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Ian McColgin
01-07-2010, 08:22 AM
Here’s some disturbing but hardly surprising news. After all, we’ve noted for almost two decades effects on our vets that are increasingly being understood as the results of handling depleted uranium. Most of us of my age recall the early experiments with DU rifle rounds in the ‘60’s - the exploding pigs and all that. But at the time we figured the stuff was too messy to subject troops to, much less the other side. It surprises me that use of DU is not considered a war crime.

Published on Wednesday, January 6, 2010 by New America Media

Cancer – The Deadly Legacy of the Invasion of Iraq

by Jalal Ghazi

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.

Here are a few examples. In Falluja, which was heavily bombarded by the US in 2004, as many as 25% of new- born infants have serious abnormalities, including congenital anomalies, brain tumors, and neural tube defects in the spinal cord.

The cancer rate in the province of Babil, south of Baghdad has risen from 500 diagnosed cases in 2004 to 9,082 in 2009 according to Al Jazeera English .

In Basra there were 1885 diagnosed cases of cancer in 2005. According to Dr. Jawad al Ali, director of the Oncology Center, the number increased to 2,302 in 2006 and 3,071 in 2007. Dr. Ali told Al Jazeera English that about 1,250-1,500 patients visit the Oncology Center every month now.

Not everyone is ready to draw a direct correlation between allied bombing of these areas and tumors, and the Pentagon has been skeptical of any attempts to link the two. But Iraqi doctors and some Western scholars say the massive quantities of depleted uranium used in U.S. and British bombs, and the sharp increase in cancer rates are not unconnected.
Dr Ahmad Hardan, who served as a special scientific adviser to the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, says that there is scientific evidence linking depleted uranium to cancer and birth defects. He told Al Jazeera English , "Children with congenital anomalies are subjected to karyotyping and chromosomal studies with complete genetic back-grounding and clinical assessment. Family and obstetrical histories are taken too. These international studies have produced ample evidence to show that depleted uranium has disastrous consequences."

Iraqi doctors say cancer cases increased after both the 1991 war and the 2003 invasion. Abdulhaq Al-Ani, author of "Uranium in Iraq" told Al Jazeera English that the incubation period for depleted uranium is five to six years, which is consistent with the spike in cancer rates in 1996-1997 and 2008-2009.

There are also similar patterns of birth defects among Iraqi and Afghan infants who were also born in areas that were subjected to depleted uranium bombardment.

Dr. Daud Miraki, director of the Afghan Depleted Uranium and Recovery Fund, told Al Jazeera English he found evidence of the effect of depleted uranium in infants in eastern and south- eastern Afghanistan. "Many children are born with no eyes, no limbs, or tumors protruding from their mouths and eyes," said Dr. Miraki.

It's not just Iraqis and Afghans. Babies born to American soldiers deployed in Iraq during the 1991 war are also showing similar defects . In 2000, Iraqi biologist Huda saleh Mahadi pointed out that the hands of deformed American infants were directly linked to their shoulders, a deformity seen in Iraqi infants.
Many US soldiers are now referring to Gulf War Syndrome #2 and alleging they have developed cancer because of exposure to depleted uranium in Iraq.

But soldiers can end their exposure to depleted uranium when their service in Iraq ends. Iraqi civilians have nowhere else to go. The water, soil and air in large areas of Iraq, including Baghdad, are contaminated with depleted uranium that has a radioactive half-life of 4.5 billion years.

Dr. Doug Rokke, former director of the U.S. Army's Depleted Uranium Project during the first Gulf War, was in charge of a project of decontaminating American tanks. He told Al Jazeera English that "it took the U.S. Department of Defense in a multi-million dollar facility with trained physicists and engineers, three years to decontaminate the 24 tanks that I sent back to the U.S." And he added, "What can the average Iraqi do with thousands and thousands of trash and destroyed vehicles spread across the desert and other areas?"

According to Al Jazeera , the Pentagon used more than 300 tons of depleted uranium in 1991. In 2003, the United States used more than 1,000 tons.

Copyright © Pacific News Service

skuthorp
01-07-2010, 08:26 AM
What sort of a legacy have we left there, and how can we expect them to pursue any 'normal' relations with any of our governments in the future?

sdowney717
01-07-2010, 09:34 AM
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5146778547681767408#docid=87712421 69036524915

DU Penetrators are extremely effective.
what is hit is destroyed, so military likes it as it limits our casualties.
lots of DU dust everywhere, I am sure it has high potential to be bad for whoever lives in that area. But all this is well known, not talked about too much, what is the point? It is war. In wars very bad things happen.

http://www.janes.com/defence/news/jid/jid040402_1_n.shtml

Chris Coose
01-07-2010, 09:48 AM
The point?
Iraq was a botched invasion and occupation built on contrived motives to most of us.

You consider it a war and ....yep.... all's fair..... women, children, elderly, infirmed ....... fu*km in your book.

You'd never understand the point.

sdowney717
01-07-2010, 09:58 AM
The history of man is terrible destructive warfare. Yes, men, women, children and the environment get killed, tortured and trashed .
This is one thing that wont ever change.

Ian McColgin
01-07-2010, 10:15 AM
Right that women and children get trashed, and non-combatants abused and all that. Historically. Remember early versions of germ warfare, like besiegers hurling diseased corpses over the wall, poisoning the wells of Caanan, etc.? The good old days when war was about conquest and total anialation.

That was then. This is now where a larger sense of war's goals obtain. Where we look forward to peace, like with trade and stuff, rather than pacification or subjugation. For reasons of how to win after the war as well as for the evolving moral reasons civilization we are signators (thus bound by US law) to a number of conventions about how to leave non-combatants out of it.

The fire bombing of Dresden, the two nuclear attacks on Japan, and the wholesale environmental and genocidal effects of our Vietnam tactics are examples of just how much good those conventions have done the non-combatants, the women and children and aged and sick, of our enemies. So too with DU. And just as we really did know a lot about the long term environmental and genetic and immediate health hazards of dioxen and related biocides in Vietnam days, so we know about DU. We knew then and know now about the adverse health effects on our own people. Shrugging and saying that war was ever thus is not an answer. It's a continuation of the escalating lies and brutalities that make war ever more wrong.

Bruce Hooke
01-07-2010, 10:25 AM
The point is that the world has, by and large, agreed that certain weapons are too terrible, or have too much of a long term impact on the habitability of a place to be allowed. Chemical weapons are very effective at killing lots of people but are only rarely used and their use brings almost universal condemnation. Nuclear weapons have only been used twice in war. Depleted uranium belongs in the class of weapons that however effective at their immediate purpose should not be used.

By a similar logic, no matter how effective at cowing the local population, methods like rape, intentionally killing children, and so on are also considered beyond the pale by most of the world.

Time was when war was fought to expend a nation's lands. In those days only a fool would destroy the very ability of the land to support human habitation. Those days are long gone but it is still very destructive to our long term goals to leave behind an Iraq large areas of which are all but uninhabitable. In so doing we will leave behind an enmity that will last for generations.

sdowney717
01-07-2010, 10:41 AM
yes I agree, but the violence does not stop and it takes new forms.
Man is no different today than in years gone by. Certain African countries still rape kill and destroy in wars. The nature of the beast Man, is still very much a beast.

Chris Coose
01-07-2010, 10:49 AM
Bruce, What's the point of discussion with this fella when all action in war is allowable with the blanket statement, "It is war. In wars very bad things happen."?
It allows a comatose consideration for little kids being born with brain tumors.
It really allows no consideration for little kids at all and the coma state is far easier to manage in any given day.

LeeG
01-07-2010, 10:52 AM
these are interesting.
Regarding the toxicity of DU in the post war environment I wonder what the risk is compared to waste dumps, open pit burning or UXO?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dense_inert_metal_explosive

Bruce Hooke
01-07-2010, 11:19 AM
yes I agree, but the violence does not stop and it takes new forms.
Man is no different today than in years gone by. Certain African countries still rape kill and destroy in wars. The nature of the beast Man, is still very much a beast.

Quite possibly true, but this does nothing whatsoever to address the moral questions that are at the heart of this matter. People still murder each other even far from "war zones" but this does not mean we need to think that murder is OK.

Attempts to "regulate" war have always been pretty "imperfect." However, there does seem to be a pretty broad consensus around the world that it is a good idea to continue to attempt to do so, and contrary to what you seem to be saying, it seems pretty clear to me that such attempts at regulation have had a positive impact. For the most part soldiers no longer storm into a city and kill all the men and rape all the women. Since WWI, the use of chemical weapons has been relatively rare. When these sorts of things do happen, the world does usually at least try to stand up and say "this is not acceptable," and at least in some cases the perpetrators have been put on trial, convicted and punished.

Bruce Hooke
01-07-2010, 11:21 AM
Bruce, What's the point of discussion with this fella when all action in war is allowable with the blanket statement, "It is war. In wars very bad things happen."?
It allows a comatose consideration for little kids being born with brain tumors.
It really allows no consideration for little kids at all and the coma state is far easier to manage in any given day.

Even if there is little hope of convincing this fellow to change his mind, we can at least do our best to reveal just how bankrupt his thinking is, so that others are not drawn in.

Ian McColgin
01-07-2010, 11:21 AM
I'm not sure I'm getting sdowney's point. Without doing a whole ethics of war bit, let me digress to set the context of my values on this matter.

War is always wrong. However in practical terms of the moment it might not be as wrong as some alternatives.

A cause of war at the minimum includes response to an armed attack from a nation. The terror attack of September 11, 2001 is not a cause of war on any nation.

And I mean meaningful attack, not some set up crock like Hitler used on Poland or we used (Gulf of Tonkin) on Vietnam. I'd also exclude acts of violence, even when government inspired, sanctioned, tolerated, not particularly disavowed or what not, that are not perpetrated by the uniformed services of a nation on our nation’s states or a major military attack on our forces.

The wrongs of how we conduct a war must be limited by -- all the usual stuff in the Geneva accords which still, despite the lies of Cheney, have the force of US law on US troops, agents and citizens. We should not that there are moral and practical advantages to keeping to these standards. War is a horrifyingly dehumanizing experience.

One reason for uniformed armies is that the dehumanizing experiences of war can be isolated to that aspect of life. A veteran’s return is incredibly hard no matter what but there is a great deal of healing, at least scaring over, by all the ceremony and trapping and process of mustering out and doffing the uniform. We have a place for a cadre of professional warriors but most citizens should be conditioned to that level of violence as something rare and separate from real life.

Regardless of how the other side treats us, there are moral and practical reasons for us to treat them by our standards. Any less, as we are seeing as more and more of the Cheney era crimes are revealed, debases and dehumanizes our people.

Beyond that, let us recall that one reason Americans of Japanese ancestry could remain patriotic and even fight during WWII, despite the unconstitutional evils of the interment camps, was our correct treatment of Japanese POWs despite the harsh treatment our people received at their hands. It’s not at all about symetry. Never was. People who make that argument really don’t get anything about war in today’s world.

Beyond the Geneva accords, we should conduct any war with an eye to having our enemies as legally independent and equal trade partners after the war. This has huge impacts on tactics. Like were we serious about "liberating" Iraq, we would not have systematically destroyed and kept in ruins the water system. Just one example of our lying there.

Just as our justice system does not include the Norse idea of blood gold or the primitive notion of family vengeance, so also our notion of war has evolved with civilization despite the primitive imperatives we all feel but some of us rise above.

In that light, sure non-combatants suffer in war. That’s not even a slight excuse for us to do things designed to make them suffer. DU could have some limited legitimate use but the promiscuous use is a war crime that harms Iraq non-combatants, produces long term horrors past any war, and harms our veterans. It's wrong.

Chris Coose
01-07-2010, 11:26 AM
Even if there is little hope of convincing this fellow to change his mind, we can at least do our best to reveal just how bankrupt his thinking is, so that others are not drawn in.

Good point there. I believe he is hopelessly asleep.

Nicholas Carey
01-07-2010, 03:13 PM
what is the point? It is war. In wars very bad things happen.

Generally, we prefer our weapons to stop killing after the shooting is over.


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5146778547681767408#docid=87712421 69036524915

DU Penetrators are extremely effective.
what is hit is destroyed, so military likes it as it limits our casualties.
lots of DU dust everywhere, I am sure it has high potential to be bad for whoever lives in that area.I've been suckered in by the Pentagon's marketeers -- "depleted uranium" sounds innocuous. What I didn't know -- just found out via the goog -- is that "depleted uranium" isn't depleted at all.

Naturally occuring uranium is 99.3% U-238 and 0.7% U-235. We mostly want U-235 for nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel, so we "enrich" the uranium (extract the U-235). The leftover U-238 is what is termed "depleted uranium".

U-238 has a half-life of 4.5 billion years and is primarly an alpha emitter (with some weak gamma radiation as an amuse bouche).

Alpha is good radiation, as far as that sort of stuff goes. Alpha particles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_particle) are essentially the nucleus of a helium atom (2 protons, 2 neutrons). They're fairly low energy. They can travel only a few centimeters in air and can't even penetrate the skin or a sheet of paper. This is good.

However, you were talking dust. (or vaporized U-238, in the case of armor piercing or armor plate). When ingested or breathed however...alpha emitters can wreak some pretty good havoc internally. From Wikipedia, on the biological hazards:
Because of the short range of absorption, alphas are not generally dangerous to life unless the source is ingested or inhaled, but then they become extremely dangerous. Because of this high mass and strong absorption, if alpha emitting radionuclides do enter the body (if the radioactive material has been inhaled or ingested), alpha radiation is the most destructive form of ionizing radiation. It is the most strongly ionizing, and with large enough doses can cause any or all of the symptoms of radiation poisoning. It is estimated that chromosome damage from alpha particles is about 100 times greater than that caused by an equivalent amount of other radiation. The alpha emitter polonium-210 is suspected of playing a role in lung cancer and bladder cancer related to tobacco smoking.

Not only do alphas themselves cause damage, but approximately equal ionization is caused by the recoiling nucleus after alpha emission, and this energy may in turn be especially damaging to genetic material, since the positive cations of many soluble transuranic elements which emit alphas, are chemically attracted to the net negative charge of DNA, causing the recoiling atomic nucleus to be in close proximation to the DNA.Sheesh.

sdowney717
01-07-2010, 03:32 PM
of course DU dust is bad and a killer, this article goes on to say it is part of US and British strategy to effectively poison the genetic code of the people who live there.
War is still War and I cant change anything about the basic nature of people. My Nephew and his friends love those killing games they play on PC's. they are great for desensitizing young people so they can go out and fight Wars and kill as many of the enemy as possible.

http://www.rense.com/general63/dub.htm

The US has a dirty (DU) little (CIA) secret A new book just published at the American Free Press by Michael Collins Piper, "The High Priests of War: The Secret History of How America's Neo-Conservative Trotskyites Came to Power and Orchestrated the War Against Iraq as the First Step in Their Drive for Global Empire," details the early plans for a war against the Arab world by Henry Kissinger and the neo-cons in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That just happens to coincide with getting the DU "show on the road" and the oil crisis in the Middle East, which caused concern not only to President Nixon. The British had been plotting and scheming for control of the oil in Iraq for decades since first using poison gas on the Iraqis and Kurds in 1912.

sdowney717
01-07-2010, 03:39 PM
http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Armenian_Genocide

The Armenian Genocide.
How many million died ?
What torturous fate awaited those doomed to die?
Where was the compassion, the soft hearts, did anything ever get resolved? what was the point of all the killing.

What has changed? Nothing at all. Al of the past wars, rapes, killing, murders, attrocities are simply perpetuated time after time.

Bruce Hooke
01-07-2010, 05:00 PM
You keep repeating this mantra that war is terrible. Yes, this is true. We all agree. That is not the question. The question is should we speak up against particularly egregious examples of the horrors of war?

Someone doing something terrible during a war neither makes it OK for someone else to do the same thing nor absolves us of speaking up when terrible acts are committed, especially if they are committed in our name.

Humans are far from perfect but this does not absolve us from trying to do better.