Something Smells Bad...
It always amazes me to find how reading one newspaper article can lead into so many different areas. A case in point was my reading a piece in the New Zealand Herald about the dumping of chemical weapons by the USA off the coast of New Zealand after WW2. An amazing story when one considers how much fuss the USA have been making over supposed chemical weapons dumping in Iraq recently.
The article discusses the fact that the USA dumped its arsenal of unwanted mustard gas agent and Lewisite in unmarked sites off the coasts of almost every country it could get its ships near to, including Italy, France, the UK and the entire Pacific region as well, of course, as around its own shores. I don’t recall having heard much of an outcry from any other source though. Perhaps I’m just becoming more forgetful in my old age?
The worrying thing is that the US Military has chosen to not tell anyone about these weapons dumps though, in fact New Zealand had to send their own team of researchers to the US National Archive in order to ferret out the information they have unearthed so far. Quite an achievement on their part given that the records for the years between 1944 and 1970 have seemingly “gone missing”. Quite an important "gone missing" period, I would say.
Then I saw that Italian national broadcaster, RAI, has undertaken an investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Iraq by the USA. What? The USA? Surely not! Of course, the USA didn’t use mustard gas or even Sarin in the pursuit of world peace in Iraq, it used a rather nifty little device called a “Willy Pete”. Sounds harmless enough, doesn’t it. What “Willie Pete” is, is a White Phosphorus illuminant that is designed to be used to “light up” an area for better surveillance purposes. What it actually DOES, however, is to burn in just the same way that Napalm burns when it touches skin and flesh.
For those of us with memory enough left to recall the invasion (oops! I mean liberation, don’t I!) of Iraq, our TV screens were full of images of what looked like fireworks raining down on the city, giving us a remarkably good view on the part of the city we were allowed to observe. Now we know that this firework display was a rain of terror for those poor people caught under it. Of course, illuminating the field of battle is allowed under the 1980 UN Treaty regarding the use of incendiary materials against civilians, as is the use of chemical weapons under the UN Treaty of 1997 (yes, I was surprised too). So “Willie Pete” is OK then. But – and this is a bloody great big BUT here, there is now evidence that the USA used a brand new form of good 'ole Napalm against the “enemy” in Iraq - Napalm MK77 has appeared on the scene and has already been used against all those terrorists in Iraq. It makes one wonder why the main objector to the 1997 Treaty against chemical weapons was the USA, doesn't it.
Thank god for America, eh?