Although the United States has withdrawn its fighting forces from Iraq, what was left behind by American soldiers continues to kill Iraqi civilians.
In the Iraqi city of Najaf, about 160 km south of Baghdad, cancer deaths are on the rise. Doctor Chris Busby says the rise is due to the use of depleted uranium by U.S. Military forces. Uranium does not exist naturally in the area.
“Every single residential street that we’ve visited in several neighborhoods, we found multiple cases of families whose children were ill, families who had lost children who had to bury children, families who had many relatives who were suffering from cancer,” RT correspondent Lucy Kafanov said.
Doctor Busby says the only possible explanation is material from American weapons.
“We went to Fallujah and we found the levels of cancer. We looked at the parents of children with congenital malformation and we did analysis of their hair to see what was inside their hair that might be genotoxic, that might be the sort of thing that can cause congenital malformation. The only thing that we found was uranium. We found uranium in the mothers of the children with congenital malformations,” he told RT.
In 2004 there was intense fighting in Fallujah, called the ‘Phantom Fury.’ Beginning in 2009, cases of birth defects began to rise significantly. At least two platforms using DU were mobilized during the 2004 battles.
More than 440,000kg of DU was used in Iraq. Some of it is corroding, some is in the form of dust, and there are innumerable vehicles and equipment that are contaminated, according to a Dutch report.
“The exposure risks to civilians from the use of DU in populated areas have been compounded by the US’s persistent refusal to release the data that could have helped facilitate the effective assessment and clearance work, providing that the Iraqi government had the capacity and finances to undertake it. Taken as a whole, these issues cast serious doubts over the legitimacy of the use of DU,” the Dutch report says.
Accusations have been leveled at the United States for its lack of transparency regarding DU. In Najaf, in a single battle, a Bradley tank fired 305 DU shells.
“We know that uranium is genotoxic, that it causes these levels of genetic damage, and because of that it also causes cancer. The only source of uranium was the use by the American-led forces of uranium weapons. Not only depleted uranium weapons, but as we later found out slightly enriched uranium weapons, which we believe they were using in order to cover their tracks. So, I think we have more or less proved that these effects are a result of the use during the two wars of uranium, and the particles that the uranium weapons produced,” Doctor Busby explained.
U.S. forces used the DU weapons because they have the ability to pierce tanks, and the walls of buildings. When the shells explode, they expel toxic dust.
“After the start of the Iraq war, rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects rose dramatically in Najaf. The areas affected by American attacks saw the biggest increases. We believe it’s because of the’ illegal’ weapons like depleted uranium that were used by the Americans. When you visit the hospital here you see that cancer is more common than the flu,” Dr. Sundus Nsaif told RT.
The Pentagon and the UN estimate that U.S. and British forces used 1,100 to 2,200 tons of armor-piercing shells made of depleted uranium during attacks in Iraq in March and April in 2003.
The doctors interviewed by RT believe the government is ignoring the problem. They do not wish to ‘embarrass the coalition’ which fought in Iraq. The government claims that more research is needed into the cause of rising cancer and birth defects.
“One of the surprising things that we found in speaking to the doctors on the ground is that they say they reportedly have been discouraged by the government from talking out openly about this to the press.”
RT had to conduct interviews with local experts in privacy. “The biologist that we have spoken to in Najaf, who was researching the issue in the city, had to give us the interview in the privacy of her home, on the roof there, instead of her laboratory. She said that there’s an active push by the government perhaps not to embarrass the coalition forces, not to really talk about this issue.”
The invasion of Iraq is the ‘gift that keeps on giving.’ America continues to Kill Iraqi civilians.
Alfred James reporting