Depleted Uranium -- Our Worst Nightmare!
By quietalert, Truthout.com
Mon Oct 31st, 2005 at 04:59:50 AM EDT :: Iraq
Depleted uranium is a byproduct of enriched uranium, the fissile material in nuclear weapons. It is pyrophoric, burning spontaneously on impact. That, along with its extreme density, makes depleted uranium munitions the Pentagon's ideal choice for penetrating an enemy's tank armor or reinforced bunkers.
When a DU shell hits its target, it burns, losing anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of its mass and dispersing a fine dust that can be carried long distances by winds or absorbed directly into the soil and groundwater.
Depleted uranium's radioactive and toxic residue has been linked to birth defects, cancers, the Gulf War Syndrome, and environmental damage.
But the Pentagon insists depleted uranium is both safe and necessary, saying it is a "superior armor (and) a superior munition that we will continue to use." Pentagon officials say that the health and environmental risks of DU use are outweighed by its military advantages. But to retain the right to use and manufacture DU weaponry and armor, the Pentagon has to actively ignore and deny the risks that depleted uranium poses to human health and environment.
To keep depleted uranium at the top of its weapons list, the Pentagon has distorted research that demonstrates how DU dust can work its way into the human body, potentially posing a grave health risk. According to a 1998 report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the inhalation of DU particles can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, lymphatic problems, bronchial complaints, weight loss, and an unsteady gait--symptoms that match those of sick veterans of the Gulf and Balkan wars.
Dr. Rosalie Bertell, a Canadian epidemiologist, released a study in 1999 revealing that depleted uranium can stay in the lungs for up to two years. "When the dust is breathed in, it passes through the walls of the lung and into the blood, circulating through the whole body," she wrote. Bertell concluded that exposure to depleted uranium, especially when inhaled, "represents a serious risk of damaged immune systems and fatal cancers."
The Pentagon has to cloak this dangerous weapon in deceptive and innocuous language. The adjective "depleted," with its connotation that the substance is non-threatening or diminished in strength, is misleading. While depleted uranium is not as radioactive and dangerous as U235--a person would not get sick merely from brief DU exposure, depleted uranium has a life span of 4.5 billion years (as long as the solar system has existed) and poses serious health risks and environmental contamination.
The long-term effects from over a decade of DU exposures are emerging in Southern Iraq. They are devastating. The increased quantities of radio-active material ( including non-depleted uranium), used in Afghanistan are 3 to 5 times greater than Iraq War of 1991. In Iraq 2003, they are already estimated to be 6 to 10x than 1991 and will travel through a larger area and affect thousands of civilians, babies and unborn babies. Countries within a 1000 mile radius of Baghdad and Kabul are being affected by radiation poisoning. The epidemic proportions of AIDS in India, may have a relationship to DU bombing in Afghanistan as it is downwind from that region.
If we think cancer is a problem now, wait until more DU is released in wars against terror and for `regime change', on `mistaken' Intelligence reports (Iran, Syria)
A body of research has also emerged over the past decade showing that the effects of radiation may not appear immediately. Damage to genes may be amplified as cells divide, so the full consequences may only appear many generations after the event that caused it. Child leukemia has risen 600 % in areas of Iraq as reported by the Netherland Visie Foundation.
Beyond just the health consequences, DU munitions are in fact, weapons of `Silent' Mass Destruction in so far as the consequences of their usage are vast, indiscriminate and violate all Human Rights Conventions. Tora Bora , Kabu , Paktia , Karises or underwater supply tunnels have been contaminated forever. All this has been documented in a comprehensive paper "Uranium wars: The Pentagon steps up its use of Radio-active Munitions," by Marc W. Herold
The Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC), Washington DC, and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (1991) - Steve Fetter and Frank Von Hippel have reported on extensive research by `Field' teams of the UMRC in Afghanistan. Testimonies of fathers and mothers are horrifying - " What else do the Americans want? They killed us, they turned our new-borns into horrific deformations, and they turned our farm lands into grave-yards, and destroyed our homes. On top of all this their planes fly over and spray us with bullets.. we have nothing to lose ..we will fight them the same way we fought the previous invaders..." (Sayed Gharib at Tora Bora).
The indiscriminate use of DU munitions in densely populated areas throughout Iraq, which put large numbers of civilians in jeopardy of radioactive and toxic exposure, violates the Geneva Convention's protocol prohibiting the use of weapons that do not distinguish between soldiers and civilians during wartime.
So why did the Pentagon insist on using DU weapons in Iraq? Tungsten alloys would have worked as well. Depleted uranium, it turns out, has one tremendous advantage over tungsten. It is provided to weapons manufacturers nearly free of charge by the U.S. government--an ingenious method of radioactive waste disposal. Essentially, depleted uranium is the waste left over from decades of nuclear weapons development. In fact, the United States has stockpiles of depleted uranium scattered at sites throughout the country--728,000 metric tons to be exact--a tiny fraction of which is used in the manufacture of depleted uranium warheads.
Why hasn't the MSM challenged The Pentagon and White House about DU? If members of the national press corps had done their homework, they would have found ample evidence that the Pentagon is fully aware of the dangers posed by DU weaponry and is actively ignoring its own research and warnings.
Radiological dispensing devices or warfare is the latest of the weapons of the new millenium, but it singes even those who use it, as shown in the after effects of the tests at home ground in the US, where evidence of cognitive damage during early infancy have been compiled.
As world citizens we need to focus on a new scourge, the reality of the PNAC -- `Rebuilding America's Defenses, Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century'.
Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol and others are some of the men representing contemporary `power centers', who define US policy. History indicates that the men who define US military policy from the shadows, are worthy of our attention. Hence, creating "genetic bombs" or weapons to target specific groups; genetic profiles are subtler and more accurate than the coarse pseudo category called race. The group with ADHD (the Edison Gene) uniquely share common inherited variations in their dopamine regulating genes regardless of race, geography or ethnicity. Thus anybody who's part of a group with a shared genetic profile may be at risk in the future.
A virus or bacteria may attack only a particular type of person, killing, disabling or sterilising only those of a particular gene profile. Threatening a particular type would be sufficient political black-mail.
Wolfowitz, Kristol and their colleagues suggested that the Pentagon should be thinking about not just germ warfare of which they have plenty of capabilities, but gene warfare.
Genetic terra-forming could replace diplomacy, or it could change the face of politics if an organism got loose that killed all the people of a particular minority community who tend to vote for a particular political party.
According to the PNAC, "Genetically targeted weapons could change world politics for ever, and the report notes, advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific geno-types may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool"
So by now, half of all the 697,000 US soldiers involved in the 1991 war have reported serious illnesses. According the American Gulf War Veterans Association, more than 30% of these soldiers are chronically ill, and receiving disability benefits from the Veterans Administration.
And the number of disabled veterans is shockingly high . They are in their mid-thirties and should have been in the prime of health.
The long term effects, after the early neurological symptoms, are cancer, and related radiation illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, joint and muscle pain, neurological and/or nerve damage, mood disturbances, auto-immuno deficiciencies, lung and kidney damage, vision problems, skin rupture, increase in miscarriages, maternal mortality and genetic birth defects/deformation.
For years the US government described the Gulf War Syndrome as a post traumatic stress disorder. It was labelled as a psychological problem or simply as mysterious unrelated ailments much in the same way as health problems of Vietnam veterans suffering from Agent Orange poisoning.
The truth is scary, but it is meant to liberate us, not to keep us victims and slaves in bondage from a tyrannical world slave master hell-bent on destroying this world. There are volumes of information about DU, I implore all of you to read up on this subject, if you haven't already, and to demand that our Congress and the MSM launch a full-scale investigation into why the Pentagon, the US and UK governments have withheld vital information about the risks of DU. If we don't, we will go down as the scourge of humanity, causing the worst genocide our world will ever see. It sounds dramatic, and it should, because it has been happening right under our noses. I will contact every blog site on the Internet if i have to in order to bring mass awareness to this atrocity.