Depleted Uranium has Destroyed the Genetic Future of Iraq
markthshark, Daily Kos
May 30, 2008
It's not just the U.S. military, and it's not just Iraq. The U.K. has also used depleted uranium in both Iraq and Afghanistan; NATO forces have used it in Kosovo, and Israel allegedly used it in Lebanon and on the Palestinians.
The use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by the U.S. military may lead to a death toll far higher than that from the nuclear bombs dropped at the end of World War II.
A waste product from the enrichment of uranium, DU, contains nearly one-third the radioactive isotopes of uranium that occurs naturally. DU is generally used in armor-piercing ammunition; despite its classification as a weapon of mass destruction, and subsequent banning by the United Nations.
Incidental inhalation or ingestion of DU particles is very toxic and can remain so forever. To give you an idea of just how toxic: at the end of the first Gulf War, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority estimated that 50 tons remained in Iraq, and that amount could be responsible for 500,000 cancer deaths by the year 2000. Now, it's not clear whether that prediction came true or not, but to date, an estimated 2,000 tons of DU dust have been generated in the Middle East in general.
In contrast, approximately 250,000 lives were claimed by the explosions and subsequent radiation released by the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Natural News.com has the story:
"More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing [of nuclear bombs] has been released from DU weaponry since 1991," said Leuren Moret, a U.S. nuclear scientist. "The genetic future of the Iraqi people, for the most part, is destroyed. The environment now is completely radioactive."
Because DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the Middle East will, for all practical purposes, be radioactive forever.
The two U.S. wars in Iraq "have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people, particularly children, are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity," said anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott.
Since George H.W. Bush's first Gulf War, birth defects and childhood cancer rates have increased seven fold in Iraq. And, our troops have paid a heavy price as well. More than 35 percent (251,000) of U.S. Gulf War veterans are dead or on permanent medical disability, compared with only 400 who were killed during the conflict.
It doesn't have to be like this. We can't change the past but we can fight to end the use of inhuman weapons in immoral wars of aggression. I believe Barack Obama said it best... (paraphrased)
We not only need to end the war; we need to end the mindset of war.
Those are powerful words and something I've never heard before from an American leader... ever.
Here's some informative reading.
• The Political, Intellectual, and Strategic Roots of the Current United States Defense Policy: The Project for the New American Century
• Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy by Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D.
• Depleted Uranium: Assessing Risk
• We should not be exporting uranium because you are exporting cancer -- Erin O'Dwyer, Sydney Morning Herald, July 6 2006
• Helen Caldicott, MD -- PHYSICIAN - AUTHOR - SPEAKER
We can't fight back until we're well-informed.
:: Article nr. 44484 sent on 31-may-2008 04:54 ECT