Depleted uranium

  1. Please correct me if I am seeing too much of the long term. Us seniors tend to do that you know.

    In the 19th century most killed war were soldiers. Battlefields were not in town.

    In the 20th century technology "advanced" so that many civilians including children died.

    In the 21st century it may be those not yet conceived who are the victims. Whether it be DU, mustard gas, or biologicals babies are being born in Bosnia and Iraq without brains, missing eyes, and with spina bifida in alarming numbers. Childhood cancer is much more prevelent than in non war zones. As Princess Diana said mines have killed more innocent children that soldiers since WWII.
    And the Pentagon LIED about it!
    Sunday, February 18, 2001

    BOSTON--Despite scant coverage in the U.S. media, a controversy over depleted-uranium ammunition used in the Gulf and Balkan wars has been raging in Europe. Several governments that provided troops for these conflicts fear that a rash of unexplained illnesses in veterans--including hemorrhaging, tumors and cancers--may have been caused by ammunition fired by U.S. warplanes.

    Germany, Italy, Norway and the European Parliament have called for a moratorium on using the ammunition, while the World Health Organization has announced plans for a study of civilians in Kosovo and Iraq who may have been exposed. Last week, Pekka Haavisto, the head of the United Nations' investigation of depleted uranium, warned of the necessity to "closely follow the state of health" of those exposed to the ammunition in the Balkans.

    Questions abound: Is there a causal link between depleted uranium and serious illnesses? What constitutes dangerous levels of exposure? How many soldiers and civilians have been exposed? How much plutonium is there in the ammunition?

    One thing is certain: The Pentagon has inflamed the controversy by withholding information and stonewalling investigations. It is likely to remain a major headache for the Bush administration, especially for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

    Depleted uranium is a chemically toxic heavy metal that emits low-level alpha radiation. It is used in armor-piercing ammunition because it is extremely dense and pyrophoric, which enables it to punch and burn its way through hard targets such as tanks. But depleted uranium also contaminates the impact area with a fine depleted-uranium dust that presents a health hazard if inhaled in sufficient quantities. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, research on rats conducted by the military's Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute found that depleted uranium's chemical toxicity--not its radioactivity--may cause immune system damage and central nervous system problems and may contribute to the development of certain cancers.
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Nine Iraqi Children Killed In Explosion
    ABC News
    Thursday 15 May 2003
    Nine Iraqi children were killed and seven wounded in the south of the country when unexploded ordnance they were playing with detonated, a UN spokesman says.
    "Nine children were killed and seven were injured in Missan governorate on Monday when they were playing with unexploded ordnance," David Wimhurst told a press conference in Basra.
    "This tragedy highlights the terrible danger that unexploded ordnance represents all around Iraq," Mr Wimhurst said.
    Kathryn Irwin, a spokeswoman for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), says the ordnance that exploded was an Iraqi rocket.
    "There are thousands of stockpiles of weapons in Iraq."
    (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    BAGHDAD - At a roadside produce stand on the outskirts of Baghdad, business is brisk for Latifa Khalaf Hamid. Iraqi drivers pull up and snap up fresh bunches of parsley, mint leaves, dill, and onion stalks.
    But Ms. Hamid's stand is just four paces away from a burnt-out Iraqi tank, destroyed by - and contaminated with - controversial American depleted-uranium (DU) bullets. Local children play "throughout the day" on the tank, Hamid says, and on another one across the road.

    No one has warned the vendor in the faded, threadbare black gown to keep the toxic and radioactive dust off her produce. The children haven't been told not to play with the radioactive debris. They gather around as a Geiger counter carried by a visiting reporter starts singing when it nears a DU bullet fragment no bigger than a pencil eraser. It registers nearly 1,000 times normal background radiation levels on the digital readout.

    Please click to read entire article.
  5. by   molecule
    the article indicates our Warthogs alone shot off 75 tons of DU which turned to breathable dust on impact.
    another interesting armament we used in Iraq [also in Afghanistan] were themobaric warheads, said to suffocate people...don't believe that... try death by explosive decompression, ignition of aerosol particles.
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    When posting articles I am often asked what I think. Usually I am interested in what YOU think.
    In the case of DU, mycoplasma, and Gulf War Syndrome I think it our responsibility as nurses to know enough about it to direct our patients, friends, and families to private physicians who will help them.

    Politically I will sound like a broken record (Oh come on a CD does it too). Our government including the VA and the Pentagon need to STOP LYING to us!. No way it is a security issue to keep our veterans sick and lied too.
    The War Against Ourselves

    An Interview with Major Doug Rokke

    Doug Rokke has a PhD in health physics and was originally trained as a forensic scientist.
    When the Gulf War started, he was assigned to prepare soldiers to respond to nuclear,
    biological, and chemical warfare, and sent to the Gulf. What he experienced has made him
    a passionate voice for peace, traveling the country to speak out. The following interview was
    conducted by the director of the Traprock Peace Center, Sunny Miller, supplemented with
    questions from YES! editors.

    QUESTION: Any viewer who saw the war on television had the
    impression this was an easy war, fought from a distance and soldiers
    coming back relatively unharmed. Is this an accurate picture?

    ROKKE: At the completion of the Gulf War, when we came back
    to the United States in the fall of 1991, we had a total casualty count
    of 760: 294 dead, a little over 400 wounded or ill. But the casualty
    rate now for Gulf War veterans is approximately 30 percent. Of
    those stationed in the theater, including after the conflict, 221,000
    have been awarded disability, according to a Veterans Affairs (VA)
    report issued September 10, 2002.

    Many of the US casualties died as a direct result of uranium
    munitions friendly fire. US forces killed and wounded US forces.

    We recommended care for anybody downwind of any uranium dust, anybody working in and around
    uranium contamination, and anyone within a vehicle, structure, or building that's struck with uranium
    munitions. That's thousands upon thousands of individuals, but not only US troops. You should provide
    medical care not only for the enemy soldiers but for the Iraqi women and children affected, and clean up
    all of the contamination in Iraq.

    And it's not just children in Iraq. It's children born to soldiers after they came back home. The military
    admitted that they were finding uranium excreted in the semen of the soldiers. If you've got uranium in the
    semen, the genetics are messed up. So when the children were conceived--the alpha particles cause
    such tremendous cell damage and genetics damage that everything goes bad. Studies have found that
    male soldiers who served in the Gulf War were almost twice as likely to have a child with a birth defect
    and female soldiers almost three times as likely.

    Q: You have been a military man for over 35 years. You served in Vietnam as a bombardier and you are
    still in the US Army Reserves. Now you're going around the country speaking about the dangers of
    depleted uranium (DU). What made you decide you had to speak publicly about DU?

    ROKKE: Everybody on my team was getting sick. My best friend John Sitton was dying. The military
    refused him medical care, and he died. John set up the medical evacuation communication system for the
    entire theater. Then he got contaminated doing the work.

    John and Rolla Dolph and I were best friends in the civilian world, the military world, forever. Rolla got
    sick. I personally got the order that sent him to war. We were both activated together. I was given the
    assignment to teach nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare and make sure soldiers came back alive
    and safe. I take it seriously. I was sent to the Gulf with this instruction: Bring 'em back alive. Clear as
    could be. But when I got all the training together, all the environmental cleanup procedures together, all
    the medical directives, nothing happened.

    More than 100 American soldiers were exposed to DU in friendly fire accidents, plus untold numbers of
    soldiers who climbed on and entered tanks that had been hit with DU, taking photos and gathering
    souvenirs to take home. They didn't know about the hazards.

    DU is an extremely effective weapon. Each tank round is 10 pounds of solid uranium-238 contaminated
    with plutonium, neptunium, americium. It is pyrophoric, generating intense heat on impact, penetrating a
    tank because of the heavy weight of its metal. When uranium munitions hit, it's like a firestorm inside any
    vehicle or structure, and so we saw tremendous burns, tremendous injuries. It was devastating.

    The US military decided to blow up Saddam's chemical, biological, and radiological stockpiles in place,
    which released the contamination back on the US troops and on everybody in the whole region. The
    chemical agent detectors and radiological monitors were going off all over the place. We had all of the
    various nerve agents. We think there were biological agents, and there were destroyed nuclear reactor
    facilities. It was a toxic wasteland. And we had DU added to this whole mess.

    When we first got assigned to clean up the DU and arrived in northern Saudi Arabia, we started getting
    sick within 72 hours. Respiratory problems, rashes, bleeding, open sores started almost immediately.

    When you have a mass dose of radioactive particulates and you start breathing that in, the deposit sits in
    the back of the pharynx, where the cancer started initially on the first guy. It doesn't take a lot of time. I
    had a father and son working with me. The father is already dead from lung cancer, and the sick son is
    still denied medical care.

    Q: Did you suspect what was happening?

    ROKKE: We didn't know anything about DU when the Gulf War started. As a warrior, you're listening
    to your leaders, and they're saying there are no health effects from the DU. But, as we started to study
    this, to go back to what we learned in physics and our engineering--I was a professor of environmental
    science and engineering--you learn rapidly that what they're telling you doesn't agree with what you
    know and observe.

    In June of 1991, when I got back to the States, I was sick. Respiratory problems and the rashes and
    neurological things were starting to show up.

    Q: Why didn't you go to the VA with a medical complaint?

    ROKKE: Because I was still in the Army, and I was told I couldn't file. You have to have the
    information that connects your exposure to your service before you go to the VA. The VA obviously
    wasn't going to take care of me, so I went to my private physician. We had no idea what it was, but so
    many good people were coming back sick.

    They didn't do tests on me or my team members. According to the Department of Defense's own
    guidelines put out in 1992, any excretion level in the urine above 15 micrograms of uranium per day
    should result in immediate medical testing, and when you get up to 250 micrograms of total uranium
    excreted per day, you're supposed to be under continuous medical care.

    Finally the US Department of Energy performed a radiobioassay on me in November 1994, while I was
    director of the Depleted Uranium Project for the Department of Defense. My excretion rate was
    approximately 1500 micrograms per day. My level was 5 to 6 times beyond the level that requires
    continuous medical care.

    But they didn't tell me for two and a half years.

    Q: What are the symptoms of exposure to DU?

    ROKKE: Fibromyalgia. Eye cataracts from the radiation. When uranium impacts any type of vehicle or
    structure, uranium oxide dust and pieces of uranium explode all over the place. This can be breathed in or
    go into a wound. Once it gets in the body, a portion of this stuff is soluble, which means it goes into the
    blood stream and all of your organs. The insoluble fraction stays--in the lungs, for example. The radiation
    damage and the particulates destroy the lungs.

    Q: What kind of training have the troops had, who are getting called up right now--the ones being
    shipped to the vicinity of what may be the next Gulf War?

    ROKKE: As the director of the Depleted Uranium Project, I developed a 40-hour block of training. All
    that curriculum has been shelved. They turned what I wrote into a 20-minute program that's full of
    distortions. It doesn't deal with the reality of uranium munitions.

    The equipment is defective. The General Accounting Office verified that the gas masks leak, the chemical
    protective suits leak. Unbelievably, Defense Department officials recently said the defects can be fixed
    with duct tape.

    Q: If my neighbors are being sent off to combat with equipment and training that is inadequate, and into
    battle with a toxic weapon, DU, who can speak up?

    ROKKE: Every husband and wife, son and daughter, grandparent, aunt and uncle, needs to call their
    congressmen and cite these official government reports and force the military to ensure that our troops
    have adequate equipment and adequate training. If we don't take care of our American veterans after a
    war, as happened with the Gulf War, and now we're about ready to send them into a war again--we
    can't do it. We can't do it. It's a crime against God. It's a crime against humanity to use uranium
    munitions in a war, and it's devastating to ignore the consequences of war.

    These consequences last for eternity. The half life of uranium 238 is 4.5 billion years. And we left over
    320 tons all over the place in Iraq.

    We also bombarded Vieques, Puerto Rico, with DU in preparation for the war in Kosovo. That's
    affecting American citizens on American territory. When I tried to activate our team from the Department
    of Defense responsible for radiological safety and DU cleanup in Vieques, I was told no. When I tried to
    activate medical care, I was told no.

    The US Army made me their expert. I went into the project with the total intent to ensure they could use
    uranium munitions in war, because I'm a warrior. What I saw as director of the project, doing the
    research and working with my own medical conditions and everybody else's, led me to one conclusion:
    uranium munitions must be banned from the planet, for eternity, and medical care must be provided for
    everyone, not just the US or the Canadians or the British or the Germans or the French but for the
    American citizens of Vieques, for the residents of Iraq, of Okinawa, of Scotland, of Indiana, of
    Maryland, and now Afghanistan and Kosovo.

    Q: If your information got out widely, do you think there's a possibility that the families of those soldiers
    would beg them to refuse?

    ROKKE: If you're going to be sent into a toxic wasteland, and you know you're going to wear gas
    masks and chemical protective suits that leak, and you're not going to get any medical care after you're
    exposed to all of these things, would you go? Suppose they gave a war and nobody came. You've got to
    start peace sometime.

    Q: It does sound remarkable for someone who has been in the military for 35 years to be talking about
    when peace should begin.

    ROKKE: When I do these talks, especially in churches, I'm reminded that these religions say, "And a
    child will lead us to peace." But if we contaminate the environment, where will the child come from? The
    children won't be there. War has become obsolete, because we can't deal with the consequences on our
    warriors or the environment, but more important, on the noncombatants. When you reach a point in war
    when the contamination and the health effects of war can't be cleaned up because of the weapons you
    use, and medical care can't be given to the soldiers who participated in the war on either side or to the
    civilians affected, then it's time for peace.

    For more information on DU, see the WISE Uranium Project,; the
    National Gulf War Resource Center,; or Veterans for Common Sense, Sunny Miller's interview was originally broadcast on WMFO
    (Boston) in November 2002 and is available for re-broadcast at
  7. by   jnette
    Thank You, Spacenurse, for more thoughtprovoking articles. As to your often asked question "why are people so willing to believe the lies" ?.... is it not more comfortable to do so?

    When confronted with information that makes us UNcomfortable, then this neccessitates that we DO something ! So it's far more "comfortable"to just believe the lies....
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Thank you.
    You are the first to respond to this concern on this post!
    I truly do understand. I was an active civil rights worker. Then became a Mom and tried to be comfortable. (Not completely, staffers working for elected officials had to read my bad handwriting on lined 3 hole paper.)

    My Mom always said to try to find the "happy medium."
    Not easy.
    Oh I sang in church today. Everyone needs a chance to sing.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on May 18, '03
  9. by   Ted
    I also thank you for the articles. With regards to depleted urianium, I wasn't informed of its use until now. (I generally try to avoid the news, which is probably not a good thing.)

    I think, as a nation, we've got some soul searching to do. Obviously, the more informed we are as a nation, the better. The questions I ask are: 1) What type of information is being suppressed by media and government? 2) Whenever valuable information is made public through what appears to be a growing tightly controlled media, will we listen? Denial is a powerful force.

    Maybe I should avoid the news less. . . especially as election 2004 draws near.

  10. by   jnette
    Originally posted by spacenurse

    Oh I sang in church today. Everyone needs a chance to sing.
    Sing ! To your heart's content. It soothes the soul and releases the emotions, be they joy or sorrow... SING !

    My mom always said "those who enjoy no music have no soul".

    Makes one think...
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    Thank you Ted and Jnette!

    I'm just as guilty as the next person. Almost 60 and just had my 2nd mamogram.
    Just put it off.

    It really does bother me that some of the same people who asked if I wanted to "do nothing" about WMD claim to have complete trust in all those in power now.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on May 18, '03