“Genocide’ – the toll of depleted uranium use in Iraq

Iraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut  14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail,  | Report Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.

Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.

There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation. Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.

The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases.

“Cancer statistics are hard to come by, since only 50 percent of the health care in Iraq is public,” Dr. Salah Haddad of the Iraqi Society for Health Administration and Promotion told Truthout. “The other half of our health care is provided by the private sector, and that sector is deficient in their reporting of statistics. Hence, all of our statistics in Iraq must be multiplied by two. Any official numbers are likely only half of the real number.”

“Genocide”

“The world should know that Iraqi people were the victims of the aggression inflicted by the use of DU munitions by the American and British troops during these wars, and this is genocide,” Dr. Jawad al-Ali, a consultant physician and oncologist, told Truthout.

Al-Ali, an expert oncologist at the Basra Cancer Treatment Center, member of the Iraqi Cancer Board and a member of the Basra Cancer Research Group, estimates that there are 300 sites throughout Iraq that are contaminated with radiation from the DU munitions.

He attributes the extreme rates of birth defects in Fallujah to the US use of DU there during its two sieges of the city in 2004.

The crisis in Iraq is bad enough that the country recently called for a global treaty ban on all DU weapons. At this time, it is unknown whether DU munitions are still being used in Iraq, but it seems unlikely they are as US attacks are presently limited to airstrikes, while most DU in the past was used in rifle rounds and tank shells.

In a report submitted to the UN Secretary General in August, Iraq “expresses its deep concern over the harmful effects of the use in wars and armed struggles of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium, which constitute a danger to human beings and the environment (the air and the soil).”

In September, the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the US Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department on behalf of itself and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), seeking the firing coordinates of weapons used in Iraq that contained depleted uranium.

According to a 2013 report by the Netherlands-based organization Pax Christi, Iraq has been subject to the largest use of DU munitions of all areas of conflict and test sites, conservatively estimated to be at least 440 metric tons – though the UN Environment Program has estimated an amount up to five times that based on satellite imagery.

Meanwhile, doctors in Fallujah continue to witness the aforementioned steep rise in severe congenital birth defects, including children being born with two heads, children born with only one eye, multiple tumors, disfiguring facial and body deformities, and complex nervous system problems.

Residents there have told Truthout that many families are too scared to have children, as an alarming number of women are experiencing consecutive miscarriages and infant deaths with critically deformed and ill newborns…….http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26703-iraqi-doctors-call-depleted-uranium-use-genocide

 

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