The horrors of the US Agent Orange defoliation campaign in Vietnam, about which I wrote on Oct. 15, could ultimately be dwarfed by the horrors caused by the depleted uranium weapons which the US began using in the 1991 Gulf War (300 tons), and which it has used much more extensively–and in more urban, populated areas–in the Iraq War and the now intensifying Afghanistan War.
Depleted uranium, despite its rather benign-sounding name, is not depleted of radioactivity or toxicity.
There are reports of a dramatic increase in the incidence of deformed babies being born in the city of Fallujah, where DU weapons were in wide use during the November 2004 assault on that city by US Marines.
…in September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 babies born, 24 percent of which died within their first week of life. Worse yet, fully 75 percent of the babies born that month were deformed. This compares to August 2002, six months before the US invasion, when 530 live births were reported with only six dying in the first week, and only one deformity.Clearly something terrible is happening in Fallujah, and many doctors suspect it’s the depleted uranium dust that is permeating the city.
But the real impact of the first heavy use of depleted uranium weaponry in populous urban environments (DU was used widely especially in 2003 in Baghdad, Samara, Mosul and other big Iraqi cities), will come over the years, as the toxic legacy of this latest American war crime begins to show up in rising numbers of cancers, birth defects and other genetic disorders in Iraq and Afghanistan.