Impact of Radioactive Ammunition Fired in Iraq
"We Are Living Through Another Hiroshima," Iraqi Doctor Says
By Sherwood Ross
The U.S., Great Britain and Israel are turning portions of the Middle East into a slice of radioactive hell. They are achieving this by firing what they call "depleted uranium"(DU)ammunition but which is, in fact, radioactive ammunition and it is perhaps the deadliest kind of tactical ammo ever devised in the warped mind of man.
There's a ton of data about this on the Internet for the skeptics: from sources such as the 1999 report of the International Atomic Energy Commission to oncologist members of England's Royal Society of Physicians to U.S. Veterans Administration hospital nuclear medicine doctors to officials at the Basra maternity and pediatric hospital to reporter Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor. Peterson used a Geiger counter in August, 2003 to find radiation readings between 1,000 and 1,900 times normal where bunker buster bombs and munitions had exploded near Baghdad. After all, a typical bunker bomb is said to contain more than a ton of depleted uranium.
For a concise overview on radioactive warfare, read "DU And The Liberation of Iraq" by Christian Scherrer, a researcher at the Hiroshima Peace Institute, published on Znet on April 13, 2003. Scherrer states: "Based on the report of the 48th meeting issued by the UN Committee dealing with effects of Atomic radiation on 20th April 1999, noting the rapid increase in mortality caused by DU between 1991 and 1997, the IAEA document predicted the death of half a million Iraqis, noting thatâ€¦'some 700-800 tons of depleted uranium was used in bombing the military zones south of Iraq. Such a quantity has a radiation effect, sufficient to cause 500,000 cases which may lead to death."
Scherrer writes, "In 1991 the DU ammunition was mainly used against Iraqi tanks in the desert near Basra, while in the present war DU is being used all over Iraq, even in densely populated areas including the heart of Baghdad, Mosul, Tikrit and other cities." He adds that, based on IAEA estimates and his previous research, "the death toll may surpass a million deaths over the next few years, with more to follow!"
Scherrer notes, incidentally, the UN's Human Rights Commission back in 1996 declared DU a weapon of mass destruction(WMD) and that those who use it are guilty of a crime against humanity. Among its users: the first President Bush, President Bill Clinton, who irradiated the Balkans, and the current occupant of the White House.
Now let's hear it from Iraqi doctors: Oncologist Dr. Jawad Al-Ali of Basra Hospital and Professor Husam al-Jarmokly of Baghdad University "showed a rapidly increasing death toll in Iraq since 1991 due to cancer and leukemia caused by U.S. radiological warfare," Scherrer writes, based on their presentation of December 1, 2002 at the Peace Memorial Hall in Hiroshima. Al-Ali, who is also a member of England's Royal Society of Physicians, is quoted in Feb. 5, 2001, "CounterPunch" as stating, "The desert dust carries death. Our studies indicate that more than 40% of the population around Basra will get cancer. We are living through another Hiroshima." (Basra is a city of 1.7 million. Does that mean 680,000 people will be stricken? That toll alone would be more than Hiroshima and Nagasaki's casualties.)
The same article also reported since 1990, the incident rate of leukemia in Iraq has grown by more than 600 percent and, similarly, "The leukemia rate in Sarajevo, pummeled by American bombs in 1996, has tripled in the last five years" and "NATO and UN peacekeepers in the region are also coming down with cancer."
Dr. Zenad Mohammed, employed in the maternity department of the Basra teaching hospital, said in the three-months beginning in August, 1998, 10 babies were born with no heads, eight with abnormally large heads and six with deformed limbs, according to a report on World Socialist Web Site of September 8, 1999. And the British Guardian newspaper reported Basra maternity reported cancer cases shot up from 80 in 1990 to 380 in 1997.
Reporter Phil Gardner quotes Dr. Basma Al Asam, a gynecologist, at Al Manoon hospital, Baghdad, stating: "I've been watching this for seven years now and it's increasing. We're not just seeing babies born with congenital abnormalities, but very late spontaneous abortions because of congenital defects. In the past we used to see, maybe, one a month. Now it is two or three cases per day." (Two to three cases a day, h-m-m-m, does that equal about 1,000 a year at this one hospital?)
And from American doctors: Colonel Asaf Durakovic, formerly chief of nuclear medicine at the VA hospital in Wilmington, Del., said he found uranium isotopes in the bodies of Persian Gulf War veterans. The New York Times reported on January 29, 2001, Dr. Durakovic said he found "depleted uranium, including uranium 236, in 62 percent of the sick gulf war veterans he examined. He believes that particles lodged in their bodies and may be the cause of their illness." Once inhaled, Dr. Durakovic noted, "uranium can get into the bloodstream, be carried to bone, lymph nodes, lungs or kidneys, lodge there, and cause damage when it emits low-level radiation over a long period," the Times reported. The Times article also called attention to the cancer deaths of 24 European soldiers that served as peacekeepers in the Balkans "and the illnesses reported by many others."
And from a U.S. researcher: Roberto Gwiazda, of the environmental toxicology department at the University of California Santa Cruz, was the lead researcher examining returned Gulf War veterans that had radioactive shrapnel wounds. The university's "City On A Hill Press" newspaper quotes him as saying, "Of those with radioactive shrapnel wounds, all had significant levels of uranium in their urine seven to nine years after the explosion. Of those who only inhaled the incendiary uranium, a statistically significant number also had high uranium levels."
And from U.S. veterans: Tom Cassidy, of the 1st Cavalry Division who saw service in Iraq in 2003-05: "After the first gulf war, the level of radiation was 300 times what is considered normal. In this invasion we used even more DU bullets. The effects there are horrible," he told the UCSC paper. Added Dennis Kyne, from the U.S. Army's 18th Airborne division and Desert Storm veteran and who suffers from an "undiagnosed illness": "The scientists call it cell disruption, and they don't know why it's happening to veterans, but it's really radiation sickness, and it's because the DU is all over."
(Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Florida-based public relations consultant and columnist. He was formerly employed by the Chicago Daily News and Miami Herald and has written for national magazines on military and political topics and for wire services. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org)