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Nov 17, 2014

Staying Ahead of Hitler- Who's Evil Now?

Recently there've been some embarrassing revelations that the U.S. did find WMDs 10 years ago in Iraq: OURS! In fact at least 600 in the U.S. military were hurt.
"Like One Forsaken Among the Dead" by Tim Holmes

Meanwhile I discovered that there were a few quiet stories in Nov. 2005 about U.S. military use of white phosphorus weapons against militants (and civilians, though that was not apparently intentional) in Fallouja, Iraq in Nov. 2004. (The Guardian, LA Times, Field Artillery magazine [link removed] etc.) Apparently the justification is that phosphorus is technically an "incendiary" weapon, not a chemical one, ("when it comes in contact with humans, the chemical will burn through to the bone.") and that the U.S. never signed the international treaties that prohibit that use.

When it came to light that Syria used them in 2013, the world rose up in alarm. So how is it that the U.S. can get away with using flesh-burning phosphorus and there be almost no press attention and zero consequences? U.S. Sec of State. John Kerry said "the use of any chemical weapon is an abhorrent act; it is against international law", and mentioned Hitler. What he didn't say was that Hitler refused on humanitarian grounds to use chemical weapons! Are we really going to let Hitler beat us on this?

I write in desperation because if it is true that the U.S. is perpetrating war crimes then now that I know, I am implicated! (I hate to say this, but now that you know, you are too!) I am scrambling now to figure out what to do. How can I absolve myself of responsibility? My taxes are due in 5 months. If I don't pay them I'll be imprisoned. If I do it seems I am aiding and abetting a war crime! My only out is to convince the world that a flesh-burning metal is not really a "chemical" weapon. Anybody stepping up to defend me on that? Hitler? ANYBODY?

US use of white phosphorus in Iraq may constitute a war crime

The LA Times says:
 The Pentagon and other U.S. officials at first denied, and later admitted, that troops had used white phosphorus as a weapon against insurgents in Fallouja during that fiercely fought campaign. Its use became public because of questions raised by an Italian television documentary Nov. 8, [2005] which alleged that civilians had been targeted "indiscriminately" and that hundreds had died....

Incendiaries are considered particularly inhumane weapons under international treaty, and a 1980 United Nations convention limits their use. The U.S. has not signed the part of the convention that deals with incendiary weapons. "

White Phosphorus was used: "according to... Field Artillery magazine, 'as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes...' The article states that US forces used white phosphorus rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds...
We were told that the war with Iraq was necessary for two reasons. Saddam Hussein possessed biological and chemical weapons and might one day use them against another nation. And the Iraqi people needed to be liberated from his oppressive regime, which had, among its other crimes, used chemical weapons to kill them. "

(Boston Globe):
Politically, the fact that even Hitler did not unleash chemicals as a weapon of combat (despite using gas on a massive scale in extermination camps) served to further cast the use of chemical weapons as something aberrant and inhuman.

New York Times:
"Hitler, himself gassed during World War I, refused to order its use against combatants, however willing he and the Nazis were to gas noncombatant Jews, Gypsies and others...
The world’s indifference altered sharply, however, in March 1988, when Mr. Hussein killed between 3,200 and 5,000 Kurds around the town of Halabja and injured thousands more, most of them civilians, some of whom died later from complications.
The Halabja killings, considered the largest chemical warfare attack ever directed at civilians, led to the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, in force since 1997, which bans not just the use but also the possession, manufacture and transfer of chemical weapons. It has since been signed and ratified by 189 states, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which carries out the treaty. Syria is among only five states — with North Korea, South Sudan, Angola and Egypt — that have neither signed nor ratified it"

United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention, which came into force in 1997, limits not just the use but the production and sale of chemical weapons.

Global Research:
Cpl. Nicholas Bogert, 22, of Morris, N.Y.:
"Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused....They say they have never seen what they’ve hit, nor did they talk about it..."

Washington Post:
"The State Department, in response, initially denied that U.S. troops had used white phosphorous against enemy forces. "They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."
The department later said its statement had been incorrect."
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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.