US faces fresh chemical weapons claims in Iraq - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-08-2005, 11:59 PM
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The United States is facing fresh allegations that it used chemical weapons against civilians during the fight for control of the Iraqi town of Fallujah. A documentary screened on Italian state television last night accuses the US military of dropping white phosphorous bombs on the insurgent-held city. It was a year ago today when US troops launched a fierce offensive to take over Fallujah.



Washington has not signed an international treaty restricting the use of white phosphorous. It readily admits using the weapon to illuminate battlefields but officials deny using it in built-up areas. However Jeff Englehart and Garrett Reppenhagen, former soldiers who served in Iraq, say white phosphorous was used indiscriminately. "I do know that white phosphorus was used, which is definitely without a shadow of a doubt a chemical weapon."



"The white phosphorus will spread in a cloud and when it makes contact with skin its absolutely irreversible damage, burning flesh to the bone," he said. Englehart says he witnessed the results. "Yes burned, burned bodies...and burned children and burned women. White phosphorus kills indiscriminately, it's a cloud that within, in most cases in 150 meters of impact will disperse and will burn any human being or animal."



The filmmakers say Washington has tried to destroy any filmed evidence of the attack. Graphic images of the aftermath were captured by a medical team charged with identifying and burying the bodies after the attack. Italian public opinion has consistently been against the war and the Rai documentary may put the government under more pressure to withdraw the country's peacekeeping force.



http://www.euronews.net/create_html....e=318391&lng=1



there's also a video you can watch here if you really want to, it shows how people look after the us army burns them alive. any of this in the american media or is the ideological totalitarianism as alive as ever there?
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#2 Old 11-09-2005, 12:09 AM
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My roommates downloaded the video and I watched a bit of it. It's really disgusting.
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#3 Old 11-09-2005, 12:13 AM
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I wonder if they consider napalm a chemical weapon.
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#4 Old 11-09-2005, 02:27 AM
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It is extremely easy to find officials talking about the use of white phosophorous in Fallujah. Supposedly, the US government also admits to using white phosophorous in Iraq, but I cannot find the source of this statement.



The US military commonly uses it as a smoke screen, and also uses it as an incenerary weapon. Oddly, it seems that US military personel can and do enter WP clouds without having their skin burned. One article I read recommended a respirator for long term exposure to protect the nose and throat, but neglected to mention any skin protection.



From what I'm reading, the only way it is likely to damage skin is if a person is next to the weapon when it explodes and suffers bits of phosphorous embedded in the skin.



I'm also finding Italian reports of bodies being badly burnt without damage to the clothes, which seems unlikely with bad white phosphorous burns. A few Italian reports seem to mention white phosphorous being used to illuminate enemy positions, which seems to be an odd use for a weapon commonly used as a smoke screen, but perhaps that is a bad translation (perhaps they meant 'mark') or a gap in my knowledge.



Could it be that only a few people were injured by exploding white phosphorous weapons, and that strangely injured corpses were assumed to be due to white phosphorous burns, when, in fact, their injuries are inconsistant with such a device?



Admittedly, I'm not an expert in the use of white phosphorous by the US military, nor am I a chemist. I just spent the last 30 minutes searching google and educating myself.



I don't like the current war in Iraq, but that doesn't mean I'm going to embrace every non-favorable report without thinking.



Just my $.02
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#5 Old 11-09-2005, 02:40 AM
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A few Italian reports seem to mention white phosphorous being used to illuminate enemy positions, which seems to be an odd use for a weapon commonly used as a smoke screen, but perhaps that is a bad translation (perhaps they meant 'mark') or a gap in my knowledge.



I think WP can be used in flares.
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#6 Old 11-09-2005, 08:45 AM
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just FYI the video is not accessable. I got the 404 error.
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#7 Old 11-09-2005, 10:34 AM
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Democracy now had an interview with a pentagon offical yesterday 11/8/05 saying they were using white phosphorus in the Fallujah attack last year to illuminate enemy positions.



democracynow.org/index.pl?issue=20051108



The U.S. is saying WP isn't a chemical weapon, at least defined by the treaties we have signed with other nations. The U.S. has not signed any treaty banning its use specifically.
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#8 Old 11-09-2005, 10:48 AM
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I wouldn't expect it to be a chem weapon as an incendiary. But as an illuminator, I don't see it as being dangerous. It would have to be some kind of flare, which would be hanging in the sky.



But then, after reading about it here, I doubt there's much truth to that article at all.
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#9 Old 11-09-2005, 11:34 AM
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I don't know, maybe white phosphorus on it's own isn't all too bad, but we are talking about military munitions.



http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...nitions/wp.htm
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#10 Old 11-09-2005, 12:12 PM
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After reading more about it on various articles I found on google, I've decided for the moment that the article (which seems to have disappeared) was either



A) Referring to a WP incendiary device, which would tend to be no more of a chemical weapon than thermite and napalm, except that it works differently. In that case I'd say it was merely a case of a misplaced round with the chemical weapon part being used to get attention.



B) Lying about what happened to those people, or mistaken about what happened to them. There are, after all, plenty of ways to catch fire in a warzone.



Also, since phosphorus is used in some fertilizers, I wonder if it could have been the result of an improvised bomb. It'd be interesting to find out if you can do that, but I doubt I'll see it on the internet.
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#11 Old 11-09-2005, 12:16 PM
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I doubt I'll see it on the internet.



http://home.intekom.com/scotland/cookbook/022.htm



Or, maybe I don't.
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#12 Old 11-09-2005, 03:51 PM
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Here's a video:

http://www.rainews24.rai.it/ran24/inchiesta/body.asp



(Watch the English version, unless you're fluent in Italian...)

It's kind a low quality (at least the RealPlayer version).

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#13 Old 11-09-2005, 11:44 PM
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the guy with the goatee is:

1. lying

2. a total moron.

3. a lying total moron



it's really that simple. and then there's some Guardian-reading british lady that rambles on, like the whole documentary there's no focus.

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#14 Old 11-10-2005, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Indian Summer View Post

Here's a video:

http://www.rainews24.rai.it/ran24/inchiesta/body.asp



(Watch the English version, unless you're fluent in Italian...)

It's kind a low quality (at least the RealPlayer version).



This makes me want to leave the US more and more. It's a disgrace.

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#15 Old 11-10-2005, 02:29 AM
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otomik: That's the kind of response I'd expect from you (Feel free to substantiate your claims.)



I agree that there's not much focus, and I'll have to research this thing more in order to form a qualified opinion. At the moment, though, I still choose to believe there is some truth to the allegations made in the video.

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#16 Old 11-10-2005, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Indian Summer View Post

otomik: That's the kind of response I'd expect from you (Feel free to substantiate your claims.)



I agree that there's not much focus, and I'll have to research this thing more in order to form a qualified opinion. At the moment, though, I still choose to believe there is some truth to the allegations made in the video.

gather round boys and girls, lets all get know a little something about our good friend "whiskey pete" or white phosphorus.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_phosphorus

Quote:
...Use of white phosphorus is not specifically banned by any treaty, however the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (Protocol III) prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations or by air attack against military forces that are located within concentrations of civilians.

...Contrary to another popular myth, it does not burn particularly fiercely, especially in comparison to other incendiaries like thermite...

...The often-cited airdrops of smoking pellets, which are extensively documented and were part of the documentary most likely show illumination flares, which may contain a certain amount of WP, but cannot be used to intentionally cause harm to persons; although they of course can be used to set houses on fire, any major army has weaponry better suited for such a task which would be used instead if it be so desired...

the goatee guy is lying when he calls it a chemical weapon, it's not, it's ineffective if someone tried to use it that way. It's used for lighting and tracer munitions. It's not like napalm either, it doesn't stick to things, it's solid. if you want to familiarize yourself with all the reasons why a body would look "burned", "blackened" or "mutilated" go watch CSI or ask someone in forensics. blackened skin a common sign of necrosis even in frostbite. if you want to know what a burned body looks like, just go to rotten.com or something, those aren't burned bodies (notice their clothes aren't even burned). they made an effort to get the civilians out of fallujah, so there's no risk of protocol III being violated even if it did matter.

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#17 Old 11-10-2005, 03:51 AM
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And what about the Mk-77 allegations?

(See also wikipedia.)

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#18 Old 11-10-2005, 05:18 AM
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And what about the Mk-77 allegations?

(See also wikipedia.)

what about the mk-77? it's not a chemical weapon either.

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#19 Old 11-10-2005, 04:21 PM
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So? Yes, it's not technically a chemical weapon, but that seems to be a common misconception, also in the media. It's a weapon and it contains nasty chemically reactive substances. It's like napalm, only more effective. That makes it a chemical weapon in the minds of the laity. (And I'm sure you know, but for someone to be a liar, they need to consciously speak untruthfully. I don't think "goatee" did...)



Anyway, the technical category of this weapon is beside the point. The point is that nasty, banned weapons (not banned by the USA) were used, and civilians were killed as a result. And even if US forces "did an effort" to get the civilians out, they obviously failed, and they would therefore seem be in violation of the treaty IF the USA had actually signed it.

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#20 Old 11-10-2005, 09:16 PM
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http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/515?OpenDocument

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Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III). Geneva, 10 October 1980.

Full text [Display Introduction] [Display articles]

Article 1



Definitions



For the purpose of this Protocol:

1. "Incendiary weapon" means any weapon or munition which is primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat, or combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target. (a) Incendiary weapons can take the form of, for example, flame throwers, fougasses, shells, rockets, grenades, mines, bombs and other containers of incendiary substances.

(b) Incendiary weapons do not include:

(i) Munitions which may have incidental incendiary effects, such as illuminants, tracers, smoke or signalling systems;


(ii) Munitions designed to combine penetration, blast or fragmentation effects with an additional incendiary effect, such as armour-piercing projectiles, fragmentation shells, explosive bombs and similar combined-effects munitions in which the incendiary effect is not specifically designed to cause burn injury to persons, but to be used against military objectives, such as armoured vehicles, aircraft and installations or facilities.

2. "Concentration of civilians" means any concentration of civilians, be it permanent or temporary, such as in inhabited parts of cities, or inhabited towns or villages, or as in camps or columns of refugees or evacuees, or groups of nomads.

3. "Military objective" means, so far as objects are concerned, any object which by its nature, location, purpose or use makes an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.

4. "Civilian objects" are all objects which are not military objectives as defined in paragraph 3.

5. "Feasible precautions" are those precautions which are practicable or practically possible taking into account all circumstances ruling at the time, including humanitarian and military considerations.





Article 2

Protection of civilians and civilian objects



1. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects the object of attack by incendiary weapons.

2. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons.

3. It is further prohibited to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by means of incendiary weapons other than air-delivered incendiary weapons, except when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken with a view to limiting the incendiary effects to the military objective and to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.

4. It is prohibited to make forests or other kinds of plant cover the object of attack by incendiary weapons except when such natural elements are used to cover, conceal or camouflage combatants or other military objectives, or are themselves military objectives.

So whiskey pete isn't considered an incendiary by protocol III, many chemical lighting devices have incidental incendiary effects. Furthermore, they took "feasible precautions" which don't have to guarantee civilians won't be harmed, it would be foolish to promise anything like that.



Quote:
It's like napalm, only more effective.

no, not at all, absolutely wrong. if you would just take a moment to educate yourself on the matter.



Quote:
It's a weapon and it contains nasty chemically reactive substances.

so does every soldier's rifle, doesn't make it a chemical weapon. hypoallergenic non-toxic weaponry just isn't a priority i suppose. I did provide for the possibility that "goatee" isn't lying when I said it's possible he's a total moron.



Quote:
they would therefore seem be in violation of the treaty IF the USA had actually signed it.

it's not a chemical weapon and it's not a incendiary weapon, even if they did sign there would be no violation. now if having a goatee means instant credibility to you then I must admit I once had a goatee, you can trust me.

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#21 Old 11-10-2005, 11:57 PM
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Since when is it an argument that some places have banned something?
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#22 Old 11-11-2005, 12:40 PM
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http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2004..._504_10_04.txt



go down to the Shake 'n' bake section



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Joking and rousting each other like boys just seconds before, the men were instantly all business. With fellow Marines between them and their targets, a lot was at stake.



Bogert received coordinates of the target, plotted them on a map and called out the settings for the gun they call "Sarah Lee."



Millikin, 21, from Reno, Nev., and Alexander, 23, from Wetumpka, Ala., quickly made the adjustments. They are good at what they do.



"Gun up!" Millikin yelled when they finished a few seconds later, grabbing a white phosphorus round from a nearby ammo can and holding it over the tube.



"Fire!" Bogert yelled, as Millikin dropped it.



The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call "shake 'n' bake" into a cluster of buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week.



They say they have never seen what they've hit, nor did they talk about it as they dusted off their breakfast and continued their hilarious routine of personal insults and name-calling.





more from Field Artillery March-April 2005 "The Fight for Fallujah"

http://sill-www.army.mil/FAMAG/Previ.../PAGE24-30.pdf



search for shake and bake and find this



Quote:
b. White Phosphorous. WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired shake and bake missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out.

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#23 Old 11-11-2005, 12:49 PM
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otomik:



We were now talking about Mk-77, remember? Not white phosphorus. Mk-77 is clearly an incendiary weapon, and it is like napalm, only more effective because it's more difficult to put out.



Now, let me point out to you how this is in violation of Protocool III. Mk-77 is an air-dropped incendiary bomb. If you go to Article 2, 2nd sentence:

Quote:
2. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons.

As you can see, whether or not any precautions were taken is irrelevant for this kind of weapon.



PS: I'm not particularly fond of goatees, but I'm still glad that at least our friend "goatee" now might be off the hook

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#24 Old 11-11-2005, 02:29 PM
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#25 Old 11-11-2005, 03:27 PM
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That's a pretty sensible and well-argued policy prescription, there.



ebola
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#26 Old 11-11-2005, 03:29 PM
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We were now talking about Mk-77, remember? Not white phosphorus. Mk-77 is clearly an incendiary weapon, and it is like napalm, only more effective because it's more difficult to put out.

are you sure you aren't combining descriptions of the whiskey pete and the mk-77? mk-77 is just kerosene with some styrofoam dissolved into it, you can make it yourself, it's not nasty. kerosene isn't safe to eat or anything but it's just a hydrocarbon with chains in between the length of gasoline and diesel. modern styrofoam is safe to burn and it's manufacture no longer releases CFCs, it is supplied by the dow chemical company. It has no oxidizer so I don't know how it would be harder to put out. Where did you hear this? whiskey pete is difficult to put out.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian Summer View Post

Now, let me point out to you how this is in violation of Protocool III. Mk-77 is an air-dropped incendiary bomb. If you go to Article 2, 2nd sentence:



As you can see, whether or not any precautions were taken is irrelevant for this kind of weapon.



PS: I'm not particularly fond of goatees, but I'm still glad that at least our friend "goatee" now might be off the hook

precautions do matter because it determines partially if it's being used on civilian concentrations. just to recap an air-dropped incendiary weapon is verboten within an concentration of civilians and other means of delivering incendiary weapons can be used if feasible precautions are taken. I wasn't there, I can't speak to how many civilians were around, they did make feasible precautions but as to whether or not these objectives were in concentrations of civilians at the time the mk-77 was dropped (which is important whether it's air-dropped or other means), I don't know, they told all civilians to get out. The US didn't sign it, at best it's a matter for leaders to discuss with their allies in the coalition (did you expect us to abide by protocol III, were our standards of "civilian concentrations" and "feasible precautions" meet your standards?). To be honest I think it's fine, maybe some soldiers are using whiskey pete in unorthodox ways, even if that makes it incendiary protocol III says it's fine if you take feasible precautions. I don't think protocol III matters much, I was just pissed "goatee" said whiskey pete was a chemical weapon, he is most assuredly not off the hook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Protocol III View Post

"Concentration of civilians" means any concentration of civilians, be it permanent or temporary, such as in inhabited parts of cities, or inhabited towns or villages, or as in camps or columns of refugees or evacuees, or groups of nomads.


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#27 Old 11-11-2005, 04:13 PM
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are you sure you aren't combining descriptions of the whiskey pete and the mk-77? mk-77 is just kerosene with some styrofoam dissolved into it, you can make it yourself, it's not nasty. kerosene isn't safe to eat or anything but it's just a hydrocarbon with chains in between the length of gasoline and diesel. modern styrofoam is safe to burn and it's manufacture no longer releases CFCs, it is supplied by the dow chemical company. It has no oxidizer so I don't know how it would be harder to put out. Where did you hear this? whiskey pete is difficult to put out.



No, I don't think so. My source is Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Mark 77 is a US 750-lb (340-kg) air-dropped incendiary bomb that carries 110 gallons (415 litres) of a fuel gel mix that is the direct successor to napalm. [...]



Thirty Mk-77s were also used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. [...]



The chemical used differs from napalm of the Vietnam War era in that it is based on kerosene and a polystyrene-like gel and reportedly contains an oxidizing agent. This will make it even more difficult to put out once ignited. The official designation of Vietnam-era napalm bombs is the Mark 47. Mk-77s are commonly referred to as napalm in US Military slang. [...]



Re: violation of Protocool III, it seems it now comes down to whether Mk-77s were actually dropped in areas with concentrations of civilians.

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Whenever I show up to make a sensible suggestion, you can count on mr ebola not being far behind to berate me.
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#29 Old 11-11-2005, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Indian Summer View Post

Re: violation of Protocool III, it seems it now comes down to whether Mk-77s were actually dropped in areas with concentrations of civilians.

no it doesn't. they didn't sign it, this is all hypothetical. it's not a legal matter, it's about opinion regarding the US and are they perceived as living up to evolving standards of decency in warfare. when people say crap about the US using chemical weapons it doesn't help.



find me the oxidizer because all I'm seeing for this Napalm-B is kerosene, styrofoam and benzene, I consider the oxidizer hearsay at this point. really an oxidizer sounds like a bad idea, it could burn explosively and not end up burning as much as it should.

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#30 Old 11-11-2005, 07:37 PM
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>>

Whenever I show up to make a sensible suggestion, you can count on mr ebola not being far behind to berate me.>>



This may or may not be true.

You'd have to say something sensible first to put this to the test.



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