Depleted Uranium

This story is scary as hell. Even after they come back, Iraq will be with many of our boys forever.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

Given the properties of DU, I’d expect kidney problems if I ingested too much dust. Otherwise, just being around the stuff is harmless (in fact, it’s a good radiation shield). The symptoms listed in the article point to something else far worse happening.

August 12, 2006 @ 6:48 pm | Comment

Couple of points: When a DU-tipped warhead hits, the uranium essentially catches fire, its atoms are vapourised and they spread out, coating everything as far as the blast effect and wind will carry them. A cloud of radioactive dust on everything around the target. Hmmm, does that sound like, well, a DIRTY BOMB?!? I’d say so.

There’s a lot of worry in the U.S. press about what would happen if one of those nasty terrorists got a bunch of old X-ray machine parts and other radioactive junk and blew them up in an American city. Will those evil bastards stop at nothing? And what is America doing except THE VERY SAME THING time and time again in Iraq (and also ex-Yugoslavia.) That makes the good ol’ USA the only country in the history of the planet to have used radioactive weapons twice (Japan 1945 and the wars of the 1990s-2000s). Now they’re working up to a third time with the coming nuclear attack on Iran. America is not going to get a very good review in the history books of the future, if there is anyone left alive to write them. Perhaps when a new species of intelligent raccoons evolves in 50 million years…

Secondly, the article doesn’t touch on what’s happening to the poor Iraqis who have to live with this crap. They’re not flown back to the U.S. to receive morphine and Viagra. They just bake in the radiation and die slow, painful deaths. I’d say that’s kinda like genocide.

August 12, 2006 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

i would like to second Bukko’s coments. it is like genocide. i have been reading alot of stories about the horrors of DU over the last few years, but we never hear anything about the poor people in iraq that live in and around this shit. i feel alot more sorry for them, than i do aboutsome gung ho GI’s who are coming home and getting treated.

August 12, 2006 @ 10:15 pm | Comment

Indeed this is scary.
I believe this is what the Govt. likes to refer
to as “Gulf War Syndrome”?
As much as I support the war in Iraq, I’m more
than skeptical about the government’s reasoning behind this. I mean, it’s not like the US government has never used its own soldiers or citizens as guinea pigs


August 14, 2006 @ 11:12 pm | Comment

Whatever Gulf War Syndrome may be, it looks nothing like radiation poisoning, acute or chronic. Radiation effects are really well known by now.

“Radioactive” is really scary, and it ought to be, as all invisible menaces are; but it’s a menace that can be measured, and DU is a million times less radioactive than radium, so there are better things to be terrified by. Heavy-metal poisoning, for one, and DU is indeed a heavy metal. How toxic is it, and how readily absorbed? Hard to say, because it’s hard to find anyone who’s in the business of speaking sober medical truth (including truths like “we don’t know enough and it’s time to find out”) on either side.

Radiation does cause tumors, and there are reports of tumors here. A lot of other things cause tumors, including some heavy metals like arsenic, a bunch of other toxins, and, well, nothing in particular. What’s needed is statistics if you want to argue that something causes cancer. Unfortunately, not all statistics are equal, and some are nonsense. There have been lots of scary reports of huge increases in leukemia a couple of years after a place has been a war zone (think ex-Yugoslavia here) where DU was used. This is the reverse of a good argument against DU: increases in cancer don’t work that way. Chernobyl, which really did expose huge numbers of people to too much radiation, didn’t cause that kind of jump. Radium gave a lot of people leukemia, including Madam Curie and her daughter and a lot of women who painted radium dials on watches. Btw radium resembles calcium and accumulates in bones, so it’s especially good at causing leukemia even beyond its being so radioactive. And the Curies worked in conditions that were utterly appalling by our standards; for running a lab with such high levels of radiation, they’d have been shut down and prosecuted in a moment today. But even so, it took years for the leukemia to show up.

All statistics on a huge fast rise in cancer incidence are highly suspect, and anyone pushing them has a big burden of proof. Hysteria is the most likely explanation till proved otherwise.

Sorry to go on at such length to say what boo said. Personally I’m not sure that the stuff doesn’t have some nasty chemical toxicity when inhaled as ultra-fine dust or the like. But getting upset about the supposed use of radiological weapons is a waste of good upset when there’s so much that really calls for it.

August 15, 2006 @ 12:42 am | Comment

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