If you have not read my previous two memos on this subject, Don’t Let You Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys, and Why War Is Stupid: Part Deux, I invite you to please do so…but here is just another of so many reasons why you should not participate nor encourage anyone you know to go to war.
Depleted uranium is the waste product of the uranium enrichment process for nuclear power reactors and nuclear weapons. It consists of the same components and it has about 60 percent of the radioactivity of uranium. Since it is a waste product and therefore difficult to find a place to put, store, hide, get rid of…The United States has stockpiled an estimated 450,000 tons of the stuff.
But…Since it has also been discovered to be heavier than lead and harder than steel, DU is used by the US in both defensive armor and armor-piercing ammunition. These weapons contain a solid rod of DU that increases their ability to penetrate heavily armored vehicles, buildings, tanks and underground bunkers and, unlike other weapons that become blunted upon impact, DU sharpens and self-ignites upon firing and impact. These weapons also however, create an aerosolized cloud of radioactive uranium oxide that in effect “cooks” any unfortunates who may be inside said tank, vehicle or bunker. This makes DU weapons incredibly effective, and more and more the weapon of choice in today’s modern war scenarios.
It is now estimated that over 1,000 tons of DU have been used by US and British forces throughout the 1991 war in Iraq, in the Balkans in the late 1990’s in the 2003 Iraq War, and in Afghanistan. This of course has been very bad news for our enemies and very good news for those who have been trying to get rid of this nuclear waste product…but why should it be of any concern to you and I and our soldiers?
Well,…scientists estimate that anywhere from 50-96 percent of the dust created by these weapons is made up of respirable particles which, if inhaled, can remain in the lungs for years. As a result not only our enemies but also our soldiers breath this “depleted” uranium on a daily basis not to mention the millions of innocent Bosnian, Iraqi and Afghani citizens many of whom now live in cities under conditions akin to Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the A-bomb droppings of 1945.
And consider these figures which are now being reported…Just 467 US personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991. Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. This astounding number of disabled vets means that within one decade, 56 percent of those soldiers who served in the first Gulf War now have medical problems.
We’ve all heard that “war is hell” and that it is an unfortunate “necessary evil” but now when you consider that we as a country are fighting wars against such overmatched militaries like Iraq and Afghanistan much if not most of the damage that is done to our own soldiers is either from what is known as “friendly fire” or the newly added dangers of exposure to our own deadly weapons caused by the fallout from DU, and then if you add in the concussive effects of these incredibly powerful weapons and the head trauma that is experienced by troops who are simply on the battlefield when these weapons are fired, then include the ever growing anti-social and anxietal problems of simply being in the modern military and the high incidences of rape and suicide they produce, we truly have become our own worst enemies.
We have finally met our most formidable foe…and it is us!
So Mamas… and Papas…do not let, encourage or even suggest to your babies that they grow up to be cowboys and fight in wars.
I fear, and perhaps even more frighteningly so, that we must now and forever only let our robots do it…and that, sadly and ironically enough, may just prove to be the best and most imperative reason to no longer do it at all…