Tuesday, March 07, 2006

[politics] Codicil: WP as an anti-personnel munition & Zogby

Oh yeah, there was one other thing buried in Zogby's poll of troops stationed in Iraq that I thought was interesting. Remember all the noise out and about in the pro-military blogosphere in early- to mid-November about how white phosphorus (WP) and napalm are perfectly acceptable munitions to use in an anti-personnel role? Well, approximately 80% of the service members surveyed by Zogby disagree with that statement. Think about that for a second: 80% think it is unacceptable to use WP or napalm-like munitions against the Iraqi insurgency. 80%. In case you don't remember, a lot of what was said to discredit those who questioned the legitimacy of the use of WP and other incendiaries in Fallujah consisted largely of variations on "you haven't served"/"you don't know what you're talking about"/yadda yadda. This makes it easy for me to imagine the same criticisms being levelled against these survey results: Zogby underrepresented combat troops, he only surveyed desk jockeys and truckers and quartermasters, and so on and so forth. I don't know what the ratio is of combat arms to combat support to combat service support troops on the ground in Iraq - if previous wars are any yardstick, it's entirely possible that only 20% of our military personnel in Iraq are deployed with combat units (I've found unsourced statements that put the US Military's "tooth-to-tail" ratio at anywhere from 1:10 to 50:50, so YMMV). It's also possible that 100% of those service members who think that WP and other incendiary munitions are not legitimate anti-personnel weapons are not serving in combat roles - they just don't know what they're talking about, because they're part of the tail, and not the teeth. But somehow I doubt it.

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