Today’s Washington Post shows President Bush shaking hands with GIs, breathing in the atmosphere of Iraq. He may even have run his hand fondly over a piece of battlefield equipment -- all of which will have been contaminated with depleted uranium (DU). (1)
Consider DU for a moment.
The last four U.S. wars (the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq 1 and 2) dumped thousands of tons of aerosol DU from anti-tank shells, bullets, and bombs into the atmosphere - the equivalent I am told of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs – but with far greater impact. (2)
Radiation expert Dr. Leuren Moret says: “Depleted uranium exposure risks … may be far more toxic than nuclear weapons or nuclear power plant exposures. In July of 2005, the National Academy of Sciences reported … that there is ‘no safe level of exposure.’” (3)
She estimates that “the amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small.” “It is estimated that one millionth of a gram [of DU] accumulating in a person's body would be fatal.” (4) Has President Bush contaminated himself?
DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, is infinitesimally tiny in aerosol form, and travels around the world in the prevailing winds. It is not simply in the Middle East; it has been carried everywhere on the planet. The “smog of war” has even been found in glaciers. (5)
If you live in Great Britain, the authorities responsible for informing you of dangerous levels of DU may not have informed you because the privatized facilities are owned by Halliburton, (6) the same firm that mines DU in Australia, (7) and is the major U.S. war contractor in Iraq as well as a major partner in a mideast oil pipeline consortium. (8)
Halliburton was given the contract to clean up Kuwait, (9) even though DU cannot be cleaned up. Halliburton is the mother of DU from cradle to grave (irony intended). Theirs must also be the mother of all conflicts of interest.
DU can be transferred in semen. It can be brought home on a returning soldier's gear. It leads to the most horrible of birth defects, permanent disabilities, and death. (10)
No known protective gear prevents contamination. (11) There is no cure or treatment. (12) It kills soldiers and civilians alike, friend, foe, and neutral. Israel is showing elevated numbers of breast cancer, leukemia, and childhood diabetes cases from downwind DU contamination. (13)
Iraq, Afhganistan, and the Balkans all may well have become permanent wastelands because of DU contamination. (14) Radiation experts like (google) Drs. Leuren Moret, Rosalie Bertell, Doug Rokke, and Dai Williams predict eventual "omnicide" (15) for the planet if the United States (or Israel) drops another load of DU - as they would in a war with Iran.