The Unseen War in Iraq

When troops are cut, we'll still be bombing the hell out of the place

Some reporters, notably James Crawley of The San Diego Union-Tribune, kept digging. Five months later, in August 2003, the Pentagon finally admitted that while it wasn't exactly napalm, it was a very close relative. The napalm formula used in Vietnam was made from polystyrene (the jellying agent), benzene, and gasoline. After the protests and the U.N. ban, the military substituted jet fuel for the gasoline and benzene—and were now calling the weapon a Mark 77 firebomb. Its effects on a target were "remarkably similar" to the old napalm, the Pentagon said, but this version had "less of an impact on the environment."

The Pentagon's moral of the story: We did not seek to deceive. If only the reporters had referred to the device by its correct name, there would have been no confusion.

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