Confirmation that U.S. Used Chemical Weapons in Iraq

November 21, 2005

On November 14, U.S. diplomatic and military officials admitted that the U.S. army used white phosphorus bombs in the battle against Fallujah in Iraq one year ago.

Robert Tuttle, U.S. ambassador to Britain stated "It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants. When you have enemy forces that are in covered positions that your high explosive artillery rounds are not having an impact on... one technique is to fire a white phosphorus round into the position," he said. "The combined effects of the fire and smoke -- and in some case the terror brought about by the explosion on the ground -- will drive them out of the holes so that you can kill them with high explosives." Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, also told reporters "We use [white phosphorus] against enemy combatants...it is an incendiary weapon."

While U.S. officials have, for the past year, repeatedly denied using this chemical weapon in Iraq, a recent documentary on Italian TV, as well as other evidence which came to light last week proves that U.S. officials had been lying.

The use of such incendiary weapons against civilians is banned by international treaty, specifically article two, protocol III of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

Last week it was also reported that in the March-April edition of the Army's "Field Artillery" magazine, three U.S. soldiers who participated in the Fallujah battle said white phosphorus shells were used against Iraqis taking cover in trenches. They said "WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions... and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against insurgents in trench lines and spider holes ... We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents using WP to flush them out and high explosive shells (HE) to take them out."

Another report, published in the Washington Post, gave an idea of the sorts of injuries that the chemical bombs cause. It said Iraqis "reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns". A physician at a local hospital said the corpses of Iraqis "were burned, and some corpses were melted".

In addition to white phosphorus, U.S. officials have previously acknowledged using other banned weapons against Iraqis such as napalm (Mark 77 bombs), and cluster bombs.