the destruction of iraq

Depleted uranium (DU) is a rather benign sounding name for uranium-238, the trace element left behind when fissionable material is extracted from uranium-235 for nuclear reactors and weapons. . . . More than 15 years later, the dire health consequences of our first radioactive bombing campaign in this region are coming into focus. Since 1990, the incidence rate of leukemia in Iraq has increased over 600 percent. . . . Depleted uranium has a half-life of more than 4 billion years, approximately the age of the Earth. Thus, thousand of acres in Kuwait and southern Iraq have been — in terms of humanity’s existence — contaminated forever. . . . cases of typhoid among Iraqi citizens have risen tenfold since 1991, largely due to polluted drinking water.
While Iraq was sanctioned during the 1990s, U.N. officials in Baghdad agreed that the root cause of child mortality and other health problems was no longer simply lack of food and medicine, but the lack of clean water (freely available in all parts of the country prior to the first Gulf War) and of electrical power, which had predictable consequences for hospitals and water-pumping systems. Of the 21.9 percent of contracts vetoed as of mid-1999 by the U.N.’s U.S.-dominated sanctions committee, a high proportion were integral to failing water and sewage system repair efforts.

The real cumulative impact of U.S. military action in Iraq, past and present, won’t be known for years, perhaps decades, to come.

http://www.counterpunch.com/stclair05012009.html

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