The Remains of an Illegal and Immoral War

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

The United States recently ended its formal military occupation of Iraq and removed most of its combat troops after more than 8 years and thousands of troops and civilian deaths and injuries.  Our troops did their job under difficult situations, but the havoc that our invasion and occupation of Iraq created will remain for generations.  When we look at the impact of Shock and Awe and the constant barrage of bullets and bombs, it is a wonder that even more civilians were not killed.  Most estimates put the Iraqi civilian deaths over 100,000 and more than a million people displaced from their homes.  However, the repeated use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus weapons in particular, may be the cause of Iraqi infants and children being born with horrific abnormalities in alarming numbers.

“Dr Samira Alani, a paediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, has taken a personal interest in investigating an explosion of congenital abnormalities that have mushroomed in the wake of the US sieges since 2005.  “We have all kinds of defects now, ranging from congenital heart disease to severe physical abnormalities, both in numbers you cannot imagine,” Alani told Al Jazeera at her office in the hospital, while showing countless photos of shocking birth defects.  As of December 21, Alani, who has worked at the hospital since 1997, told Al Jazeera she had personally logged 677 cases of birth defects since October 2009. Just eight days later when Al Jazeera visited the city on December 29, that number had already risen to 699.  ‘ “There are not even medical terms to describe some of these conditions because we’ve never seen them until now,” she said. “So when I describe it all I can do is describe the physical defects, but I’m unable to provide a medical term.” ‘  Reader Supported News  When I read the linked article I was shocked and saddened by the human toll that is still being felt by Iraqi parents.

A British scientist, Dr. Christoper Busby has studied the huge increase in birth defects in Fallujah and his results are scary.  “The report’s conclusion states:

“Whilst caution must be exercised about ruling out other possibilities, because none of the elements found in excess are reported to cause congenital diseases and cancer except Uranium, these findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases. Questions are thus raised about the characteristics and composition of weapons now being deployed in modern battlefields.”

“As doctors, we know Mercury, Uranium and Bismuth can contribute to the development of congenital abnormalities, and we think it could be related to the use of prohibited weapons by the Americans during these battles,” Alani said.  “I made this link to a coroner’s inquest in the West Midlands into the death of a Gulf War One veteran… and a coroner’s jury accepted my evidence,” he told Al Jazeera.  “It’s been found by a coroner’s court that cancer was caused by an exposure to depleted uranium,” Busby added, “In the last 10 years, research has emerged that has made it quite clear that uranium is one of the most dangerous substances known to man, certainly in the form that it takes when used in these wars.”  In July 2010, Busby released a study that showed a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in Fallujah since the 2004 attacks. The report also showed the sex ratio had declined from normal to 86 boys to 100 girls, together with a spread of diseases indicative of genetic damage similar to but of far greater incidence than Hiroshima.  Dr Alani visited Japan recently, where she met with Japanese doctors who study birth defect rates they believe related to radiation from the US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  She was told birth defect incidence rates there are between 1-2 per cent. Alani’s log of cases of birth defects amounts to a rate of 14.7 per cent of all babies born in Fallujah, more than 14 times the rate in the affected areas of Japan.”  Reader Supported News

That last statistic is beyond shocking.  The rate of birth defects in Fallujah is 14 times the rate after our nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II!  We have debated for years about why we invaded Iraq in 2003 and the alleged lies that led us into that invasion.  We have discussed the huge sacrifice that our military and its families have suffered during this war, but for some reason the media just doesn’t want to talk about the human carnage that our political decision to invade Iraq has brought to the Iraqis themselves.

What should the United State be doing to alleviate the pain and suffering that we have caused?  Shouldn’t we be doing medical studies to determine what can be done, if anything, to reduce these horrific birth defects?

This should not be a partisan issue.  I realize that not everyone agrees with me that we went to Iraq on intentionally false and misleading intelligence.  However, I would hope that everyone who sees these pictures and reads these statistics will understand that the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus weapons is dangerous and immoral and should not be continued.

How many babies have to die over these next few years before we understand the lasting damage that we have caused?  Since it seems to be our use of these weapons that have caused this ongoing epidemic of birth defects, shouldn’t the United States be doing something to stem the tide?  What do you think the United States and its allies should be doing?

Additional source:  AlJazeera

55 thoughts on “The Remains of an Illegal and Immoral War”

  1. OS:

    Are you an atomic scientist? Just because you were in the military doesnt mean you know more about it than the World Health organization or any number of studies done by actual MD’s.

    All I am saying is that it is short sighted to right out of the gate blame DU for these birth defects when in fact it could be something else or a combination of chemicals and environmental factors. You, as a scientist, should realize that all of the possibilities need to be looked into before a conclusion can be made with any degree of certainty. As with most “political science” the first pass usually is not correct.

    DU seems like a convient political cause, it may in fact be the actual cause of these birth defects. If it is, the US should and most probably will give aide to those effected and will help with cleanup.

    What medical professionals are saying in the scientific articles I have read, all studies done before 2008, is that DU has some deleterious effects on human beings but not to the extent outlined in rafflaws article.

  2. Hmmm … and to think that in order to save the biosphere we went into Iraq to uncover and destroy all the WMDs they did not have … what an ugly irony. Since they didn’t have any, we brought our own.

  3. Bron, you can copy and paste all you want. You are wading around in an area I know a lot about and you only know what you can Google. That shit is dangerous, no matter where it is found. Excuses, excuses. I am not sure what your problem is, but it is getting tiresome.

  4. Bron,
    I don’t know if you can compare the amount of DU found in Bosnia to the amounts in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq. The scientist linked above did mention that more studies do have to be completed, but it is pretty hard to discount the number of deaths and defects found on the ground in Fallujah.

  5. OS:

    From the WHO after Bosnia:

    “Potential health effects of exposure to depleted uranium
    In the kidneys, the proximal tubules (the main filtering component of the kidney) are considered to be the main site of potential damage from chemical toxicity of uranium. There is limited information from human studies indicating that the severity of effects on kidney function and the time taken for renal function to return to normal both increase with the level of uranium exposure.
    In a number of studies on uranium miners, an increased risk of lung cancer was demonstrated, but this has been attributed to exposure from radon decay products. Lung tissue damage is possible leading to a risk of lung cancer that increases with increasing radiation dose. However, because DU is only weakly radioactive, very large amounts of dust (on the order of grams) would have to be inhaled for the additional risk of lung cancer to be detectable in an exposed group. Risks for other radiation-induced cancers, including leukaemia, are considered to be very much lower than for lung cancer.
    Erythema (superficial inflammation of the skin) or other effects on the skin are unlikely to occur even if DU is held against the skin for long periods (weeks).
    No consistent or confirmed adverse chemical effects of uranium have been reported for the skeleton or liver.
    No reproductive or developmental effects have been reported in humans.
    Although uranium released from embedded fragments may accumulate in the central nervous system (CNS) tissue, and some animal and human studies are suggestive of effects on CNS function, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from the few studies reported.”

    I doubt the World Health Organization is a subsidiary of the RNC.

    I dont think it is a straw man at all. The possibility that there are buried chemical weapons around Fallujah and other Iraqi cities is a real possibility. It is also possible those same chemical munitions leaked and contaminated the water supply. DU is a possibility but I am betting it is something else.

  6. People have wondered how Hitler had gotten away with all of his war atrocities by lying to the people. Now America knows how George W. Hitler did it.

  7. Betsy: You posed a question which is premised on the notion that Americans never knew about war. [if the American peoploe ever knew what it was like to live in a war on our land] I used to live near Arlington Cemetary. All these folks who rever Bobby Lee dont know that Arlington is situated on Bobby’s old plantation confiscated by the Nationals. Before the Civil War we had the American Revolution. Before that the French and Indian War. This country has seen its share of slaughter, genocide, slavery, imbecility. What it fails to retain is a memory and an ability to teach the next generation the facts of war and life. Please Google the word Andersonville. And if you dont know what the generation of Americans did in 1968 or so google Mai Lai.

  8. The economic propaganda is likewise very old and stale:

    ON THE night of October 22, 1929, one of America’s most widely known economists addressed a great banquet of credit men. Not only were Wall Street prices not too high, he told his delighted hearers, but we were really only on the threshold of the greatest boom in the nation’s history. The prophecy evoked a burst of applause. Next morning, a few minutes after the great bell announced the opening of trading on the Stock Exchange, the storm broke. The greatest eco depression in our history was formally ushered in — though it had been in progress for some time. From this point on, as the country slowly roused itself to a consciousness of the far-spreading crisis, leaders in politics and business repeated with invincible optimism that it was all just a wholesome corrective. After several years a waggish commentator published a little volume called Oh, Yeah! It was a sardonic recording of the persistent and unconquerable stream of promises of quickly returning health. There you will find recorded the statements of statesmen, financiers, university professors, leading economists, and editors assuring the people that it was all a blessing in disguise, a corrective phenomenon, that the broad highway to renewed prosperity lay just ahead. All of which proved quite conclusively that these men did not know what they were talking about because they had no understanding of the economic system under which they lived. Then came the collapse of 1933 on the grand scale — and a resumption of the bright prophecies of happy days.

    (As We Go Marching, by John T. Flynn, link to PDF copy of his 1944 book). He graduated from George Washington University.

  9. I have been shocked to learn that our nation’s foreign policy has been in the current rut for longer than is sane:

    “The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.”

    (As We Go Marching, by John T. Flynn, 1944).

  10. The thread above on ordnance started me to doing a little mental arithmetic (don’t worry raff, I will not crunch numbers here) on the sheer amount of metal dust that must have been generated in the early days of the Iraq war. That has to include the first Gulf War under GHWB, because that included vast numbers of tanks. Saddam’s gigantic tank corps was decimated by our A-10 Warthogs and Apache helicopters. That means a lot of tanks, a lot of armored vehicles and a lot of DU rounds downrange.

    Keep in mind that it usually takes multiple hits from the A-10 cannon to take out a tank, so that is a lot of splashes of DU against armor. Not a problem for the A-10 with its formidable GAU-8/A Avenger 39mm seven-barrel Gatling gun cannon. The Avenger cannon fires 4,200 rounds per minute, sending the one pound round on its way with a muzzle velocity of 3,550 feet per second (2,386 mph) or slightly more than three times the speed of sound.

    With the rate of fire of the tank busting Avenger cannon, it would be almost impossible for the A-10 pilot to hit a tank with only one round. The target is literally hammered with multiple rounds on each firing pass. What all this means in ordinary English is that there is a considerable amount of super fine depleted uranium dust ejected into the air with each target destroyed. Again, remember we are not talking about the big danger coming from any residual radioactivity, but that this is some really toxic metallic dust.

    The Avenger cannon is an impressive piece of hardware, and it is easy to see why there will be multiple hits on any given firing pass, even when the target is as small as a tank or armored vehicle. This short video shows the gun being fired on a test stand. This is not your average machine gun.

  11. damn right Mike. we know the truth

    Obama and the majority of Congress are all corrupt and intentionally imposing destruction in other countries as well as the US

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