The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, March 02, 2006

From the White House to the troops, with love

Our men and women in Iraq will be positively glowing after they receive the latest gift from the Bushies: radioactive bullets.

The U.S. Army quietly placed an order for $38 million in depleted uranium rounds last week, bringing the total order from a West-Virginia based company to $77 million for fiscal year 2006, Raw Story has learned.

The munition is highly controversial. While the Pentagon has been ambiguous about its health toll, leftover rounds from the first Gulf War are believed to have caused a significant increase in cancer and birth defects in Iraq. According to a detailed article by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2002, "Many researchers outside Iraq, and several U.S. veterans organizations, agree; they also suspect depleted uranium of playing a role in Gulf War Syndrome, the still-unexplained malady that has plagued hundreds of thousands of Gulf War veterans." (. . .)

Depleted uranium remains radioactive for 4.5 billion years. The byproduct of manufacturing nuclear weapons or reactors, the rounds contaminate water and soil. Along some highways in Iraq where the weapon was used during in the first Gulf War, radiation levels register 1,000 times normal background radiation levels.

The story cites the defense of the casings' use as their effectiveness in penetrating armor. Funny, I wasn't under the impression that we were fighting armored units in Iraq, or even troops in body armor. So what's the advantage of spending $80 million on armor-piercing bullets that emit radiation at the same time we propose cuts for veterans' health care? Talk about a Catch-22. We're paying to make them sicker, and depriving them of medical care to cover the cost.