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Monday, 28 November 2005
DU is no Willy Pete.
Topic: U.S. Military issues.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is at it again, this time suggesting that members of the Bush administration should be tried for war-crimes. He said this week, "You who have used nuclear weapons against innocent people, who have used uranium ordinance in Iraq should be tried as war criminals in courts."

This guy is a total whack job and as I've said before he's not doing the Iranian government any favors in its fight with the IAEA over what it sees as its right to have nuclear power. With every moronic utterance he's speeding up his inevitable untimely departure. Case in point: for a third time the parliament has rejected his nominee for oil minister and the NYT writes that a member of parliament said his,"inability to form a cabinet was laying the groundwork for his impeachment."

He's finding the most serious opposition to his policies is coming from conservatives who are now saying the matter of the appointment of an oil minister will have to be resolved by the Guardian Council or the Expediency Council. It difficult to see Ahmadinejad hanging around much longer if he keeps this up.

What most interested me about this AP story by Nasser Karimi was how Depleted Uranium (DU) was described as "far less radioactive than natural uranium" and how after DU artillery shells are fired, "the shells melt, vaporize and turn to dust." The idea that DU is somehow this harmless substance that disappears after use is just a total misstatement of the facts. The dust left over has this nasty habit finding its way into drinking water and into people's lungs.

For example, the very liberal New York Daily News did a story a while back on four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq, who the paper found were, "contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found.

They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah."

If we're not concerned about Iraqi children we should at least care that our guys over there are being made ill by this and the pentagon acts like nothing is wrong. Hopefully, we'll find out what's what before these poor bastards have to spend the rest of their lives trying to get the military to come clean on DU like Vietnam vets poisoned by Agent Orange.

The debate about DU has been a long one and the pentagon has gone out of its way to make it sound like its no biggie but there is a lot out there to cause concern. Dan Fahey's, "Science or Science Fiction? Facts, Myths and Propaganda in the Debate Over Depleted Uranium Weapons", March 12, 2003 is a good place to start to get some idea of what we're dealing with.

He writes that, "According to a recent article in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, children playing with soil may be identified as the critical population group [for DU exposure], with inhalation and/or ingestion of contaminated soil as the critical pathway.35

Once inside the body, DU may cause harm due to its chemical toxicity and/or alpha radiation. Laboratory studies on rats indicate short-term effects of internal exposure to DU may include kidney damage, while long-term effects may include cancer, central nervous system problems, immune system disorders and reproductive effects.36 Given that a ten to 30 year lag may exist after a persons exposure to DU dust and the development of cancer,37 it is possible that effects may manifest over time.

Few humans exposed to DU have been studied, therefore little is known about the effects DU has had or may have in the future on exposed populations.

Also, "Article Collection: Depleted Uranium (2002-2004)" is an excellent resource.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:15 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005 5:18 PM EST
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