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Atomic History Lessons and Understanding Depleted Uranium

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Gulf War Highway of Death
Gulf War Highway of Death
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Opinion-Editorial News is no stranger to the Depleted Uranium(DU) quandary--a tawdry tale of 'discarded' soldiers decimated by their own commanders in the view of this writer, a 'tempest-in-a-teapot' according to the policy wonks, technical experts, and martial ministers who populate Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs in the halls of power. A few, relatively recent, OEN titles include the following materials.
  • "Cancer Rate in Fallujah Worse Than Hiroshima," by Tom Eley, reported soon after publication on the study, led by English epidemiologist and radiation expert Chris Busby, "Cancer, Infant Mortality, and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq," which suggested that Depleted Uranium quite likely had had toxic effects long after its use.
  • "One of History's Greatest Crimes," by Stephen Lendman, issued in late September, a couple of months following Eley's report; Lendman provided an overview of the plausible impacts and criminality of DU usage.
  • Just last week, Chris Floyd's "Mondo Inferno: the Endless Echoes of America's WMD Atrocity" appeared, speaking cogently about the moral and sociopolitical consequences of a U.S. predilection for mass murder.
Floyd writes insistently to his fellow Americans, most of whom remain woefully ignorant, no small swath of them willfully so. This long-standing journalist has refused to be a willing accessory to murder.

"I have written about Fallujah over and over for a long time. In many respects, these stories are like the ones I've written about the American-abetted horrors in Somalia: no one gives a damn. Well, I don't give a damn that no gives a damn. I'm going to keep ringing this bell until my arm falls off. We -- Americans -- have committed and countenanced a great evil in Iraq. I can't change that -- and it's obvious that I cannot prevent the 'continuity' of such hellish atrocities by the progressive Peace Laureate now in the White House, and by whatever similar blood-soaked poltroon comes to lead the never-ending Terror War for Loot and Power after him. But by God I will not let it be said that I stood by and failed to bear witness to this raging filth."
One of thousands of powerful video expressions of the dire DU straits of these times might also be helpful to begin. That some of these materials come from France, which is supposedly a nuclear mecca, is especially noteworthy. Resistance Films offers viewers this introduction [Ed. note - link does not work].

This humble correspondent has also written about DU before. A complex and rambling historical and conceptual overview shows up here. An extensive review of a pair of documentary films is available here. And a detailed recounting of the Chris-Busby-led Fallujah study, examining the science and analysis that the investigation utilized, is accessible here.

Moreover, I have begun the process of organizing and contextualizing and scripting a series of volumes that illuminate the DU story from the point-of-view of a trio of soldiers who are still experiencing Uranium's impacts directly, joined by a bold scientist willing to stand against a gale of criticism for her unstinting critique of DU. All of this monumental effort to reveal and explicate a still-little-known phenomenon intersects with the task here at hand.

The point of the present essay is less prosaic, definitely less analytical and investigatory, than it is narrative. Hence, it should be more digestible than a group of monographs dense with the history and the political economy of the Nuclear Fool Cycle, from 1939 to today's 'Renaissance.'

Today's purpose is to serve a popular democracy and undermine a present tendency to dictatorial sway by calling a Soldier's and People's Congress to consider the state of knowledge, analysis, and honesty in regard to the initiation of the atomic age. Such a Citizens' Congress on Uranium and the Nuclear Fool Cycle should occur regularly, quarterly if possible, annually at the least, until practically speaking 100% of folks could intelligently consider questions of 'Nuclear Renaissance' and radioactive weaponry.

If readers will bear with this humble correspondent, they shall arrive at a juncture that expresses this general idea with tangible particularity. This essay, in other words, will promote a first step in building toward a People's Congress, such a Citizens Congress, such an empowering moment of democratic empowerment.

Before sauntering to such an intersection, however, anyone who seeks to grapple with such a deep and dreadful tale as nuclear weapons and waste and all that accompanies them--from Tehran to Los Alamos; from Niger's mines to those in Australia; from America's Appalachian H-bomb breadbasket to China's bristling arsenal of death, from dying atomic veterans and 'energy employees' to soldiers maimed from inhaled Uranium particulates--might profitably ponder an overview of the American prospect generally. As the song from the sixties stated the case, "There's something happening here; what it is ain't exactly clear."


The Reverend Jeremiah Wright has understood the interplay of oppression and freedom in America with righteous rectitude. Not only his career as a preacher, but also his avocation as a scholar, attests to this.

"'(L)iberation theology' ... . was not from the top down or from a set of teachings which undergirded imperialism. Their viewpoints, rather, were from the bottom up, the thoughts and understandings of God, the faith, religion and the Bible from those whose lives were ground under, mangled and destroyed by the ruling classes or the oppressors. ... It started from the vantage point of the oppressed."
The evidence of the American experience, the 'people's history of the United States' as Howard Zinn has so lyrically chronicled it (click here), fits such perspectives. In such views, the United States Government (USG) is much closer to the devil than to any deity worthy of humanistic or compassionate obeisance.

In fact, one can trace the path of USG executive authority from its inception two and a quarter centuries ago and discover that literally every second over those unfolding decades, including the present pass, has contained predominant aspects of U.S. administrative imprimatur in favor of terrorist thuggery against innocents and neutrals and bystanders and opponents alike. Specifying the litany of such depredation makes so-called patriots fume.


They sputter, often in a murderous tone, "You must really hate America." This of course precedes the threatening, "Why don't you go somewhere else, if you think it's so bad here?"

Man! Talk about missing the point: part of that oblivion about a key, incisive lesson concerns individual responsibility, something that all manner of chest-thumpers--from 'W' to Barack-the-Magnificent--intone as a sacred litmus test of human worthiness.

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The original 'odd bird,' my stint as head of High School ROTC included my wearing MFS's black armband just before I turned down an appointment to West Point to go to Harvard. There, majoring in bridge, backgammon, and poker for my middle years as (more...)
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