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Author Topic: UK Independent: US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah
evilbeard
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US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah
quote:
In December the US government formally denied the reports, describing them as "widespread myths". "Some news accounts have claimed that US forces have used 'outlawed' phosphorus shells in Fallujah," the USinfo website said. "Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes.

"They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."

But now new information has surfaced, including hideous photographs and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack, which provides graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.

quote:
Photographs on the website of RaiTG24, the broadcaster's 24-hours news channel, www.rainews24.it, show exactly what the former soldier means. Provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah, dozens of high-quality, colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelised or turned the consistency of leather by the shells.


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rex linum occisor et erronis

But Jimmy has fancy plans... and pants to match. The monkey clown horrible karate round and yummy like cute small baby chick would beat the donkey."

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Stoneage Dinosaur
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Probably rubbish - Al-Jazeera says they may have even used nukes!

http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/news_service/middle_east_full_story.asp?service_id=7216

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DesertRat
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White phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon; it is used by militaries all over the world for illumination and to mark targets.

Granted, if you happen to get in the way of it, it can cause severe and possibly deadly burns, but... well... it's WAR, you know? Does WP make you any more or less dead than HE-VT?

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PatYoung
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According to UPI the phosphorus shells were used for illumination purposes:

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20051108-082651-2831r

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

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Bug Muldoon
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quote:
White phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon; it is used by militaries all over the world for illumination and to mark targets.

Granted, if you happen to get in the way of it, it can cause severe and possibly deadly burns, but... well... it's WAR, you know? Does WP make you any more or less dead than HE-VT?

You may have missed the part where the US army used an indiscriminate chemical weapon (sorry, incidenciary device) in a densely-populated city without prior warning to the civilians.

If find it unlikely that illuminating enemy position would justify killing civilians by burning off their skin.

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Doug4.7
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You have to fall back to the "it's war!" line. If we told the people about an attack, it really wouldn't be a very good attack.

I am not usually in the position of defending our actions in Iraq, but it is very difficult to make war "nice". You could use the same argument about using depleted uranium bullets.

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And now for something completely different...

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evilbeard
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I read the reports of use only for illumination, but apparently the documentary has a soldier claiming that the White phosphorus was to be used on Fallujah, not over it. from Article:
quote:
In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete.

Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."

The BBC says that use of White Phosphorus is banned by the 1980 Geneva conventions, but that the US did not sign to that article. From the BBC: US 'uses incendiary arms' in Iraq
quote:
Spontaneously flammable chemical used for battlefield illumination;
Contact with particles causes burning of skin and flesh;
Use of incendiary weapons prohibited for attacking civilians (Protocol III of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons);
Protocol III not signed by US

quote:
However, the Rai film also alleges that Washington has systematically attempted to destroy filmed evidence of the alleged use of white phosphorus on civilians in Falluja.
the documentary also claims:
quote:
The documentary, entitled Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, also provides what it claims is clinching evidence that incendiary bombs known as Mark 77, a new, improved form of napalm, was used in the attack on Fallujah, in breach of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, which only allows its use against military targets.
ETA: ATSDR Public Health Statement: White Phosphorus
quote:
Breathing in white phosphorus can cause you to cough or develop a condition known as phossy jaw that involves poor wound healing in the mouth and a breakdown of the jaw bone. Damage to the blood vessels of the mouth has been observed in rats breathing air containing white phosphorus. Most of what is known about the health effects of breathing this compound is from studies of workers. Current levels of white phosphorus in workplace air are much lower than in the past. If you eat or drink a small amount of white phosphorus (less than one teaspoon), you may vomit; have stomach cramps; have liver, heart, or kidney damage; become extremely drowsy; or die. Most of what is known about the health effects of eating or drinking white phosphorus is from reports of people eating rat poison or fireworks that contained it. White phosphorus is no longer found in rat poison or fireworks. The levels of it that you might be exposed to in food or water are much lower than the levels that were in rat poison or fireworks. We do not know if more serious health effects will occur in people who eat or drink white phosphorus-containing substances for a long time. If burning white phosphorus touches your skin, it will burn you. If you are burned with white phosphorus, you may also develop heart, liver, and kidney damage. We do not know if it can cause cancer or birth defects, or if it affects the ability of people to have children. Because of the lack of cancer studies on animals or people, the EPA has determined that white phosphorus is not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity (that is, whether or not it causes cancer). If you breathe white phosphorus smoke, you may damage your lungs and throat. We do not know how white phosphorus smoke can affect your health if it gets on your skin.
The DOD thinks White Phosphorus is especially nasty, but only when used by the other side: Al Qaeda, Taliban Sympathizers Strike U.S. Camps
quote:
In the second incident, the camp at Lwara came under rocket fire. Ten rockets impacted within the base confines. Nine of them carried white phosphorus. These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears. If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone.
and a link to the video: VIDEO | Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre

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rex linum occisor et erronis

But Jimmy has fancy plans... and pants to match. The monkey clown horrible karate round and yummy like cute small baby chick would beat the donkey."

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Ouch My Ankle
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I am certain that any major modern military uses every resource available to it to limit civilian casualties. Any civilian casualty, whether it is accidental or not, is viewed as unacceptable in today's world. And large scale military blunders are a quagmire for any government. I see no reason to believe that the US intentionally attacks civilians. It serves absolutely no purpose.

The problem with these sorts of reports is that people take them seriously. People will actually believe that the US military targets civilians with chemical weapons. The whole idea is asinine. But people will accept these reports as fact prima facie because it's fashionable to hate the US.

I'd like to see a tell-all film deal with the outrage of terrorists intentionally killing innocent Iraqi civilians. I won't hold my breath.

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Fusca 1976
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quote:
Originally posted by evilbeard:
VIDEO | Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre

I have seen (photos of) corpses in similar conditions (completely blackened skin, untouched clothes). They were of Iraqi soldiers killed while retreating in GWI. The only difference was the soldiers' clothes seemed to be wet, which is not the case here.

Luís Henrique

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PatYoung
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quote:
Originally posted by Ouch My Ankle:
I'd like to see a tell-all film deal with the outrage of terrorists intentionally killing innocent Iraqi civilians. I won't hold my breath.

I see those every night on my TV on BBC news. "Suicide bomber kills 12 in marketplace", etc. Do you really think the media does not publicize these outrages enough? In fact I have heard some conservatives demand that terrorists not get so much attention for their atrocities. I guess they think that any publicity is good publicity for the terrorists.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

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evilbeard
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Christian Science Monitor: Did the US military use chemical weapons in Iraq?

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rex linum occisor et erronis

But Jimmy has fancy plans... and pants to match. The monkey clown horrible karate round and yummy like cute small baby chick would beat the donkey."

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Ouch My Ankle
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quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
[snip...] Do you really think the media does not publicize these outrages enough? [snip...]

Yes.
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Oualawouzou
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I'm just curious how the media could talk about suicide bombing more without going into total overkill...

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Ouch My Ankle
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They need to go into total overkill -- especially the arabic news media. The whole muslim world needs to see the terrorists as the bloody bastards they are.
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evilbeard
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RAI has posted the document from the British Ministry of Defense they say is showing that MK 77 is being used in Iraq: Misistry of Defense Document

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rex linum occisor et erronis

But Jimmy has fancy plans... and pants to match. The monkey clown horrible karate round and yummy like cute small baby chick would beat the donkey."

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Open Mike Night
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quote:
Originally posted by Ouch My Ankle:
They need to go into total overkill -- especially the arabic news media. The whole muslim world needs to see the terrorists as the bloody bastards they are.

Al-Jazeera search for "Car bombs" gives 150 different stories for 2005.

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On the crusade to eliminate Moral Asshattery wherever it exists
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Ouch My Ankle
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Al-Jazeera isn't the most impartial news outlet there is. What I hope is that the sheer volume of the terrorist attacks in Iraq can't be whitewashed.

And I don't see the Al-Jazeera attack articles containing any official condemnations from government officials. That would be nice. Although I suppose the current government is probably perceived as a puppet of the US.

In any case, my feeling is the terrorists are still seen as brave heroes, fighting the evil infidel Americans who use chemical weapons on innocent women and children. Of course, I could be wrong and I hope I am. But that's the feeling I get.

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by Ouch My Ankle:
And I don't see the Al-Jazeera attack articles containing any official condemnations from government officials. That would be nice.

So, when a car bomb blows up, say, a member of the Irawi government, you don't think that a condemnation from the Iraqi government is implied? You think, what, that the government is for this?

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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Oualawouzou
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In the case of countries that do not emit "official" condemnations of the attacks, is Al-Jazeera supposed to invent these condemnations? [Confused]

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Le champignon arrive.

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Kasabian
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This statement disturbs me are you a member of the armed forces?

[QUOTE]Granted, if you happen to get in the way of it, it can cause severe and possibly deadly burns, but... well... it's WAR, you know? Does WP make you any more or less dead than HE-VT? /QUOTE]

These people were civilians, seems like a very clynical and flippant comment to make, did you look at the photos? How would those people in there beds get out of the way?

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Ouch My Ankle
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quote:
Originally posted by Oualawouzou:
In the case of countries that do not emit "official" condemnations of the attacks, is Al-Jazeera supposed to invent these condemnations? [Confused]

Fine. I'm totally, 100% wrong. I don't know what you people want from me.
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Oualawouzou
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quote:
Originally posted by Ouch My Ankle:
quote:
Originally posted by Oualawouzou:
In the case of countries that do not emit "official" condemnations of the attacks, is Al-Jazeera supposed to invent these condemnations? [Confused]

Fine. I'm totally, 100% wrong. I don't know what you people want from me.
Well, "western" media only report official condemnations from the governments their target readership cares about. I don't recall a single "wester" media reporting condemnations of suicide bombings from governments in Africa or South America. Did they publically condemned them or not? I don't know. "My" media does not care.

Al-Jazeera's main readership is "the Arab world". If these governments do not issue condemnations against these attacks, Al-Jazeera is absolutely not required (nor expected, IMHO) to mention condemnations by nations they are not preoccupied with. Stupid example, but would you picture an article in the New York Times on an issue about which the US government made no official statement, but that concludes on "Paraguay and Somalia officially condemned these actions"? It may be somewhat pertinent to the events related in the article; it is pretty much not pertinent to the target readership of the paper.

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by Ouch My Ankle:
Fine. I'm totally, 100% wrong. I don't know what you people want from me.

We wanted you to spit the dummy. And what do you know, you did.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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Wintermute
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quote:
Originally posted by evilbeard:
RAI has posted the document from the British Ministry of Defense they say is showing that MK 77 is being used in Iraq: Misistry of Defense Document

Yes, against military targets in non-uraban areas.
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an Em Dash of sugar
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quote:
Originally posted by Ouch My Ankle:
They need to go into total overkill -- especially the arabic news media. The whole muslim world needs to see the terrorists as the bloody bastards they are.

You've never watched "arabic news media" on TV, have you...

After you watch footage of a teenage boy sweeping an enormous pool of blood off a street with a squeegee, followed by a street vendor gingerly removing chunks of human flesh from the facade of his store, come back and tell me that the "arabic news media" doesn't show the "muslim world" that the terrorists in Iraq are brutal.

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abigsmurf
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Last time I checked, isn't the use of flares and night vision goggles the standard practice for time urban warfare?

*edit*

reading a few articles about it, it seems that non-US media are reporting that they dropped large amounts of the chemical and the US media is saying they were standard flares...

*sigh*

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DesertRat
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I will try to address these many comments to the best of my ability. As a general item, however, I STRONGLY recommend everyone interested in the subject read Bing West's new book, "No True Glory." It's compelling and very detailed account of both battles in Fallujah (Vigilant Resolve, Apr 04, and Al Fajr, Nov 04). If anyone is looking for cites for some of the stuff I'm about to talk about, I can refer you to multiple sources, but no publicly available source that I'm aware of is more thorough or complete than that book.

quote:
You may have missed the part where the US army used an indiscriminate chemical weapon (sorry, incendiary device) in a densely-populated city without prior warning to the civilians.

If find it unlikely that illuminating enemy position would justify killing civilians by burning off their skin.

Actually, there was AMPLE warning, during both battles, the CF were preparing to attack the city. We undertook a VERY aggressive IO / public information campaign to drive the civilians out of the city prior to the kicking off offensive operations, and we were--for the most part-- very successful. There were some who couldn't, wouldn't, or didn't leave... but it was not for lack of warning. Bottom line, if you have been given ample warning and instruction to depart or be caught in the crossfire of impending combat operations, the onus is on you to leave.

And like I said... we were VERY successful. Civilian casualties were amazingly low, compared to what they could have been had we not taken such an effort to avoid them.

I don't think that many people really have a full appreciation of how HARD the US Military tries to avoid collateral damage. Believe it or not, the JAG is a key mission planner in every major operation, and one of they key focuses of planning is the best way to mitigate collateral damage while still achieving the objective. Meanwhile, at the tactical level, our small unit leaders apply RIGOROUS professionalism and restraint while engaging in combat operations, especially an in urban environment.

Is this going to prevent 100% of civilian casualties? Sadly, no. War is war, and--especially in densely populated urban areas--when high amounts of lead are being pushed through the air at high velocity, bad things are going to happen. The belief that combat operations can be prosecuted with no civilian casualties is simply fantasy; it CANNOT be done. However, the US Military has elevated to a near art-form the skill of avoiding as many of these unfortunate incidents as possible.

For my part, I have participated (in a planning and support role) in operations that have had unintended civilian casualties. Do I regret every one? Yes. Would I do anything differently, had I to do it over again? Absolutely not.

People need to accept that THIS is what makes war so terrible. This is why we should enter into war only when vitally necessary, and once we're in it, prosecute it as AGGRESSIVELY as possible in order to end it quickly.

As for the specific issue... there is nothing "remarkable" or unusual about WP. EVERY MAJOR WESTERN ARMY in the world uses it--it's just another tool in the shed, and every military professional is aware of this tool, how it is employed, and the effects. Why should we have made a "special bulletin" that we're going to use it? That is hardly a news flash... we might as well announce to the world that we are using bullets and bombs as well. That is how unremarkable the use of WP is to the military professional. Once again, perhaps if the civilian populace took a more active interest in how their militaries work, and how combat operations are prosecuted, they wouldn't be as apt to be shocked by the obvious. (FYI, this isn't a slur directed at you, Bug, or anyone on this board, just a general observation.)

quote:
The documentary, entitled Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, also provides what it claims is clinching evidence that incendiary bombs known as Mark 77, a new, improved form of napalm, was used in the attack on Fallujah, in breach of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, which only allows its use against military targets.
Everything we struck in Fallujah WAS a legit military target. The insurgents we were facing were declared hostile, and our forces by and large acted in rigorous compliance with the ROE. Again, I wish the military planning process could somehow be made more visible to the general public... I think they'd be shocked at how much RESTRAINT we show, and how much emphasis is placed on what we can't strike, vice what we can.

quote:
These people were civilians, seems like a very clynical and flippant comment to make, did you look at the photos?
Kasabian, as an intelligence professional, one of my key duties is to assist in the process of battle damage assessment. I've seen photos that you never will, and never want to. I never stop being disturbed by the gore and barbarity of modern war; however, I am a professional, and able to take a step back and take a detached view of things. Those photos, as horrible as they are, represent the EXCEPTION rather than the rule; they are the tragic side effect of war. My comment was neither flippant, nor cynical; it was an honest question about the hypocrisy of those who feel that civilians killed by "WP" are somehow "more dead", or "more tragic", than those killed by exploding bombs, artillery fragments, or stray bullets. At the end of the day, war is horrible... no one knows that better than the servicemember who has to fight it.

Bottom line, it's curious how you never hear about Fallujah NOW... how it has become the success story of the Al Anbar province.... how the infrastructure has been restored... how the local security apparatus grows in professionalism and proficiency every day... how the citizens voted in numbers that put America to shame... how, with the exception of the few, the population has turned AWAY from violent resistance and embraced cooperation with the new Iraqi government... I wonder when the media is going to get around to reporting any of that.

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High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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aranea russus
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I think it's clear that what we've got is a dual use weapon / piece of equipment. If you fire it into the air to light battle scenes then that's an accepted use. If you fire it into enemy soldiers and civilians it's seen as bad.

So did the civilians just get in the way of the phosphorous "fall out", a case for unfortunate luck, or was it deliberately directed at the the site? The independent article doesn't necessarily say that it was, just the the stuff was going to be used.

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BlueStar
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Waffles, should have read the thread properly!
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Ouch My Ankle
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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
quote:
Originally posted by Ouch My Ankle:
Fine. I'm totally, 100% wrong. I don't know what you people want from me.

We wanted you to spit the dummy. And what do you know, you did.
Why have an intelligent discussion when you can simply jump down someone's throat when you disagree with them?
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trollface
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But nobody's done that. And even if they had, it still doesn't make throwing a tantrum any more rational.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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Ouch My Ankle
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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
But nobody's done that. And even if they had, it still doesn't make throwing a tantrum any more rational.

I respectfully disagree. I posted my opinion. a couple people posted replies a little short on facts and with a distinct "what are you, some sort of dumbass?" tone. In my opinion, that's jumping down someone's throat.
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trollface
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A little short on facts? Like that Al-Jazeera cannot maky up news and that the Iraqi government doesn't approve of the blowing up of its own members? Are those not facts?

And it still doesn't make throwing a tantrum a valid debating technique.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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Archie2K
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@Desert Rat: The Independent has been vehemently, militantly anti-war from the beginning and continues to be, including having a front page story on how Bush told Abu Mazen in private that "God told him to invade Iraq" or words to that effect. That this story comes from them does not surprise me.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that the article is wrong, just that the stance and promimence given may reflect the stance of the paper it appeared in.

In other news, the BBC have been accused of not highlighting the good things happening in Iraq, the relative peace in the north and south, that more people have access to water and healthcare etc. Their response is essentially "How are we supposed to report that in the news? A bombing is news, that the average Iraqi's life has improved in some respects just isn't".

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abigsmurf
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however these "good things" are things that were standard in Saddam's rule. Reporting that standards are back up to pre-war iraq is something that requires a fair bit of spin to pull off as good news.

The BBC also has the problem of long term reporting . You can't simply keep saying xxx city now has water, it would get boring fast no one would read that. Nor can you spice it up and keep it interesting by doing "public interest" stories like 'British soldier gives iraqi child lollypop' as that leaves them open to allegations of spin.

To use a phrase my dad uses all the time, the BBC can't do wrong for doing right (or is it the other way round...). Just look at the blasting the BBC got for saying "it'll be mostly sunny with patches of rain" instead of "there will be patches of rain across the country with the rest experiencing sunshine"

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