Gravel on depleted uranium in Iraq

From Gravel 2008:

Two days ago I attended an event to address both one of the most disturbing and overlooked consequences of the Iraq War. Attended by both scientists and Iraq veterans, I heard how depleted-uranium weapons and ammunition have turned Iraq into a nation littered with radioactive fallout. We gathered across the street from General Dynamics in Scranton, PA-a war profiteer whose profits have spiked in the wake of the illegal Iraq War. The Nation magazine estimates over 11,000 US soldiers to have been killed from exposure to uranium since the first Iraq War. That does not even address the vast destruction to the Iraqi people and their country. Onset of cancer, permanent respiratory and neurological conditions, deformities in the children of our servicemen—make no mistake: Depleted-Uranium (DU) is the Agent Orange of the Iraq War.

How did we get here, that our industries are poisoning and killing our own troops? The fundamental problem is pervasive and the result of our militarized culture. On Earth Day, it was clearer than ever that we cannot sufficiently tackle the myriad environmental problems we face without bringing the Military-Industrial-Complex to heel. The links between nuclear power (against which I fought and succeeded a generation ago) and our malignant warfare industry is undeniable and inextricable.

Yet it is very possible to shake the military-industrial-complex’s grip on our society. It will only come from empowering the people with The National Initiative. Our Congress is controlled by this complex lock, stock and barrel, and we have seen both the Democrats and Republicans dissolve into war parties, neither offering a definitive plan to end the War in Iraq. Nor will they end American Imperialism, which will ultimately bring future wars, havoc and destruction to the innocent. I count our delicate planet and natural world among those innocent victims.

I adamantly believe that, as a nation, we can get off of gasoline in 5 years, and the world can get off of carbon in 10. We have such great ability and capacity, yet we are squandering our treasure and resources on war and killing. I remember how American Industry could produce only one ship per year in 1941. Three years later, heeding the call to WWII, it was one per week. That same spark is possible to heal the environment, if we turn the military-industrial-complex on its head. Our society’s massive abilities and capacities have been hijacked by war, but we can reclaim them for limitless sources of innovation. Zero-emissions transportation, revitalized infrastructure and mass transit system to counter congestion and spur real productivity-these possibilities go overlooked when we foolishly wage wars for finite, carbon-spewing fossil fuels. Rather, we must harness the resources before our eyes: the sun, wind, and the people’s creativity.

Dwight Eisenhower, who predicted the military-industrial-complex, said that “one day, the people will want peace so badly that they will push the government aside.” That reality is before us by unleashing the creativity of the American people with The National Initiative. Today, I believe in that possibility more than ever.

10 Responses to “Gravel on depleted uranium in Iraq”

  1. Justin Grover Says:

    Depleted Uranium isn’t the threat many make it out to be. For every ‘scientist’ who claims it is killing millions, are many, many more that understand it has a relatively small chance of being harmful.

    Harping on about DU munitions is hiding the other very very real threats to soldiers, veterans and others that exist outside of combat, such as CARC paint, certain immunizations, tritium leakage, repeat exposure to CS gas, lack of training, insufficient rollover protection in most military vehicles, and other things. [Not to mention the combat related dangers, like being shot at, lack of proper equipment, ridiculous rules of engagement, etc. ]

    Stop beating a dead horse and obscuring the real issues.

  2. Catholic Trotskyist Says:

    Depleted uranium is a very important issue. I also like Mike Gravel because of the national initiative. It is coming very close to the Fringe Alliance strategy.

  3. Marie Says:

    DU is a huge threat. The worst part is that most people don’t even know about it.

  4. Ross Says:

    Fringe Alliance? I don’t know what that is, but it sounds good to me.

    All of the so-called fringe candidates, and fringe parties, and fringe citizens need to unite. We have common goals that, at this point in history, are more important than our individual goals. These include ballot access, campaign finance reform, and open debates, among others.

    This is why Gravel endorsed a Green Party candidate. To show that he is a man of all third parties, and that he is tied to no party in particular. To show that he wants to build a “Fringe Alliance.”

  5. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    With democrats and republicans, the debate is over. Whether one is concerned with free elections or stupid wars or spending our grandchildrens money like drunken Kennedy’s or homo-erotic torture, the debate is over.

    If any person is on the other side of the above issues, they are from the fringe. The fringe is much bigger than democrats and republicans wish, but they do control the ballot box. Me, I’ll stick to the “fringe”.

    Personally, I am glad that the Senator has taken a stand against DU and it’s known dangers. But as Justin Grover stated above, there are a LOT of dangerous things happening to our soldiers. War is dangerous.

    War is so dangerous that it needs to be used sparingly, not on a whim to prop up polls before an election (Bush the Elder) or to draw attention away from personal ethics issues (Clinton) or to appease some constituency (Bush the Younger).

    Me, I am proud to see an leading Libertarian Presidential candidate draw attention to this issue. Our candidates won’t in likelihood win the general election in November, but they CAN perhaps draw attention to atrocities and the inherent dangers of stupid wars.

    PEACE
    Steve

  6. Justin Grover Says:

    Thanks, Steve. Of course, as a former artilleryman, I tend to think that CARC is a much larger risk than DU.

    It is the paint used on all military equipment to ward off chemical agents. It is also massively carcinogenic, if misused at all, and it is on a daily basis, both in its upkeep and application.

    It can cause all of the maladies that are commonly linked to DU. Every Soldier, Marine, Sailor and Airman touches, handles, breaths near CARC every day. Most of them misuses it, including eating off surfaces coated in it, spraying common spray paint over it to ‘touch it up’, washing it with inappropriate chemicals, or breathing in CARC related dust caused by tools, accidents or combat. Failing that, it is not infrequently stored in connexs, wall lockers or store rooms with inadequate air circulation, which prevents the vapors and dust that escape it from leaving the area, or it is used to paint unprepared surfaces in approved methods which leads to further exposure. Also, many unit or post paint shops fail to seal it properly, so it comes off, even after drying, on soldier’s hands and equipment, to be ingested later. Most of our armed forces are completely unaware of the dangers of CARC because the MSDS sheets are not kept on hand, and are sufficiently archane so as to be unreadable by most humans.

    Compare that to the tiny fraction of soldiers that come in contact with expended DU rounds, or their immediate vapors or targets, or even consume quantities of water which have passed over expended DU munition.

    The problem is that neither technology is easily replaceable at a comparable performance rate.

  7. TERRY HOLTZ Says:

    Anyone else concerned that a supposed Libertarian presidential candidate is taking The Nation magazine as a credible source?

  8. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    Ahmigahd

    Citing a POLITICAL magazine as a credible souce??

    He’d better get with the program. Libertarians are more likely to cite “Science Fiction Today” as a credible source.

    ;-)

    PEACE
    Steve

  9. MY WAR! Says:

    “Gravel on his depleted brain cells” is more appropriate.

  10. homeareglass Says:

    english microsoft vacant glass you yes jhon

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