Ross: Well, I heard that there was a huge problem with this during the first assault [in April] on the city where snipers were just being really indiscriminate and were just shooting at anyone who was out in the street. During the second assault this was less of a problem because the people who were in the city were hiding in their houses. To my knowledge, they weren't shooting civilians to the extent they were in the first assault.
Mac: I did read a report of Iraqis stepping out of their houses and being shot though, so there was still some of that going on I imagine.
Ross: You know, I had friends who were snipers. They didn't tell me anything about that. I didn't directly witness that. From the guys I was with I do know of one incident. There was a civilian out in the street, he had something in his hands and somebody yelled, "He's got something in his hands!" and somebody shot him. And that's the only incident I know of that I can testify to 100% that somebody was shot dead in the street.
Punching through Fallujah with maximum carnage. (Photobucket Commons )
Mac: Once you were in the city, did you see White Phosphorus or Willie Pete being called in?
Ross: No, I think it was just used once on one incident during the bombing campaign before the ground troops got pulled in there.
Mac: So it was used to soften up the city?
Ross: You know, I asked a Lieutenant about it because I saw it kind of like floating down in the wind and it looked like an extremely
inaccurate weapon, so I don't know, thinking "Oh, that can't be legal."
So I asked this Lieutenant next to me and he said, "It's legal because we weren't using it offensively. We were using it as a smoke screen. We were dumping it in the desert to screen what we were doing."
That sounds like bullshit, first of all because there was an incredible amount of smoke coming out of the city from all the bombing, and from my vantage point and his vantage point, there was no way he could know where we were dumping that. There just wasn't enough visibility. And secondly, there were no ground troops in the city, so what exactly were we screening? So it didn't make a lot of sense, his reply.
But that's the line we stick with. We don't deny using White Phosphorus anymore. They say they weren't using it offensively, so it was legal.
Mac: OK. Could you tell if some of it was actually drifting over the city?
Ross: No, I couldn't tell. There was just too much smoke. I couldn't see where it landed. It was pretty close though.
Mac: I've actually seen photos of bodies that were carmelized by WP, where their skin turns leathery and dark-brown.