Gal Beckerman over at CJR Daily takes the U.S. press to task for failing to investigate allegations that the Pentagon dropped white phosphorus bombs on Fallujah. While the Italian documentary that recently aired did not present conclusive evidence, there is plenty of material that deserves investigation -- especially since the U.S. military has admitted using these weapons "to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."
Reuters sent out on its wire yesterday an article focusing on the U.S. military's denial of the Italian accusation. Few picked up on it, and not a single outlet ran an independent piece reporting on the story.
For the moment, the only place the story seems to have gotten any play is on the Internet. And if it's simply a wild conspiracy theory, then we guess that's where it belongs.
But the images in the documentary are horrifying. Even though the film seems suspiciously like another piece of European anti-American propaganda (the documentary features a soundtrack of a woman wailing in Arabic), can the press really ignore those strangely dissolved bodies? They hardly seem like natural deaths, or the corpses of people caught in crossfire. It's hard to look at the melted forms of women and children and not wonder if there isn't some truth to the claim that, even if accidentally, white phosphorus was indeed dropped on the city.
And that's why this story demands a closer look from the American press. We deserve to know whether or not the allegations have any merit -- and whether or not the military has been misleading us about the weapons it's using in Iraq. [LINK]To simply ignore these reports in the name of "responsible" journalism is the worst kind of cowardice.