Under the direction of Secretary of Defense Cheney, the 1991 Gulf War
began with a "shock and awe" bombing campaign that destroyed large
biological laboratories, chemical plants, and nuclear enrichment facilities,
most of them around Baghdad. Many sites were illegally supplied by the Reagan-Bush
administration, in which both Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld served, so the
United States government knew their locations.
Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons damage the bodies of soldiers
in distinct ways. The first employs deadly bacteria and viruses to cause known
illnesses. The second uses poisonous, or toxic, substances to attack the body's
chemistry. Nuclear weapons, such as depleted uranium (D.U.), were unimaginable
before World War II. They attack the body with invisible radioactive energy
that, as you will soon read, produces a wider variety of symptoms that develop
over a longer period of time. Radioactive heavy metal particles embedded in
the body are both radioactive and toxic.
Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons can potentially "blow back."
Once they are released, they can kill and maim civilians as well as enemy soldiers.
Hence all three have been banned by international treaties which the United
They also blow back on the army that uses them. The practical danger to America's
own troops prevented the widespread use of WMD's until the atomic bombs in World
War II and the chemical herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands
of American troops suffered and died because of the testing and use of these
When George Bush Sr., Cheney, and Rumsfeld supplied brutal tyrant Saddam Hussein
with these substances in the 1980's they showed disregard for the lives of folks
living in the Middle East. When they ordered the 1991 aerial destruction of
stockpiles of these weapons, they showed a deadly contempt for their own citizen-soldiers.
Those early bombing attacks sent clouds of miniscule toxic and radioactive
particles into the air that floated over the future battlefield and bivouac
camps where hundreds of thousands of American troops were awaiting the invasion.
Bush Sr.'s February 1991 ground war was even shorter than Bush Jr.'s 2003 "Mission
Accomplished" operation. The former lasted only 100 hours. Afterwards 105
sites stockpiling dangerous chemical and biological weapons were destroyed,
contaminating everything around them. In March, a huge weapons storage dump
in Khamisiyah was blown up by American engineers, sending a second huge toxic
cloud over troops preparing to depart for home.
Sgt. Dan Topolski, of the 87th Engineer Battalion, participated in the Khamisiyah
demolition. He speculates in the excellent DVD Beyond Treason that the hasty
action, without prior inspection, inventory, or proper safety precautions, was
political. Topolski suggests this stupid order was motivated by Bush Sr.'s desperate
desire to hide the United States origin of that weaponry from United Nations
inspectors and the American people.
Dr. Doug Rokke states, "General Powell, General Schwarzkopf, General Horner,
and Secretary Cheney. . .made a conscience decision. . . to blow up Iraq’s
chemical-biological stockpiles in place. [They] also decided to blow up their
nuclear reactors in place. This is all confirmed in Schwarzkopf’s autobiography.
. .We warned everybody that these exposures – downwind exposures –
were going to have a disastrous effect on U.S. military personnel, on coalition
personnel, on Iraqi personnel, and on the civilians and non-combatants in the
region. That warning was ignored."
Years later, ailing vets would force the government to admit that CIA satellites
had tracked the movement of the mass of Khamisiyah contaminants in real time.
The size and path of the cloud explains the otherwise inexplicable incidences
of Gulf War illness among Navy personnel and pilots on battleships in the Persian
During the early aerial bombardment and later tank war, President Bush
and Secretary Cheney authorized the use of massive amounts of depleted uranium
armaments for the first time in the history of warfare. This material is produced
only by the United States and had been used experimentally in Vietnam and the
1973 Israel-Arab War. Internal Department of Defense reports had warned since
1943 about its use, and accurately predicted its poison gas effects on our troops.
In his article, "The Gulf War Was The Most Toxic Battle In Western Military
History," Dr. Malcolm Hooper, emeritus professor of medicinal chemistry
at the University of Sunderland UK, attributes the symptoms of mysterious "Gulf
War Illness" among American and coalition troops to a combination of toxic
substances to which they were subjected.
These included, in addition to weapons of mass destruction, experimental vaccines,
anti-nerve gas tablets, aerosolized pesticides, and smoke from hundreds of burning
oil wells. Some of the vaccines were not approved by the FDA and had never been
used on human subjects. No one had studied the interactive effects of as many
as seventeen vaccines administered at the same time. Many soldiers became violently
ill immediately after receiving the battery of shots and others developed a
variety of symptoms later. Strangely, the normally bureaucratic military kept
no records of who received what shots and when.
However, most researchers cite radioactive poisoning from depleted
uranium shells as the deadliest element in the Gulf War Illness "cocktail."
In the 1991 war the Pentagon fired more than 340 tons of D.U. projectiles at
targets in Iraq and Kuwait. More than a half million Gulf era veterans are on
At last count, more than 1,000 tons have been used in Afghanistan and more
than 3,000 tons in Iraq. Significantly, most Gulf War tours of duty were short.
Three quarters of today's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have served multiple
tours: 26% are on their first tour of duty, 45% are on their second tour, and
29% are in Iraq for a third time or more. Some are now being ordered to a fourth
tour of duty.
Simple math suggests that depleted uranium may eventually prove a hundred times
more deadly to our forces than all the Iraqi resistance fighters' improvised
explosive devices (I.E.D.s) and rocket propelled grenades (R.P.G.'s) combined.
Leonard Dietz is a retired physicist from the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
in upstate New York. Dietz, who pioneered the technology to measure uranium
isotopes, is quoted as saying, "Anybody, civilian or soldier, who breathes
these particles has a permanent dose, and it's not going to decrease very much
over time. . .In the long run. . .veterans exposed to ceramic uranium oxide
have a major problem."
A D.U shell bursts into flames as soon as it leaves the delivery device.
When it hits a target, as much as 70 percent burns on impact at a high temperature,
releasing into the air billions of invisible radioactive particles. This infinitesimally
fine dust of aerosolized uranium oxide consists of metallic micro-particles
that are smaller than viruses or bacteria.
All of our bodies contain tiny amounts of natural uranium because it is found
in water and in the food supply. But natural uranium is quickly and harmlessly
excreted by the body. However the velocity and heat of the impact of D.U munitions
convert the poisonous uranium oxide from a heavy metal into a ceramic heavy
metal that makes it insoluble and therefore difficult to excrete.
Where does depleted uranium come from? It doesn't occur in nature. Natural
uranium has to be “processed' to remove less than one half of one percent
of a special kind of uranium called U-235. Bomb makers use U-235 to make thermonuclear
bombs that can explode with a force equivalent to 100 million tons of TNT.
U-235 is also used to make fuel rods for nuclear reactors. Used fuel rods are
extremely radioactive for many years and will kill any person near them in ten
seconds. No one on earth knows what to do with used fuel rods. Tons of deadly,
radioactive used fuel rods have been in temporary storage for more than 50 years.
D.U. is "depleted" only in the sense that more highly radioactive
forms of uranium have been partially removed. What's left, depleted uranium,
mainly U-238, is still highly radioactive and dangerous. It is used to make
military bullets, shells, land mines, armor plating, missiles and bombs.
As we are all taught in elementary school, radioactivity is dangerous because
it causes cancer. That's why your dentist covers your body with a lead apron
before your X-ray.
According to a June 2002 National Radiological Protection Board report,
"All uranium, whether natural, depleted or enriched, is a toxic radiological
element. Each differs from the other in atomic structure by less than one percent.
D.U. emits three types of ionizing radiation: alpha and beta particles and photons.
Alpha particles are blocked by objects as light as a sheet of paper and humans
exposed to them are naturally protected by their skin. Beta particles (high
speed electrons) can penetrate human skin to a depth of one centimeter while
photons (x-rays and gamma rays) are more penetrating and can pass completely
through a human body."
Although blocked by the skin, alpha radiation can be inhaled, ingested, and
absorbed into the blood stream through scratches and wounds. It is highly dangerous
internally. In addition to being physically radioactive it is also chemically
toxic. This explains the "double whammy" effect. Soldiers who are
exposed can become immediately ill from the toxicity, recover, and then suffer
severe additional symptoms from the radioactivity years or decades later.
A study in the April 2003 New Scientist magazine suggested that D.U. toxicity
combines synergistically with its radioactivity to produce more serious effects.
Dr Keith Baverstock, a senior radiation advisor to the World Health Organization,
is quoted as saying, “The radiation and the chemical toxicity of D.U.
could also act together to create a ‘cocktail effect’ that further
increases the risk of cancer.”
Hence Gulf War vets were served a cocktail inside a cocktail.
More troubling still is another study of the materials inside the D.U. weapons
used in Iraq and Afghanistan. That report found that in addition to U-238, today's
munitions contain plutonium, neptunium, and the highly radioactive uranium isotope
U-236. An isotope is one of several slightly different atomic structures within
the same element, in this case uranium. According to a 1991 study by the UK
Atomic Energy Authority, these elements are 100,000 times more dangerous than
the U-238 in so-called depleted uranium.
U-236 is another man-made metal. It is created inside operating nuclear reactors
and is intensely radioactive. U-236 has been found in the urine of sick Afghan
and Iraqi villagers and on the ground next to bomb craters.
Geologist Leuren Moret is an independent scientist and internationally recognized
expert on radiation, D.U., and public health. She estimates that "one millionth
of a gram [of depleted uranium] accumulating in a person's body would be fatal.
There are no known methods of treatment."
Why the wide variety of illnesses?
Depleted uranium contamination causes virtually every known illness from acute
skin rashes, severe headaches, muscle and joint pain, and general fatigue, to
major birth defects, infection, depression, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors,
and every other type of cancer. Uranium replaces calcium, destroying teeth and
D.U. is causing permanent disability and death for hundreds of thousands of
American veterans who served in the Middle East.
For more information, every military family should watch Beyond Treason, and
every high school should play the DVD for students subjected to military recruitment.
According to experts interviewed on the DVD, some soldiers return home contaminated
with billions of radioactive ceramic particles.
Leuren Moret states, "In a cubic meter of air there are one billion particles
a tenth of a micron in diameter. An ordinary man breathes twenty-eight cubic
meters of air a day and for that reason our soldiers internally contaminated
to depleted uranium have billions of particles of depleted uranium distributed
throughout their bodies."
Let's follow the journey of these microscopic invaders after they are inhaled.
They attach first to the trachea and stick to lung tissue. The heavy metal ceramic
specks are practically insoluble; so they so don’t easily dissolve into
the bloodstream. They cling to the respiratory system for years, even decades,
and irradiate the surrounding tissues, damaging neighboring organs. Gradually
they pass through the lung-blood membranes into the bloodstream and lymphatic
system, causing illnesses and damage to the entire body. Radiation mutates cells,
causing cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, congenital disorders, and birth defects.
Here's what happens when these microscopic radioactive particles are ingested
through the mouth or penetrate the body through buried D.U. shrapnel or open
wounds. They enter the bloodstream and circulate freely throughout the body,
emitting radiation as they travel. Some concentrate in the lymph nodes and cause
lymphatic cancer. D.U. also damages the immune system by hastening the death
of white blood cells, and impairing their ability to attack bacteria.
Other ceramic particles cause "low-level" cell irradiation in the
bone marrow and the stem cells that the body creates there. Stem cells are the
progenitors of all the other cells that the body manufactures in order to renew
Dr. Asaf Durakovic, formerly in charge of Nuclear Medicine Service at the Department
of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was ailing veteran Terry Riordan's doctor
whom we cite in "Dick and Hillary's Dirty Little Secret," on www.notinkansas.us.
Dr. Durakovic is now the Director of the Uranium Medical Research Institute.
"Stem cells are very vulnerable," he says. "Bombarded with alpha
particles, their DNA will fall apart, potentially affecting every organ."
The process is similar to building a house with defective materials or cooking
a meal with spoiled ingredients. If malfunctioning stem cells become new liver
cells, then the liver will malfunction. Hence defective stem cells cause many
veterans to suffer kidney failure, brain damage, and poorly functioning joints
D.U. may transform semen into a caustic alkali, which explains Terry and Susan
Reardon's experiences during lovemaking that we described on March 8. This explains
the severe urinary problems among veterans just back from Iraq to be described
in the April 4 installment of We're Not in Kansas Anymore. Dr. Malcolm Hooper,
at the University of Sunderland, is familiar with 4,000 such cases among UK
Gulf War veterans.
Radiation expert Leuren Moret calls D.U, "The Trojan Horse of nuclear
war. . .There's no way to clean it up, and no way to turn it off because it
continues to decay into other radioactive isotopes. . ."
As far back as 1979, Leonard Dietz, the retired New York State physicist, discovered
that aerosolized D.U. particles less than a millionth of a meter in diameter
can travel long distances. Some months ago, Leuren Moret told Dr. Elias Akleh,
an Arab-American writer, “D.U. dust is now everywhere. A minimum of 500
– 600 tons now litter Afghanistan, and several times that amount are spread
across Iraq." As you will read on April 4, a serious level of depleted
uranium particles reached the UK nine hours after the United States 2003 "Shock
and Awe" bombing of Iraq. It's likely that I am inhaling them as I peck
on my keyboard, and so are you as you read my words.
Compare the latest tonnage to the 340 tons used in the Gulf War. Dr. Doug Rokke,
the health physicist for the US Army, who oversaw the partial clean up of depleted
uranium bomb fragments in Kuwait in 1991, reminded Alliance of Atomic Veterans
writer Vincent L. Guarisco that, in Bush and Cheney's new war, the massive radioactive
arsenal has been used mainly in Iraqi urban centers and civilian neighborhoods,
rather than in desert battlefields.
Over time, the health of all foreign troops will be affected. The health
effects on the natives of Iraq and Afghanistan will be catastrophic.
Based on the increase in cancer rates in the aftermath of the Chernobyl and
Three Mile Island nuclear meltdowns, many Iranians, Saudis, Syrians, Lebanese,
Palestinians, and Israelis will die prematurely thanks to our government's unprovoked
nuclear attack on Iraq.
As you will read on April 18, because of their more rapid cellular development,
children are the most vulnerable to depleted uranium poisoning.
In Iraq’s arid climate, sandstorms blow tiny particles of D.U. away from
the blast epicenter, impacting the surrounding environment without geographical
limitations. It enters the soil, polluting the water table, the Tigris and Euphrates
rivers, and infecting the food chain. Fertile, D.U.-contaminated grasslands
west of Basra in southern Iraq produce vegetables and grains for livestock that
are consumed by American troops as well as Iraqis.
The New York State National Guard Rainbow Division just returned from six months
stationed in Camp Forward Danger on the Tigris River near Tikrit, north of Baghdad.
Saddam Hussein's rebellious hometown was the site of major combat using D.U.
munitions during the initial invasion and for months afterward.
An official June 2005 United States Central Command communiqué reported
that soldiers of the 62nd Quartermaster Company from Fort Hood, Texas were supplying
Camp Forward Danger's water from the Tigris River. The engineers ran it through
a reverse osmosis water purification unit that dissolved the solids. The water
is purified again and chlorinated. However it seems that it is not tested for
I have attempted to verify the degree of radioactive poisoning to which the
New York National Guard members were subjected. I had contacts with officers
at the base before this series went on line. However, Pentagon public relations
officers, Capt. Bill Roberts and 1st Lt. Tawny M. Dotson, have ignored several
requests for email access to Camp Forward Danger. I've appealed to Maj. Richard
J. McNorton, the CENTCOM's special officer in charge of helping bloggers obtain
accurate information, but he hasn't responded either. We'll keep you posted
on We're Not in Kansas Anymore.
Even if the water were monitored, there is no way, outside a sophisticated
nuclear laboratory, to remove carcinogenic depleted uranium from water, air
or food—as you can understand from the discussion above.
According to a recent interview with Dr, Doug Rokke, formerly the military's
top expert in this field, the only way to monitor bacteria-sized D.U. particles
would be to send samples to a specialized laboratory.
Depleted uranium is nasty stuff. Think about this as you read news reports
of the current massive aerial bombing campaign the U.S. is waging around Samarra,
north of Baghdad. You might have thought "insurgents" would be the
only casualties before you read "Depleted Uranium For Dummies." But
you're not a "dummie" anymore.
Our men and women of the New York State National Guard have just spent six
months taking radioactive showers and washing small open wounds in a depleted
uranium broth. They've eaten over 500 meals with food, plates and silverware
washed with hot water, in two senses of the word. Thanks to George Bush Sr.
and Dick Cheney's decision to use depleted uranium munitions in 1991, the Tigris
river, the Bible's Edenic river of life, has become a modern river of death.
And our brothers and sisters are drinking the forbidden water, with knowing
it—despite informational videotapes produced for them by Major Doug Rokke
and his team. The tapes, pamphlets, and bulletin board posters are mandatory,
but how many of our men and woman serving in radioactive areas have seen them?
Our troops inhale depleted uranium with every single breath. Radioactive particles
the size of a virus cannot be filtered outside a laboratory. Even the 800,000
gas masks provided Gulf War troops were useless because the charcoal filters
became inert within days. The only protection is airtight MOPP suits connected
to oxygen tanks.
No place in Iraq is free from radioactive contamination, including today's
supposedly "safe" Green Zone in Baghdad where top military officers,
civilian occupation authorities, international journalists, and the Iraqi government
leaders live and work.
Saddam Hussein's former palace is now the middle of the Green Zone. It was
bombarded with D.U. munitions before and during the invasion. So has greater
Baghdad ever since. So Green Zone residents inhale and ingest depleted uranium
every day. Perhaps that's why, during President Bush's Thanksgiving visit, he
was served a plastic turkey.
UPI reported last December that Wilder Gutierrez Rubio, 38, had died a few
hours after returning home to Lima, Peru. He had been diagnosed by doctors at
Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad with severe leukemia, which they attributed to
depleted uranium exposure, even though he had served in Baghdad only a short
time. Gutierrez was part of a contingent of Latin Americans recruited by a U.S.
company to provide security for Baghdad's Green Zone.
Tragically, our celebrated comrades of the New York State National Guard Rainbow
Division are home from Camp Forward Danger, but not home free from danger.
After Dick Cheney sprayed the entire Army, Army Reserves, and National Guard
with God-zillions of time-release miniscule radioactive ceramic buckshot, why
should he feel guilty about shooting a few dozen ordinary pellets into one Texas
A majority of Americans, recently polled agree that Bush and Cheney should
be impeached if they lied to Congress and the American people in order to launch
this war. According to the latest poll, a plurality of Americans say that it's
time for impeachment, period.
The troops want to come home.
Last month's Zogby poll of troops on the ground in Iraq reported that 29% of
the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S.
should leave Iraq “immediately.” And 89% of the reserves and 82%
of those in the National Guard said the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year.
And most of these folks have yet to read about the depleted uranium lodged
throughout their bodies.
The 2006 election is nine months away. Are you registered to vote? Have you
called your congressperson, senator, or local opposition candidates?
We did—earlier this month. We emailed all five candidates for New York's
24th Congressional district. We also reached both Democratic contenders for
New York's 20th district.
We urged that they check out this website and our sources.
Four out of seven responded promptly--with thanks. These were Michael A. Arcuri,
Kirsten Gillibrand, Leon Koziol, and Les Roberts, all Democrats. Like the overwhelming
majority of citizens, they were not fully informed about depleted uranium. Their
positions on eliminating D.U. and promptly withdrawing the troops will be announced
on www.notinkansas.us. Now that you understand D.U., you can oppose the position
of many "Bush-lite" Democrats who want to withdraw some troops but
to increase the tonnage of D.U. bombs dropped in civilian areas. Only ignorance
prevents them from realizing this policy will kill more American troops than
Iraqi resistance fighters. Imagine the long-range effects on 26 million Iraqi
civilians. Do you want that on your conscience?
Contact your representative about We're Not in Kansas Anymore. Let us know
their responses. Call your current representative in Washington, D.C. at 1-800-426-8073.
It's toll free. Warn them about the devastating effects on our troops, and the
residents of the Middle East if Bush and Cheney launch a nuclear attack on Iran's
nuclear facilities. Such an action is a death warrant for most of our loved
ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Please don’t just sit in your chair while a million men and women--who
volunteered to defend your freedoms--are exposed to a triple whammy of deadly
radiation and condemned to a slow and agonizing death like a half million Gulf
War vets before them.
This is an abridged version of the third in a comprehensive series on
depleted uranium, Over the Rainbow, dedicated to the New York National Guard
to appear on the website We're Not in Kansas Anymore, where you will find sources
and a bibliography. www.notinkansas.us.