New Study Documents Depleted Uranium Impacts on Children in Iraq

Farah was abandoned as a baby because of deformities caused by depleted uranium, and is cared for in an orphanage. A touching story about the kindness of a stranger to improve her life appears in a video at the end of this post.

Editor’s Note: While so many people readily believed the lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, few are willing to face the hideous truth about the damage inflicted on innocent civilians by America’s use of illegal depleted uranium weapons of mass destruction during the war.

David Swanson’s article below about a new study documenting the horrific impact on children from the DU weapons America used is a sobering read. The dreams that Greta Thunberg emotionally declared at the UN that climate change would rob her of pale to insignificance in the face of numerous Iraqi children’s struggles simply to have a tiny semblance of normal life, stolen from them by the environmental impact of these illegal weapons of mass destruction.

The war against Iraq was planned well before 9/11. Yet while the Twin Towers still burned that day, the name Osama bin Laden was seared into the American mind. G.W. Bush was quick to proclaim a ‘war on terror’. Troops were sent to Afghanistan to smoke bin Laden out of his cave and bring him to justice. But that was not enough. Lie after lie after lie deemed that Iraq had a hand in 9/11 and the drums starting beating for war. Iraq became America’s number one “national threat” because they had “weapons of mass destruction.” As of 2013, a poll showed that almost half of Americans still believed that Iraq had something to do with 9/11 even after the lies that started the war were exposed.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the war never ends, as David Swanson so clearly shows. The DU weapons of mass destruction America used against the innocent civilian population have not only contaminated their environment, but will cause cancer and the horrific birth defects shown here – perhaps for many generations to come. To suggest that the extent of the suffering is truly overwhelming is a huge understatement when faced with the fact that around 50 percent of the population in Iraq is now disabled in some way and needs assistance.

This is the legacy left to Iraq by corrupt American leaders who deliberately told the world the lie that they were freeing the Iraqi people from an evil dictator in a war they dubbed “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” with the aim of bringing ‘democracy’ to Iraq. ~ Juliet Bonnay


New Study Documents Depleted Uranium Impacts on Children in Iraq

by David Swanson

This article was originally published at DavidSwanson.org on September 20, 2019.

Warning: Some people will find the images below disturbing.

A new study shows an association between depleted uranium, used by the US during the Iraq war, and the risk of birth defects in Iraqi children.

In the years following 2003, the U.S. military dotted Iraq with over 500 military bases, many of them close to Iraqi cities. These cities suffered the impacts of bombs, bullets, chemical and other weapons, but also the environmental damage of open burn pits on U.S. bases, abandoned tanks and trucks, and the storage of weapons on U.S. bases, including depleted uranium weapons. Here’s a map of some of the U.S. bases:

This map and the other illustrations below have been provided by Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the authors of a forthcoming article in the journal Environmental Pollution. The article documents the results of a study undertaken in Nasiriyah near Tallil Air Base. Nasiriyah was bombed by the U.S. military in 2003 and in the early 1990s. Open-air burn pits were used at Tallil Air Base beginning in 2003. See a second map:

Now take a look (do not turn away) at these images of infants who were born between August and September of 2016 to parents who had continuously lived in Nasiriyah. The visible birth defects include: anencephaly (A1 and A2 , B), lower limb anomalies (C), hydrocephalus (D), spina bifida (E), and multiple anomalies (F, G, H). Imagine if these tragic birth defects had been caused by a natural disaster or the misdeeds of the next government targeted by the United States for “regime change” — would not the outrage be widespread and thunderous? But these horrors have a different cause.

Here’s another illustration, of hand and foot abnormalities in children in Nasiriyah, and in the ancient city of Ur, near the U.S. base:

The study now being published found an inverse relationship between the distance one lived from Tallil Air Base and the risk of birth defects as well as of levels of thorium and uranium in one’s hair. It found a positive relationship between the presence of thorium and uranium and the presence of birth defect(s). Thorium is a decay-product of depleted uranium, and a radioactive compound.

These results were found near this particular base rather than dozens of others, not because it is necessarily unique; no similar studies have yet been conducted near each of the other bases. The results found by this study are likely to be identical to results that could be found by a similar study next year, or next decade, or next century, or next millennium, at least in the absence of major efforts to mitigate the damage.

Depleted uranium (DU) weapons were not just stored in Iraq, but also fired in Iraq. Between 1,000 and 2,000 metric tons of DU was fired in Iraq according to a 2007 report by the U.N. Environment Program. While not at the same level, the U.S. military has also poisoned the Washington, D.C., area, among other parts of the United States and the globe with DU. The Pentagon to this day claims the right to use DU. Depleted uranium is permanently hazardous waste from the production of nuclear energy, a source of energy marketed by its lobbyists as environmentally beneficial. Here’s a description of DU from Iraq Veterans Against the War, a group (later renamed “About Face: Veterans Against the War!”) many of whose members are familiar with the damage that DU does to people directly, not just to their offspring:

Farah as a baby. See her story at the end of this article.

“Depleted Uranium (DU) is a toxic, radioactive heavy metal that is the waste byproduct of the uranium enrichment process when producing nuclear weapons and uranium for nuclear reactors. Because this radioactive waste is plentiful and 1.7 times more dense than lead, the United States government uses DU in munitions/ammunition which are extremely effective at piercing armored vehicles. However, every round of DU ammunition leaves a residue of DU dust on everything it hits, contaminating the surrounding area with toxic waste that has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the age of our solar system, and turns every battlefield and firing range into a toxic waste site that poisons everyone in such areas. DU dust can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through scratches in the skin. DU is linked to DNA damage, cancer, birth defects, and multiple other health problems. The United Nations classifies Depleted Uranium ammunitions as illegal Weapons of Mass Destruction because of their long-term impact on the land over which they are used and the long-term health problems they cause when people are exposed to them.”

Three operations have not only vastly transformed Farah’s face, but her ability to eat, breathe, and learn to talk. Her carers say she is intelligent.

Not only did bringing DU weapons to Iraq amount to putting “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq in the name of eliminating “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” but using and storing DU in Iraq arguably violated the Convention on the Prohibition of the Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques. The use of DU was also one part of an illegal war, which in its entirety violated both the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Each element of such a war is illegal. In addition, the use of such weapons violates the Geneva Conventions’ ban on collective punishment, as well as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The use of these weapons was a small part of the damage done to Iraq, its people, its society, and its natural environment by the war. We ought not to require any legal case before offering aid and making reparations. Basic human decency ought to suffice.


The Babies Born Deformed Due To The Iraq War: The Story Of Farah
How did America get into this mess?

The following video narrated by Bill Moyers is a reminder of how the war against Iraq was sold, or read Charles Lewis’ article: The Lies We Believed (And Still Believe) About Iraq

Buying the War: How Big Media Failed Us