Depleted Uranium: A War Crime Within a War Crime

Destroying Iraq's Future, Its Children

In-depth Report:

As if destroying a country and its culture ain’t bad enough, how about destroying its future, its children? I want to scream it from the rooftops! We are complicit in crimes of such enormity that I find it difficult to find the words to describe how I feel about this crime committed in my name! In the name of the ‘civilized’ world?

“Forget about oil, occupation, terrorism or even Al-Qaeda. The real hazard for Iraqis these days is cancer. Cancer is spreading like wildfire in Iraq. Thousands of infants are being born with deformities. Doctors say they are struggling to cope with the rise of cancer and birth defects, especially in cities subjected to heavy American and British bombardment.” — Jalal Ghazi, for New America Media

According to Dahr Jamail,

“The U.S. and British militaries used more than 1,700 tons of depleted uranium in Iraq in the 2003 invasion (Jane’s Defence News, 4/2/04)-on top of 320 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War (Inter Press Service, 3/25/03). Literally every local person I’ve ever spoken with in Iraq during my nine months of reporting there knows someone who either suffers from or has died of cancer. 

Ghazi reported that in Fallujah, which bore the brunt of two massive U.S. military operations in 2004, as many as 25 percent of newborn infants have serious physical abnormalities. Cancer rates in Babil, an area south of Baghdad, have risen from 500 cases in 2004 to more than 9,000 in 2009. Dr. Jawad al-Ali, the director of the Oncology Center in Basra, told Al Jazeera English (10/12/09) that there were 1,885 cases of cancer in all of 2005; between 1,250 and 1,500 patients visit his center every month now. — ‘The New ‘Forgotten’ War’ By Dahr Jamail, 15 March, 2010

Even the BBC was forced to acknowledge the reality (Listen:‘Child deformities ‘increasing’ in Falluja’ 4 March, 2010). True to form I searched the BBC Website in vain for the video clip I watched last week, so you are spared the horrific scenes I witnessed, recorded in Fallujah’s main hospital. Had this been Saddam’s legacy, we would have seen images like the one above endlessly repeated in the mass media, complete with UN resolutions and the like.

The short piece posted on the BBC Website ends thus:

“In a statement, the Pentagon said that “No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues. Unexploded ordinance, including improvised explosive devises, are a recognised hazard.”"

End of story as far as the BBC is concerned. So how come this isn’t a headline? Even Stop the War Coalition barely mentions it, more concerned it seems with the plight of imperialism’s warriors, Britain’s warriors who have shooting this foul stuff at not only Iraq’s innocents but at the innocents of the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. But then we are the citizens of Empire which explains why Stop the War has little or nothing to say on the subject.

“When they said that depleted uranium was the US empire’s weapon of choice, they lied. The word “depleted” is a public relations spin. It makes it sound like the nuclear material is worn out. It’s not. It’s Uranium. Let’s just call it Uranium. In other words, DU is low-level nuclear waste. DU can also contain trace amounts of “neptunium, plutonium, americium, technitium-99 and uranium-236.” — http://tuberose.com/

British and US government statements that Depleted Uranium is a ‘conventional’ weapon are contradicted by the facts: 

  • Depleted uranium (DU) weaponry meets the definition of weapon of mass destruction in two out of three categories under U.S. Federal Code Title 50 Chapter 40 Section 2302.
  • Since 1991, the U.S. has released the radioactive atomicity equivalent of at least 400,000 Nagasaki bombs into the global atmosphere. That is 10 times the amount released during atmospheric testing which was the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs. The U.S. has permanently contaminated the global atmosphere with radioactive pollution having a half-life of 2.5 billion years.
  • The U.S. has illegally conducted four nuclear wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and twice in Iraq since 1991, calling DU “conventional” weapons when in fact they are nuclear weapons.
  • DU on the battlefield has three effects on living systems: it is a heavy metal “chemical” poison, a “radioactive” poison and has a “particulate” effect due to the very tiny size of the particles that are 0.1 microns and smaller.
  • The blueprint for DU weaponry is a 1943 Manhattan Project memo to Gen. L. Groves that recommended development of radioactive materials as poison gas weapons – dirty bombs, dirty missiles and dirty bullets
  • DU weapons are very effective kinetic energy penetrators, but even more effective bioweapons since uranium has a strong chemical affinity for phosphate structures concentrated in DNA.
  • DU is the Trojan Horse of nuclear war – it keeps giving and keeps killing. There is no way to clean it up, and no way to turn it off because it continues to decay into other radioactive isotopes in over 20 steps.
  • Terry Jemison at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stated in August 2004 that over 518,000 Gulf-era veterans (14-year period) are now on medical disability, and that 7,039 were wounded on the battlefield in that same period. Over 500,000 U.S. veterans are homeless.
  • In some studies of soldiers who had normal babies before the war, 67 percent of the post-war babies are born with severe birth defects – missing brains, eyes, organs, legs and arms, and blood diseases.
  • In southern Iraq, scientists are reporting five times higher levels of gamma radiation in the air, which increases the radioactive body burden daily of inhabitants. In fact, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan are uninhabitable. 
  • Cancer starts with one alpha particle under the right conditions. One gram of DU is the size of a period in this sentence and releases 12,000 alpha particles per second. — http://tuberose.com/ 

So come on all you allegedly civilized people, what are you going to about it?

PS: Oh, I forgot about the DU weapons supplied to Israel by the US, also dropped on the people of Gaza.

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Warning: Contains graphic images, readers discretion is strongly advised.


Articles by: William Bowles

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