When white phosphorus lands on skin it burns deeply through muscle and into the bone, continuing to burn until deprived of oxygen.
Amnesty International’s delegates found still-burning white phosphorus wedges all around residential buildings on Sunday. These wedges were further endangering the residents and their property; streets and alleys are full of children playing, drawn to the detritus of war and often unaware of the danger.
The carrier shells which delivered the wedges were also still lying in and around houses and buildings. Some of these heavy steel 155mm shells have caused extensive damage to residential properties.
Question: Is the use of depleted uranium weaponary classified as a Chemical Weapon?
The use of white phosphorus as an obscurant is legal. Article 1 of Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons defines an incendiary weapon as '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'.
The same protocol also prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilians (already forbidden by the Geneva Conventions) or against military targets in close proximity to civilians or civilian property. This protocol is only binding upon those who have signed it; the United States, has not signed or agreed to Protocol III.
However, regardless of whether or not a country or territory has signed or agreed to abide by protocol III of the CCCW, the use of white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against military targets that are not in close proximity to civilians or civilian property is completely legal. (Emphasis added)
White phosphorus is an interesting example because it's primary purpose is to produce smoke to provide concealment or mark locations. It is also used to start fires. Yes, it burns if it gets on you, but I've been burned by a dripping marshmallow at a campfire.
I quite agree with all of that. If it's burning and gets on you, real pain is just an instant away. No argument.
Difference between it and a "melting marshmallow" is that a marshmallow will cool away from the fire.
Phosphorus spontaneous ignites in contact with oxygen. The human body is mostly water (which contains Oxygen), so it will burn and continue to burn its way to the bone. Imagine having a fire in your body that you cannot put out. The flesh involved with the phosphorus must be entirely cut away to remove the remaining phosphorous.
Here, I'm having a little more trouble, but it may very well be that some of my disagreement doesn't matter. You say it's an anti-personnel weapon, and I say it's a multi-purpose weapon which can be, but is not primarily, anti-personnel. You know, looking at it, I'm not sure it makes much of a difference, so I'll agree with you on that one, too.
Phosphorous is most certainly an anti personnel weapon.
That is a chemical reaction and a chemical weapon.