White phosphorus is an easily produced compound that has numerous military applications. It burns brightly and persistently. In battle, it can create a smokescreen that can hide troop movements.
These uses are not objectionable but the status of white phosphorus is complex. It is not normally used offensively, though it sometimes is employed as a makeshift weapon. When this happens, it can be dangerous. Continue reading →
The battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group continues to rage. The group, skilled in guerrilla and asymmetric warfare, will fight hard, not so much to retain the city, but to cause as much damage as possible to the forces of the global coalition. Continue reading →
On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the executive summary and portions of an as yet unpublished report into the torture undertaken by the CIA. In the following days, much was revealed about American programmes of ‘enhanced interrogation’. We had all heard of ‘waterboarding’, of course, but this was different. In scale, intensity and variety, the programmes of torture as described in the report eclipse the expectations of all but the most seasoned and pessimistic of observers. Continue reading →