THE UNTOLD DISASTER STORY OF DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) WEAPONS

April 1, 2009 by cgsstlouischapter

Bud Deraps   <peacebud@earthlink.net>

  The best kept secret in America today is the deadly effect our Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons are having not only on our enemies but also on our own soldiers and aid workers who have served since the 1991 Gulf War when they were first used. DU not only kills and maims, but continues to kill for centuries.

 

  Depleted uranium is used in weapons because it is heavier than other metals and thus penetrates better.  Used in weapons from shoulder-mounted rockets and missiles to our largest bunker-busting bombs, each time one explodes, millions of tiny dust size toxic uranium particles fly into the air, soil and water, to be carried aloft by sandstorms plus helicopter take offs and landings.  Air currents then carry them far and wide. Just 9 days after the massive bombings began in Iraq in 2003, the radiation level in England soared to 19 times the natural rate.

 

   Readily inhaled, even small amounts lodge in the lungs and can lead to lung and many other cancers. When a person becomes DU contaminated, their DNA is permanently altered, and they are subject to bearing children with minor to extreme birth defects or that are miscarried, premature, or still born.

 

   On my 2001 visit to Iraq with the Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project, in meetings with medical, scientific  and university experts, we were given an epidemiological study that documents the proven deadly effect DU is having on the health and reproductive lives of the Iraq people. We also were shown dozens of pictures of extremely deformed babies born there.  Iraq has reported that 56% of all new cancer cases occur in  children age 5, or younger.  Very few of these studies have been allowed to leave Iraq.

 

   Despite restricted release here of US veteran birth defect data, the Birth Defect Research for Children in Florida did a study that showed that Gulf War veterans parented 2 to 4 times more children with 31 specific birth defects than those who had not served in the Gulf.

 

   Meanwhile here, denial still controls center stage.   For example, in Dec, 2007, Dr. Kilpatrik, Deputy Director of the Pentagon’s Department of Health Affairs stated in Stars and Stripes that the US military has yet to discover a case of an American service member becoming ill due to it’s use of Depleted Uranium over the past few decades.  In Sept. 2007, however, the Public Health Surveillance Org. reported “VA withholds data for up to 70,000 veteran cases a year from US cancer registries.”

 

   If DU is so harmless, why did we bring from Kuwait a huge shipload of DU contaminated soil to a waste depot in our northwest while publicly stating that Iraq is totally responsible to clean up their own toxic waste now that they have oil money that can pay for it?

 

   In the last few years, 4 states have passed bills mandating DU contamination testing for all their Gulf National Guard veterans. To date, I have not heard of any testing being done. Could the $1000 cost for the state of the art test be the cause?

 

   I have proposed to US Congress members of the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees that they mandate offering DU contamination tests to all Gulf veterans since 1991 and also, early pre-natal birth defect testing for to all military family where one or both have served there. No response as yet.

 

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Coming Events

Saturday, March 24, 7:00 p.m. - WILPF Fundraiser at The Chapel Sanctuary for the Arts, 6238 Alexander Drive, St. Louis MO 63105 (one block south of Wydown just west of Skinker Boulevard). The main stage entertainment will be Mississippi Crossing, a blues/jazz folk band which includes Dan Hellinger and Joann Eng-Hellinger. There will be a silent auction with many artistic offerings and the opportunity to have artists paint a significant design on any woven material (not knit) you want painted such as a jacket or pillow.

Saturday, May 12, 10:15 a.m. - CGS/STL Board of Officers & Directors meets at World Community Center, 438 No. Skinner Boulevard, 63130. The meeting is open to all. Note that the meeting date is back to the second Saturday of the month in accord with the usual schedule of the second Saturdays of odd-numbered months. Sunday, May 20, 3:00 p.m. - CGS/STL Annual meeting at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, 63117. David Gallup, President and Chief Counsel of the World Service Authority, will be speaking on “What Are the Two Most Important Questions of the 21st Century?” The annual business meeting will include the election of officers and board members for the coming year and will be followed by the usual optional buffet turkey or vegetarian dinner.

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