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General Topic Areas

Weaponization of space
Pentagon's power
Covert operations

Specific cases and issues

War Net
napalm

Key Events

Key events
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Other weapons of mass destruction

 
  

Project: US Military

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1963-1973

       During the Vietnam war, the US uses a total of 373,000 tons of napalm. [Boston Globe,; St. Petersburg Times, 12/3/2000] One ton of napalm alone is enough to burn a football field in seconds. [BBC, 4/24/2001] The use of napalm in Vietnam is widespread and is a favorite weapon of the US military command. General Paul Harkins says it “really puts the fear of God into the Vietcong—and that is what counts.” [Hilsman, 1967] Pilots are given authority to use the weapon without prior authorization if the original target is inaccessible. [Herring, 1986] Entire villages are destroyed by napalm bombs. [Sources: Colonel Recalls Being Ordered to Napalm Entire Village in Vietnam]
          

March 21, 2003 and after

       The United States uses Mark 77 firebombs, an incendiary weapon that has virtually the same effect as napalm (see 1942), in Iraq. The weapon is so similar in fact that troops commonly refer to it as napalm. [Sydney Morning Herald, 3/22/2003; CNN, 3/21/2003] According to US Marine Col. Randolph Alles, “The generals love napalm—it has a big psychological effect.” [San Diego Tribune, 8/5/2003] The use of incendiary weapons on civilian populations is banned by Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (see October 10, 1980-December 2, 1983), which also restricts the use of these weapons against military targets that are located within a concentration of civilians.
          

November 2004

       After the US siege of Fallujah, Iraq, residents of the city tell reporters that US troops used gas and describe another weapon whose effects are identical to that of napalm bombs. “Poisonous gases have been used in Fallujah,” 35-year-old trader from Fallujah Abu Hammad tells reporter Dahl Jamail. “They used everything—tanks, artillery, infantry, poison gas. Fallujah has been bombed to the ground.” Another resident, Abu Sabah, from the Julan area, explains: “They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud. Then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them.” He says the pieces then explode into large fires that burn the skin even when water is applied. “People suffered so much from these,” he adds. [Inter Press News Service, 11/26/2003] The San Francisco Chronicle reports that some “artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.” Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, tells the newspaper, “The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/10/2004]
          


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