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Just DU It
Depleted Uranium and the Real Costs of Conquest

by Mickey Z.
June 11, 2004

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“Let’s cut out the transcendental twaddle when the whole thing is as plain as a sock on the jaw.”

 -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Roughly 100,000 misguided souls lined up to catch a glimpse of Ronnie Raygun's coffin. I wish I could've stood just past his corpse and shown all those mourners these photos:

This is the other side of Raygun's American morning, his optimism...the end result of U.S. foreign policy as practiced by our two-party (sic) system.

I could also stand outside voting booths in November and hold up photos from the above link to help make the connection between pulling the lever for Kush or Berry and the actions we are sanctioning in our name. How about at the gas pumps, too? At the movie theaters where blockbuster army flicks rake in the dough.

The photos at provide a stark reminder of who is on the other end of all those cool weapons Hollywood glorifies. Not just when the bombs hit (which is bad enough) but for years and years afterwards...they illustrate the impact of depleted uranium (DU) armor-piercing shells, of spreading the radioactivity.

"When fired," writes James Ridgeway in the Village Voice, "the uranium bursts into flame and all but liquefies, searing through steel armor like a white hot phosphorescent flare. The heat of the shell causes any diesel fuel vapors in the enemy tank to explode, and the crew inside is burned alive."

As grisly as that may sound, the effects of DU did not end with the scorched bodies of Iraqi conscripts. "The uranium-238 used to make the weapons can cause cancer and genetic defects when inhaled," says Ramsey Clark.

"Depleted uranium burns on contact," adds Helen Caldicott, "creating tiny aerosolized particles less than five microns in diameter, small enough to be inhaled." These minute particles can travel "long distances when airborne," she explains. See:

"There is no safe dose or dose rate below which dangers disappear. No threshold-dose,'" John Gofman, a former associate director of Livermore National Laboratory, one of the scientists who worked on the atomic bomb, and co-discoverer of uranium-233, told The Progressive. "Serious, lethal effects from minimal radiation doses are not 'hypothetical,' 'just theoretical,' or 'imaginary.' They are real."

The photos will induce nightmares. You will have to look away. I guess I should warn those who might venture a look...but who warns those on the other end of American bombs paid for by oblivious and/or supportive American citizens?

Who talks about the fact that the United States has waged many nuclear wars...against Japan in 1945, against Iraq from 1991 to present, in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and on military bases like Vieques?

Look at the photos. Share them. Print them out. Then imagine how you'd feel if this happened to your country, your city, or your family. To paraphrase Ward Churchill: If we really want to end terrorism, we have to stop killing other people's babies.

(Thanks to J. Giza for supplying the link.)

Mickey Z. has two new books just released. For more information, please visit

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