"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, June 17, 2005

The War Prayer

The real essence of Twain's famous "War Prayer" is not that war is horrible, or that we should be careful what we ask for, we might get it. It is that we don't want to know what war is like. Remember the outrage over "Fahrenheit 911"? Much of it focussed on Moore's use of film of people in Baghdad before and after the bombs starting falling.

Via Holden, I learned this morning that the U.S. is using "something like" napalm in Iraq, MK77. This comes out because the U.S. lied to the British about using MK77. Interestingly, this information has been available on the U.S. State Department's website. Interestingly, the story comes out in a British newspaper. And while I share Holden's outrage about the use of this incendiary device (it is properly "internationally reviled"), to me, this is the "money quote:"
Mr Ingram did not explain why the US officials had misled him, but the US and British governments were accused of a cover-up. The Iraq Analysis Group, which campaigned against the war, said the US authorities only admitted the use of the weapons after the evidence from reporters had become irrefutable.
I can find only one news reference to MK77, by Indymedia. I can't get that link to work, but I've heard some of Indymedia's servers are down, perhaps permanently. It may be the link went with them. That, however, is all Google has to show. Which leaves me wondering which "reporters" are being referred to in that article.

What is MK77? According to the article, " evolution of the napalm used in Vietnam and Korea, [the bombs] carry kerosene-based jet fuel and polystyrene so that, like napalm, the gel sticks to structures and to its victims. The bombs lack stabilising fins, making them far from precise."

The mixture inside is, in fact, napalm. It has no stablizing fins so it can spread the gellied substance over a wider area. Each MK77 canister carries about 75 gallons of napalm. It is understandable why it is "internationally reviled" as a weapon of war. Dropping the name for the military bomb designation is a cheap bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand. But then again, the U.S. seems to operate under the rubric of "don't ask, don't tell."

And has, at least since the time of Mark Twain.


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