The Sunday Herald (Scotland)
March 30, 2003

U.S. Using Weapons of Mass Destruction

by Neil Mackay

BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children. . . .

DU has been blamed for the effects of Gulf war syndrome -- typified by chronic muscle and joint pain, fatigue and memory loss -- among 200,000 US soldiers after the 1991 conflict.

It is also cited as the most likely cause of the 'increased number of birth deformities and cancer in Iraq' following the first Gulf war. . . .


[Unborn children of the region [are] being asked to pay the highest price, the integrity of their DNA.--Ross B. Mirkarimi, "The Environmental and Human Health Impacts of the Gulf Region with Special Reference to Iraq," The Arms Control Research Centre, May 1992]

[THE Government is facing a fresh round of allegations concerning Gulf War syndrome, this time from service personnel committed to the latest military campaign against Iraq.--Michael Evans, "Soldiers to sue as Gulf War illness strikes again," Times, May 28, 2003]

[Levels between 1,000 and 1,900 times higher than normal were recorded at four sites around the Iraqi capital where depleted uranium (DU) munitions have been used across wide areas.

Experts estimate that Britain and the US used 1,100 to 2,200 tons of armour-piercing shells made of DU during attacks on Iraqi forces.

That figure eclipses the 375tons used in the 1991 Gulf War.--"DANGEROUSLY HIGH LEVELS OF RADIATION MEASURED AROUND BAGHDAD," Express (London), September 1, 2003]

Bob Nichols, "Radiation in Iraq equals 250,000 Nagasaki bombs," Online Journal, July 13, 2004

LIFE SPECIAL: Photography by Derek Hudson Text by Kenneth Miller Reporting by Jimmie Briggs, "The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm," LIFE

James Burleigh, "Gulf War syndrome does exist, says report," Independent, October 17, 2004

[Ever since the Persian Gulf war of 1991, a new kind of fatal, environmental imprecision has been built into "precision" warfare. The gulf war was history's first depleted-uranium conflict. Arguably, not since Hiroshima and Nagasaki have humans unleashed a military substance so tenaciously hostile to life itself. Depleted uranium possesses a durability beyond our comprehension - it has a radioactive half-life of 4.51 billion years. When it enters the environment, it effectively does so for all time.

In the age of depleted-uranium warfare, we have an ethical obligation to challenge the military body counts that consistently underestimate (in advance and in retrospect) the true toll of waging high-tech wars. Who is counting the staggered deaths that civilians and soldiers suffer from depleted uranium ingested or blown across the desert? Who is counting the belated fatalities from unexploded cluster bombs that lie in wait for months or years, metastasizing into landmines? Who is counting deaths from chemical residues left behind by so-called "pinpoint" bombing, residues that turn into foreign insurgents, infiltrating native rivers and poisoning the food chain? Who is counting the victims of genetic deterioration -- the stillborn, malformed infants conceived by parents whose DNA has been scrambled by war's toxins? . . .

On the eve of the gulf war, the American nuclear scientist Leonard A. Dietz warned of catastrophic consequences if the United States and its allies introduced depleted-uranium weaponry to the battlefield. His prescient appeal was ignored. And the gulf war has left in its wake radioactive landscapes that will continue, for untold years, to wage widespread, random warfare.

When Dietz cautioned against integrating depleted uranium into conventional warfare, his alarm was grounded in experience. During the late 1970s, he was employed to monitor depleted-uranium levels outside an Albany, N.Y., factory that produced cannon shells for the Air Force. New York State authorities, on learning that radiation levels near the factory had reached 10 times permissible state standards, shut down the plant. The subsequent cleanup cost more than $100-million.

Dietz underscored the hypocrisy of such stringent domestic regulation when the United States was creating, in the Persian Gulf, an infinitely more toxic environment for its troops and for the region's inhabitants.

"To protect the health of Americans, we shut down a factory for discharging the equivalent of about two 30-mm. shells into the atmosphere per month," Dietz says. "How can we justify using a million such shells in Iraq and Kuwait, most of it in only four days of war?"--Rob Nixon, "Hidden War Casualties: Our Tools of War, Turned Blindly Against Ourselves," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 18, 2005]

[In the two US-led wars on Iraq, missile warheads containing the depleted uranium-238 were used.--Jurgen Hanefeld, "After the War Comes Cancer," Deutsche Welle, March 9, 2005]

Leuren Moret, "Depleted Uranium is WMD," Battle Creek Enquirer (Michigan), August 9, 2005

[But due to the use of depleted uranium in the battlefield, 56 percent of the 580,400 solders that served in the first Gulf War were on Permanent Medical Disability by 2000. 11,000 Gulf War veterans are already dead. Now 518,739 Gulf War Veterans, almost all of them, are currently on medical disability.--Jurgen Hanefeld, "DU SCANDAL EXPLODES," Free-Market News Network, February 21, 2006]

[At least one in four U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War suffers from a multi-symptom illness caused by exposure to toxic chemicals during the conflict, a congressionally mandated report being released Monday found.--Anne Usher, "Panel finds widespread Gulf War illness," Cox News Service, November 16, 2008]

Sarah Morrison, "Iraq records huge rise in birth defects: New study links increase with military action by Western forces,", October 14, 2012

Denis Halliday, "WHO Refuses to Publish Report on Cancers in Iraq Caused by Depleted Uranium,", September 13, 2013

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