Friday, September 09, 2005


We Need to Pay Attention

I have to say that things like this make me almost physically ill, and, very unfortunately, I'm not the only one.

One of the things that ordinary, everyday Americans need to know that most of us don't is that the U.S. military has been using depleted uranium for both armor and munitions since the first Gulf War. It seems that DU armor is nearly impervious to conventional armor-piercing shells, and DU-tipped rounds are extremely effective at piercing conventional armor. Plus, thanks to our numerous nuclear energy plants, depleted uranium is relatively plentiful and cheap.

The trouble seems to be that "depleted" uranium is not entirely depleted, and when a DU-tipped round hits anything, the uranium is atomized and pollutes the environment around it.

Iraqis living near the "Corridor of Death" from the first Gulf War are experiencing greatly heightened incidences of birth defects.

Unfortunately, it's also affecting our own soldiers. DU appears to be at least partly responsible for "Gulf War Syndrome," which, as some observers see it, is in essence radiation sickness. 40% of Gulf War veterans have needed further medical care after returning home, vs. 9% in WWII. It is suspected that Gulf War veterans are also experiencing higher-than-normal rates of birth defects in their own children, although no scientific studies have been permitted.

The issue is highly politicized because Saddam Hussein used it heavily in his internal propaganda before he was deposed, and because the Department of Defense has stonewalled on accountability. Although it's a hot-button issue in the European press, the corporate-owned U.S. media has downplayed the issue.

The dispersed uranium from DU-tipped ammunition is extraordinarily difficult to clean up--as the U.S. contractors building military bases in Iraq are discovering.

It may also be that DU-tipped munitions violate the Geneva Convention, which outlaws weapons that inflict needless and ongoing suffering.

(Source: True Lies by Anthony Lappe and Stephen Marshall,

The Quotidian Meander

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