War crimes : Fallujah : The Flame of Atrocity


Richard Moore


Fallujah:The Flame of Atrocity 

Friday, 11 November 2005 

Below is a vastly expanded and reworked version of a
column originally published in the Nov. 11 edition of the
Moscow Times. For my first MT report on chemical warfare
in Fallujah, see Filter Tips . For a report on the
destruction of the city as it was happening, see Ring of
Fire , from November 2004.

This week, the broadcast of a shattering new documentary
provided fresh confirmation of a gruesome war crime
covered by this column nine months ago: the use of
chemical weapons by American forces during the frenzied,
Bush-ordered destruction of Fallujah in November 2004.

Using filmed and photographic evidence, eyewitness
accounts, and the direct testimony of American soldiers
who took part in the attacks, the documentary - "Fallujah:
The Hidden Massacre" - catalogues the American use of
white phosphorous shells and a new, "improved" form of
napalm that turned human beings into "caramelized"
fossils, with their skin dissolved and turned to leather
on their bones. The film was produced by RAI, the Italian
state network run by a government that backed the war.

Vivid images show civilians, including women and children,
who had been burned alive in their homes, even in their
beds. This use of chemical weapons - at the order of the
Bushist brass - and the killing of civilians are confirmed
by former American soldiers interviewed on camera. "I
heard the order to pay attention because they were going
to use white phosphorous on Fallujah," said one soldier,
quoted in the Independent. "In military jargon, it's known
as Willy Pete. Phosphorous burns bodies; in fact it melts
the flesh all the way down to the bone. I saw the burned
bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and
forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 meters is
done for."

The broadcast is an important event: shameful, damning,
convincing. But it shouldn't be news. Earlier this year,
as reported here o n March 18, a medical team sent to
Fallujah by the Bush-backed Iraqi interim government
issued its findings at a press conference in Baghdad. The
briefing, by Health Ministry investigator Dr. Khalid
ash-Shaykhli, was attended by more than 20 major American
and international news outlets. Not a single one of these
bastions of a free and vigorous press reported on the
event. Only a few small venues - such as the International
Labor Communications Association - brought word of the
extraordinary revelations to English-speaking audiences.

Yet this highly credible, pro-American official of a
pro-occupation government confirmed, through medical
examinations and the eyewitness testimony of survivors -
including many civilians who had opposed the heavy-handed
insurgent presence in the town - that "burning chemicals"
had been used by U.S. forces in the attack, in direct
violation of international and American law. "All forms of
nature were wiped out" by the substances unleashed in the
assault, including animals that had been killed by gas or
chemical fire, said Dr ash-Shaykhli. But apparently this
kind of thing is not considered news anymore by the
corporate gatekeepers of media "truth."

As we noted here in March, Dr ash-Shaykhli's findings were
buttressed by direct testimony from U.S. Marines filing
"after-action reports" on websites for military
enthusiasts back home. There, fresh from the battle,
American soldiers talked openly of the routine use of
Willy Pete, propane bombs and "jellied gasoline" (napalm)
in tactical assaults in Fallujah. As it says in the
scriptures: by their war porn ye shall know them.

This week, as in March, the Pentagon said it only used
white phosphorous shells in Fallujah for "illumination
purposes." But the documentary's evidence belies them.
Although there are indeed many white bombs bursting in air
to bathe the city in unnatural light, the film clearly
shows other phosphorous shells raining all the way to the
ground, where they explode in fury throughout residential
areas and spread their caramelizing clouds. As Fallujah
biologist Mohamed Tareq says in the film: "A rain of fire
fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-colored
substance started to burn, we found people dead with
strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact."

As word of the documentary spread across the Internet and
into a very few mainstream media sources, intrepid
investigators dug out even more confirmation of how Bush's
battalions whipped out the Willy Pete and flayed
Fallujah's heathen devils with flesh-eating fire. A Daily
Kos diarist, Stephen D., dug up one of the U.S. military's
own publications, Field Artillery Magazine, which eagerly
related the use of white phosphorous, which "proved to be
an effective and versatile munition," the article said.
"We used it for screening missions at two breeches and,
later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon
against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes
when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired
'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to
flush them out and HE to take them out."

Mr. D also points to a comment on Altercation.com, that
provides further ammunition - for "illumination purposes"
- on the effect of white phosphorous on human beings.
There, Mark Kraft writes: "There is no way you can use
white phosphorus like that without forming a deadly
chemical cloud that kills everything within a tenth of a
mile in all directions from where it hits. Obviously, the
effect of such deadly clouds weren't just psychological in

Another Kossack, "Hunter," digs up mention of Willy Pete
use as a weapon in Washington Post reports from the
battlefield itself last November. He then takes on the
hair-splitters who immediately arose on the Right to
declare that white phosphorous is not itself a banned
substance, so it's OK to incinerate children with it.
Hunter's incandescant irony is worth quoting at length:

"First, I think it should be a stated goal of United
States policy to not melt the skin off of children. As a
natural corollary to this goal, I think the United States
should avoid dropping munitions on civilian neighborhoods
which, as a side effect, melt the skin off of children.
You can call them 'chemical weapons' if you must, or far
more preferably by the more proper name of 'incendiaries.'
The munitions may or may not precisely melt the skin off
of children by setting them on fire; they do melt the skin
off of children, however, through robust oxidation of said
skin on said children, which is indeed colloquially known
as 'burning'Š

"And I know it is true, there is some confusion over
whether the United States was a signatory to the Do Not
Melt The Skin Off Of Children part of the Geneva
conventions, and whether or not that means we are
permitted to melt the skin off of children, or merely are
silent on the whole issue of melting the skin off of
childrenŠ[However] I am going to come out, to the
continuing consternation of Rush Limbaugh and pro-war
supporters everywhere, as being anti-children-melting , as
a matter of general policy."

Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Mike Marquesse pounded home
the reality of the overarching atrocity of the attack:

"One year ago this week, US-led occupying forces launched
a devastating assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja. The
mood was set by Lt Col Gary Brandl: 'The enemy has got a
face. He's called Satan. He's in Falluja. And we're going
to destroy him.'

"The assault was preceded by eight weeks of aerial
bombardment. US troops cut off the city's water, power and
food supplies, condemned as a violation of the Geneva
convention by a UN special rapporteur, who accused
occupying forces of "using hunger and deprivation of water
as a weapon of war against the civilian population".
Two-thirds of the city's 300,000 residents fled, many to
squatters' camps without basic facilitiesŠ

"By the end of operations, the city lay in ruins.
Falluja's compensation commissioner has reported that
36,000 of the city's 50,000 homes were destroyed, along
with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines. The US claims
that 2,000 died, most of them fighters. Other sources
disagree. When medical teams arrived in January they
collected more than 700 bodies in only one third of the
city. Iraqi NGOs and medical workers estimate between
4,000 and 6,000 dead, mostly civilians -- a
proportionately higher death rate than in Coventry and
London during the blitz."

The atrocity-breeding mindset behind the attack was
evident from the very first, as I noted in a Moscow Times
column of November 18, 2004 : "One of the first moves in
this magnificent feat of arms was the destruction and
capture of medical centers. Twenty doctors - and their
patients, including women and children - were killed in an
airstrike on one major clinic, the UN Information Service
reports, while the city's main hospital was seized in the
early hours of the ground assault. Why? Because these
places of healing could be used as "propaganda centers,"
the Pentagon's "information warfare" specialists told the
NY Times. Unlike the first attack on Fallujah last spring,
there was to be no unseemly footage of gutted children
bleeding to death on hospital beds. This time - except for
NBC's brief, heavily-edited, quickly-buried clip of the
usual lone "bad apple" shooting a wounded Iraqi prisoner -
the visuals were rigorously scrubbed."

When you begin by bombing hospitals, devouring innocent
people with hot jellied death is not exactly a stretch. It
is simply part and parcel of the inhumanity of the Bushist

Indeed, the slaughter in Fallujah was a microcosm of the
entire misbegotten enterprise launched by those two
eminent Christian statesmen, Bush and Blair: a brutal act
of collective punishment for defying the imperial will; a
high-tech turkey shoot that mowed down the just and unjust
alike; an idiotic strategic blunder that has exacerbated
the violence and hatred it was meant to quell. The vicious
overkill of the Fallujah attack alienated large swathes of
previously neutral Iraqis and spurred many to join the
resistance. It further entangled the United States and
Britain in a putrid swamp of war crime, state terrorism
and atrocity, dragging them ever deeper into a moral
equivalency with the murderous extremists that the
Christian leaders so loudly and self-righteously condemn.

Let's give the last word to Jeff Engelhardt, one of the
ex-servicemen featured in the documentary, who recently
issued this plea to his fellow U.S. soldiers on Fight to
Survive , a new dissident web site run by Iraqi War vets:

"I hope someday you find solace for the orders you have
had to execute, for the carnage you helped take part in,
and for the pride you wear supporting this bloodbath.
Until then, you can only hope for an epiphany, something
that stands out as completely immoral, that convinces you
of the inhumanity of this war. I don't know how much more
proof you need. The criminal outrage of Abu Ghraib, the
absolute massacre of Fallujah, the stray .50 caliber
bullets or 40mm grenades or tank rounds fired in highly
packed urban areas, 500-pound bombs dropped on innocent
homes, the use of depleted uranium rounds, the inhumane
use of white phosphorus, the hate and the blood and the
misunderstandingsŠthis is the war and the system that you
support." .



"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

Posting archives:

Subscribe to low-traffic list:
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material
is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a
prior interest in receiving the included information for
research and educational purposes.