“On Tuesday, Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians […] It was a slow & brutal death for so many… No child of God should ever suffer such horror. Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched”
April 7th, 2017, after ordering an airstrike in revenge for an alleged chemical-weapons attack on civilians
On June 13th, Brig. Gen. Hugh McAslan, admitted in an interview with NPR that US-led coalition forces used white phosphorus munitions in the densely-populated Iraqi city of Mosul during their offensive against ISIS. Of course, the United States has been caught using illegal weapons like this before — in 2005, for example, the Pentagon ( after lying about it for a year ) confirmed US forces had used white phosphorous in Fallujah. At the time, Peter Kaiser — spokesperson for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the US agreed to — told the BBC that chemical weapons were defined as any chemical whose toxic or caustic properties are used to harm or kill human beings. White phosphorus — which ignites in the presence of oxygen & burns on contact — can cause multi-organ failure when it enters the bloodstream and, because it is highly soluble in human fat, tends to burn a person’s flesh “thermally and chemically, down to the bone.” Breathing in smoke near a white phosphorus shell, as one US soldier describes, blisters the throat & lungs, suffocating a person as it continues “to burn them from the inside.”
Whether or not that matches the CWC spokesperson’s description of “toxic or caustic properties used to harm or kill human beings,” the reader may decide…
Definitely Not a “Chemical Weapon”
— Fazel Hawramy (@FazelHawramy) June 4, 2017
In the past, the United States dodged CWC rules making it a war crime to use white phosphorus as a weapon by claiming the chemical was simply being used as a “smokescreen” for troop movements. Or that, at least, is the official US alibi for manufacturing, using, & selling these weapons to Saudi Arabia, Israel, & other human-rights champions. Iraqi, Afghani, Yemeni, & Palestinian civilians, of course, would disagree with this description of how US weapons are used — but what would they know about it?
Will Trump Order an Airstrike on the US
For Using Chemical Weapons on Civilians?
( Or Does That Rule Only Apply to Muslim or Darker-Skinned Folks? )
In April, Donald Trump struck a Syrian airfield with 59 tomahawk missiles in what the US says was revenge for civilians allegedly killed by Assad using chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun — just 599km from the Mosul neighborhoods targeted by US white phosphorus munitions. Unlike the accusation that Assad used sarin gas on civilians despite the fact it was a huge & pointless risk to take while he was already winning, it is certain that US-led coalition forces used white phosphorus munitions in Mosul neighborhoods, knowing it would kill non-combatants. Not only was the US the only group in the area who possessed these munitions but there is photographic & video evidence that white phosphorous was used on densely-populated residential areas. And a coalition general admitted it to the press.
Which means that there is only one thing that the US can do — retaliate by striking a US airfield with 59 Raytheon Tomahawk™ cruise-missiles. What choice do we have? As Trump himself said —
“It is in the vital national-security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons and violated its obligations† under the Chemical Weapons Convention…
There can be no dispute that a number of civilians were killed by the US which illegally used white phosphorus munitions in residential areas of the city of Mosul — exactly as anyone would expect when shelling a residential area with white phosphorus. The US violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and, just as Assad was punished by missiles in April, so justice demands that the US must face the consequences of its actions —
But we all know that will not be happening. Whether it’s the so-called “justice” system on the inside of the US or the effects of American foreign-policy outside of it, taking responsibility for actions is what broke folks, brown folks, & Muslims have to do — not politicians or generals. Consequences are for the poor, not weapons manufacturers.
The most damning thing about all of this is the fact that nobody — even for a moment — expects the US to pay any kind of price for intentionally using chemical weapons in a densely populated neighborhood in Northern Iraq. That is how arrogant the policy-makers in the US have become. But — even if their approval ratings do not fall an inch this month because of it — the actions & inaction of these cowardly politicians cannot stay concealed forever.
And the generations-to-come will know them as the murderers that they are & curse their names — but the martyrs they make of the blameless will be remembered.
If you enjoy the posts on this site, consider buying the writer a cup of coffee using this PayPal link or making a monthly donation through Patreon — it’s like a voluntary subscription directly to an artist & journalist
† Note: With regards to Trump’s claim that no one can dispute the fact that Syria violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, it is worth noting that Syria is actually 1 of only 4 nations out of the 192 that signed the CWC which hasn’t ratified it. That being the case, it is actually very easy to dispute that “fact.” (Though Bashar Assad actually did send a letter to the UN Secretary General saying he signed a legislative decree that Syria was joining the CWC. The letter said Syria would observe its obligations immediately, instead of the 30 days from the date of signing, as the treaty calls for.) Lastly, of course, nothing at all would excuse Assad (or anyone else) if it were proven that he really did use chemical weapons on civilians (which no one has).