Thursday, January 22, 2009

Not a DIME's worth of difference

While not wanting to sound too alarmist, it would appear that Israel is again, rapidly losing ground in the "How Moral We Are" sweepstakes that it has been the cheerleader for, and sole recipient of, since the Holocaust. In this case, I speak of things known as Willy Pete (or good old white phosphorus), and DIMEs (Dense Inert Metal Explosives).

White Phosphorus - the gift that keeps on giving until you no longer have a face

This stuff burns on contact with any oxygen source, and keeps burning until there's no phosphorus left. This causes third degree burns down to the bone. White phosphorus munitions are "acceptable" in a theatre of war when they're used as a smokescreen device. Detonated in air, they produce masses of white smoke, spreading with characteristic octopus-like tentacles. At the end of each tentacle is a burning piece of phosphorus, and if they don't burn completely away by the time they hit the ground, anyone standing in the way is subjected to horrible, painful burns, that are permanently disfiguring (unless you happen to know the cast of Nip/Tuck personally). As a simple incendiary munition, WP is illegal and considered a war crime. As a smokescreen device it's OK. Unless it's a lot of smoke, then it's considered a poison gas weapon, and a war crime.

How do you know exactly which one you're going to get when you fire one of these off?

DIMEs - or - multiple organ failure and only a pinhole to show for it

Dense Inert Metal Explosives are made with tungsten powder (a known carcinogen). They explode about knee level, and can cause cauterized, below-the-hip amputations that look almost surgical. Or, the injured can look outwardly fine, with only a small hole in, say, their abdomen, but with mutilated organs that appear to have been peppered with some sort of fine black powder. Organs can continue to rupture and self-destruct after all the shrapnel has been removed, as if something is still in the victim, relentlessly exploding. X-rays reveal nothing, and the patient dies.

Meet the victims of the Israeli incursion into Gaza. Children with melted faces, missing limbs, permanently malfunctioning internal organs. A generation of handicapped people, whose lives will be painful until they die. Where the doctors wish they could just kill the victims, rather than watch them suffer.

Hamas should stop firing rockets, yes. But Israel no longer can say they are the "moral" ones. Using these kinds of indiscriminate, mutilating weapons cuts the high ground right out from under the Israeli government. And hearing the stories of Israelis watching the war from a hill overlooking Gaza, cheering on a "good strike" makes me ill. This is no football match. This is hundreds of children and old people dying so the Israelis can get at a few militants spread through the population of over a million.

Again, I ask, STOP.

1 comment:

Adam Van Leuven said...

This is horrible. This should constitute a war crime. I just read that after these people get into the hospital, the burning continues for hours. It must go to the bone, like you said. How can the US support Israel when they pull stunts like this?