|Home > After Saddam > Article||Friday August 8, 2003|
US forces used napalm-like MK-77 firebombs against Iraqi forces in their drive toward Baghdad last spring, a Pentagon official confirmed today, defending their use as legal and necessary.
US Marine Corps jets dropped the firebombs at least once in March to take out Iraqi positions at the town of Safwan just across the Kuwait border from the US-led invasion force, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"It is like this: you've got (an) enemy that's hard to get at. And it will save your own lives to use it, and there is no international contraventions against it," the official said.
"I don't know that there is any humane way to kill your enemy."
Marines used the napalm-like bombs on at least two other occasions
during the drive to Baghdad -- against Iraqis defending a bridge across
the Saddam Canal and near a Tigris river bridge north of the town of
Numaniyah in south central Iraq, the San Diego Tribune reported this
"We napalmed both those (bridge) approaches," Colonel Randolph Alles, the commander of Marine Air Group 11, was quoted as telling the newspaper.
"Unfortunately, there were people there because you could see them in the (cockpit) video.
"They were Iraqi soldiers there. It's no great way to die."
The MK-77 are filled with a different mix of incendiary chemicals than napalm but have the same terrifying effect, a penetrating fire that seeps into dug-in infantry positions.
"The generals love napalm," Alles was quoted as saying.
"It has a big psychological effect."
The US military destroyed its stock of napalm bombs in 2001 because they were deemed an environmental hazard.
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US defends using napalm-like firebombs
Copyright 2003. The Sydney Morning Herald.
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