The WP story is a perfect example of leftist spinning and moving of goalposts.
The leftist activist the entire story has been based on:
- Said the US military used chemical weapons. Untrue.
- Claimed the US military attacked civilians. Untrue.
- Insinuated the US military used a weapon resembling napalm. (Not banned for the US military, as they didn't sign the convention in question). Untrue.
- Said he'd witnessed bodies with wounds resulting from napalm-like devices. But the wounds and pattern of clothing burn-marks he described are not those resulting from such weapons, rather they are typical of wounds resulting from small bits of burning phosphorus (ie standard WP shells).
- Said he was present during the "battle of Fallujah". Later admitted that was partly untrue, he'd been in patrols after the main attack and was very unlikely to have seen fresh bodies resulting from the main period of combat.
- Was discharged from the US military for mental health reasons, therefore perhaps not the best primary source for a story saying the US military used chemical weapons on civilians.
- Has very strong left-wing political viewpoints and believes the old Bush-Liar-It's all about Oil storyline on Iraq. Again, this fact would have alerted anyone with a half a brain that his story might bear more fact-checking.
But here is the BBC
(and Rob O'Neill
) trying to claim THE US MILITARY has been forced to retract its claim. The BBC report says the retraction is "damaging".
Here are the words of the US military spokesman, unfortunately paraphrased and incomplete as provided by the BBC (who wants to bet the BBC Online has somehow twisted what he's said):
Col Venable told the BBC's PM radio programme that the US army used white phosphorus incendiary munitions "primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases.
"However it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants."
He said US forces could use white phosphorus rounds to flush enemy troops out of covered positions.
"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," he said.
Sounds like legitimate military tactics to me. Use what (entirely legal) weapons you have at hand to achieve the objective.
So the claims of the RAI report and its primary source have been completely discredited. But if you read Rob O'Neill's post
you would think the US military (and Sir Humphrey's) have been discredited. This has been achieved by Rob moving the goalposts and obscuring the original story, presumedly to create the impression he has been right all along and that we have been wrong. In other words: establishing the facts of the matter and outlining context to the reader is not as important as covering ones own arse. The scary thing is this guy actually works as a journalist for a living, though thankfully not covering foreign affairs or defense stories.