- Quietly, and under the radar for now, a movement is growing
across the country that could blow up White House war planning and finish
off the U.S. adventure in Iraq.
- That movement is state-by-state legislation to provide
for testing of returning National Guard troops for signs of contamination
by depleted uranium.
- Kicked off in Connecticut by a feisty Democratic state
representative from New Haven named Patricia Dillon, a woman who was trained
in epidemiology at Yale--her bill passed the state legislature in July
unanimously, and goes into effect this October, about the time many Connecticut
Guard troops will finally be coming home from Iraq--the measure has copycats
hard at work in some 14-20 other states. Louisiana has already passed a
- The military has been insisting that the 3000 tons of
DU munitions it has blown up in Iraq in this war so far (and the 1000 tons
more it has exploded and fired off in Afghanistan) are safe for troops
and for civilians, though there is no real data to prove this because the
Pentagon has vigorously resisted testing returning troops (only 270 so
far, and using a far-from-state-of-the-art test) and the State Department
and Pentagon have barred UN or other outside testers from looking into
DU contamination in Iraq.
- The official line --really an obfuscation--is that Uranium
is only minimally radioactive. While this is true, it is chemically toxic
in minute trace amounts, because Uranium ions are actually attracted to
bond with DNA, where they can wreak havoc with cells (especially the cells
of developing fetuses).
- Meanwhile, an early small test sample of nine returned
NY State National Guard soldiers, financed by the NY Daily News, found
four, or nearly half the sample, to be clearly DU contaminated, with the
others showing obvious symptoms (headaches, renal and neurological problems,
- If even a much smaller proportion than 44% of the tens
of thousands of U.S. Guard troops who get tested in Connecticut, Louisiana
and other states prove to be contaminated with uranium from U.S. weapons,
more states are bound to establish similar testing laws. Beyond that, reservists
and active duty troops and veterans, all already anxious about the issue,
are certain to start demanding the sophisticated tests.
- Meanwhile, if DU tests start showing serious contamination
of U.S. troops, how are Iraqis going to react? Already Iraqis are troubled
by a dramatic (seven-fold) rise in childhood cancers and birth defects,
particularly in the south.
- Unlike in the first Gulf War, when all 300 tons of DU
used was fired off in the Kuwaiti and Iraqi desert, this time nearly 10
times as much DU has largely been exploded and burned in urban fighting,
putting the dust right in the path of millions of civilians.
- This bomb is ticking...