Depleted Uranium Receives More Attention
By Staff News & Analysis - December 21, 2012

Mystery in Iraq – Are US Munitions to Blame for Basra Birth Defects? … The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently assembling a report on DU ammunition. It will reflect the current state of research on the issue, but it will hardly provide any new insights. With the help of the University of Greifswald, a cancer registry has been developed for the Basra region and will serve as the basis for all future study. Still, even as further research is needed, if only for the children's sake, it will come too late for many. The guns have been silent in Iraq for years, but in Basra and Fallujah the number of birth defects and cancer cases is on the rise. Locals believe that American uranium-tipped munitions are to blame and some researchers think they might be right. – Der Spiegel

Dominant Social Theme: US munitions are harmless except to the bad guys.

Free-Market Analysis: The WHO (see above) is finally getting around to seeing if depleted uranium weapons used by NATO and the US are responsible for the many birth defects in Iraq. From what we can tell, the outcome will be a preordained "no."

US officials, military or otherwise, have already ruled out the idea that depleted uranium dust could possibly be responsible for these birth defects or for US ailments that are much in dispute – having to do with immune deficiencies, etc.

But in Iraq, and Afghanistan, too, the idea of sicknesses related to depleted uranium do not seem in much doubt, from what we can tell. In Iraq, as we have reported many times, doctors are even advising women in certain areas not to have children because the chances of birth defects are so great. Here's more from the article:

It sounds at first as if the old man were drunk. Or perhaps as though he had been reading Greek myths. But Askar Bin Said doesn't read anything, especially not books, and there is no alcohol in Basra. In fact, he says, he saw the creatures he describes with his own eyes: "Some had only one eye in the forehead. Or two heads. One had a tail like a skinned lamb. Another one looked like a perfectly normal child, but with a monkey's face. Or the girl whose legs had grown together, half fish, half human."

The babies Askar Bin Said describes were brought to him. He washed them and wrapped them in shrouds, and then he buried them in the dry soil, littered with bits of plastic and can lids, of his own cemetery, which has been in his family for five generations. It's a cemetery only for children.

Though they are small, the graves are crowded so tightly together that they are almost on top of one another. They look as if someone had overturned toy wheelbarrows full of cement and then scratched the names and dates of death into it before it hardened. In many cases, there isn't even room for the birth date. But it doesn't really matter, because in most cases the two dates are the same.

There are several thousand graves in the cemetery, and another five to 10 are added every day. The large number of graves is certainly conspicuous, says Bin Said. But, he adds, there "really isn't an explanation" for why there are so many dead and deformed newborn babies in Basra.

Others, though, do have an idea why. According to a study published in September in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, a professional journal based in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg, there was a sevenfold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003. Of 1,000 live births, 23 had birth defects.

Similarly high values are reported from Fallujah, a city that was fiercely contested in the 2003 war. According to the Heidelberg study, the concentration of lead in the milk teeth of sick children from Basra was almost three times as high as comparable values in areas where there was no fighting.

Never before has such a high rate of neural tube defects ("open back") been recorded in babies as in Basra, and the rate continues to rise. The number of hydrocephalus ("water on the brain") cases among newborns is six times as high in Basra as it is in the United States, the study concludes.

Jawad al-Ali has worked as a cancer specialist at the Sadr Teaching Hospital (formerly the Saddam Hospital), housed in a sinister-looking building in Basra, since 1991. He remembers the period after the first Gulf war over Kuwait. "It isn't just that the number of cancer cases suddenly increased. We also had double and triple cancers, that is, patients with tumors on both kidneys and in the stomach. And there were also familial clusters, that is, entire families that were affected." He is convinced that this relates to the use of uranium ammunition. "There is a connection between cancer and radiation. Sometimes it takes 10 or 20 years before the consequences manifest themselves."

Uranium ammunition comes with cores of "depleted," (weakly radioactive) uranium, which has a high density, allowing it to pierce the armor of enemy combat vehicles, especially tanks.

People inhale the fine dust from exploded munitions, especially near tanks. According to Der Spiegel, "A 2002 study at the University of Bremen in northern Germany found that chromosomal changes had occurred in Gulf war veterans who had come into contact with uranium ammunition."

All this is basically denied by NATO and US military officials. But it is most ironic that at a time when the US mourns 20 children killed in a Connecticut massacre, US soldiers are seeding the world with radiation that causes children to be born with horrendous deformities or even stillborn.

It is a kind of subdominant social theme that the US in particular brings freedom and progress to places that it attacks and dominates. But in this case, the very weapons that soldiers depend upon to bring them victory are sowing death for themselves and others long after the fighting is finished.

This is just one example of how destructive the war culture is that has been cultivated and pursued by a power elite that seems to want to run the world and uses war as a tool to divide and conquer cultures that stand in its way.

Hopefully, over time, the determination to dominate other cultures by force of arms shall subside – at least a little. It is one reason that culpability for depleted uranium weapons is being fought so vigorously by the US military.

After Thoughts

But over time, in the era of the Internet Reformation, these sorts of things tend to be exposed. Just as the reality of vaccines – and their dangers – are being presented regularly on the Internet now, so will depleted uranium finally be revealed for the injurious substance it is.

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