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article imageOp-Ed: After Years of Use, The Dangers of U.S. Munitions Are Obvious

By Bill Lindner     Mar 27, 2010 in World
The use of chemical munitions -- such as Depleted Uranium (DU) and White Phosphorous -- in Fallujah in 2004 by the U.S. military appears to be linked to rising birth defects in Iraq and slowly killing thousands upon thousands of our own troops
On March 4, the BBC News reported that the number of defects in newborn babies in Fallujah has risen dramatically since the American armed forces carried out a major offensive against insurgents in 2004. The level of heart defects among newborn babies is said to be 13 times higher than in Europe.
Fallujah is less than 40 miles from Baghdad and can still reportedly be dangerous to get to. Consequently, there has not been an authoritative medical investigation into the allegations that the weapons used by the American armed forces are still causing serious problems. However, after decades of use, the dangers of U.S. munitions have become blatantly obvious.
The Iraqi government claims that there are only one or two extra cases of birth defects per year in Fallujah, but Pediatric specialist Dr. Samira al-Ani from Fallujah General Hospital told the BBC that she saw two or three new cases every day. Dr. al-Ani has nothing documented, but she says that year to year the number of defects in newborns is increasing. Before the 2004 attack on Fallujah, Dr. al-Ani noticed similar ailments in one baby every two months.
Unsurprisingly -- perhaps tellingly -- Dr. al-Ani and other staff members at Fallujah General Hospital seemed nervous about talking too openly about the problem.
U.S. military authorities say they are unaware of any official report indicating increased birth defects in Fallujah. That's primarily due to the fact that there are no official figures for the birth defects in Fallujah because no official reports exist. It's a pretty sure bet that there won't be any official reports coming any time soon.
U.S. Use of White Phosphorous Still Under-Reported by U.S. Corporate Media
Little if any mention of the BBC report was made by the U.S. corporate media. A brief item appeared on the CBS News website quoting BBC News correspondent John Simpson who said “The US government does not want it known that it was using chemicals on human beings in a country whose leader it overthrew ostensibly because he retained the capacity to do the same thing.”
The U.S. military was forced to admit that it used White Phosphorous in Fallujah when someone reportedly noticed that Field Artillery Magazine, a U.S. Army publication, had already documented its deployment in its March/April 2005 edition. The magazine wrote that “We fired ‘shake and bake’ missions at the insurgents, using WP [White Phosphorous] to flush them out and HE [High Explosives] to take them out.”
Dahr Jamail, the freelance journalist that broke the story received an award from Project Censored for the second most under-reported story of the year. Using White Phosphorous is a war crime. Given the implications and seriousness of the U.S. using those munitions, it's easy to see why that story is still under-reported by the U.S. corporate media.
As noted by Taki's Magazine, the U.S. does not want to compensate foreigners -- or the U.S. troops who have been repeatedly deployed in Iraq -- for any harm the U.S. military might have done.
Vietnamese Children Born With Serious Abnormalities and Grotesque Malformations
The U.S. military is no stranger to using illegal munitions during times of war. America's Vietnam veterans were crippled and killed because of the dioxin dropped all over Vietnam by the U.S. military. In keeping with tradition, it took many years for the U.S. government to acknowledge.
It took 30 years for the U.S. government to acknowledge and admit wrongdoing before paying anything, despite the fact that Vietnam vets were observing their children being born with severe birth defects from dioxin in Agent Orange and other herbicides that were wantonly used in Vietnam by the U.S. military. 99,266 veterans claimed to have been affected by the U.S. military's herbicide, but only 7,520 veterans received some form of compensation.
In addition to our U.S. veterans, as also noted by Taki's Magazine, as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese had to endure the twenty-eight million gallons of the U.S. military's toxic herbal cocktails that drenched their skins, soaked their soil and polluted their rivers and groundwater for ten years.
As with children of America's vets, then-unborn Vietnamese children were affected. Vietnam has one of the world's highest levels of birth defects, primarily in its south where the U.S. military deployed most of the chemicals. Five of one hundred Vietnamese children are born with serious abnormalities, including missing limbs, spina bifida, deformed or missing internal organs and grotesque malformations that makes their survival impossible. Of course, the U.S. government denies responsibility for the problems faced by the Vietnamese people. That would prove very costly.
When Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on Kurdish citizens, the U.S. deceitfully blamed the Iranians because Hussein was an American ally. In 2001, when the Bush administration was lying us to war with Iraq and wanted to overthrow Hussein, they condemned Hussein and claimed he had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) because it was politically convenient.
DU Munitions Illegal Under International Treaties and U.S. Military Law
Since 1991 the U.S. has staged four wars using depleted uranium weaponry yet the vast majority of servicemen and women in the U.S. military are unaware of the use and dangers of being exposed to it. The use of depleted uranium weaponry is illegal under all International treaties, conventions and agreements, as well as U.S. military law.
In 2004 it was reported that the Department of Defense (DoD) was cleaning up 29.500 currently or formerly contaminated sites in every state and territory. California alone had 3,912 contaminated sites on 441 current and former DoD facilities and had already contaminated groundwater sources of drinking water.
In 2008 it was reported that the DoD refused to comply with cleaning up 11 hazardous waste sites, including one in Hawaii, and went so far as to ask the White House and Justice Department to intervene on its behalf.
The U.S. and Great Britain are reportedly two of the world's largest, cancer-causing dust and rusty depleted uranium projectile polluters. Hundreds of tons of DU munitions were used in the first Gulf War, the Balkans War, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. Despite all that, U.S. and British leaders refuse to acknowledge or talk about it. Instead, leaders of both countries pressure Iran, Syria, North Korea and Pakistan for developing nuclear weapons. Tellingly absent from the discussion of nukes is the fact that Israel has an extensive nuclear arsenal. The Israeli military is no stranger to White Phosphorus -- supplied from the U.S. -- which was heavily used in civilian areas during the Gaza war.
The word "depleted" is actually a misnomer. DU weapons are made from nuclear fuel cycle waste and the weapons do contain all the lethality of nuclear weapons. The poison from DU weapons pollutes the environment for an estimated four and a half billion years.
To the U.S. Government, Truth is the Biggest Enemy
Now that the U.S. has been caught in yet another lie and using chemicals in the same country Hussein did, the attempted cover-up has continued. Given the fact that more than a million Iraqis have been slaughtered since the U.S. invasion in 2003, attempted cover-ups by the U.S. government are not surprising. The U.S. military admits to using chemicals on 'insurgents', but not on Iraqi civilians. Apparently we're supposed to believe that the U.S. can blast tons of lethal chemicals at people with guns while missing those without guns.
The U.S. government -- as well as the Iraqi government it has installed -- are doing their best to block any investigations that would prove the use of White Phosphorous and DU is harming Iraqi citizens and a growing number of newborns as well as America's troops that are being repeatedly deployed in Iraq. Why? Because to the U.S. government, truth is the biggest enemy.
I've written about the dangers of Depleted Uranium in U.S. munitions and how America's soldiers have been used as pawns in America's wars. The U.S. military has used WMDs that keep on killing for years. America's wars are costly enough without throwing in deadly chemicals and radioactive waste that hurt the country's being occupied by the U.S. as well as the U.S. and foreign troops that are fighting our wars there.
At what point do our troops realize the dangers they face due to America's aggressions? Being poisoned by your own country is no way to be thanked. It's time to wake up to the reality of America's wars and the deceptions used by the U.S. government and its military leaders.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Depleted uranium, White phosphorous, War crimes, Military, Birth defects
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