Following a disturbing report on EuroNews that showed civilian Iraqi’s with their skin mysteriously burned off, the United States Army has changed their story on whether or not they used white phosphorus during last year’s offensive in the northern Iraqi city of Falluja.

Originally the US Army vehemently denied that it ever used the hideous and indiscriminate weapon which some have described as a chemical weapon. However a spokesman for the US army was quick to point out that the United States did not sign the UN accord that banned the use of chemical weapons like white phosphorus.

When asked why the US army had previously denied that it had used white phosphorus Col Venable said that the previous statement was based on “poor information”. He also defended its use stating that Washington had never signed any accord banning the use of such a weapon and furthermore the weapon was not used primarily to kill but rather as “obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases”.

According to the BBC new website white phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits someone’s body, it will burn until deprived of oxygen.

Recent pictures in the press of Iraqi civilians, including very young children, with their flesh burned off have angered many an lead to hard questions being put to the US military who now claim they did not lie but simply made a mistake with “poor information.”

Italian RAI24 news aired a documentary last week that said the US Army used white phosphorous in a “massive and indiscriminate way” during the Falluja offensive, and furthermore did so in a way that could not and did not avoid civilian casualties. The documentary quoted ex-marine Jeff Englehart as saying he saw the bodies of burned children and women after the bombardments. “Burned bodies. Burned children and burned women. White phosphorous kills indiscriminately. It’s a cloud that, within … 150 metres of impact, will disperse and will burn every human being or animal.”

Italian TV report on US use of chemical weapons
US U-turn on Iraq ‘chemical’ weapon use
Aljazeera take on the news reports
White phosphorus: weapon on the edge