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United States Did NOT Use Chemical Weapons in Iraq

White phosphorus erroneously described as a chemical weapon

Posted: November 9, 2005

On November 8, 2005 an Italian television documentary falsely claimed that U.S. forces had used chemical weapons during anti-insurgent operations in Fallujah, Iraq in November 2004. The documentary erroneously describes white phosphorus as a chemical weapon.

White phosphorus is simply another conventional munition - it is not a chemical weapon. White phosphorus munitions are not outlawed or illegal. U.S. forces primarily use them as obscurants, i.e., smoke screens, or for target marking.

Suggestions that U.S. forces targeted civilians with this weapon are simply wrong.

* Coalition Forces (CF) have not targeted the Iraqi civilian population during Operation Iraqi Freedom. CF go to extreme lengths to ensure that everything possible is done to ensure that civilians and noncombatants are not put in harm's way during our operations.

* The Iraqi security forces and multi-national force have been engaged in operations against the terrorists, insurgents and former regime elements for the past two and a half years. In that regard, this conflict has been prosecuted in the most precise fashion of any conflict in the history of modern warfare.

* The loss of any innocent life is a tragedy, something that Iraqi security forces and coalition forces painstakingly work to avoid every single day. Former regime elements, terrorists and insurgents have made a practice of deliberately targeting noncombatants; of using civilians as human shields; and of operating and conducting attacks against coalition forces from within areas inhabited by civilians.

We have seen these baseless charges before. Had the producers of the documentary exercised due diligence and sought comment from the U.S. Department of Defense, we would have certainly told them that the premise of the program was simply erroneous.

Visit the USINFO website to find out more about Identifying Misinformation.

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