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imperialism & war


Oh! The 'speech'...
If you'll allow me a bit of an exercise of rationality here...

Main Entry: 2chemical

: a substance obtained by a chemical process or used for producing a chemical effect

By that definition, isn't white phosphorus a chemical weapon, which, from statements of US forces that fought and journalists who covered the story, was used at Fallujah? There is also strong conjecture that it's been used by Israel against Gazans.

Then, also, how about depleted uranium ammunition?

Chemical warfare is:

Main Entry: chemical warfare
Function: noun
Date: 1917

: tactical warfare using incendiary mixtures, smokes, or irritant, burning, poisonous, or asphyxiating gases*

*All definitions copyright 2000 Merriam-Webster Incorporated Collegiate Dictionary, version 2.5

Upon impact with hard targets, DU munitions burn, generating a fine dust that may be inhaled by civilians and soldiers alike. Intact munitions or fragments slowly break down, contaminating soils and groundwater.

From  http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Depleted_Uranium it's learned:

While the term 'Depleted' implies it isn't particularly dangerous, DU is a chemically toxic, radioactive, heavy metal [1] and as such is potentially hazardous to human health.

In a 1999 paper for a Hague Peace Conference ("Gulf War Veterans and Depleted Uranium", Hague Peace Conference, May 1999), Dr. Rosalie Bertell laid out a concise explanation of the potential dangers of DU exposure.

"Uranium oxide and its aerosol form are insoluble in water. The aerosol resists gravity, and is able to travel tens of kilometres in air. Once on the ground, it can be resuspended when the sand is disturbed by motion or wind. Once breathed in, the very small particles of uranium oxide, those which are 2.5 microns (one micron = one millionth of a meter) or less in diameter, could reside in the lungs for years, slowly passing through the lung tissue into the blood."

In Obama's speech the other night, he stated:

"In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust. Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 government that represent 98 percent of humanity."

What he fails to state is that during WWI, the French were the first to use tear gas, in gernades, and that eventually both sides used gas as a weapon.

At  http://firstworldwar.com/weaponry/gas.htm, one finds not only that fact but:

"As with chlorine and phosgene gas before it, the Allies promptly reciprocated by copying the Germans' use of mustard gas. By 1918 the use of use of poison gases had become widespread, particularly on the Western Front. If the war had continued into 1919 both sides had planned on inserting poison gases into 30%-50% of manufactured shells.

The German army ended the war as the heaviest user of gas. It is suggested that German use reached 68,000 tons; the French utilised 36,000 tons and the British 25,000."

Also, in a chart published there, outside of Russian forces, the greatest estimated casualties from gas were German in WWI.

One can also find, at  http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/cw.htm, that the US has made strides in destroying its chemical weapon stockpile, but that is not completed. That may be a delicate and daunting task, and one could credit the US for its effort, but it's also plain that it has facilitated and ignored chemical warfare use by others, particularly Iraq in its war with Iran. Interestingly, too, "The US, which used defoliants and riot-control agents in Vietnam and Laos, finally ratified the Geneva Protocol in 1975 ( the 1925 Geneva Protocol; Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare) but with the stated reservation that the treaty did not apply to defoliants and riot-control agents."

Beyond omission of the reality of history concerning chemical weapons (gas, in this instance) I have a general objection to the whole of Obama's speech and the intentions it represents. What has really been obscured, and is unmentioned, is the missing or dishonest diplomacy which might have made this all (the attacks, and the speech itself) unnecessary. What has failed is the policy, grossly, and the speech failed to hold that policy and the actions (the foreign mercenaries, weapons and logistical aid) of the US and allies more than a little responsible. I might also ask the question of why specific method of his evidence isn't shared that we may judge its validity. At least Bush showed us pictures, even if they weren't what was claimed. While some of my questions relate to the hypocracy I might feel, the real sin is carelessness in creating an honest image that can be used for reponsible decision. Where we failed with Bush was in carelessness and research into the presented evidence which he gave us. Obama isn't even offering that. For instance, I might say that his claim that Syrian forces donned face masks could have been the result of their intelligence discerning the attack was immanent, and that the rockets fired were nothing more than what they have been doing in the civil war all along. If he's willing to offer nothing more than his personal credibility or the credibility of intelligence services that we've found for years quite compromised, he's offering nothing.

One could, too, as I do, ask a question such as, "what classified research and manufacture that countries have undertaken, even signatories to that Protocol or other similar agreements that have followed, which are unknown generally, maybe even to the researchers themselves outside of a few who might put all those pieces together and create such weapons, exists?" Can I really believe the claim of humility and essential truth while between which is statement of resolve that seems a piece of old leather between slices of stale bread in this instance? Seems a shit sandwich that has little to no nutritional value.

I might personally be comforted by the appearance the US population isn't buying this wholesale, but I'm still uneasy. I continue to hope that we might not rely upon Merrian-Webster for definitions as I did at the start of this to make a point, but ask Obama what he means exactly by 'humility' and 'essential truth', though I feel it's quite apparent what definition he uses for 'resolve'. He told us what that is, and that's the only 'essential truth' that I can see. Maybe if we sandwich humility and essential truth between two pieces of resolve, not the opposite as he's done, we can actually have something nutritous.

Seems we get a bit careless with language which might be attributed to the valid purpose of identifying specifics of killing-method, or in omissions of fact, but is quite careless in relation to the dead. While the amount of suffering or the visual appearance of those killed might be served through this carelessness, they're still dead, and haven't much opinion to offer in that regard. Who really speaks for them? We can, and should, do that.