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November 22, 2005

WP in Fallujah, let's end this...

Just got this note from Bob at Confederate Yankee.

There is a thread up over at Protein Wisdom where a poster claiming to be a Vietnam veteran states:

Technically, WP and smoke rounds (HC) are classified as chemical weapons.

Is that true? [Armorer, only in that they are classified as obscurants - whose primary purpose is *not* attack of personnel]

He further states that:

Note also that smoke generators are operated by the Chemical Corps. [Yep. Not relevant, however. Chemical smoke isn't a weapon, either, though you shouldn't breathe anything with that particulate load for long times or in high concentrations...]

Is that true, and if so, is that relevant to the discussion of artillery-deployed WP? [Nope]

Thank you for any clarification you can provide. [You're welcome]



Let's answer the WP as chemical weapon question, shall we?

I believe the relevant international agreement is the "Convention On Prohibitions Or Restrictions On The Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Excessively Injurious Or To Have Indiscriminate Effects"


The specific wording of interest is:

(b) Incendiary weapons do not include:

(i) Munitions which may have incidental incendiary effects, such as illuminants, tracers, smoke or signalling systems;

(ii) Munitions designed to combine penetration, blast or fragmentation effects with an additional incendiary effect, such as armour-piercing projectiles, fragmentation shells, explosive bombs and similar combined-effects munitions in which the incendiary effect is not specifically designed to cause burn injury to persons, but to be used against military objectives, such as armoured vehicles, aircraft and installations or facilities.

Emphasis mine.

The doctrinal use of White Phosphorus in the United States military is as an obscurant, a signal/marker, or to start fires where fires are militarily useful, such as ammo dumps, weapons caches, motor pools, etc.

In other words - exactly as it was used in Fallujah, and within the confines of the UN Convention on the subject.

As a career artilleryman and Joint Targeteer, I'll vouch that in our training on the subject and the written doctrine on the subject, the purposes to which you apply WP are those within the confines of the convention.

It was easy to sign on to the convention, we didn't have to make any changes. And WP is a crappy AP weapon, anyway. If I can shoot you with that, it would be far better to shoot you with HE or DPICM.

Can we MoveOn, please?

Others pointlessly pricking Moulitsas:

My Pet Jawa, John Cole, Confederate Yankee, The Commissar, Dread Pundit Bluto, Wunder Kraut, Caedorioa, Dean Esmay, INDC Journal

John | Permalink | Comments (18) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
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