Thursday, December 18, 2008 Posted by Shattered Paradigm
Under President George W. Bush, the United States has been using thousands upon thousands of tons of depleted uranium munitions - dirty bombs made from nuclear waste - in their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting devastation from using these dirty nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity of the utmost magnitude and it is time for Barack Obama to declare that he will permanently ban these weapons.
So what is depleted uranium?
Depleted Uranium is actually a waste product of the nuclear enrichment process. Despite claims that depleted uranium is much less radioactive than natural uranium, the truth is that it actually emits about 75% as much radioactivity as natural uranium.
When DU munitions impact a target, the uranium coating of these weapons becomes a powder which is easily contaminates the air, the soil and any surrounding water.
Depleted uranium is both chemically toxic and highly radioactive. In laboratory tests it severely damages human cells, causes DNA mutations and has other carcinogenic effects.
Depleted uranium poisoning has been shown to cause almost every illness one can imagine including severe skin rashes, intense muscle and joint pain, major birth defects, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors and just about every type of cancer. Depleted uranium also replaces calcium, destroying teeth and bones.
As a result of the acute depleted uranium contamination in Iraq and Afghanistan, severe birth defects and cancer have dramatically increased in both U.S. soldiers and in Iraqi and Afghan civilians in the affected areas.
Depleted uranium munitions are classified by the United Nations as illegal weapons of mass destruction. Since the uranium used in these DU weapons has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the U.S. military has ensured that countless generations of Afghans and Iraqis will suffer terribly from horrific cancers and deformities. Just look at the picture of the baby (yes that is a baby) at the top of this article. Babies like this are being born every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When a woman has a baby in Iraq now, they no longer ask if it is a boy or a girl. Instead they ask: "Is it normal?"
To see many more of these tragically deformed babies visit this site:
According to doctors at maternity and children hospitals in Kabul, Afghanistan the rate of various congenital deformities has multiplied dramatically since the U.S. invasion of their country.
Most Americans also do not seem to know that thousands upon thousands of our own troops are getting sick and dying from exposure to depleted uranium.
According to official (but unpublicized) U.S. government data, there have been over 70,000 deaths and over 1 million disabilities among American soldiers as a result of America's wars in the Middle East.
The truth is that we have been slowly nuking our own troops and most Americans don't even realize it.
The following is an excerpt from an excellent article that clearly demonstrates how the Bush administration has been killing our own troops.....
Excerpt from "Death By Slow Burn:How America Nukes Its Own Troops"
Ironically, support for our troops will extend well beyond the war in Iraq. Americans will be supporting Gulf War II veterans for years as they slowly and painfully succumb to radiation poisoning.
U.S and British troops deployed to the area are the walking dead. Humans and animals, friends and foes in the fallout zone are destined to a long downhill spiral of chronic illness and disability.
Kidney dysfunction, lung damage, bloody stools, extreme fatigue, joint pain, unsteady gait, memory loss and rashes and, ultimately, cancer and premature death await those exposed to DU.
Award-winning journalist Will Thomas wrote: “As the last Gulf conflict so savagely demonstrated, GI immune systems reeling from multiple doses of experimental vaccines offer little defense against further exposure to chemical weapons, industrial toxins, stress, caffeine, insect repellent and radiation left over from the last war. This is a war even the victors will lose.”
When a DU shell is fired, it ignites upon impact. Uranium, plus traces of plutonium and americium, vaporize into tiny, ceramic particles of radioactive dust. Once inhaled, uranium oxides lodge in the body and emit radiation indefinitely.
A single particle of DU lodged in a lymph node can devastate the entire immune system according to British radiation expert Roger Coghill. The Royal Society of England published data showing that battlefield soldiers who inhale or swallow high levels of DU can suffer kidney failure within days. Any soldier now in Iraq who has not inhaled lethal radioactive dust is not breathing.
In the first two weeks of combat, 700 Tomahawks, at a cost of $1.3 million each, blasted Iraqi real estate into radioactive mushroom clouds. Millions of DU tank rounds liter the terrain. Cleanup is impossible because there is no place on the planet to put so much contaminated debris.
Bush Sr.'s Gulf War I was also a nuclear war. 320 tons of depleted uranium were used against Iraq in 1991.
A 1998 report by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances confirms that inhaling DU causes symptoms identical to those claimed by many sick vets with Gulf War Syndrome.
The Gulf War Veterans Association reports that at least 300,000 Gulf War I vets have now developed incapacitating illnesses. To date, 209,000 vets have filed claims for disability benefits based on service-connected injuries and illnesses from combat in that war.
Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a professor of nuclear medicine at Georgetown University, is a former army medical expert. He told nuclear scientists in Paris last year that tens of thousands of sick British and American soldiers are now dying from radiation they encountered during Gulf War I. He found that 62 percent of sick vets tested have uranium isotopes in their organs, bones, brains and urine. Laboratories in Switzerland and Finland corroborated his findings.
In other studies, some sick vets were found to be expressing uranium in even their semen. Their sexual partners often complained of a burning sensation during intercourse, followed by their own debilitating illnesses.
Nothing compares to the astronomical cancer rates and birth defects suffered by the Iraqi people who have endured vicious nuclear chastisement for years. U.S. air attacks against Iraq since 1993 have undoubtedly employed nuclear munitions.
Pictures of grotesquely deformed Iraqi infants born since 1991 are overwhelming. Like those born to Gulf War I vets, many babies born to troops now in Iraq will also be afflicted with hideous deformities, neurological damage and/or blood and respiratory disorders.
Army health physicist Dr. Doug Rokke was dispatched to the Middle East to salvage DU-contaminated tanks after Gulf War I. His Geiger counters revealed that the war zones of Iraq and Kuwait were contaminated with up to 300 millirems an hour in beta and gamma radiation plus thousands to millions of counts per minute in alpha radiation. Rokke recently told the media: “The whole area is still trashed. It is hotter than heck over there still. This stuff doesn't go away.”
DU remains “hot” for 4.5 billion years. Radiation expert Dr. Helen Caldicott confirms that the dust-laden winds of DU-contaminated war zones “will remain effectively radioactive for the rest of time.” The murderous dust storms which ensnared coalition troops during the first few days of the current invasion will have significant health consequences. Rokke and his clean-up team were issued only flimsy dust masks for their dangerous work.
Of the 100 people on Rokke's decontamination team, 30 have already “dropped dead.” Rokke himself is ill with radiation damage to lungs and kidneys. He has brain lesions, skin pustules, chronic fatigue, continual wheezing and painful fibromyalgia. Rokke warns that anyone exposed to DU should have adequate respiratory protection and special coveralls to protect their clothing because, he says, you can't get uranium particles off your clothing.
(Article continues at the link above)
The following is just one testimony from one of our soldiers who has had his life changed forever by depleted uranium:
In early September 2003, Army National Guard Spec. Gerard Darren Matthew was sent home from Iraq, stricken by a sudden illness.
One side of Matthew's face would swell up each morning. He had constant migraine headaches, blurred vision, blackouts and a burning sensation whenever he urinated.
The Army transferred him to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington for further tests, but doctors there could not explain what was wrong.
Shortly after his return, his wife, Janice, became pregnant. On June 29, she gave birth to a baby girl, Victoria Claudette. The baby was missing three fingers and most of her right hand.
Matthew and his wife believe Victoria's shocking deformity has something to do with her father's illness and the war — especially since there is no history of birth defects in either of their families.
They have seen photos of Iraqi babies born with deformities that are eerily similar.
In June, Matthew contacted the Daily News and asked us to arrange independent laboratory screening for his urine. This was after The News had reported that four of seven soldiers from another National Guard unit, the 442nd Military Police, had tested positive for depleted uranium (DU).
The independent test of Matthew's urine found him positive for DU - low-level radioactive waste produced in nuclear plants during the enrichment of natural uranium.
Because it is twice as heavy as lead, DU has been used by the Pentagon since the Persian Gulf War in certain types of "tank-buster" shells, as well as for armor-plating in Abrams tanks.
Exposure to radioactivity has been associated in some studies with birth defects in the children of exposed parents.
"My husband went to Iraq to fight for his country," Janice Matthew said. "I feel the Army should take responsibility for what's happened."
(The article continues at the link above)
We owe the world an apology of unprecedented magnitude for using depleted uranium munitions. Barack Obama MUST ban the use of depleted uranium by the U.S. military or else he will be a party to these crimes. This is one of the biggest environmental crimes in the history of the planet, and it must stop NOW.