portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements global

energy & nuclear | environment | imperialism & war

WMDs found in Iraq!!

This is a repost of piece by Bob Nichols. IT covers the very real effects of US ammo called Depleted Uranium Rounds. I have not verified the tonnage he claims, but as the joke goes, "I don't think the size matters!" when it comes to this stuff. Antipersonel mines with 50k year half life.
There Are No Words
By Bob Nichols
Dissident Voice.org
6-30-5

As a writer, I do not have a set of words to describe what 142 Degrees in the shade is like. I've seen 120 D. in Phoenix and 110 D in the spa's sauna I use. One hundred forty-two degrees leaves me speechless. Try to imagine 142 D temperature while wearing a helmet, long sleeve shirt, long pants, a bullet proof vest, boots, and carrying a 70 pound pack.

By contrast the Inuit of Alaska and Canada have thirty-seven words to precisely talk about different kinds of snow.

So, since the temperature is heating up in Iraq it seemed like a good time to float this story to different Internet sites and news publications. There was one story in 2003 of one 19 year old British soldier whose military job was to work in a British tank. In Iraq. In the summer. Word is, from London, that he forgot to drink enough water and he literally cooked in his tank.

But, this story is not about the temperature in Iraq. You can bet, though, the weather will be really important for those Americans unfortunate enough to still be in Iraq this summer.

This story is about American weapons built with Uranium components for the business end of things. Just about all American bullets, 120 mm tank shells, missiles, dumb bombs, smart bombs, 500 and 2,000 pound bombs, cruise missiles, and anything else engineered to help our side in the war of us against them has Uranium in it. Lots of Uranium.

In the case of a cruise missile, as much as 800 pounds of the stuff. This article is about how much radioactive uranium our guys, representing us, the citizens of the United States, let fly in Iraq. Turns out they used about 4,000,000 pounds of the stuff, give or take. That is a bunch.

Now, most people have no idea how much Four Million Pounds of anything is, much less of Uranium Dust (UD), which this stuff turns into when it is shot or exploded. Suffice it to say it is about equal to 1,333 cars that weigh three thousand pounds per car. That is a lot of cars; but, we can imagine what a parking lot with one thousand three hundred and thirty three cars is like. The point is: this was and is an industrial strength operation. It is still going on, too.

No sir-ee, putting Four Million Pounds of Radioactive Uranium Dust (RUD) on the ground in Iraq was a definitely "on-purpose" kind of thing. It was not "just an accident." We, the citizens of the United States, through our kids in the Army, did this on purpose.

When the uranium bullets, missiles, or bombs hit something or explode most of the radioactive uranium turns instantly to very, very small dust particles, too fine to even see. When US Troopers or Iraqis breathe even a tiny amount into their lungs, as little as One Gram, it is the same as getting an X-Ray every hour for the rest of their shortened life.

The uranium cannot be removed, there is no treatment, there is no cure. The uranium will long outlast the Veterans' and the Iraqis' bodies though; for, you see, it lasts virtually forever.

But, it gets worse. Seems an Admiral who is the former Chief of the Naval Staff of India wanted to know how much radiation this represented. He also wanted to express the amount in a figure that the world, especially the non American world, could easily understand.

The Admiral decided to figure out how many Nagasaki Atom Bombs it would take to deliver the equivalent of the total amount of radiation deployed in Iraq in 2003 in Four Million Pounds of uranium.

The Admiral also wanted to figure out how much radiation the United States Military Forces have deployed in the last Five American Wars, the so-called Five Nuclear Wars.

That is a simple enough task for somebody like the Naval Chief of Staff for a country that is a member of the Nuclear Club. Using the Nagasaki bomb for the measuring stick is a particularly gruesome twist, though. For those of you in the States who do not know it, the United States Military Forces dropped two nuclear Bombs on Japan at the close of World War II. The whole world remembers that.

One Atom Bomb was dropped by Americans on the city of Hiroshima, the other on the city of Nagasaki three days later. About 170,000 people were incinerated immediately. It was a really big deal.

It is a measuring stick that plays very well in the rest of the world; but, not very well on Fox News (Fair & Balanced) (c) or the rest of the Fox-like American media. The Department of Energy still lists the Hiroshima and Nagasaki detonations as "tests." The admiral released the data months ago at a scientific conference in India. This article is the first report of the data in the United States. It will first be released on the Internet.

The admiral in India calculated the number of radioactive atoms in the Nagasaki bomb and compared it with the number in the 4,000,000 pounds of uranium left in Iraq from the 2003 war. Now, believe me, it is a lot more complex than that; but, that is essentially what the experts in India did.

How many Nagasaki Nuclear Bombs equal the Radiation loosed in the 2003 Iraq war? Answer: About 250,000 Nuclear Bombs.

How many Nagasaki Nuclear Bombs equal the Radiation loosed in the last Five American Nuclear Wars? Answer: About 400,000 Nuclear Bombs. Who would do something like this?

We would. The only people in the history of the world to engage in Nuclear Wars are Americans, citizens of the United States. Allegedly, the Germans and Japanese of WWII also wanted to engage in nuclear wars, except the American Military beat them to the draw, so to speak.

Respected academic scholars could debate forever whether or not Herr Hitler, Fuhrer of Germany, would have deployed uranium munitions in the Sudetenland if the weapons had been available. Certainly the Germans knew just as much about uranium wars as we did at the time. It seems doubtful that Adolph Hitler would have ordered the use of uranium munitions there because the Sudetenland was so close to the Fatherland, Nazi Germany.

An American General named Leslie Groves was in charge of the bomb making operation called The Manhattan Project. In 1943 The War Department knew exactly what uranium bullets and bombs were good for.

If the nuclear weapons did not detonate in Japan, the use of uranium bullets and bombs were the fall back position. It was not till Ronald Reagan was President in 1980 did the re-named Defense Department resurrect the deadly radioactive uranium bullets, bombs, and missiles. No wonder his popular nick-name was Ronnie Ray-Gun.

The American Military knew the symptoms of radiation poisoning in 1943 too; starting with the irritated sore throat through to an agonizing death from being cooked from the inside out.

President Bush promised to invade twelve countries in the 2003 State of the Union speech. I believe the man. For some reason, some misguided Americans do not believe him, or think he was "exaggerating." The rest of the world has every reason to believe him, though.

Not to worry, the President has plenty of raw material for radioactive uranium munitions left. There are more than 77,000 Tons stored at the 103 nuclear waste plants and the several Nuclear Weapons Labs in the US. Each one makes another 250 pounds of radioactive material a day for radioactive bullets, bombs, and missiles. Not to put too fine a point on it; but, that is enough for 40.5 more gloriously successful campaigns like the 2003 Nuclear War in Iraq.

Every year about this time the Southern winds leave a fine desert sand on the windshields of cars parked outside in Continental Europe and Britain. Soon this sand dust will carry a surprise. Thanks to the Americans. Thanks to us. We did this to the world. And, we wonder why they hate and despise us so.

These uranium weapons' indiscriminate killing effect gives a whole new meaning to the age old term: cannon fodder. In Iraq, what goes around, comes around. If not the uranium munitions themselves, the uranium dust will be in the bodies of our returning armed forces, time bombs slowly ticking away the lives of the gullible and the ignorant with their very own internal radiation source, the cannon fodder of the 21st Century American Nuclear Wars.

Put your ending to this article next.

A lot of people have done everything we can think of to stop these nuclear wars. Even more specifically to stop the use of uranium as a munition and shut down the nuclear power plants. We have tried and failed for years. Why don't you give it a try? Can't hurt anything! Write what steps you would take to turn this situation around. Contact me at:  bobnichols@cox.net.

Bob Nichols writes in Oklahoma City and is the Editorial writer for DemoOkie.com. Bob Nichols is a contributing writer for LiberalSlant, Democratic Underground, OnlineJournal, AmericaHeldHostage, and other online dot com publications. Mr. Nichols is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer and other print publications. He lives and works in Oklahoma. He is a member of CASE -- Citizens' Action for Safe Energy, and President of the Carrie Dickerson Foundation. CASE has successfully killed two serious, well funded attempts to build Nuclear Power Plants in Oklahoma and several attempts to site what is now known as the "Yucca Mountain Reactor Dump" in Oklahoma. All these efforts to build nuclear facilities have failed. CASE won every time.

homepage: homepage: http://www.blastedreality.net


Great and well written article 03.Jul.2005 05:27

Tony Blair's dog

A definite forward.

Thank you.

depleted uranium 03.Jul.2005 06:33

micromouse

found here:  http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/




Answer to Question #746 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
Category: Uranium

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

Q: How are bullets made by depleted uranium, and what reactions do they cause when they enter into contact with the ground and with humans?

A: Because of its very high density -- nearly twice that of lead -- and certain other properties, depleted uranium is used in certain kinds of munitions because of its ability to penetrate heavily armored vehicles such as tanks and armored personnel carriers. Depleted uranium (DU) is not used in small cartridges or bullets for rifles or machines guns but alloyed DU is used in the 25, 105, and 120 millimeter (mm) kinetic energy cartridges used primarily as antitank munitions. DU is also a component in some tank armor and sometimes used as a catalyst for land mine systems.

Since depleted uranium is weakly radioactive, the public has been concerned about the possiblility of adverse health effects from DU. DU is a heavy metal, and like all heavy metals such as mercury and lead, is toxic. However, except in certain very unusual situations, it is the chemical toxicity and not the radioactivity that is of concern. And, from a chemical toxicity standpoint, uranium is on the same order of toxicity as lead. Largely from work with animals along with a few instances in which humans inhaled very large amounts of uranium, the chemical toxicity of uranium is known to produce minor effects on the kidney, which in humans who have suffered large acute exposures have been transitory and wholly reversible. Because depleted and natural uranium are only weakly radioactive, radiological effects from ingested or inhaled uranium have not been detected in humans.

Human experience with uranium has spanned more than 200 years. In the early part of the twentieth century, uranium was used therapeutically as a treatment for diabetes, and persons so treated were administered relatively large amounts of uranium by mouth. Tens of thousands of persons have worked in the uranium industry over the past several decades, and have been followed up and studied extensively as have populations in Canada and elsewhere who have high levels of uranium in their drinking water. Results of these studies have not revealed any ill health in these populations that is attributable to the intake of uranium. This not surprising as the risk from the radiation dose from uranium is far overshadowed by its potential chemical toxicity, and intakes of uranium of sufficient magnitude to produce chemotoxic effects are unlikely in and of themselves. Any such effects from ingestion or inhalation of uranium would likely manifest themselves first in the form of minor effects associated with the kidneys.

That military personnel and others who may have had contact with depleted uranium from munitions are suffering from various illnesses is not in dispute. That their illnesses are attributable to their exposure to uranium is very, very unlikely.

Health physicists are deeply concerned with the public health and welfare, and as experts in radiation and its effects on people and the environment, are quite aware that something other than exposure to uranium is the cause of the illnesses suffered by those who have had contact with depleted uranium from munitions. A truly enormous body of scientific data shows that it is virtually impossible for uranium to be the cause of their illnesses. Despite this body of scientific data to the contrary, misguided or unknowing people continue to allege that the depleted uranium, and specifically the radioactivity associated with the depleted uranium is the cause of these illness. This is indeed unfortunate, for health physicists and other scientists and physicians already know that depleted uranium is not the cause of these illnesses and thus any investigations into the cause of these illnesses should focus on other possible causes. If we are to offer any measure of relief or solace to these suffering people, and to gain some important additional knowledge of the cause of their illness, we should not waste our valuable and limited energies, resources and time attempting to point the finger at depleted uranium as the culprit, when it is already known that uranium is almost certainly not the cause of the problem.

With respect to reactions with the soil, in time depleted uranium will likely leach into the soil and become mixed with it. It will for all practical purposes be chemically indistinguishable from the natural uranium that is already present in the soil all over the earth. One could create all kinds of scenarios, but probably the best way to think about DU in the soil is to compare it with lead. Because lead and uranium are so similar from a toxicological standpoint, the concerns are about the same.

Ronald L. Kathren, CHP
Professor Emeritus
Washington State University

hyperbole on depleted uranium 03.Jul.2005 12:32

s1

I've found the hyperbole over DU to be quite irrational and obnoxious. The crimes of the US government are quite bad enough as it is, without insisting on gilding the lily over very dubious claims associated with DU. But this has become an article of faith with a lot of people, to the point of referring to DU munitions as "nuclear weapons." Got news for you: DU is used as a penetrator for armor, because it's very, very dense -- much denser than lead. Any effects that it has due to radiation or toxicity are secondary, and so delayed as to make them useless as an offensive weapon. It may be that DU has adverse health effects, but it is unlikely to be the sole cause of things like Gulf War syndrome, or the birth defects that have been reported in Iraq. And even if it does turn out to be implicated, it does not constitute some kind of diabolical, satanic conspiracy to commit genocide. As someone who finds this whole war abhorrent and wants to find effective ways to stop it, I find the level of irrational hysteria on this particular subject very counterproductive and distasteful.

"s1" 03.Jul.2005 12:49

high purr bow Lee

while you could - maybe - be correct in asserting that a disproportionate amount of emphasis is placed , by some activists, on DU in relation to the full panoply of "crimes of the US government",

that doesn't lessen the compound's proven, documented (primary AND 'secondary') effects - nothing "dubious" there.

nor does it lessen the proven, documented OVERALL effects of US capitalist imperial aggression.

TRANSLATION: it's certainly not "counterproductive" to bring up the issue - and documented scientific/medical effects - of DU.

re: s1 03.Jul.2005 14:12

question

so you would not mind inhaling some DU dust?

"Five?American Nuclear Wars?" 03.Jul.2005 14:21

pacificmadrone

How does the author count "five"? He seems to say "nuclear war" whereever we've left uranium munitions in the soil or lungs of a country / people, but which wars is he counting?

4 out of 5 Doctors smoke Camels 03.Jul.2005 19:22

Reverend X

Ever listen to old radio broadcasts. You'd be amazed by what a Doctor will promote. As per the preoccupation with DU, thats cuz of the post occupation. 50k half life means that 50,000 years till half of the Rad level is decreased. As for no health concerns, Gallup NM, Uranium strip mining, Navajo lung cancer rates are in the 80-90% rate. Depleted only means 9-17% depletion. still hot.

The 5 "Nuke Wars" Are: 05.Jul.2005 00:48

citibank

WW2: Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Bush1/Gulf 1: DU munitions
Clinton/Balkans: DU munitions
Bush2/Afghanistan: DU munitions
Bush2/Gulf 2: DU munitions

An impetus to the research and development leading to manufacture and use of DU (U238) munitions and armor was/is the accumulation of U238-ish crap in the national nuclear junk yard. A lot of this U238-ish trash is contaminated with transuranics and plutonium in varying amounts. The amount of impurities are probably carefully tested (;p) so that the DU munitions only contain the other radioactive isotopes "within acceptable limits."

There have been reports, for the past decade or so, that a lot of the nuclear trash mountain has been fobbed off offshore to be dispersed into metalic consumer products and into structural steel. Sort of a variation on selling off the pesticide stockpiles no longer permitted for use in the U$ only to find it coming back on NAFTA/GATT/Chilean fruit and veg imports. The solution to pollution is dillution.

More on Prof. Strangelove 05.Jul.2005 01:07

citibank

ORAU TEAM EMPLOYEE'S NAME:
Kathren, Ronald L.
EMPLOYER:
The Kathren Group, Inc.
JOB TITLE:
Site Profile Investigation
CURRENT JOB RESPONSIBILITIES:
Consulting in health physics and occupational health.
WORK EXPERIENCE:
More than 40 years of responsible professional experience in operational health physics, research,
and teaching,
EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS:
B.S, UCLA (1957)M.Sc.Pittsburgh (1962); Additional study, University of California Berkeley1962-64)
Health Physics Society (Life Fellow)
Society for Radiological Protection (Fellow)
American Association of Physicists in Medicine (Emeritus)
American Academy of Environmental Engineers (Life)
EXPERT WITNESS:
None
DOE/AWE SITES WHERE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST EXISTS:
Formerly employed at what is now Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Hanford site for both
Battelle and Hanford Environmental Health Foundation

< link to www.oraucoc.org
=================

That's "AWE" as in Atomic Weapons Establishment

Above Link Won't Play 05.Jul.2005 01:14

citiback

 http://www.oraucoc.org/modules.aspx?name=BioSketches

Then look for "Ronald Kathern" and click...

Screw the DU - the toxicity of the air sucks worse! 06.Jul.2005 03:39

Dog dontneedUCMJ@us.army.mil

Don't worry - there wasn't as much DU used as you all think.....I'd stay away from the battlefields, like 73Easting....the rest...well, you would probably get more radiation in Bahgdad from glow in the dark watches than you would from DU. In any case....try breathing this air - it is so full of toxic chemicals from the factories....its worse than Newark NJ!!!

greets from Iraq.......