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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"Shake and Bake"

The Army's Field Artillery Magazine issue of Mr/Ap 2005 revealed that the controversial weapon "white phosphorous" is known in the field by a rather unpleasant euphemism: shake and bake.

The army is trying desperately to dig itself out of a hole. Chemical weapons are considered anathema but incendiary shells, when targeted at combatants are not. They originally claimed they weren't using the stuff. When that mendacity was exposed, they insisted the shells were used only for illumination. If that's the case, however, it is considered a chemical weapon because of the way it combusts. Then they said it was used to target enemy combatants.

It's a particularly heinous weapon because it burns flesh quite readily and can't be put out with water, hence the nasty euphemism.

Again a leader taking the moral high ground, the United States, refused to sign the Convention on Conventional Weapons that banned white phosphorous because, of course, we wanted to use it. Does the name Hitler spring to mind?

Shades of napalm and Vietnam.

11/22/05 Follow-up

A Pentagon report noted the use of phorphorous "chemical" weapons being used against the Kurds by Saddam Hussein in 1991. According to one source, these are the same weapons we are now using in Iraq ourselves, but claiming they are not "chemical" but "incendiary."
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