Thursday, November 17, 2005

Where There's Smoke...

OK, we've all known for some time that the US is using white phosphorus in Iraq, against both its own claims and the specific prohibition of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

So far as I've seen the response on the part of the administration to these revelations has been more or less, 'Yeah? What if we did? Which we didn't. But if we did, whatcha gonna do about it?' It appears now, though, with their approval ratings splashing about merrily in the septic tank, they feel they have to come up with something a bit more seeming-to-care than that, and they've gone so far as to, hang on to your hats, admit they used them.

Tiny, barely-audible fallout ensues. Luckily, they've got the spokesman for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on their side, ready with this handy bit of impenetrable sophistry:
The CWC is monitored by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague. Its spokesman Peter Kaiser was asked if WP was banned by the CWC and he had this to say:

"No it's not forbidden by the CWC if it is used within the context of a military application which does not require or does not intend to use the toxic properties of white phosphorus. White phosphorus is normally used to produce smoke, to camouflage movement.

"If that is the purpose for which the white phosphorus is used, then that is considered under the Convention legitimate use.

"If on the other hand the toxic properties of white phosphorus, the caustic properties, are specifically intended to be used as a weapon, that of course is prohibited, because the way the Convention is structured or the way it is in fact applied, any chemicals used against humans or animals that cause harm or death through the toxic properties of the chemical are considered chemical weapons."
Ahahahaha. OK. I get it. So if, for instance, you are angering me, and I throw a knife at your head, not with the specific intent to utilize its pointy stabbing properties, but in fact intending to create a cooling breeze to fan you (did I forget to mention earlier that it's a warm day?), am I legally and morally exempt from the sequelae of its impaling you through the eyeball? 'Cause if so, ok. At least we know where we stand.

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