Yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, it looks like we'll have a military presence there for a long time to come. So much for change.
To me, one of the most socially impacting and unreported aspects of our involvement in Iraq, is the toxic landscape we have created there. Long after America's troops have all left Iraq, traces of depleted uranium will continue to cause severe birth defects* and drastically affect the quality of life there.
Many Americans are completely unaware that our military used uranium tipped munitions throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. You'd have thought that we'd learned our lesson in Yugoslavia where the terrible effects of depleted uranium were observed and documented. Unfortunately, we adopted an "ignore it and it will go away" attitude toward the obvious side effects of the toxic but effective new weapon.
Depleted uranium is not an atomic weapon. The hardened uranium is used in armor piercing weapons. When a depleted uranium tipped shell impacts its target, the uranium vaporizes and becomes airborne. Unconfined microscopic radioactive particles make their way into the lives of civilians and soldiers alike. Radiation doesn't discriminate. American soldiers who have entered immobilized Iraqi tanks to procure war souvenirs, have unknowingly inhaled radioactive particulates, and contaminated their uniforms with the deadly dust. Gulf War Syndrome, a common debilitating disease among Gulf War vets, may be due in part to depleted uranium exposure.** Here in America, buyers of used Iraq, Afghanistan and Gulf War uniforms may become secondhand victims of depleted uranium poisoning as well. Buyer beware!
I would like to point out that I am not necessarily anti war. I'm all for military destruction of anyone and everyone responsible for what occurred on September 11th, 2001, but would prefer to reach that goal without the unnecessary destruction of innocents. That, I cannot support.
* No wonder they hate us:
Is it really worth it?
By the way, if you couldn't tell, the above photographs are human beings. Their deformities are a result of exposure to depleted uranium.
** Other evidence suggests that Gulf War Syndrome may have been caused by the mandatory anthrax vaccinations of US soldiers because many enlistees who never went to the Gulf have also experienced the same symptoms. The common factor is the vaccinations that were administered to all US military personnel. Soldiers who refused to take the controversial anthrax vaccination were court-marshaled. It has been reported that the French Gulf War soldiers, did not receive the anthrax vaccinations, and have not suffered from Gulf War Syndrome.
Have a nice war!
Oh, and Happy Spring too.