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Lie of the Decade: Depleted Uranium Is Harmless

The American use of depleted uranium munitions in both Persian Gulf wars has unleashed a toxic disaster that will eclipse the Agent Orange tragedy of the Vietnam War. Early indications of depleted uranium hazards leads to coverup; U.S. veterans health problems untreated and ignored.
Warning of toxic aftermath from uranium munitions

07/22/03 (Buffalo News) The American use of depleted uranium munitions in both Persian Gulf wars has unleashed a toxic disaster that will eclipse the Agent Orange tragedy of the Vietnam War, a former top Army official said Monday evening.

Former Maj. Douglas Rokke, who was director of the Army's depleted uranium project, spoke to 125 people at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society. The Champaign, Ill., science professor was brought here by the Western New York Peace Center.

"I am a warrior," the 54-year-old Vietnam War veteran began. "The sole purpose of war is to kill and destroy. There are no winners."

Dressed in sneakers, blue jeans and a red polo shirt, Rokke fit the image of an animated science professor, hair tousled, adjusting his glasses and eager to impart his findings to the next generation.

If what he says is true, students will soon have yet another chapter of heartbreaking history to study in the schools. If he is wrong, it will take years to disprove.

Called to active duty in 1990, Rokke said, he was assigned to develop procedures for cleaning up uranium contamination after "they decided to use depleted uranium munitions" in the war to expel Iraq from Kuwait.

"They didn't tell anybody what they were doing. Why would they? Depleted uranium munitions are the ultimate weapon. Each round fired by an Abrams tank (represents) 10 pounds of solid uranium-238. The purpose of war is to kill and destroy."

Rokke said his team in the gulf blew up vehicles and structures with these munitions and then tested the wreckage for radioactive contamination. He said they found that uranium dust is so fine that it acts like a gas, seeping through the tiny pores of protective masks.

The United States blew up Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in Kuwait and on the Saudi Arabian border in the first gulf war, Rokke said. As a precaution, American personnel were inoculated before entering the field, but "we were told not to record it, and it's not in the soldiers' medical records."

Uranium munitions were also used during the recent war in Iraq, he added.

"It's like playing darts," he said, "except you're playing with 10 pounds of solid uranium and it catches fire immediately. You lose nearly 40 percent of the round in uranium dust. It contaminates air, water and soil for all eternity."

Rokke said an "infamous memo" from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico on March 1, 1991, warned of the "impact on the environment" of depleted uranium rounds and suggested that they "may become politically unacceptable." Today he interprets the memo as "a direct order to lie."

The memo from Los Alamos - where the first atomic bombs were developed and tested during World War II - prevented the military from acknowledging the danger of these munitions, Rokke said.

"The United States used 375 tons in Gulf War I," Rokke said. "My orders were to take care of U.S. casualties and vehicles" that had been hit by "friendly fire.'

"Myself and my team members started to get sick almost immediately. It started with respiratory problems, then rashes."

But the procedures developed by his team were never implemented, Rokke said, despite a military order of June 1991 to treat these personnel. Recalling a wounded friend who suffered tumors where uranium shrapnel had been left in his body, he said the authorities found "no compelling evidence" of a connection and refused to authorize removal of the shrapnel or special treatment.

In his own case, Rokke added, his body has six times the amount of uranium that usually requires medical care but has received no help or advice from the government.

"The technology of war is out of control," Rokke concluded. "We don't have the ability to clean it up (or) treat it. I'm a warrior, but my conclusion is that war is obsolete. A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report says over 221,000 of our sons and daughters are on permanent disability and over 10,000 dead - one-third of our Gulf War I force. And they're coming back sick right now."

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hmm... 23.Jul.2003 13:05

this thing here

>A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report says over 221,000 of our sons and daughters are on permanent disability and over 10,000 dead - one-third of our Gulf War I force.<

... that's funny. i thought only maybe 100-200 were killed and maybe a few thousand injured. now why would there be such a huge discrepancy if the government was being honest...

oh wait, that's right. DU "is" perfectly "safe". after all, it's in the same condition before it's fired as it is after it's fired, right? and no soldier can inhale whole 30mm and 105 mm rounds right! plus, it's radiation has been depleted, which means it can't cause cancer anymore. so to say that DU is a threat is insane. this man is obviously lying and is trying to cause trouble and get money. there's "nothing" to worry about...

dead 23.Jul.2003 15:45

mike

they're dead because of toxic vaccines, and the toxic brews they inhaled in the war. Many many are sick and dying.

even if it wasn't DU... 23.Jul.2003 16:19

this thing here

... and instead a toxic cocktail of vaccines and anti-nerve agents, it doesn't diminish the monstrosity of the crime. someone fucked up. someone is responsible. all the more so if there has been any effort to cover up.

but even more importantly, how 10,000 soldiers can die, and 100,000 suffer side-effects of SOMETHING, right under the nose of american society, american politics, and the american media, without any kind of concern or care, is to me a sign of how fucked and totally lost america is.

nobody wants, or seems to have the energy neccessary, to hold anyone accountable for anything. it's this kind of blind, apathetic, drop the ball, it doesn't matter attitude that has given the green light for the two centers of power in this country, politics and business, to marry and create a crime family of gangsters and professional liars, one side of the family the criminals and the other side it's lawyers. as there was no national outrage after the first gulf war, no attempt by the press or the government to investigate, and instead what i remember as nothing but doe-eyed apathy at the mention of gulf war syndrome ten years ago, this was taken by the government to be the green light to use DU and perhaps even the same anti-nerve agents yet again just a few months ago...