(DU) is left after enriched uranium is separated from natural uranium in order to produce fuel for nuclear reactors. Depleted uranium is chemically toxic. It is an extremely dense, hard metal, and can cause chemical poisoning to the body in the same way as can lead or any other heavy metal. However, depleted uranium is also radiologically hazardous, as it spontaneously burns on impact, creating tiny aerosolised glass particles which are small enough to be inhaled. These uranium oxide particles emit all types of radiation, alpha, beta and gamma, and can be carried in the air over long distances."
In the first Gulf War
it is estimated that somewhere between 315 to 350 tons of depleted uranium weapons were used in Iraq. Greenpeace actually places that figure closer to 800 tons.
Dr. James Howenstine of NewsWithViews.com says, "Japanese professor, Dr. K. Yagasaki, has calculated that 800 tons of depleted uranium is the atomicity equivalent of 83,000 bombs the size of the one which struck Nagasaki."
In the 2003 war in Iraq, the US Army used its DU weapons mainly to attack the urban areas, rather than the desert battlefields as in 1991. All Iraqi cities have been attacked and exposed to DU radiation, with southern cities the most affected. The US war on Iraq has not stopped since January 1991. There are no current figures stating just how much DU has been deposited in Iraq over the past 5 years.
Depleted uranium is now present everywhere in Iraq, and throughout much of Afghanistan. Bullets made with uranium lay in the residential streets and litter the neighborhoods in Baghdad. Children play on the tanks that sit abandoned in the ditches throughout the war torn countryside. Geiger counters measure 1,000 times the normal background radiation when placed near these discarded weapons of war now used as playgrounds by the unsuspecting youth. Civilians, unaware of the dangers, are reported to have used empty storage containers that once housed DU weapons to carry water and food to and from their homes.
The US Army training manual states that, "anyone who comes within 25 meters of any DU-contaminated equipment or terrain [must] wear respiratory and skin protection", and notes further that "contamination will make food and water unsafe for consumption".
A study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2001 revealed that Iraq's arid climate only further perpetuates the spread of the tiny particles of DU. They lie in the sands of the country, and are likely to be blown around and inhaled by civilians for many years to come. Considering the fact that these winds eventually blow across the planet as a whole, is this not creating the potential for the radiation these winds carry to be deposited worldwide?
The study further warned that, when inside the body, their radiation and toxicity could trigger the growth of malignant tumours.
Since 1991 cancer rates in Iraq and Afghanistan have risen 700-1000%. Fetal deformities have risen 400-600%. It is estimated that 500 children are dying daily from the effect of the DU radiation they have absorbed in their bodies. Fetal deformities are on the rise with Iraqi war veterans as well. Photos of the effects of radiation on the unborn can be seen here
, but I warn you, they are not easy to view.
Inhaling the dust will not kill large numbers of Iraqi and Afghan civilians right away. Rather, according to Douglas Westerman
in his extensive report regarding the effects of DU, what we will see are vast numbers of people who are chronically and severely ill, having their life spans drastically shortened, many with multiple cancers.
Exposure to DU by US soldiers is also documented and many war Veterans are suffering from DU related illnesses. According to James Howenstine, MD
, of the 580,400 soldiers that served in the first Gulf War, only 7,035 men were physically injured. By the end of 2000, 325,000 of these troops had become disabled This means that 56% of those who served in the first Gulf War were disabled within less than 10 years.
In August 2004 the American Free Press reported that eight out of twenty men serving in one unit during the 2003 invasion of Iraq had developed malignancies. This translates into 40 % of the soldiers in that one unit developing malignancies within a 16 month period of time.
The suspected cause of the "Gulf War Syndrome" illnesses and rise in cancers in the military - exposure to the radiation emitted from DU.
The US government denies that DU weapons can cause sickness. Washington refuses to acknowledge DU use poses any danger. To acknowledge radiation poisoning would immediately raise demands for a cleanup and compensations. The US has no plans to remove the debris left over from depleted uranium weapons it is using in Iraq. The US says no cleanup is needed, because research shows DU has no long-term effects.
I am sickened as I write this article. Is this a "War on Terror" or in actuality a War of
Are we fighting against a terrorist regime, or are we in fact, the real terrorists?
"The Geneva Convention expressly forbids the use of weapons that do not distinguish between military targets and civilians. Yet, radioactive and highly toxic uranium and plutonium are released into the environment through widespread use of uranium casings of bullets and missile warheads."
Think of the lives that are being destroyed in the Middle East, as well as here in the US. Think of the aftermath of this war. Think of the children that will be born deformed, the soaring rates of cancer and illness we are going to be facing as a people.
This is nothing less than genocide in my opinion. That or some sick sort of population control on the part of the US Government.
What can be done at this point? How do we clean up the massive amounts of radioactive material strewn about, buried in the acres and acres of desert sand, which will remain in existence for billions and billions of years?
I see no solution. Do you?