- By firing radioactive ammunition, the U.S., U.K., and
Israel may have triggered a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East that,
over time, will prove deadlier than the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan.
- So much ammunition containing depleted uranium(DU) has
been fired, asserts nuclear authority Leuren Moret, "The genetic future
of the Iraqi people for the most part, is destroyed."
- "More than ten times the amount of radiation released
during atmospheric testing (of nuclear bombs) has been released from depleted
uranium weaponry since 1991," Moret writes, including radioactive
ammunition fired by Israeli troops in Palestine.
- Moret is an independent U.S. scientist formerly employed
for five years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also at
the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of California.
- Adds Arthur Bernklau, of Veterans For Constitutional
Law, "The long-term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence. Iraq
is a toxic wasteland. Anyone who is there stands a good chance of coming
down with cancer and leukemia. In Iraq, the birth rate of mutations is
totally out of control."
- Moret, a Berkeley, Calif., Environmental Commissioner
and past president of the Association for Women Geoscientists, says, "For
every genetic defect that we can see now, in future generations there are
thousands more that will be expressed."
- She adds, "the (Iraq) environment now is completely
- Dr. Helen Caldicott, the prominent anti-nuclear crusader,
has written: "Much of the DU is in cities such as Baghdad, where half
the population of 5 million people are children who played in the burned-out
tanks and on the sandy, dusty ground."
- "Children are 10 to 20 times more susceptible to
the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults," Caldicott wrote.
"My pediatric colleagues in Basra, where this ordnance was used in
1991, report a sevenfold increase in childhood cancer and a sevenfold increase
in gross congenital abnormalities," she wrote in her book, "Nuclear
Power is not the Answer"(The New Press).
- Caldicott goes on to say the two Gulf wars "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."
- Because of the extremely long half-life of uranium 238,
one of the radioactive elements in the shells fired, "the food, the
air, and the water in the cradle of civilization have been forever contaminated,"
- Uranium is a heavy metal that enters the body via inhalation
into the lung or via ingestion into the GI tract. It is excreted by the
kidney, where, if the dose is high enough, it can induce renal failure
or kidney cancer. It also lodges in the bones where it causes bone cancer
and leukemia, and it is excreted in the semen, where it mutates genes in
the sperm, leading to birth deformities.
- Nuclear contamination is spreading around the world,
Caldicott adds, with heaviest concentrations in regions within a 1,000-mile
radius of Baghdad and Afghanistan.
- These are, notably, northern India, southern Russia,
Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tibet, Pakistan, Kuwait, the Gulf emirates,
- "Downwind from the radioactive devastation in Iraq,
Israel is also suffering from large increases in breast cancer, leukemia
and childhood diabetes," Moret asserts.
- Doug Rokke, formerly the top U.S. Army DU clean-up officer
and now anti-DU crusader, says Israeli tankers fired radioactive shells
during the invasion of Lebanon last year. U.S. and NATO forces also used
DU ammunition in Kosovo. Rokke says he is quite ill from the effects of
DU and that members of his clean-up crew have died from it.
- As a result of DU bombardments, Caldicott writes, "Severe
birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians
in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of
defects is increasing over time."
- Like symptoms have been reported among infants born to
U.S. service personnel that fought in the Gulf Wars. One survey of 251
returned Gulf War veterans from Mississippi made by the Veterans Administration
found 67% of children born to them suffered from "severe illnesses
- Some were born without brains or vital organs or with
no arms, hands, or arms, or with hands attached to their shoulders.
- While U.S. officials deny DU ammunition is dangerous,
it is a fact Gulf War veterans were the first Americans ever to fight on
a radioactive battlefield, and their children apparently are the first
known to display these ghastly deformities.
- Soldiers who survived being hit by radioactive ammunition,
as well as those who fired it, are falling ill, often showing signs of
radiation sickness. Of the 700,000 U.S. veterans of the first Gulf War,
more than 240,000 are on permanent medical disability and 11,000 are dead,
published reports indicate.
- This is an astonishing toll from such a short conflict
in which fewer than 400 U.S. soldiers were killed on the battlefield.
- Of course, "depleted uranium munitions were and
remain another causative factor behind Gulf War Syndrome(GWS)," writes
Francis Boyle, a leading American authority on international law in his
book "Biowarfare and Terrorism," from Clarity Press Inc.
- "The Pentagon continues to deny that there is such
a medical phenomenon categorized as GWS---even beyond the point where everyone
knows that denial is pure propaganda and disinformation," Boyle writes.
- Boyle contends, "The Pentagon will never own up
to the legal, economic, tortious, political, and criminal consequences
of admitting the existence of GWS. So U.S. and U.K. veterans of Gulf War
I as well as their afterborn children will continue to suffer and die.
The same will prove true for U.S. and U.S. veterans of Bush Jr.'s Gulf
War II as well as their afterborn children."
- Boyle said the use of DU is outlawed under the 1925
Geneva Convention prohibiting poison gas.
- Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research
Institute, writes in his "The Sorrows of Empire"(Henry Holt and
Co.) that, given the abnormal clusters of childhood cancers and deformities
in Iraq as well as Kosovo, the evidence points "toward a significant
role for DU."
- By insisting on its use, Johnson adds, "the military
is deliberately flouting a 1996 United Nations resolution that classifies
DU ammunition as an illegal weapon of mass destruction."
- Moret calls DU "the Trojan Horse of nuclear war."
She describes it as "the weapon that keeps killing." Indeed,
the half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5-billion years, and as it decays it
spawns other deadly radioactive by-products.
- Radioactive fallout from DU apparently blew far and wide.
Following the initial U.S. bombardment of Iraq in 2003, DU particles traveled
2,400 miles to Great Britain in about a week, where atmospheric radiation
- But it is in the Middle East, predominantly Iraq, where
the bulk of the radioactive waste has been dumped.
- In the early Nineties, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy
Authority warned that 50 tons of dust from DU explosions could claim a
half million lives from cancer by year 2000. Not 50 tons, but an estimated
two thousand radioactive tons have been fired off in the Middle East, suggesting
the possibility over time of an even higher death toll.
- Dr. Keith Baverstock, a World Health Organization radiation
advisor, informed the media, Iraq's arid climate would increase exposure
from its tiny particles as they are blown about and inhaled by the civilian
population for years to come.
- The civilian death toll from the August, 1945, U.S. atomic
bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been put at 140,000 and 80,000,
respectively. Over time, however, deaths from radiation sickness are thought
to have claimed the lives of another 100,000 Japanese civilians.
- Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Florida-based free-lance writer
who covers military and political topics. Reach him at <mailto:email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ross has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and several wire
services and is a contributor to national magazines.
- Authors Bio: Sherwood Ross has worked in the civil rights
movement and as a reporter for major dailies and wire services.