August 6, 2003

More Pentagon Word Play

"American jets killed Iraqi troops with firebombs – similar to the controversial napalm used in the Vietnam War – in March and April as Marines battled toward Baghdad.

"Marine Corps fighter pilots and commanders who have returned from the war zone have confirmed dropping dozens of incendiary bombs near bridges over the Saddam Canal and the Tigris River. The explosions created massive fireballs.

"'We napalmed both those (bridge) approaches,' said Col. Randolph Alles in a recent interview. He commanded Marine Air Group 11, based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, during the war. 'Unfortunately, there were people there because you could see them in the (cockpit) video.'
...
"During the war, Pentagon spokesmen disputed reports that napalm was being used, saying the Pentagon's stockpile had been destroyed two years ago.

"Apparently the spokesmen were drawing a distinction between the terms 'firebomb'" and 'napalm.' If reporters had asked about firebombs, officials said yesterday they would have confirmed their use.

"What the Marines dropped, the spokesmen said yesterday, were 'Mark 77 firebombs.' They acknowledged those are incendiary devices with a function 'remarkably similar' to napalm weapons.
...
"'You can call it something other than napalm, but it's napalm,' said John Pike, defense analyst with GlobalSecurity.org, a nonpartisan research group in Alexandria, Va.

"Although many human rights groups consider incendiary bombs to be inhumane, international law does not prohibit their use against military forces. The United States has not agreed to a ban against possible civilian targets."

Read the article.

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