See GPF Report on Iraq: Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons (June 2007)

US Coalition forces have used indiscriminate and especially injurious weapons that are banned by international convention or widely considered unacceptable and inhuman. The US used a napalm-type incendiary weapon as well as white phosphorous munitions, the latter against ground targets in densely populated areas. During the 2003 invasion, the US Coalition also made use of depleted uranium munitions and cluster bombs. Both violate prohibitions against weapons that cause unnecessary suffering and indiscriminate harm.

 Assessment of Environmental "Hot Spots" in Iraq (November 2005)

Iraq’s environment has suffered from years of conflict and neglect. According to this 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.

Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm by Any Other Name (March 2005)

Though the US ratified the 1980 UN Convention on "Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects," it did not sign up to the protocol on incendiary weapons (fire bombs) and continues to use such weapons in Iraq. While the US has denied possessing "napalm" in its arsenal on the technicality that the word refers only to the specific mix of gasoline, benzene and polystyrene used in Vietnam and Korea, the Pentagon has admitted to using the MK-77, "an incendiary with a function 'remarkably similar' to that of napalm." (Iraq Analysis Group)


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Huge Rise in Birth Defects in Fallujah  (November 13, 2009)

Doctors in Fallujah are witnessing an unprecedented and dramatic increase in birth defects - with fifteen times more babies being born with multiple tumors and central nervous system problems. Iraqi and British doctors and officials have petitioned the UN General Assembly to request that an independent committee investigate this health crisis.  Although the reasons behind these defects are not fully known, several health officials believe that they may be linked to the fighting in Fallujah, where controversial weapons - such as white phosphorus - were used by the US. (Guardian)


"Special Weapons" Have a Fallout on Babies (June 12, 2008)

A large number of babies born in the city of Fallujah suffer from illness and deformity like Down's syndrome, weak hearts and brain damage. Doctors believe the incidents are due to the toxic and radioactive material used by the US military in two massive bombing campaigns on the city four years ago. According to Inter Press Service, toxic materials have severely increased the rate of cancer in Iraq, as well as among US veterans who served in the Gulf War and Iraq. (Inter Press Service)

Unit Member Says "Fighting 69th" Victimized by Depleted Uranium (January 28, 2008)

This American Free Press article highlights the plight of forgotten US troops suffering from the cancerous effects of depleted uranium, a substance used extensively in US ordnance. US soldiers have been deterred from seeking medical care from private hospitals and refused the "line-of-duty" status, which would expedite treatment from military facilities. The US army ignores the soldiers' pleas for medical aid and legislators claim helplessness before the military.



Cluster Bombs in Iraq: The Deadly Footprint (November 5, 2007)

Humanitarian agencies claim Coalition forces have used over 13,000 cluster bombs in heavily populated areas of Iraq since 2003. Cluster bombs are known for their devastating effects on large areas as each canister contains smaller sub-munitions or "bomblets." According to the author of this Common Dreams article, in some civilian areas between 75 and 80 percent of all casualties are due to the bombs. While the US refuses to provide agencies with details on where the bombs are dropped, efforts to clear Iraq of the weapons may take decades.

US Doubles Air Attacks in Iraq (June 5, 2007)

In the first four months of 2007 alone, the US Air Force has dropped more bombs and missiles than in the whole year 2006, official figures show. The number of Iraqi civilian casualties from US airstrikes has risen sharply, with an average of more than 50 a month, according to conservative estimates. Yet, such casualties are "pale in comparison" with civilian casualties from ground combat, said a US Air Force commander. (Associated Press)

Did the US Lie About Cluster Bomb Use in Iraq? (May 24, 2007)

This TomDispatch article reveals that the US has dropped approximately 60,000 pounds of cluster bombs in Iraq. These weapons have "indiscriminate effects" as they leave unexploded submunitions which continue to threaten civilians after the initial attacks. Further, the US has failed to conduct a clearance program in the country, putting Iraqi farmers who need to cultivate the land to survive at great risk. Although many nations are moving towards a ban on the use of cluster munitions, the US opposes any kind of legal restrictions and has continually used them in densely populated areas in Iraq.

The Legacy of Fallujah (April 4, 2007)

During the sieges of Fallujah in 2004, the US used chemical weapons such as white phosphorus and a napalm derivative, causing indiscriminate harm and unnecessary suffering in the civilian population. Although the use of those weapons is banned under several international treaties and the Geneva Conventions, no government or the United Nations has condemned such acts and these crimes remain unpunished. Three years after the sieges, the population of Fallujah continues to face innumerable hazards, living with daily attacks and factional violence and having no access to clean water or health care. (Guardian)


Sickened Iraq Vets Cite Depleted Uranium (August 13, 2006)

Many Iraq war veterans have sued the US Army over damages caused by depleted uranium. The US fired an estimated 130 tons of "its new favorite weapon" at the start of the invasion in 2003, leaving thousands of shells and hundreds of tanks coated with the dense, "radioactive, and chemically toxic metal." Inhaled, the dust can lodge in the lungs, emitting radiation and causing severe side effects. The troops claim US officials knew the hazards of depleted uranium, but concealed the risks. (Associated Press)

Iraq Mess Is Literally Making People Sick (April 10, 2006)

Despite severe health problems facing both Iraqis and US military veterans exposed to depleted uranium (DU) during the 1991 Gulf War, the US military has fired an even greater quantity of DU munitions - over 2,200 tons - on Iraqi cities and people since the 2003 invasion. As a radioactive substance, DU "wreaks havoc" on DNA and RNA, causing cancer and genetic mutations over longer periods, along with numerous painful symptoms following immediate exposure. Nonetheless, the Pentagon denies that DU causes severe harm, and continues to use DU munitions in Iraq. (Uruknet)

Willy Peter (January 2006)

This article examines the US military's use of white phosphorus, an incendiary weapon commonly known as "Willy Peter," in the November 2004 attacks on Fallujah. Though white phosphorous munitions are banned under the 1980 Geneva Convention on Biological and Chemical Weapons, the US has not signed the agreement and instead classifies white phosphorous as a "psychological" weapon. As ZMag points out, there is nothing psychological about a weapon that melts skin to the bone while damaging the nervous system and blocking the circulation of blood.



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