Depleted Uranium: A Strange Way To Protect Libyan Civilians
By David Wilson
Stop the War Coalition
Saturday, Mar 26, 2011
"[Depleted uranium tipped missiles] fit the description of a dirty
bomb in every way... I would say that it is the perfect weapon for
killing lots of people." ~ Marion Falk, chemical physicist (retd),
Lawrence Livermore Lab, California, USA
In the first 24 hours of the Libyan attack, US B-2s dropped forty-five
2,000-pound bombs. These massive bombs, along with the Cruise missiles
launched from British and French planes and ships, all contained
depleted uranium (DU) warheads.
DU is the waste product from the process of enriching uranium ore. It is
used in nuclear weapons and reactors. Because it is a very heavy
substance, 1.7 times denser than lead, it is highly valued by the
military for its ability to punch through armored vehicles and
buildings. When a weapon made with a DU tip strikes a solid object like
the side of a tank, it goes straight through it, then erupts in a
burning cloud of vapor. The vapor settles as dust, which is not only
poisonous, but also radioactive.
An impacting DU missile burns at 10,000 degrees C. When it
strikes a target, 30% fragments into shrapnel. The remaining 70%
vaporises into three highly-toxic oxides, including uranium oxide. This
black dust remains suspended in the air and, according to wind and
weather, can travel over great distances. If you think Iraq and Libya
are far away, remember that radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales.
Particles less than 5 microns in diameter are easily inhaled and may
remain in the lungs or other organs for years. Internalized DU can cause
kidney damage, cancers of the lung and bone, skin disorders,
neurocognitive disorders, chromosome damage, immune deficiency syndromes
and rare kidney and bowel diseases. Pregnant women exposed to DU may
give birth to infants with genetic defects. Once the dust has vaporised,
don't expect the problem to go away soon. As an alpha particle emitter,
DU has a half life of 4.5 billion years.
In the 'shock and awe' attack on Iraq, more than 1,500 bombs and
missiles were dropped on Baghdad alone. Seymour Hersh has claimed that
the US Third Marine Aircraft Wing alone dropped more than "five hundred
thousand tons of ordnance". All of it DU-tipped.
Al Jazeera reported that invading US forces fired two hundred tons of
radioactive material into buildings, homes, streets and gardens of
Baghdad. A reporter from the Christian Science Monitor took a Geiger
counter to parts of the city that had been subjected to heavy shelling
by US troops. He found radiation levels 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than
normal in residential areas. With its population of 26 million, the US
dropped a one-ton bomb for every 52 Iraqi citizens or 40 pounds of
explosives per person.
William Hague has said that we are in Libya " to protect civilians and
civilian-populated areas".You don't have to look far for who and what
are being 'protected'.
In that first 24 hours the 'Allies' 'expended' £100 million on DU-tipped
ordnance. The European Union's arms control report said member states
issued licences in 2009 for the sale of £293.2 million worth of weapons
and weapons systems to Libya. Britain issued arms firms licences for the
sale of £21.7 million worth of weaponry to Libya and were also paid by
Colonel Gadaffi to send the SAS to train his 32nd Brigade.
For the next 4.5 billion years, I'll bet that William Hague will not be holidaying in North Africa.
Stop the War Coalition
If you appreciated this article, please consider making a donation to Axis of Logic.
We do not use commercial advertising or corporate funding. We depend solely upon you,
the reader, to continue providing quality news and opinion on world affairs.Donate here