nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Iraq is left with long term toxic legacy of USA’s use of depleted uranium weapons

Iraq, 15 years On: A Toxic US Legacy, March 18, 2018, by  Middle East Eye   Fifteen years ago this month, the United States spearheaded a fantastically bloody war on Iraq as part of its ongoing effort to ensure the Iraqi nation’s perpetual misery. Common Dreams, by Belén Fernández,  Fifteen years ago this month, the United States spearheaded a fantastically bloody war on Iraq ….

Increasing rates of cancer and birth defects …..

Consider, for instance, Cockburn’s 2010 article for The Independent, headlined “Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima'”. In it, he outlined the results of a study by British scientist Chris Busby and colleagues Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi on the increase in reports of cancer, birth defects, infant mortality and other forms of suffering in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the focus of a particularly vicious US assault.

To be sure, as one of the top polluters on the entire planet, the US military has never been thrilled about acknowledging what would appear to be obvious: that saturating the environment with toxic materials will have repercussions on both environmental and human health, including the health of the United States’ own warriors, as underlined by the afflictions affecting veterans of the Vietnam War and first Gulf War, among other imperial escapades.

According to Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an award-winning toxicologist based in Michigan, “around six billion bullets were expended into the Iraqi environment” between 2002 and 2005 alone – which, along with bombs, have led to “public contamination with … toxic metals”.

Depleted uranium: a long-term hazard

But the US military arsenal extends far beyond traditional guns and bombs. In 2012, Robert Fisk wrote about a 14-month-old Iraqi named Sayef who had a severely enlarged head, was blind, paralysed and unable to swallow. Noting that much blame for the rise in congenital birth defects in Fallujah had been directed at the United States’ use of white phosphorus there, Fisk was nonetheless forced to include the caveat: “No one, of course, can produce cast-iron evidence that American munitions have caused the tragedy of Fallujah’s children.”

Yet the possibility of a cause-and-effect relationship becomes more and more difficult to deny. Already in 2009, the Guardian had reported that doctors in Fallujah were “dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants” as the previous year, such as a baby born with two heads.

In 2013, Al Jazeera quoted Sharif al-Alwachi of the Babil Cancer Centre in southern Iraq, who attributed escalating cancer rates since 2003 on the US military’s use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. Al Jazeera also threw in the following uplifting note: “The remaining traces of DU in Iraq represent a formidable long-term environmental hazard, as they will remain radioactive for more than 4.5 billion years.”

Indeed, DU constitutes a can of worms unto itself. A 2016 Washington Spectator essay titled “Irradiated Iraq,” by Washington, DC-based investigative journalist Barbara Koeppel, remarks on the convenient US classification of its own uranium weapons as “conventional” when in fact “they are radioactive and chemically toxic”.

Destructive capacity

This is the same US, of course, that goes into warmongering hissy-fits each and every time the word “radioactive” comes up in the context of Iran while also engaging in countless other varieties of hypocritical rampage.

Koeppel cites former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter‘s observation: “The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its non-existent WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties.”

Luckily for the US, there are plenty of members of the national media and wider domestic landscape willing to succumb to the notion that DU is simply Something We Don’t Talk About; you might even say the issue itself is radioactive.

Others, however, have wholeheartedly embraced the destructive wonders of DU, as was the case with a US special operations soldier I spoke with earlier this year. This young man had just completed tours of duty in Iraq and Syria, where the US recently came under criticism for its renewed use of DU; he expressed dismay that sectors of the international community had failed to appreciate the effectiveness of the weaponry in question.

Back in 2001, the International Committee of the Red Cross offered some watered-down thoughts on DU, gently suggesting that international humanitarian law “prohibit[s] weapons, means or methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, which have indiscriminate effects or which cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment”…..https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/03/18/iraq-15-years-toxic-us-legacy

Advertisements

March 19, 2018 - Posted by | depleted uranium, environment, health, Israel

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: