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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/16/15

Acts of Barbarity?

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Message Joseph Clifford

Recently western mainstream media and the public were shocked at the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot by ISIS, and all questioned how anyone could be that barbaric. Since some time has passed we can be a bit more rational and a little less emotional about such an incident. We need to shed light on the barbarity of those who burn people alive.

One of the most horrible mass human burnings ever recorded in human history was orchestrated by the US and Britain during World War II, when the decision was made to ignite hundreds of firestorms in the civilian city of Dresden, Germany. Much of this has been conveniently forgotten or ignored; however, in light of the brutal barbaric burning of the pilot, it must be discussed. First Britain and the US carpet-bombed the city for 24 hours in an attempt to blow out all windows and doors, tear holes in buildings and take off rooftops and destroy water lines so fires could not be fought. After a short lull, they saturated the city with incendiary bombs that are designed to cause multiple fires, which then create massive firestorms. Those who survived ran to open places to escape being burned alive, but US fighter planes swooped in on the public parks where people had gathered and repeatedly strafed and killed those who had sought refuge.

For those not familiar with firestorms, huge intense fires demand oxygen, and the oxygen is sucked from the air creating horrific winds that pull and suck everything into the center of the firestorm. It feeds itself with oxygen being sucked in by hurricane-like winds. Intense temperatures of 1500 C degrees melted asphalt in the streets, and people trying to flee were stuck in the asphalt, then completely incinerated. Human beings were charred and shrunk in size so that adults were a mere 3 feet. Many were vaporized with only a liquid puddle remaining, while others who sought shelter in cellars or buildings died in oven-like conditions. Estimates of death vary from 30,000 to over 300,000. Numbers are impossible, but survivors found so many bodies they could only pile them, then burn them with flamethrowers, which was done to avoid further contamination and disease. Many experts say this horror was unleashed simply to impress and frighten the Russian military.

The Terror of War
The Terror of War
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In the Vietnam War, napalm was widely used by US forces against civilians. Space does not allow the writer to detail what napalm does, but suffice it to say the sticky burning substance clings to human flesh and burns. It is a horrific way to die, nor does space allow for a discussion of Agent Orange, a very toxic chemical that was sprayed over much of the country in an effort to defoliate trees so we could see our targets. Some might argue that was long ago and Dresden even farther back in time.

White Phosphorous
White Phosphorous
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The US in an effort to punish the Iraqi city of Fallujah used tons of one of our latest WMDs, white phosphorus, an incendiary agent that once exposed to air and oxygen instantly ignites. It becomes very unstable and highly explosive, consuming itself in fire. Water does not extinguish white phosphorous; only depriving it of oxygen does. It burns through human skin, and will continue to burn through the skin to the bone. It is horrific. Sometimes pieces of white phosphorus on the ground will burn for days, and it produces a heavy white smoke that is toxic to humans. There were even reports of survivors whose wounds were treated and covered with bandages but re-ignited when bandages were removed. White phosphorus has been used in Fallujah, a city in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, but the US, when first accused, denied the use until the evidence forced them to admit using it. Israel has also used white phosphorus several times against Gazans, and they to, at first denied, but had to succumb in the face of evidence. White phosphorus bombs are not specific or pinpoint weapons. Each bomb explodes in the air and covers approximately the size of a football field, so men, women, children, innocent or soldiers, would be caught up in an explosion. Our latest WMD is horrifically barbaric, and should be banned worldwide.

The next time you are told how barbaric the rest of the world is, stop for a moment, and look hard into a mirror. If your vision is not impaired, you may not like what you see.

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Joe Clifford lives in Rhode Island and has written a regular column for an online newspaper and has contributed many articles to various RI newspapers. His articles deal almost exclusively with American Foreign policy but ventures into other (more...)

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