Monday, January 21, 2008

Paper of record ...

... discovers someone many of us have been reading for quite some time: Frontline Blogger Covers War in Iraq With a Soldier’s Eyes.


  1. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Does he provide any insights into the disgusting use of depleted uranium out there? Spreading democracy by radioctively poisoning the land and people; escalating cancer, deformed babies. A noble cause. But one shouldn't complain. When they see it's for their own good, they'll come to love us.
    Should the death penalty be applied in the case of war crimes like the use of depleted uranium?

    American use of DU is "A crime against humanity which may, in the eyes of historians, rank with the worst atrocities of all time." US Iraq Military Vets "are on DU death row, waiting to die."
    "I'm horrified. The people out there - the Iraqis, the media and the troops - risk the most appalling ill health. And the radiation from depleted uranium can travel literally anywhere. It's going to destroy the lives of thousands of children, all over the world. We all know how far radiation can travel. Radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales and in Britain you sometimes get red dust from the Sahara on your car."

    The speaker is not some alarmist doomsayer. He is Dr. Chris Busby, the British radiation expert, Fellow of the University of Liverpool in the Faculty of Medicine and UK representative on the European Committee on Radiation Risk, talking about the best-kept secret of this war: the fact that by illegally using hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU) against Iraq, Britain and America have gravely endangered not only the Iraqis but the whole world.

    Good article here, though the gutless amongst us will bow down and accept anything of our rulers.

  2. Anonymous11:32 AM

    'Depleted' uranium is in many ways a misnomer. 'Depleted' sounds weak. The only weak thing about depleted uranium is its price. It is dirt cheap, toxic, waste from nuclear power plants and bomb production. However, uranium is one of earth's heaviest elements and DU packs a Tyson's punch, smashing through tanks, buildings and bunkers with equal ease, spontaneously catching fire as it does so, and burning people alive. 'Crispy critters' is what US servicemen call those unfortunate enough to be close. And, when John Pilger encountered children killed at a greater distance he wrote: "The children's skin had folded back, like parchment, revealing veins and burnt flesh that seeped blood, while the eyes, intact, stared straight ahead. I vomited." (Daily Mirror)

    Is hell hot enough for the lords of death?

  3. I think Yon has the advantage of actually being there, as opposed to citing secondary sources.

  4. OK, he's been to Iraq. Has he been to New Orleans? He's brave. He's subsidized. He's pro war. And he thinks we should continue to spend 3 billion dollars a week in Iraq.

    Of course, he has a warrior's background. He has empathy for the troops and an ability to communicate what they're going through while fighting the oil baron's war. He should be praised for his dedication.

    Has he been to New Orleans?


  5. Have you been to New Orleans? And does not the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans bear the onus of responsibility for what happened there? Mississippi, right next door, was actually hit more directly by Katrina and dealt with it much better.

  6. Oh, and Yon is subsidized solely by contributions and sales of his work. I don't think he likes war, but he sees it as sometimes necessary. Once upon a time poets celebrated warriors, now many will at best grudgingly respect them. Odd. War was no nicer when done wearing iron clothing.

  7. That I haven't been to New Orleans for more than a decade, or that I haven't been a soldier for more than 39 years (or that I haven't been a design team leader at Lockheed Missiles for more than 15 years), is irrelevant. I'm not the one providing pro-war propaganda to justify spending three billion a week to "help Iraq" (as if that's what we're really doing) while Americans are abandoned, left to fend for themselves after a major disaster destroyed their homes. Someone set Iraq as a more important priority than the Mississippi Delta. It wasn't Yon, I know that, Frank. He's just reporting on soldiers' lives. While being in favor of "helping" Iraqis in the Middle East over helping Americans on the Gulf Coast. 'Cause war's necessary sometimes.

    Just not this time, is all I'm saying, Frank. I'd have been silent if Yon were reporting from Afghanistan, you know?

    I feel personally slapped by your "Once upon a time poets celebrated warriors, now many will at best grudgingly respect them. Odd."

    Was I "at best" only grudgingly respecting American warriors? I was as a soldier once, Frank. Regular army, a long time ago. My family, a family of men and women who are, or were, regular army and navy. Beyond that, I was a design team leader for a weapons systems manufacturer. War's hell and I know that first hand. As my grandfather knew in 1917, my father and my uncles knew in the forties, me, my brothers and cousins knew in the sixties and seventies. My daughter and my son-in-law, in this century, can testify to it, too.

    When I complain about things I see as monumentally wrong, nowadays, the kindest reaction I confront is being told the best I'm doing is providing grudging respect to warriors. As if I were some callow coward sucking the benefits out of America, while dissing its warriors who are defending me. As if I had no right to the opinions I have because I'm not on the front line. Just a little while ago I was accused of being an unpatriotic jackass who should be shot for "not supposting our troops." In the seventies I was accused of being a "great American chicken." Some things never change.

    I apologize for heckling again. The Iraq war is wrong. It's been wrong from the beginning and will be seen as wrong 'til the end of history. No matter how much propaganda is served, spending $3,000,000,000 a week in Iraq will never be right and it'll always be held up against how callously our government ignored the Mississippi Delta in it's hour of need.

    That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it, no matter how "odd" I'm labeled for holding that opinion.


  8. Anonymous8:44 PM

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  9. Anonymous4:32 PM

    What a surprise depleted uranium use doesn't bother you, Frank. It's a good war, isn't it? You're getting value for your tax dollars. Since you seem to be inferring that DU hasn't been used in Iraq, here General Brooks explains that, yes, Depleted Uranium is used in Iraq:
    GEN. BROOKS: There's a very small portion of our munitions that use depleted uranium. And there have been lots of studies on what the actual hazards are from depleted uranium. When depleted uranium hits something, it's the residue from that that has any possible hazard at all, and that requires close personal ingestion in order to have an effect.
    We believe that the way we do our operations is as safe as can be done for combat action and does not create the kind of hazard that may have been thought about in the past.

    Depleted Uranium was of course also used in the first Gulf War, which had predictable results.

    A 2001 study of 15,000 February 1991 U.S. Gulf War combat veterans and 15,000 control veterans found that the Gulf War veterans were 1.8 (fathers) to 2.8 (mothers) times more likely to have children with birth defects.[70] After examination of children's medical records two years later, the birth defect rate increased by more than 20%:

    "Dr. Kang found that male Gulf War veterans reported having infants with likely birth defects at twice the rate of non-veterans. Furthermore, female Gulf War veterans were almost three times more likely to report children with birth defects than their non-Gulf counterparts. The numbers changed somewhat with medical records verification. However, Dr. Kang and his colleagues concluded that the risk of birth defects in children of deployed male veterans still was about 2.2 times that of non-deployed veterans."[71]
    In a study of U.K. troops, "Overall, the risk of any malformation among pregnancies reported by men was 50% higher in Gulf War Veterans (GWV) compared with Non-GWVs."[72]

    In 1996 and 1997 UN Human Rights Tribunals condemned DU weapons for illegally breaking the Geneva Convention and classed them as 'weapons of mass destruction' 'incompatible with international humanitarian and human rights law.' Since then, following leukemia in European peacekeeping troops in the Balkans and Afghanistan (where DU was also used), the EU has twice called for DU weapons to be banned.

    So why is it you don't consider the Bushes and Blairs of this world guilty of war-crimes, Frank. It appears a blatantly clear case. You're not simply a fascist coward who feels better about himself through farcical, pathetic faith in political leaders, are you? Patriotism being the last refuge of the coward and all that.

  10. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Dr. Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington was quoted as saying, 'The [US government's] Veterans Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body.' He concluded, 'uranium does cause cancer, uranium does cause mutation, and uranium does kill. If we continue with the irresponsible contamination of the biosphere, and denial of the fact that human life is endangered by the deadly isotope uranium, then we are doing disservice to ourselves, disservice to the truth, disservice to God and to all generations who follow.' Not what the authorities wanted to hear and his research was suddenly blocked.
    Britain and America not only used DU in this year's Iraq war, they dramatically increased its use-from a minimum of 320 tons in the previous war to at minimum of 1500 tons in this one. And this time the use of DU wasn't limited to anti-tank weapons-as it had largely been in the previous Gulf war-but was extended to the guided missiles, large bunker busters and big 2000-pound bombs used in Iraq's cities. This means that Iraq's cities have been blanketed in lethal particles-any one of which can cause cancer or deform a child. In addition, the use of DU in huge bombs which throw the deadly particles higher and wider in huge plumes of smoke means that billions of deadly particles have been carried high into the air-again and again and again as the bombs rained down-ready to be swept worldwide by the winds.

    There's no excuse for ignorance about this issue, except the desire to remain ignorant, which is naturally no excuse, but sadly the norm among those who willfully stick their heads deep in the sand. As Alexander Dumas wrote, "Disgust is nearly more sickening than hatred." And while one should try to avoid such sentiments, it's hard to desist when confronted by the mass cowardice of people in the face of evil.

  11. Anonymous4:42 PM

    Should have read Patriotism being the refuge of the scoundrel.

  12. Anonymous5:19 PM

    I can understand people not wishing to look at the following link, here which contains picturesprovided by Dr. Siegwart Horst-Gunther, authored of a 1996 book titled, "URANIUM PROJECTILES - SEVERELY MAIMED SOLDIERS, DEFORMED BABIES, DYING CHILDREN". The book is a documentary record of the depleted urnaium ammunition effects on Iraqi babies that were taken between 1993 and 1995. The book has been censored in the USA. Dr. Gunther also has in his possesion additional photographs from his unpublished collection which feature the birth deformities being experienced by USA Iraqi war veterans' children.
    The deformities are similar to those experienced by both Vietnam war veterans and Vietnamese mothers because of the US use of the abominable chemical weapon "Agent Orange".

    But the Pavlovian dog knee-jerk reaction against deformed babies is of course to be discouraged, because evil is...not quite sure why it should be discouraged, but anyway. "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." Or "The tree shall be known by its fruits." Deformed babies should tell any decent person all he needs to know about the tree.