|Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 09:37:16 -0400
Subject: Death By Slow Burn - How America Nukes Its Own Troops
By Amy Worthington - The Idaho Observer
Last Updated Aug 13, 2003, Sierra Times
On March 30, an AP photo featured an American pro-war activist holding
sign: "Nuke the evil scum, it worked in 1945!" That's exactly what
George Bush has done. America's mega-billion dollar war in Iraq
indeed a NUCLEAR WAR.
Bush-Cheney have delivered upon 17 million Iraqis tons of depleted
uranium (DU) weapons, a "liberation" gift that will keep on giving.
Depleted uranium is a component of toxic nuclear waste, usually
at secure sites. Handlers need radiation protection gear.
Over a decade ago, war-makers decided to incorporate this lethal
into much of the Pentagon's weaponry. Navy ships carrying Phalanx
fire guns are capable of firing thousands of DU rounds per minute.(1)
Tomahawk missiles launched from U.S. ships and subs are DU-tipped.(2)
The M1 Abrams tanks are armored with DU.(3)
British Challenger II tanks are tightly packed with DU shells, which
irradiate troops in or near them.(4)
The A-10 "tank buster" aircraft fires DU shells
at machines and people on the battlefield.(5)
DU munitions are classified by a United Nations resolution as illegal
weapons of mass destruction. Their use breaches all international
treaties and conventions forbidding poisoned weapons calculated
Ironically, support for our troops will extend well beyond the war
Iraq. Americans will be supporting Gulf War II veterans for years
they slowly and painfully succumb to radiation poisoning. U.S and
British troops deployed to the area are the walking dead. Humans
animals, friends and foes in the fallout zone are destined to a
downhill spiral of chronic illness and disability. Kidney dysfunction,
lung damage, bloody stools, extreme fatigue, joint pain, unsteady
memory loss and rashes and, ultimately, cancer and premature death
those exposed to DU.
Award-winning journalist Will Thomas wrote: "As the last Gulf conflict
so savagely demonstrated, GI immune systems reeling from multiple
of experimental vaccines offer little defense against further exposure
to chemical weapons, industrial toxins, stress, caffeine, insect
repellent and radiation leftover from the last war. This is a war
the victors will lose."(6)
When a DU shell is fired, it ignites upon impact. Uranium, plus traces
of plutonium and americium, vaporize into tiny, ceramic particles
radioactive dust. Once inhaled, uranium oxides lodge in the body
emit radiation indefinitely. A single particle of DU lodged in a
node can devastate the entire immune system according to British
radiation expert Roger Coghill.(7)
The Royal Society of England published data showing that battlefield
soldiers who inhale or swallow high levels of DU can suffer kidney
failure within days.(8) Any soldier
now in Iraq who has not inhaled
lethal radioactive dust is not breathing. In the first two weeks
combat, 700 Tomahawks, at a cost of $1.3 million each, blasted Iraqi
real estate into radioactive mushroom clouds.(9)
Millions of DU tank
rounds liter the terrain. Cleanup is impossible because there is
place on the planet to put so much contaminated debris.
Bush Sr.'s Gulf War I was also a nuclear war. 320 tons of depleted
uranium were used against Iraq in 1991.(10)
A 1998 report by the U.S.
Agency for Toxic Substances confirms that inhaling DU causes symptoms
identical to those claimed by many sick vets with Gulf War Syndrome.(11)
The Gulf War Veterans Association reports that at least 300,000
I vets have now developed incapacitating illnesses.(12)
To date, 209,000
vets have filed claims for disability benefits based on
service-connected injuries and illnesses from combat in that war.(13)
Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a professor of nuclear medicine at Georgetown
University, is a former army medical expert. He told nuclear scientists
in Paris last year that tens of thousands of sick British and American
soldiers are now dying from radiation they encountered during Gulf
I. He found that 62 percent of sick vets tested have uranium isotopes
their organs, bones, brains and urine.(14) Laboratories
and Finland corroborated his findings.
In other studies, some sick vets were found to be expressing uranium
even their semen. Their sexual partners often complained of a burning
sensation during intercourse, followed by their own debilitating
Nothing compares to the astronomical cancer rates and birth defects
suffered by the Iraqi people who have endured vicious nuclear
chastisement for years.(16) U.S. air attacks
against Iraq since 1993
have undoubtedly employed nuclear munitions. Pictures of grotesquely
deformed Iraqi infants born since 1991 are overwhelming.(17)
born to Gulf War I vets, many babies born to troops now in Iraq
also be afflicted with hideous deformities, neurological damage
blood and respiratory disorders.(18)
As an Army health physicist, Dr. Doug Rokke was dispatched to the
East to salvage DU-contaminated tanks after Gulf War I. His Geiger
counters revealed that the war zones of Iraq and Kuwait were
contaminated with up to 300 millirems an hour in beta and gamma
radiation plus thousands to millions of counts per minute in alpha
radiation. Rokke recently told the media: "The whole area is still
trashed. It is hotter than heck over there still. This stuff doesn't
DU remains "hot" for 4.5 billion years. Radiation expert Dr. Helen
Caldicott confirms that the dust-laden winds of DU-contaminated
zones "will remain effectively radioactive for the rest of time."(20)
The murderous dust storms which ensnared coalition troops during
first few days of the current invasion are sure to have significant
Rokke and his cleanup team were issued only flimsy dust masks for
dangerous work. Of the 100 people on Rokke's decontamination team,
have already "dropped dead." Rokke himself is ill with radiation
to lungs and kidneys. He has brain lesions, skin pustules, chronic
fatigue, continual wheezing and painful fibromyalgia. Rokke warns
anyone exposed to DU should have adequate respiratory protection
special coveralls to protect their clothing because, he says, you
get uranium particles off your clothing.
The U.S. military insists that DU on the battlefield is not a problem.
Colonel James Naughton of the U.S. Army Material Command recently
the BBC that complaints about DU "had no medical basis."(21)
military's own documents belie this. A 1993 Pentagon document warned
that "when soldiers inhale or ingest DU dust they incur a potential
increase in cancer risk."(22) A U.S. Army training
anyone who comes within 25 meters of DU-contaminated equipment to
respiratory and skin protection.(23) The U.S.
Army Environmental Policy
Institute admitted: "If DU enters the body, it has the potential
generate significant medical consequences."(24)
The Institute also
stated that, if the troops were to realize what they had been exposed
to, "the financial implications of long-term disability payments
healthcare costs would be excessive."(25) For
pragmatic reasons, DOD
chooses to lie and deny.
Dr. Rokke confirms that the Pentagon lies about DU dangers and is
criminally negligent for neglecting medical attention needed by
DU-contaminated vets. He predicts that the numbers of American troops
be sickened by DU from Gulf War II will be staggering.(26)
gradually sicken and suffer a slow burn to their graves, the Pentagon
will, as it did after Gulf War I, deny that their misery and death
result of their tour in Iraq.
Dr. Rokke's candor has cost him his career. Likewise, Dr. Durakovic's
radiation studies on Gulf War I vets were not popular with U.S.
officials. Dr. Durakovic was reportedly told his life was in danger
he continued his research. He left the U.S. to continue his research
Naive young coalition soldiers now in Iraq are likely unaware of
deadly their battlefield environment is. Gulf War I troops were
ignorance. Soldiers handled DU fragments and some wore these lethal
nuggets around their necks. A DU projectile emits more radiation
hours than allowed in an entire year under civilian radiation exposure
standards. "We didn't know any better," Kris Kornkven told Nation
magazine. "We didn't find out until long after we were home that
even was such a thing as DU."(28)
George Bush's ongoing war in Afghanistan is also a nuclear war. Shortly
after 9-11, the U.S. announced it would stockpile tactical nuclear
weapons including small neutron bombs, nuclear mines and shells
to commando warfare in Afghanistan.(29) In late
September, 2001, Bush
and Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed that the U.S. would
tactical nuclear weapons in Afghanistan while Putin would employ
weapons against the Chechnyans.(30)
Describing the Pentagon's B-61-11 burrowing nuke bomb, George Smith
writes in the Village Voice: "Built ram tough with a heavy metal
for smashing through the earth and concrete, the B-61 explodes with
force of an estimated 340,000 tons of TNT. It is lots of bang for
buck, literally two apocalypse bombs in one, a boosted plutonium
firecracker called the primary and a heavy hydrogen secondary for
good old-fashioned H-bomb fireball."(31)
Drought-stricken Afghanistan's underground water supply is now
contaminated by these nuclear weapons.(32) Experts
with the Uranium
Medical Research Center report that urine samples of Afghanis show
highest level of uranium ever recorded in a civilian population.
soldiers and civilians are reported to have died after suffering
intractable vomiting, severe respiratory problems, internal bleeding
other symptoms consistent with radiation poisoning. Dead birds still
perched in trees are found partially melted with blood oozing from
Afghanistan's new president, Hamid Karzai, is a puppet installed
Washington. Under the protection of American soldiers, Karzai's
is setting a new record for opium production. Both UN and U.S. reports
confirm that the huge Afghani opium harvest of 2002 makes Afghanistan
the world's leading opium producer.(34) Thanks
to nuclear weapons,
Afghanistan is now safe for the Bush-Cheney narcotics industry.(35)
News asserts that keeping the "peace" in Afghanistan will require
decades of allied occupation.(36) For years to
come, "peacekeepers" will
be eating, drinking and breathing the "hot" carcinogenic pollution
have helped the Pentagon inflict upon that nation for organized
As governor of Arkansas during the Iran-Contra era, Bill Clinton
laundered $multi-millions in cocaine profits for then vice-president
George Bush Sr.(37) As a partner in the Bush
family's notorious crime
machine, President Clinton committed U.S. troops to NATO's campaign
the Balkans, a prime heroin production and trans-shipment area.
campaign to control and reorganize the drug trade there for the
mafia was yet another nuclear project.
For years, the U.S. and NATO fired DU missiles, bullets and shells
across the Balkans, nuking the peoples of Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
DU munitions were slammed into chemical plants, the environment
hideously toxic, also endangering the peoples of Albania, Macedonia,
Greece, Italy, Austria and Hungary. By 1999, UN investigators reported
that an estimated 12 tons of DU had caused irreparable damage to
Yugoslavian environment, with agriculture, livestock and air water,
public health all profoundly damaged.(38)
Scientists confirm that citizens of the Balkans are excreting uranium
their urine.(39) In 2001, a Yugoslavian pathologist
reported that hundreds
of Bosnians have died of cancer from NATO's DU bombardment.(40)
NATO peacekeepers in the Balkans now suffer ill health. Their leukemias,
cancers and other maladies are dubbed the "Balkans Syndrome." Richard
Coghill predicts that DU weapons used in Balkans campaign will result
at least 10,000 cases of fatal cancer.(41)
U.S. citizens at home are also paying a heavy price for criminal
militarism gone mad. DOD is a pollution monster. The General Accounting
Office (GAO) found 9,181 dangerous military sites in USA that will
require $billions to rehabilitate. The GAO reports that DOD has
both slothful and deceitful in its clean-up obligations.(42)
Pentagon is now pressing Congress to exempt it from all environmental
laws so that it may pollute and poison free from liability.(43)
The Navy uses prime fishing grounds off the coast of Washington state
test fire DU ammunition. In January, Washington State Rep. Jim McDermott
chastised the Navy: "On one hand you have required soldiers to have
safety training and to wear protective gear when handling DU...and
submarines must stay clear of DU-contaminated waters. These policies
indicate there is cause for concern....On the other hand the Department
of Defense has repeatedly denied that DU poses any danger whatsoever.
There has been no remorse about leaving tons of DU equipment in
in foreign countries, and there appears to be no remorse about leaving
it in the waters of your own country."(44)
DU has been used in military practice maneuvers in Indiana, Florida,
Mexico, Massachusetts, Maryland and Puerto Rico. After the Navy
DU weaponry on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, one third of
island's population developed serious illness. Many people show
levels of uranium in their bodies. Hundreds have filed a class action
suit against the Navy for $100 million, claiming DU contamination
caused widespread cancers.(45)
The Navy's Fallon Naval Air Station near Fallon, Nevada, is a quagmire
of 26 toxic waste sites. It is also a target practice zone for DU
and missiles. Area residents report bizarre illnesses, including
children who have contracted leukemia within five years. A survey
groundwater in the Fallon area showed nearly half of area wells
contaminated with radioactive materials.(46)
The materials for DU weaponry have been processed mainly at three
nuclear plants in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, where workers handling
uranium contaminated with plutonium have suffered for decades with
cancers and debilitating maladies similar to Gulf War Syndrome.(47)
Emboldened by power-grabbing successes made possible by his
administration's devious 9-11 project, President Bush asserts that
U.S. has the right to attack any nation it deems a potential threat.
told West Point in 2002, "If we wait for threats to fully materialize,
we will have waited too long."(48) Thus, it is
certain that Bush-Cheney
future pre-emptive nuclear wars are lined up like idling jets on
runway. Both Cheney's Halliburton Corp. and the Bush family's Carlyle
Group are profiteers in U.S. defense contracts, so endless war is
The Washington Post reported that the Pentagon will create special
nuclear weapons for use on North Korea's underground nuclear
facilities.(50) Next August, U.S. war makers
will meet to consolidate
plans for a new generation of "mini," "micro" and "tiny" nuclear
and bunker busters. These will be added to the U.S. arsenal perhaps
use against non-nuclear third-world nations such as Iran, Syria,
The solution? Americans must stop electing ruthless criminals to
this nation. We must convince fellow citizens that villains like
Hussein are made in the U.S. as rationale for endless corporate
profits. Saddam was placed in power by the CIA.(52)
For years U.S.
government agencies, under auspices of George Bush Sr., supplied
with chemical and biological weapons.(53) Our
laboratories, along with Unisys, Dupont and Hewlett-Packard, sold
materials for his nuclear program.(54) Dick Cheney
was CEO of
Halliburton in the late 90s when its subsidiaries signed $73 million
new contracts to further supply Saddam.(55) The
wicked villain of Iraq
was nurtured for decades as a cash-cow by U.S. military-industrial
If America truly supports its troops, it must stop sending them into
nuclear holocaust for the enrichment of thugs. Time is running out.
the DU-maniacs at the Pentagon and their coven of nuclear arms peddlers
are not harnessed, America will have no able-bodied fighting forces
left. All people of the earth will become grossly ill, hideously
deformed and short- lived. We must succeed in the critical imperative
face reality and act decisively. Should we fail, there will be no
to hide from Bush-Cheney's merciless nuclear orgies yet to come
the inevitable nuclear retaliation these orgies will surely breed.
1."DOD Launches Depleted Uranium Training,"
Linda Kozaryn, American
Forces Press Service, 8-13-99.
2."Nukes of the Gulf War,"John Shirley,
See this article
in archives at www.gulfwarvets.com.
3. BBC News, "US To Use Depleted Uranium," March
18, 2003; U.S. General
Accounting Office, Operation Desert Storm: "Early Performance Assessment
of Bradley and Abrams," 1-2-92.
4."Nukes of the Gulf War," op. cit.
6. "Invading Hiroshima," William Thomas, 2-4-2003,
7. "US Shells Leave Lethal Legacy," Toronto
Star, July 31, 1999; also
"Radiation Tests for Peacekeepers in the Balkans Exposed to Depleted
Uranium," www.telegraph.co.uk, 12-31-02.
8. "Depleted Uranium May Stop Kidneys
In Days," Rob Edwards, New
Scientist.com, 3-12-02; also "Uranium Weapons Too Hot to Handle," Rob
Edwards, New Scientist.co.uk, 6-9-99.
9. "Navy Seeks Cash for More Tomahawks," David
Rennie in Washington,
Telegraph Group Limited, 1-4-03, news.telegraph.co.uk.
10. "Going Nuclear in Iraq--DU Cancers Mount
Daily," Ramzi Kysia,
11."Depleted Uranium Symptoms Match US Report
As Fears Spread," Peter
Beaumont, The Observer (UK) 1-14-01, www.guardianlimited.co.uk.
12. "Gulf War Illnesses Affect 300,000 Vets,"
Ellen Tomson, Pioneer
Press, www.pioneerplanet.com. See also American Gulf War Veterans
Association at www.gulfwarvets.com.
13. "2 of Every 5 Gulf War Vets Are On Disability:
209,000 Make VA
Claims," World Net Daily, 1-28-03, WorldNetDaily.com.
14. "Research on Sick Gulf Vets Revisited, "New York
"Tests Show Gulf War Victims Have Uranium Poisoning," Jonathon
Carr-Brown and Martin Meissonnier, The Sunday Times (UK) 9-3-02.
15. "Catastrophe: Ill Gulf Vets Contaminated
Partners With DU," The
Halifax Herald Limited, Clare Mellor, 2-09-01. This article is available
in archives at www.rense.com.
16. "Iraqi Cancer, Birth Defects Blamed on
US Depleted Uranium," Seattle
Post- Intelligencer, 11-12-02; "US Depleted Uranium Yields Chamber
Horrors in Southern Iraq, Andy Kershaw, The Independent (London) 12-4-01.
17. "The Environmental and Human Health Impacts
of the Gulf War Region
with Special References to Iraq," Ross Mirkarimi, The Arms Control
Research Centre, May 1992. See also Gulf War Syndrome Birth Defects
Iraq at www.xs4all.nl/~stgvisie/VISIE/extremedeformities.html.
Tiny Victims of Desert Storm, Has Our Country Abandoned Them?,"
Life Magazine, November 1995; "Birth Defects Killing Gulf War Babies,"
Los Angeles Times, 11-14-94; "Depleted Uranium, The Lingering Poison,"
Alex Kirby, BBC News Online, 6-7-99.
19. "Depleted Uranium, A Killer Disaster,"
Travis Dunn, Disaster
20. San Francisco Chronicle, 10-10-02.
21. "US To Use Depleted Uranium," BBC News, 3-18-03.
22. "Depleted Uranium Symptoms Match US Report As
Fears Spread," Peter
Beaumont, The Observer (UK) 1-14-01.
23. "Iraqi Cancer, Birth Defects Blamed on US Depleted
Post- Intelligencer, 11-12-02.
24. "US To Use Depleted Uranium," BBC News, 3-18-03.
25. US Army Environmental Policy Institute: Health
Consequences of Depleted Uranium in the U.S. Army, Technical Report,
26. "Pentagon Depleted Uranium No Health Risk," Dr.
Doug Rokke, 3-15-03;
also "The Terrible, Tragic Toll of Depleted Uranium," Address by Dr.
Rokke before congressional leaders in Washington, D.C.,12-30-02; also
"Gulf War Casualties," Dr. Doug Rokke, www.traprockpeace.org.
27."Tests Show Gulf War Victims Have Uranium Poisoning,"
(UK), Jonathon Carr-Brown and Martin Meissonnier, 9-3-00.
28. "The Pentagon's Radioactive Bullet: An Investigative
Mesler, The Nation, 5-28-99,
29. "Tactical Nukes Deployed In Afghanistan," World
Net Daily, 10-7-01.
31. "The B-61 Bomb,The Burrowing Nuke" George Smith,VillageVoice.com
12-29-02.; also "Bunker-busting US Tactical Nuclear Bombs, Nowhere
Hide," Kennedy Grey, Wired.com, 10-9-01.
32."Perpetual Death From America," Mohammed Daud
Interviews, 2-24-03; also "Dying of Thirst," Fred Pearce, New Scientist,
34. "Afghanistan Displaces Myanmar as Top Heroin Producer,"
France-Presse, 3-01-03. This article is at www.copvcia.com.;also
Trade Flourishing In the `New Afghanistan,'" Reuters, 3-3-03.
35. "The Bush-Cheney Drug Empire," Michael C.
Ruppert, Nexus Magazine,
February-March 2000; The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the
Global Drug Trade, Alfred W. McCoy, Lawrence Hill & Co., revised
due May 2003; Drugging of America, Rodney Stich, Diablo Western Press,
1999; "Blood for Oil, Drugs for Arms," Bob Djurdjevic, Truth In Media,
April 2000, www.truthinmedia.org.
36. ABC News, February 27, 2003
37. Compromised, Clinton Bush and the CIA, Terry Reed
and John Cummings,
S.P.I. Books, 1994; The Clinton Chronicles and The Mena Cover-up,
Citizens for Honest Government, 1996; "The Crimes of Mena, Grey Money,"
Ozark Gazette, 1995 (see www.copvcia.com.)
38. "Damage to Yugoslav Environment is Immense, Says
a UN Report," Bob
Djurdjevic, 7-4-99, truthinmedia.org. This report was submitted to
UN Security Council on June 9, 1999; also, "New Depleted Uranium Study
Shows Clear Damage," BBC News,8-28-99; also "NATO Issued Warning About
Toxic Ammo," Associated Press, 01-08-01.
40. "Hundreds Died of Cancer After DU Bombing--Doctor,"
41."Depleted Uranium Threatens Balkan Cancer Epidemic,"
BBC News, 7-30-99.
42. "Many Defense Sites Still Hazardous," Associated
also Old US Weapons Called Hidden Danger, Los Angeles Times, 11-25-02.
43. "Pentagon Seeks Freedom to Pollute Land, Air and
Sea," Andrew Gumbel
in L.A., 3-13-03, Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.
44. "Radioactive DU Ammo Is Tested in Fish Areas,"
Post-Intelligencer, 1-11-03; Letter from Rep. McDermott to Department
the Navy: see "Navy Fired DU Rounds Into Waters Off Coast of
Washington," 1-20-03, rense.com.
45."Cancer Rates Soar From US Military Use of DU
On `Enchanted Island,'"
www.telegraph.co.uk, 2-5-01; also "Navy Shells With Depleted Uranium
Fired in Puerto Rico," Fox News Online, 5-28-99.
46. "The Fallon, NV Cancer Cluster And a US Navy Bombing,"
47. "DU Shells Are Made of A Potentially Lethal Cocktail
Waste," Jonathon Carr-Brown, www.sunday-times.co.uk,
48. "Preventative War Sets Perilous Precedent," Helen
49. PIGS at the Trough, Arriana Huffington, Random
House, 2003 (New York
Times best seller.); also "The Best Enemies Money Can Buy, From Hitler
to Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden Insider Connections and the Bush
Family's Partnership With Killers of Americans;" Mike Ruppert, From
Wilderness,10-10-01; also "Bush Sr.'s Carlyle Group Gets Fat on War
Conflict," Jamie Doward, The Observer (UK), 3-25-03; also "Halliburton
Wins Contract for Iraq Oil Firefighting, Reuters, 3-7-03; also "Cashing
In-Fortunes in Profits Await Bush Circle After Iraq War, Andrew Gumbel,
The Independent (London) 9-15-02; also "War Could Be Big Business for
Halliburton," Reuters, 3-23-03.
50. "Pentagon Seeks a Nuclear Digger," Washington
Post, March 10, 2003.
51. "Remember: Bush Planned Iraq War Before Taking
Office," Neil Mackay,
The Sunday Herald (UK) 3-27-03; also "US Mini-Nukes Alarm Scientists,"
The Guardian (UK) 4-18-01; also "US Nuclear First-Strike Plan--It Keeps
Getting Scarier, Jeffrey Steinberg, Executive Intelligence Review,
52. Wall Street Journal, 8-16-90: The CIA supported
the Baath Party and
installed Hussein as Iraqi dictator in 1968.
53. "United States Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and Their
Impact on the
Health of Persian Gulf War Veterans," Senate Committee on Banking,
Housing and Urban Affairs, 1992, 1994; "U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq
Buildup," Washington Post, 12-30-02.
54. "US Government, 24 US Corps Illegally Helped Iraq
Build Its WMD,"
Hugh Williamson in Berlin, Financial Times, 12-19-02; "Full List of
Weapons Suppliers To Iraq," Anu de Monterice, firstname.lastname@example.org,
55. Huffington, op. cit.
Amy Worthington is a reporter for The Idaho Observer
Posted for educational and research purposes only,
~ in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107
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Links and Archives
fog of war Aug 21st 2003 From The Economist
As casualties from the war in Iraq mount, a battle is still raging
causes of Gulf-war-related illnesses
WAR is not a healthy business. Since hostilities began in March, more
American and British soldiers have died in Iraq. All such losses are
regrettable, but two deaths in particular are a puzzle. They were among
servicemen who have developed severe pneumonia in the past six months,
a wider but milder outbreak that has affected another 74 American soldiers.
Pneumonia is no stranger to army life, so these 90-odd cases are not
surprising. What is unusual is the seriousness of the 18 cases, says
an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa. This mystery pneumonia
healthy warriors on breathing machines. And although pneumonia can
infectious, there is no sign that soldiers are spreading it to each
indeed, the severe cases are found in units deployed as far apart as
Kuwait, Qatar, Djibouti and Uzbekistan.
American army medical teams are trying to track down the cause of this
outbreak. Patients have been given questionnaires to see if they share
medical history or subtle physiological features. Researchers from
for Disease Control and Prevention are working with the army on blood
sputum tests to screen victims for a range of bacteria, viruses, fungi
parasites, as well as signs of auto-immune abnormalities.
"The fog of war"
Gulf-war syndrome May 18th 2000
Iraq, United States
Health, War in Iraq, Wars
The Gulf War Veteran Resource Pages, America's Centers for Disease Control
and the Division of Epidemiology at Southwestern Medical Centre publish
information on the topic.
The patients do not share a common occupation and tests seem to have
microbial suspects such as the bacteria that cause tuberculosis and
Legionnaires' disease, as well as the SARS virus and Hantavirus. One
interesting finding, says Dr Gray, is that roughly half the severe
cases have elevated levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell
associated with fungal or parasitic infections. Army officials believe
pathogens, or other environmental factors, are more likely causes than
biological or chemical weapons.
Despite the mystery, rooting out the cause of these pneumonias will
than unravelling the epidemiological enigma of the 1991 Iraq war: Gulf-war
syndrome (GWS). GWS refers to an odd assortment of symptoms—joint pain,
fatigue, headache, memory and sleep problems—reported by thousands
veterans in several countries. Although many cases have been explained
traumatic stress disorder, roughly a fifth remain undiagnosed.
As Simon Wessely, a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry in London,
out, there is no question that the symptoms of GWS are genuine. The
that—despite over a decade of research in many countries and more than
spent in America alone—most experts are hard-pressed to come up with
definition of a unique syndrome that can explain them. Or a particular
account for them—be it vaccines against biological agents, nerve-gas
or depleted uranium from shell casings.
Certainly, some well-defined diseases have cropped up. Ronald Horner,
researcher at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and
Maryland, found that 1991 Gulf-war veterans have twice the risk of
amylotrophic lateral sclerosis, an extremely rare and fatal neuro-degenerative
condition, compared with soldiers outside the region. GWS, though,
is far less
clear-cut than this.
One answer may be found in the work of Craig Hyams, at the United States
Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, DC. He has looked at military
illnesses through history and found similar complaints as far back
American civil war. Might GWS be just a modern-day version of the traditional
impact of war?
Robert Haley, a researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical
Centre in Dallas, thinks not. He reckons that GWS is a defined physiological
disorder caused by exposure to chemical weapons. Dr Haley's research,
magnetic resonance spectroscopy, has shown biochemical differences
in parts of
the brain called the basal ganglia and brainstem. He argues these are
a sign of
damage varying according to the type of trouble experienced by veterans,
memory loss or body pain. Dr Haley's research has also shown that sick
Gulf-war veterans have different levels of a key blood enzyme called
oxonase. He contends that this may make particular soldiers more vulnerable
the effects of some nasty chemicals.
Many researchers, however, question Dr Haley's work. In part, this is
his tests were performed on only 43 servicemen (23 of whom were ill).
This is a
rather small study group, and further work is now under way to replicate
studies in larger groups of soldiers. Researchers at several army and
medical centres, the Institute of Medicine and the General Accounting
are also investigating exposure to chemical weapons. Of particular
a place called Khamisiyah, an Iraqi munitions dump blown up by American
soldiers in 1991 and later found to include rockets loaded with sarin,
chemical. How much sarin was released, how far it spread, how many
were exposed and what sort of medical problems they have encountered
matters of debate.
Although many scientists and defence officials on both sides of the
dispute the very existence of GWS, allied forces in the recent Iraqi
err on the safe side. Britain, for example, changed its vaccination
for soldiers, giving more jabs before troops were deployed rather than
field. The use of the whooping-cough vaccine was also eliminated. This
in the first Gulf war to boost the action of anthrax vaccine. It has
suggested that this combination of jabs may be linked to some symptoms
In addition, “combat stress teams”, including social workers and psychologists,
have been sent out with the troops to help them deal with the physical
mental pressures of the conflict.
The biggest change for both forces was better information management.
the greatest obstacles to solving the puzzle of GWS has been a lack
data. This time round, both armies have tried to improve the way they
soldiers on health risks, and have kept medical records up-to-date.
assessments have already begun on those who have returned.
Environmental surveillance technicians have also been sent to Iraq,
portable kits to test encampments for chemical contaminants. And soil,
water samples have been sent back for analysis. There is also a network
medics carrying portable handheld computers at the front line, and
laptops in field hospitals. This information is analysed using software
automatically detects unusual patterns of illness.
At the very least, these measures will help epidemiologists to work
cause of the pneumonia outbreak. They should be of use in picking up
medical problems, including symptoms associated with GWS. Dr Hyams
has no doubt
that this year's conflict, like those before it, will throw up some
illnesses, given the “horrific and varied exposures” of war. No matter
what the enemy is, forewarned is forearmed.
Subject: Re: [DU-WATCH] Gulf war syndrome
- the fog of war
Date: Fri, 22
Aug 2003 09:55:42 +0800
From: Max Whisson
"The fog of war": endlessly
obfuscation of the Gulf War
This piece from the Economist on the "mysterious" illnesses in people
returning from Iraq is yet another example of the endlessly elaborate
obfuscation of the Gulf War Syndrome. Extensive investigations conducted
great expense by many experts are detailed. There is just one omission:
there is no record of any investigation which could reveal depleted
in the bodies of those affected!
To be specific, there is no record of the measurement of radioactivity
sputum, blood, or tissues. DU emits short range alpha particles
daughter elements emit short range beta particles. This radioactivity
extremely damaging when inside body cells but is hard to detect.
It has a
very short range (most less than 20 microns) and the radioactivity
emitted at a very slow rate, so that sensitive detection methods
The most appropriate method is probably autoradiography with a long
time (eg 3 months). So special techniques are needed to detect DU
body. This does not mean however that such techniques are complicated
difficult. They are very easy for many laboratories. They are not
simply because to search for DU in people is very actively suppressed.
this way the consequences of the criminal distribution of aerosolised
continue to be presented as a "mystery".
And this focus on victims of Gulf War Syndrome is a further obfuscation.
the people of the invaded territories are at much greater risk.
cancer rates and the high rates of foetal abnormalities are also
suppressed. The incarceration of DR. HUDA AMMASH in April by US
authorities in Baghdad is almost certainly aimed at suppressing
scientific findings on war related illness in Iraq. It is difficult
to come to a similar conclusion about the purpose of explosion under
office of the head of the UN in Baghdad this week. Among a wide
activities to help the Iraqi people recover, the UN was investigating
effects of widespread radioactivity.