05 January 2008


The Untold Nuclear War

For the past year and a half or so I have been intensely studying the cesspool that is US foreign affairs. I have learned all sorts of surprising facts that were never taught to me in school. Facts like, since 1945 our government has attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, engaged in unprovoked military invasion of some 20 sovereign nations, worked to crush more than 30 populist movements which were fighting against dictatorial regimes and etc., doesn’t easily roll off an American teachers tongue. (2)

I wonder how much more peaceful the world would have been this past fifty years or so if it were not for our foreign policy.

I have seen the results of the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign. I have seen the photos of the burned and mutilated; I have seen the photos of the dead lying lifeless among the rubble; and I have seen how bombs, smart or otherwise, do not discriminate between children and combatants. It leaves a distinct impression to see a photo of a man holding a little girl whose foot is hanging from her leg by only a few strands of flesh. Or the image of a dead Iraqi boy whose entire back of his head was blown off leaving the remainder of his head looking like some strange Hollywood prop. “Mission accomplished.

However, nothing I have seen or read prepared me for the “untold nuclear war.” I am not referring to atomic or nuclear bombs that engulf entire cities in flames; I am referring to depleted uranium munitions.

Depleted uranium, or DU, is a by-product of the production of enriched uranium fuel for nuclear reactors and weapons. Basically it’s nuclear waste. In order to be used in reactors or bombs, natural uranium has to be processed by removing less than 1/2 of 1% of a special kind of uranium called U-235. This U-235 is the stuff nuclear weapons go “boom” with or nuclear reactors create electricity with. What’s left from this process, depleted uranium, mainly U-238, is still very radioactive and dangerous to life. In other words, there’s nothing depleted about depleted uranium. (3)

As one can imagine, if you only get less than 1/2 of 1% of U-235 from the uranium you process, you are going to have a lot of waste. Some “genius” wanted to put this waste to “good” use and their solution was to put it in military bullets, shells, missiles, and bombs, because, as it was discovered, DU enhances a projectiles ability to pierce armor and fortifications.

The DU is placed inside the missile or bomb. When the munition explodes upon impact, the dense depleted uranium ignites at high temperatures which is highly effective in cutting through armor - like a hot knife through butter. Thus DU is used in armor-piercing bullets, missiles and in “bunker-busters.” DU is even used in tank armor because of its density, as in the case of the M1A1 Abrams tank.

So, What’s So Bad About DU?

DU emits three types of radiation. They are: (3) (4)

1. Alpha Particles. These particles are blocked by objects, as light is blocked by a sheet of paper. We are protected from alpha particles by our skin, unless alpha radiation is inhaled, ingested or absorbed into the blood stream through scratches and wounds, then it is highly dangerous. It is also chemically toxic.

2. Beta Particles (high speed electrons). These particles can penetrate human skin to a depth of 1 cm.

3.Photon Particles (x-rays and gamma rays). These particles can pass completely through a human body.

Natural uranium apparently can pass harmlessly through our bodies. What makes DU so sinister is what takes place upon explosion. During explosion, DU ignites and 40% to 70% is aerosolized into a fine spray which then contaminates the air, soil and water around the target area. These particles, which are smaller than viruses or bacteria, can enter the lungs via breathing, enter the blood stream via open wounds or enter organs via ingestion from contaminated food and water supplies. The impact of DU munitions convert the uranium from a heavy metal into a ceramic heavy metal, which makes it virtually insoluble and therefore difficult to excrete. (3) (5) (6)

Aside from being radioactive, DU is toxic as well, much in the same way that mercury or lead is toxic to our bodies. This explains the “double whammy” effect DU victims get. First they suffer from the toxicity of DU in their bodies. Once they recover, they then get cancer. This, in part, explains many of the strange maladies that our Gulf War I and II veterans suffer from.

DU causes a vast array of illness and disease from acute skin rashes, severe headaches, muscle and joint pain, general fatigue, to major birth defects, infection, depression, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors and every other type of cancer. Furthermore, uranium replaces calcium, thus destroying teeth and bones.(3) (5)

If a person inhales depleted uranium it will first attach itself to the trachea and stick to lung tissue. As DU is virtually insoluble, it won’t easily dissolve in the bloodstream. It clings to the respiratory system for years, even decades, irradiating and damaging surrounding tissue and organs. Gradually the DU passes through the lung-blood membranes and into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. The radiation mutates cells, causing cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, congenital disorders and birth defects. (3)

If DU enters a persons bloodstream via the mouth, open wounds or shrapnel, it will circulate freely through the body, emitting radiation as it travels. Some DU particles will concentrate in the lymph nodes and cause lymphatic cancer. It damages the immune system by hastening the death of white blood cells and impairing their ability to attack bacteria. Other particles cause low-level cell irradiation in the bone marrow and in the stem cells the body creates there. Stem cells are the progenitors of all other cells that the body manufactures in order to renew itself. Stem cells are very vulnerable. When bombarded with alpha particles, their DNA falls apart potentially affecting every organ. The result is sort of like trying to build a home with inferior materials; things fall apart. (3)

DU dust falls indiscriminately everywhere over the area it reaches. Its contamination affects every living thing and cannot be remediated.

- Dr. George Wald, Professor of Biology and Nobel Laureate. (5)

The Department of Defense says there is no scientific evidence of any increased health risks from exposure to DU, including cancer and leukemia. Furthermore, there was no problem in the Persian Gulf War and there is no potential hazard in the Balkans - except under very limited circumstances. (7)

The DOD also references the much-cited Institute of Medicine Report, which studied the effects of uranium workers. The problem with that reference is it has nothing to do with depleted uranium, nor does it study the effects of DU in uncontrolled battle conditions. (7)

Furthermore, US government and Pentagon statements about DU don’t match up. While they minimize the danger of DU, in 1995 a US Army Environmental Policy Institute Report stated, “If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical complications. The risks associated with DU in the body are both chemical and radiological...Personnel inside or near vehicles struck by DU penetrators could receive significant internal exposure.” Also, according to Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center and coordinator of the DU Education Project, claims that Army training manuals require anyone who comes within 75 feet of any DU-contaminated equipment or terrain to wear respiratory and skin protection. (1) (7)

Another piece of information that completely contradicts the Pentagon’s “DU is safe” statements is the Army’s technical bulletin on guidelines for a safe response to handling accidents with DU. The bulletin warns firefighters that “significant concentrations of DU oxide dust could be expelled from the fire in the event of an explosion...” And further, “Keeping out of the downwind plume, or wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus, will provide adequate respiratory protection.” The report even states that “emergency response personnel who sustain minor injuries but are also contaminated with DU should be decontaminated prior to treatment of minor injuries...” This is all great for the firefighter, but what about the soldier who unknowingly comes in contact with this stuff in the battlefield? What about the civilians? (4)

What Do Independent Scientists Say About DU?

The chief researcher, Asaf Durakovic, at the Nuclear Research Center in Canada reported finding high levels of DU in urine and blood samples in Gulf War Veterans ten years after the war. Dr. Durakovic states that much of the ill-defined Gulf War Syndrome is related to DU radiation and/or toxicity. He is critical of the US Defense Department and the British Ministry of Defense because they have consistently refused to test Gulf War Veterans for DU. (7)

The Answer My Friend, Is Blowing In The Wind

Microscopic and sub-microscopic DU particles are capable of being swept up into the air and, as radioactive atmospheric dust, carried by winds, many, many miles away.

In 1979, depleted uranium escaped from the National Lead Industries factory near Albany, NY. They were manufacturing DU munitions for the US military. The particles traveled 26 miles and were discovered in a laboratory filter by Dr. Leonard Dietz, a nuclear physicist. The factory was shut down in 1980 for releasing .85 pounds of DU dust into the atmosphere every month and involved a 100 million dollar clean-up. But, why the clean-up if there is no harm from DU like the Pentagon says?

Dr. Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk tested radiation levels in the wake of the 2003 “hearts and minds” campaign, “Shock and Awe.” Dr. Busby recorded that uranium particles traveled 2,400 miles in nine days from Iraq to Aldermaston, England. This US made radioactive cloud quadrupled Europe’s atmospheric radiation levels. This contradicts Pentagon denials that DU contamination spreads far beyond the target sites struck. Dr. Busby stated, “This research shows that rather than remaining near the target, as claimed by the military, depleted uranium weapons contaminate both locals and whole populations hundreds to thousands of miles away.” (5) (8) (9)

340 tons of DU munitions were used in the first Gulf War in 1991. In 1999, a similar amount was used in Yugoslavia. Since the last count, more than 1,000 tons have been used in Afghanistan and more than 3,000 tons in Iraq. (3) (5)

The Story of Dr. Doug Rokke

Dr. Doug Rokke was an US Army contractor in the first Gulf War. Rokke’s job was to decontaminate shot-up vehicles and tanks. Some of these vehicles went back to
the US; others were considered too radioactive to move and were buried in a giant hole in the ground.

In an interview with reporter Julie Flint, Rokke said, “The US Army made me their expert. I went into the project with the total intent to ensure they could use uranium munitions in war, because I’m a warrior. What I saw as director of the project led me to one conclusion: Uranium munitions must be banned from the planet, for eternity, and medical care must be provided for everyone - those on the firing end and those on the receiving end.”

Rokke suffers from serious health problems. He has brain lesions, lung and kidney damage, reactive airway disease, permanent skin rashes, neurological damage and cataracts. In November of 1994, government doctors finally agreed to test him - three and a half years after he fell ill while he was director of the Pentagon’s Depleted Uranium Project. Doctors found Rokke to have 5,000 times the permissible level of radiation in his body.

Rokke’s team in Iraq was made of 100 employees. These people were devastated by exposure to DU dust. “When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy,” said Rokke, “However, after performing clean-up operations in the desert...30 staff members died, and most others developed serious health problems.”

In his papers describing his findings, Rokke recorded levels of contamination that were 15 times the Army’s permissible levels in tanks hit by DU and up to 4.5 times such levels in clothing exposed to DU.

Rokke went on to say, “After everything I’ve seen, everything I’ve done, it became very clear to me that you just can’t take radioactive wastes from one nation and just throw it into another nation. It’s wrong. It’s simply wrong...”

“One way or another, the Pentagon will pay a price. Using DU is a war crime. It’s that simple. Once you’ve scattered all this stuff around, and then refuse to clean it up, you’ve committed a war crime.”

The Story of Sgt. Michael Lee Tosto, US Army

Sgt. Michael Tosto died “mysteriously” in Baghdad on June 17, 2003. He was 24 years old.

The Army told Tosto’s family that he died from pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation and swelling in the lungs) and pericardial effusion (accumulation of fluid in the sac that contains the heart), or cardiac failure, after showing flu-like symptoms. After Michael’s funeral, a fellow soldier contacted Michael’s wife Stephanie and told her that his buddy started coughing up blood and his lips turned blue and was dead within 48 hours after the first symptoms.

Inhaling depleted uranium causes pulmonary edema. Symptoms are bleeding lungs, bronchial pneumonia and vomited blood. Pericardial effusion is a common cause of death among leukemia patients. Sgt. Tosto’s military autopsy exhibited elevated levels of white blood cells. Exposure to DU can cause lymphocytic leukemia.

At her husband’s funeral, Stephanie Tosto, noticed his wedding ring was missing. The Army explained that Sgt. Tosto’s belongings were missing due to possible contamination. Contaminated with what? The Army also issued new dog tags for Michael’s funeral. What was wrong with the old ones? Were the originals contaminated too? And why didn’t the Army immediately contact Mrs. Tosto at the emergency number her husband was carrying?

The Story of Wilder Gutierrez Rubbio

UPI reported in December of 2005 that Wilder Gutierrez Rubio, 38, had died a few hours after returning home to Lima, Peru. He had been diagnosed by doctors at Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad with severe leukemia, which they attributed to depleted uranium exposure, even though he had served in Baghdad only a short time. Gutierrez was part of a contingent of Latin Americans recruited by a US company to provide security for Baghdad’s Green Zone.

The Story of Captain Terry Riordon, Canadian Armed Forces

Captain Riordon served in the first Gulf War. He passed away in April 1999 at the age of 45. He left Canada a very fit man who did cross-country skiing and ran in marathons. Upon his return only two months later he could barely walk.

Terry returned to Canada in 1991 with a documented loss of motor control, chronic fatigue, respiratory difficulties, chest pain, difficulty breathing, sleep problems, short-term memory loss, testicle pain, body pains, aching bones, diarrhea and depression. He suffered for eight years, struggling with the military bureaucracy and the system to get proper diagnosis and treatment.

We know that Captain Riordon suffered from depleted uranium, because he donated his body to the Uranium Medical Research Center. It was because of this donation that the UMRC could obtain conclusive evidence that inhaling fine particles of DU dust completely destroyed Riordon’s health.

The Story of the Unborn

The most horrific and devastating effects of depleted uranium is on unborn children.

Nothing can prepare anyone for the sight of hundreds of preserved fetuses that barely resemble human children. Iraq is now seeing babies with terribly foreshortened limbs, with their intestines outside their bodies, with huge bulging tumors where their eyes should be, or with a single eye-like Cyclops, or without eyes or without limbs, and even without heads. Significantly, some of the defects are almost unknown except for in textbooks showing the babies born near A-bomb test sites in the Pacific. Some of the photos of these fetuses and newborns can be seen on the US Citizens for a Safer Foreign Policy website link: www.uscsfp.org/id20.html

Support Our Troops!

In the first Iraq war, the ground offensive lasted only 100 hours. During the Gulf War the US military incurred: 467 individuals wounded in action, 148 killed in battle, and 145 killed in other than battle (i.e. accidents). Therefore, the total number of US Gulf War casualties was 760 at the time of redeployment. (10)

The February 2006 Gulf War Veterans Information System Report published by the Department of Veterans Affairs states that 609,198 served in the Gulf War conflict. As of February 2006, 260,209 veterans had filed claims for benefits based on service-connected injuries and illnesses caused by Gulf War combat related duties. Department of Veterans Affairs officials have processed 228,513 claims for medical care, compensation, and pension, determining that for 200,107 veterans their injuries and illnesses are service connected, caused by Gulf War exposures and injuries. Consequently they have been awarded lifetime medical care, compensation, and pensions based on the extent of their medical problems. (10) (11) (12)


All this from what the Department of Defense still calls a “mystery disease.”

Neither the VA or the DOD have provided the clear research needed to answer the basic question: What part did DU play in causing death and illness among so many Gulf War Veterans?

If we really “supported our troops,” we would take those stupid magnets off our cars, demand our soldiers home now, give them and all veterans the care they deserve, while taking those who authorized and condoned the use of depleted uranium and ship them off to the Hague to be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A Long-Term Problem

In the Army technical bulletin I mentioned earlier, it states that tanks, vehicles and etc. that have been destroyed by DU munitions must be surveyed and if necessary, decontaminated to the normal, background level of radiation. Scott Peterson, a staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor, reported on May 15, 2003 about taking Geiger counter readings at several sites in Baghdad. Near the Republican Guard Palace where US troops stood guard and over 1,000 employees walked in and out of the building, his radiation readings were the “hottest” in Iraq, at nearly 1,900 times background radiation levels.

At a roadside vegetable stand, children played on a burnt-out Iraqi tank. There Peterson’s Geiger counter registered nearly 1,000 times normal background radiation. (1) (4) (13)

On August 4, 2003, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported elevated radiation levels at six sites from Basra to Baghdad. One destroyed tank near Baghdad had 1,500 times the normal background radiation. (13)

What must be considered, which makes Iraq War II more significant, was unlike Iraq War I which took place mostly in rural areas, Iraq War II took place mostly in urban areas. Not even those in the Green Zone are safe in Iraq with DU in the air, ground and water. If any of this makes you feel queasy, it should, depleted uranium has a radioactive life of 4.5 billion years. (5)

On August 21, 2006 our President said that many Democrats want to leave Iraq "before the job is done.” “I can't tell you exactly when it's going to be done,” he said, but “if we ever give up the desire to help people who live in freedom, we will have lost our soul as a nation, as far as I'm concerned.” (14)

No Mr. President, we’ve already lost our soul as a nation.

“Mission accomplished.”

But here’s how we can start getting back our soul: go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov to obtain the information you need to call, e-mail or fax your representatives in Congress.

Tell them about depleted uranium and how you feel about it.

Demand we outlaw DU.

Demand we leave Iraq.

Demand we stop the lip service and start honestly supporting our troops.

And finally, share this information with others.

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” - Hermann Goering (15)

1. “The Truth About Depleted Uranium Weaponry” By Vincent L. Guarisco (www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6143.htm)

2. “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” By William Blum; Common Courage Press

3. “Depleted Uranium for Dummies” By Irving Wesley Hall (www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12452.htm)

4. Department of the Army Technical Bulletin: Guidelines for Safe Response to Handling, Storage, and Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions or Armor Which Contain Depleted Uranium; July 1996; TB-1300-278

5. “The Threat of Depleted Uranium Exposure” By Stephen Lendman (www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13433.htm)

6. “Depleted Uranium - Far Worse Than 9/11” By Doug Westerman (www.globalresearch.ca/PrintArticle.php?articleID=2374)

7. “Depleted Uranium: The American Legacy” By Sara S. DeHart, MSN, Ph.D. and Louis Farshee, MA (www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2291.htm)

8. “GI’s, Beware Radioactive Showers!” By Irving Wesley Hall (www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12861.htm)

9. “Have DU Will Travel: Iconoclast Interview with Chris Busby” By W. Leon Smith (The Lone Star Iconoclast News)

10. “Gulf War Casualties” By Doug Rokke (www.rense.com/general29/gulf.htm)

11. “VA Data Confirms Massive Delayed Gulf War I Casualties” By Denise Nichols (www.traprockpeace.org)

12. Department of Veterans Affairs: Gulf War Veterans Information System; February 2006

13. “Another US War Crime? Iraqi Cities ‘Hot’ with Depleted Uranium” By Sara Flounders (www.globalresearch.ca)

14. “Bush: Iraq Straining US Psyche” By AP & Reuters; published by MSNBC.com; 08/21/2006
15. Wisdom Quotes (www.wisdomquotes.com/001993.html)

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