Sunday, September 08, 2013

What Col. Wilkerson said


Retd. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson was interviewed by Chris Hayes on MSNBC some days ago, and some of the transcript was just posted on dailykos.

What I hear Wilkerson saying is that death by napalm or white phosphorus weapons is more horrible than death by sarin gas; but only sarin gas is outlawed as chemical warfare; and that the reason we don't ban napalm or white phosphorus weapons (and the US doesn't join in the land mine ban) is because these are highly effective weapons, compared to poison gas.
Chris Hayes: What do you think when you watch him talk about the Iraq experience. Do you think we’ve learned our lesson?

Lawrence Wilkerson: In some ways perhaps, in other ways not. My first reaction and this in no way meant to be cold. It is meant to be the exact opposite. What’s the difference in a child dying of sarin gas in the night, a child dying in the morning with napalm, and a child dying in the afternoon with white phosphorous? Personally as a soldier I rather die of the sarin gas than the other two; those other two perfectly legal. And many people in Syria are dying of other causes than chemical weapons. So I have a real problem with this from that point of view.

Chris Hayes: So you question drawing this ring around this class of weapon in the way the civilized world, if we can use that phrase, has basically said you can’t do this.

Lawrence Wilkerson: The main reason we have a chemical weapons ban and the success we do with over a hundred and eighty eight countries members of the convention is because they aren’t very good weapons. That’s the real reason. Look at why the United States continues to use depleted uranium, white phosphorous, wouldn’t join the land mine ban and so forth is all because we find utility in the weapons. That’s not to be cold. That’s simply to be rational about it.