So the Pentagon is officially acknowledging the use of white phosphorous during the battle of Fallujah. When I heard this, I pictured Kim Phuc, the badly burned, nine-year-old, Vietnamese girl who fled her village after we napalmed it into an inferno.
And we 're accusing other nations of weapons of mass destruction capability?
Like napalm, white phosphorous is an incendiary. It ignites when exposed to air, causing chemical burns and delayed wound healing. If that isn 't enough to make you sick, here 's more: WP continues to burn until it is deprived of its rage-requirement, oxygen. Even its smoke can cause health problems and death.
This Administration has lied to the American people repeatedly. We all now know that the evidence to wage war in Iraq was embellished to create fear in an already scared public after 9/11. And then came the dramatic story of Jessica Lynch --another lie to fan the flames of patriotism. It gets worse. Ask Pat Tillman 's family. The Pentagon kept secret for months that Tillman 's death was the result of friendly fire. After all, he was the poster guy for recruitment. Only after his parents pushed and pushed and pushed for the truth was it finally revealed. And now they 're very vocal critics of this war and of President Bush. Seems Pat was too. So much so that he 'd spoken against Bush and the war in Iraq.
Like the denial of the facts behind the death of Pat Tillman, the Pentagon initially disallowed that white phosphorous was used against insurgents in Fallujah. But now, the truth has emerged again with the admission by Lt. Colonel Barry Venable that the incendiary was used against "enemy combatants. "
This leads me to wonder if the WMD, white phosphorous, is like our "smart bombs " that, when tested on the enemy, turn out to be pretty dumb since they seem to miss their targets as frequently as they hit them. How many Iraqi citizens have we burned with WP? How many Iraqi Kim Phucs have fled Fallujah, naked with skin falling off in layers? How many lies will we continue to tell families and the world? How many photographs will have to be shown before Americans are marching in the streets to end the war?
Years ago, Dow Chemical, the manufacturer of napalm for our military examined the morality of their creation. Their final judgment was on the side of the government. We, the people, are the government and we need to hold this Administration accountable for its crimes against humanity, its own use of WMD, and the combustion of a country. If we don 't, the conscience of our own nation will burn until there 's nothing but ashes.
Missy Comley Beattie is the aunt of a Marine who recently died in Iraq