Article Archive: Current 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Weapons: Taliban Weaponize White Phosphorus
   Next Article → WARPLANES: The Squadron Commander Is A Lady
May 24, 2009: In Afghanistan, the Taliban have been caught, at least 38 times, using white phosphorus (for 80 years used in combat for generating smoke, light and fires) as a weapon. This is illegal, because as a weapon, white phosphorus becomes chemical weapon, which is illegal according to international treaty (which the Taliban have not signed, but no matter.)

White phosphorus creates smoke (to hide troops from enemy view) and light (to illuminate the battlefield) because it burns very hot and fast. The Taliban have obtained 82mm mortar shells and 107mm rockets containing white phosphorus warheads. Both these weapons are of Russian design and are manufactured in places like Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. The Taliban thus have easy access to these white phosphorus munitions via gunrunners and corrupt soldiers. The white phosphorus warheads are sometimes used as part of roadside bombs, but are more often fired at military or civilian targets. Since white phosphorus causes nasty burns, it is useful in terrorizing civilians. The Taliban has to do this a lot to prevent civilians from telling police where the terrorists are and what they are up to.


Next Article → WARPLANES: The Squadron Commander Is A Lady

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
theBird       5/24/2009 8:45:36 PM
Now that their beloved "Taliban freedom fighters" are using WP, maybe the international anti-American agents, er, international legal experts will STFU about instances of the US using the stuff
Quote    Reply

00_Chem_AJB       5/24/2009 10:07:43 PM
Doubt that will happen.
Quote    Reply

smitty237       5/25/2009 1:24:47 AM
I concur.  We really need to abandon this whole philosophy of obeying the laws of warfare out of some ideal that we are doing it to protect our soldiers.  Most of our enemies don't give a rat's ass about treaties as long as WE are abiding by them.  Just about everyone, from the Vietnamese to the Serbs,  have abused our military personnel whenever they have captured them in combat, and yet we continue to stick by this absurd argument that we abide by the rules of warfare so that everyone else will.  If you want to simply assert that we won't torture, use banned weapons, or whatever else because it's the right thing to do, then I can understand that, but let's get off this crap about abiding by treaties to encourage rogue nations to do the same.  I'm sure if we ever go to war against a country like Belgium we can be confident that our soldiers won't be injured by WP IEDs, and our captured troops wouldn't be mistreated, but against the Iranians or Taliban I wouldn't hold my breath. 
Quote    Reply

kirby1       5/25/2009 3:03:54 AM
The Civil community has forgotten that the Geneva Cons are, at heart, a  Gentlemans' agreement;
We don't nuke you, you don't nuke us.
We don't gas you, you don't gas us.
We treat your POWs good, you treat our POWs good.

 But now we fight an enemy who has not signed those agreements, refuses to follow them in any shape or form, and actually goes to great lengths to violate those treaties and agreements via torture, beheadings, murder of innocents, acid attacks on school girls, and a whole list of atrocities committed mostly against innocent civilians. IMHO,  its just about time for some Measured Reprisals.

Quote    Reply

Whispering Death       5/25/2009 4:18:39 AM
I thought it was interesting how this became a "story" when the media jumped to the conclusion the WP burns were from American WP use.  Then, when it was discovered it was the Taliban doing these horrible things on purpose, the story died.
Quote    Reply

LB    Morality   5/25/2009 5:17:02 PM
One's actions reflect on oneself.  The reason we do not use WP as a deliberate weapon has much to do with how it makes us feel than any perceived protection against it's use upon our troops.  War is almost always ended politically.  The political advantages in not using WP and other less than humane weapons offset any possible advantages.  Thus it's to our advantage on multiple levels not to use WP.  The same argument applies to torture and was repeatedly made by Sen McCain last year during the campaign.
The moral high ground is a political tool and advantage that the short sighted seem to readily discount or throw away.  Meanwhile the most highly regarded wager of irregular warfare in this nation is adamant that one key to victory is not killing civilians, not using torture, etc.  One can kill a fly with a hammer but the hole in the wall is more trouble than the fly was in the first place.
Quote    Reply

Pedro    Reality   5/29/2009 12:44:11 AM
What is next for the PC war police? Let's see,  land mines.......check, Improved Conventional Munitions?....check.............DU? check. Handcuffing ourselves to a bunch of phony principles, created by egg headed leftist hacks only prolongs victory and kills more of the good guys. Let me tell you something Morality you have no place in war, why don't you stick to dialog and strong condemnation and wee where that gets you.
Quote    Reply

Wicked Chinchilla       6/11/2009 2:42:50 PM
The U.S. cannot use WP because it would run completely contrary to our interests for one and two its not morally acceptable as LB already explained rather well.
In terms of the Iraqi and Afghani wars using WP or other weapons that are "banned" would be rather poor ideas.  You alienate the civilian population that you actually use them around.  When you are an occupying force its generally a good idea to try to keep the civilians nice to you, since 1)  They are far more numerous than your forces, 2)  They are where the enemy gets his strength from.  The more the U.S. uses banned weapons or immoral techniques that are frankly unamerican the more the civilian population will turn away from us and embrace the insurgents/Taliban/Al-Qaeda as we live up to their propaganda. 
The vastly increased reliance upon smart/guided munitions and smaller, targeted strikes for the express purpose of reducing civilian casualties and collateral damage illustrate these principles quite nicely. 
Quote    Reply