Top 10 Most Atrocious War Crimes in Video Games

3. Spec Ops: The LineWhite phosphorous used in a manner contrary to the Convention on Chemical Weapons.

Spec Ops: The Line White Phosphorous

In Spec Ops’ seminal scene, the protagonist, Martin Walker, uses this terrifying chemical weapon to attack US army members – and accidentally incinerates thirty civilians. In this context, WP, or ‘Willy Pete’, probably counts as an ‘incendiary weapon’ under protocol III of the Convention on Chemical Weapons (of which the USA is a signatory). The same protocol forbids “indiscriminate incendiary attacks against military forces co-located with civilians”.

Walker would surely raise in his defence that he did not realise there were civilians nearby. But the use of WP against purely military targets may also be illegal. In Iraq, many reports claimed that US forces had used WP as an anti-personnel weapon in the city of Fallujah, and US army sources admitted as much. WP is controversial because it can be used legally to produce illumination or smokescreens, and forces using it as a weapon often muddy the waters by claiming they’ve only used it ‘legitimately’. But Peter Kaiser, a spokesman for the organisation which oversees the CWC, has said that if the “toxic properties” of WP are used to cause harm or death, it would necessarily fall under the definition of a chemical weapon.