by Manuel Valenzuela | Information Clearing House | 26 January 2006
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.
--60 Minutes (5/12/96)
The story of Iraq and its people since 1991 is one of immense tragedy, of a fate cruel and evil that has befallen innocent human beings whose only crime has been living inside what was once the ancient land of Mesopotamia. It is ironic that the land that first gave rise to human civilization has been made to suffer tremendous hardship in the last fifteen years, severely decimated and destroyed, its wounds hemorrhaging from incessant human cruelty. The heart of the Fertile Crescent has become a barren wasteland, its waters, the Tigris and Euphrates, those veins of sustenance for our ancient forefathers, transformed into rivers of waste and pollution and decaying death, their fertility now mutated into toxicity.
Its cities and peoples, descendants of a civilization thousands of years old, rich in both culture and history, have been made to suffer the severe consequences of sitting atop modern humanity’s most coveted natural resource, a black gold sought by nations and corporations of the rich and powerful north, a devil’s excrement that fuels economies and human greed, feeding apathy and wickedness, corruption and colonialism, and, as always, expanding comfort and excessiveness in the lands of the pillagers. To those nations whose unlucky possession of oil has brought nothing but exploitation and misery, like Iraq, the black gold fever created has yielded a curse upon both peoples and lands, for in their strategic location exists the energy needed to feed today’s wealthiest and most powerful nations.
These countries will stop at nothing in order to possess, and control, the drops and gallons and barrels and pipelines and valves and oil wells saturated with ever dwindling supplies of oil, becoming blind to the corrosive effects their exploitation has on both native people and land, in the process ripping apart ground, polluting environment, poisoning air, intoxicating water, corrupting leadership and condemning the citizenry to the sins of human nature possessed by greed, addicted to money and infatuated by power.
The destiny of modern Iraq was sealed millions of years ago, when fossil fuels underwent their natural evolution, over epochs becoming the black blood hiding underneath sand dunes and desert landscapes. Due to the changing patterns of an ever evolving planet, a land once lush in forest, jungle and one can imagine bountiful vegetation became, over eons of change, the vastly different landscape we are familiar with today. Black gold replaced green Eden, to remain hidden for millions of years until that day when man developed the technologies in need of fuel. This bone marrow, dormant and undisturbed, lay below ground, remaining unknown to primitive man for its use and capabilities had yet to be understood.
This resource, useless to peoples ancient and primitive, was to find access to the surface in the late 19th century. It would be the beginning of the end for nations such as Iraq, their fate now in the hands of nations addicted to colonization and imperialism, for in oil the Western powers saw hegemony, control and advantage. Thus, from the nadir of Earth the devil’s excrement rose, becoming, over a century later, a most troubling demon possessing humanity and destroying, in the span of a little more than a century, the planet's environment.
At the time ignorance made the effects of fossil fuel use unknown. Meanwhile, the northern thirst for oil, insatiable thanks to industrialization and expansion of economies, began to imprison, exploit and colonize the lands and peoples of the Middle East, enriching a few tribal leaders, making kings of goat herders and creating tyrants of former shepherds. The market colonization of Arab and Muslim lands had begun, like a gold rush birthing a fever that has yet to stop.
In the process, lands that should never have been joined in unison were stitched together by Western powers ignorant to the region’s history, culture and idiosyncrasies. Rivals and hated enemies suddenly found themselves living in the same country, surrounded by Western imposed invisible borders, forced to subsist and govern together. The traditional lands of entire peoples were without understanding divided apart or granted to other entities, thereby planting the seeds for future conflict. Ethnicities found themselves split apart by imaginary lines, with large segments of their populations living in different nations, their congruity eviscerated, their connections to each other severed.
Unwanted European minorities, for centuries oppressed and subjugated, hated and ostracized in their native lands, at times ethnically cleansed and nearly exterminated, were conveniently gotten rid off from European nations and sent to the land of the Palestinians, free to colonize a region for millennia owned and lived in by Palestinian indigenous peoples. Given the right to oppress and ethnically cleanse native Arabs by England, who possessed the lands of Palestine, the European ethnic minority, claiming the land as their Biblical right, systematically began a campaign of terror against the natives, cleansing hundreds of thousands, murdering many and taking the lands, and wealth, of the Palestinian people, creating their own colony while occupying other people’s rightful land.
Thus, to atone for the sins of Europeans Israel was allowed to be born at the expense of the indigenous population, thereby condemning the Palestinian people to pay perpetual sacrifices and compensation to a people persecuted by Europeans, not Arabs. In the dispossession of natives Israel was created, born in sin and human malice, a gift from England and Europe to make up for their past evils, becoming a short sighted endowment but a ticking time bomb in the much more important long term. Today Palestine is a land of colonizers, settlers, occupiers and institutionalized apartheid, an area in turmoil and perpetual hatred, with Palestinians robbed of their lands, homes, farms and wells, imprisoned in walled and fenced-in ghettos and Bantustans, displaced and sent to rot in refugee camps and territorial hellholes.
Palestine has become a land of engendered revulsion, a place where two peoples are forced to live side by side under a history saturated with violence, oppression, plunder and a hunger for vengeance. It is a tinderbox threatening not just to the greater Middle East, but to the world at large. The manipulations by the British during the first half of the 20th century at trying to engineer a new nation governed by foreigners with only ancient continuity with the land, through the subjugation of the native population, was a clear example of forethought being but an afterthought, and today the world entire must bear the consequences of this foray into colonizing stolen land.
The lands of the Middle East were carved up by the great Western powers, intent on exploiting every inch of land and drop of oil. They became colonizers, devastating economies, damaging cultures, impoverishing lives and pillaging wealth, both natural and economic. In time despots were appointed, supported and given comfort, named kings, princes, dictators and so-called presidents by leaders of northern lands unfamiliar with the ways of the Middle East, becoming, more than anything else, the tyrants, puppets and, most importantly, the strongmen of the West, able to maintain their power by suppressing and controlling their own people, depending on the morsels and crumbs given by the West for continued hegemony.
While they reaped the enormous wealth spawned by oil, allowing European companies complete pillage of black gold, the strongmen impoverished their subjects, ruling them with an iron fist, providing for their exploitation and raped destinies, with millions becoming severely under educated and, as a result, fervently religious, made susceptible to the fundamentalist teachings of mullahs and extremists. Tyrants and kings ruled unopposed, confident that Europe and later America would support their every move and decision.
Democracy and freedom in the Middle East became invisible and non-existent principles, far away realities seen only through the filtered media controlled by the state, promises made real only to the populations of the same Western nations that supported despots and incompetent rulers where oil flowed. Elections are either non-existent or rigged charades designed to convince few. The rights of women have always been relegated to that of property, with men allowed to dictate the destiny of females. Liberty and human rights were and have never been allowed to cement themselves. On the contrary, suppression and torture have metastasized themselves into Arabic countries, with full support and encouragement of the West, to the great detriment of millions of people.
The only interest the West, and particularly America, has with the Middle East is ownership and control of oil. For over a century Western meddling in the region has concentrated on the availability of black gold. It has been to the great detriment of nations such as Iraq that its underground is saturated with the resource the West cannot live without. Thanks to oil the people of Iraq, composed of three distinct ethnicities, mistrustful and historically spiteful of each other, have been thrown into a land whose Western imposed borders are a relatively new phenomenon. Iraqis, along with all other Middle East peoples, have been forced to endure Western – and American – sponsored dictators for decades, with oil interests trumping those for freedom, democracy and human rights. It is the story of those condemned by the devil’s excrement.
Saddam as Both Friend and Foe
Saddam Hussein was for decades an American supported and financed dictator put in power to become the tyrannical glue that held Iraq together, for years doing as he was told, becoming Washington’s thug in power, free to do as he wished regarding the internal manifestations of Iraq, financed militarily and economically as long as he kept the oil spigots running and as long as he kept the price of a barrel of crude within the price range limitations of his handlers in Washington.
For decades he persecuted and oppressed both the Kurds and Shia, with a wink and a nod from the US government, enriching himself as he feasted on the spoils of Iraqi oil and American military and economic generosity. It was good to be the prostitute of the empire. When asked by Washington to destabilize Iran through war after the American sponsored tyrant and dictator – or shah – was deposed and the American Embassy – CIA station – held hostage thanks to the Iranian Revolution, Saddam embarked on a decade long battle against his eastern neighbor, using the vast arsenal of American manufactured weapons to punish Iran for its temerity in dethroning the empire’s despot that had for years been oppressing Iranian citizens, exploiting the nation’s wealth and pillaging its oil, all in the interests of the United States. Saddam, in gleeful cheer, was to unleash hell upon those who had dismantled one of the largest CIA operations in the Middle East, a network center masquerading as an embassy where all orders to the shah originated from and where many Iranian internal problems arose out of.
As the war raged on the madness of Saddam became apparent, and, in a calculated and predictable move he, using chemical weapons technology supplied him by America’s government and corporate world, sent into the air WMD aimed at Iranian forces, killing untold thousands with weapons banned by international law, though with the full consent of American officials. It was these same WMD that would later be used by Saddam against the Kurds of northern Iraq, again killing untold hundreds or thousands in the dictator’s bid to oppress a rebellious minority.
Saddam was a wicked tyrant, yet he was our wicked tyrant, and so not a word was uttered about his war crimes and crimes against humanity, and especially muted to our ears and made blind to our eyes was his use of American WMD technology against both Iranians and Kurds. He was our evildoer, just like so many before and after him, from all corners of the globe, from Marcos to Suharto to Pinochet to Batista to Mobutu, all dictators whose hands were made bloody by the support and encouragement America’s government engendered. Saddam maintained power in large part thanks to American generosity and financing, much the same as dozens of US supported dictators have for decades. It was only when he was no longer needed to further the interests of America that he became expendable. It was when his character exceeded his allotted power, when his ego thought itself capable of more than he could handle that he went from ally shaking hands with Donald Rumsfeld to dictator and tyrant used to manipulate the fears of bed-wetting Americans.
Once expendable, Saddam became, like all once-favored despots and freedom fighters whose usefulness has expired, a bogeyman used to captivate the minds of American citizens. Almost overnight Saddam became the reincarnation of Hitler, a dictator that prevented “freedom and democracy” from his people, a madman that had attacked his neighbor Kuwait, even though his neighbor was siphoning oil away from Iraqi fields and even though Kuwait had once been claimed by the peoples and lands of modern day Iraq, taken away from them by British interests at the turn of the 20th century and made a sovereign nation ruled by British supported monarchs. The machines of propaganda had been turned on and miraculously, Saddam’s use of WMD was shouted for the world to hear, images of rotting Kurdish corpses used to turn friend into foe, his mustache spawning fear and insecurity in the minds of America’s citizens. The merciless engine of propaganda had been turned on.
Saddam’s mistake in invading Kuwait would doom Iraqi citizens for the next fifteen years, unleashing the human wickedness inherent in a war culture lacking the empathy and understanding of both history and culture. America’s weaponized instruments of death and army of conditioned automatons devastated Iraq and its population during the Gulf War, bombing cities, decimating infrastructure and destroying the ministries of governance. The aerial campaign, which in essence was the muscle of the war, dropped hundreds of tons of missiles upon unsuspecting targets, their potent payload killing untold numbers of innocent civilians.
Cluster bombs, banned by the international community, were indiscriminately dropped from the sky above. Tomahawk missiles rained down upon homes and shelters and hospitals. The terrorism of the rich was unleashed on millions of Iraqi civilians. It can be surmised that tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians died at the hands of American terrorism, yet the real number will never be known because America does not do body counts, caring not an ounce for humans that are not American. From babies to pregnant women to mothers to boys and girls to peasant fathers to grandmothers and grandfathers, the toll of death was undoubtedly massive, for the aerial reign of terror was incessant, at all hours of the day and night.
It was in this war where the concept of smart bombs was introduced and experimented in, resulting in massive error in targeting and countless “collateral damage.” Here in America, however, the spin masters at the Pentagon only showed us the minority of video that resulted in direct hits, becoming part of the propaganda that conditions and makes silent the masses. Led to believe that our toys were performing perfectly, we were never made aware of the utter devastation upon Iraq and its people. The misery and hatred and death and maiming engendered by our terrorism was conveniently whitewashed, made to disappear in a war with images only of “smart bombs” destroying their target.
In the end, Saddam was left in power, much to the detriment of millions, and much to the poor health of hundreds if not thousands of Kurds and Shia rebels who had been given assurances from America that they would be supported in their attempt to oust a clearly weakened Saddam. They, of course, were betrayed by George Bush, Sr., which resulted in the subsequent slaughter of most rebels by Saddam’s forces. In his infinite wisdom, Bush the Wiser decided against sending his forces to invade and occupy Baghdad, knowing full well the consequences of such an idiotic move. Instead, he maintained an aerial bombing campaign that would last until the start of the next Gulf War.
More cruel and evil than the actual bombing or the Gulf War was the economic genocide imposed on the Iraqi people under the guise of sanctions. During the 1990’s, under the rubric of WMD disarmament and failure to obey United Nations resolutions, Iraq was stripped of its ability to purchase and import vital medicines and nutrient rich food. For over ten years these sanctions debilitated Iraq’s once shining health system and social services, creating an anemic organization unable to provide adequate healthcare to its citizens along with the necessary foodstuffs needed for survival.
Thanks to these sanctions, sponsored, supported and policed by America, anywhere from 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 Iraqi civilians died, 500,000 of them children below the age of five. Dying of malnourishment, disease, illness, hunger and lack of medicine, where ordinarily under normal conditions few would die, Iraqis were made to bear the spear of American imposed genocide. Quite simply, that is what the sanctions should be called in the books of history, for in few instances do we call the death of over one-million innocent civilians, half of them young children, merely sanctions. Make no mistake about it, America stands guilty of genocide and mass murder, as well as in callously perpetuating a suffering never before seen in the lands of Mesopotamia.
The economic sanctions imposed devastated an entire generation of children, resulting in the death of half a million under age five as well as stunting the growth, and the development of the brain in millions more thanks to the unavailability of food and medicine. Collective punishment of an entire population was introduced to 25 million Iraqis, most of whom had to survive on rations and through smuggled medicines, all made to suffer for a WMD program that had been abandoned and dismantled, as well as for a war culture that refused to feel the empathy for human suffering and the full consequences to its actions. The human calamity that ensued is a crime against humanity, holding hostage millions who lay on the brink of death, absorbing immeasurable damage to body and mind, unable to escape the mass murder taking place around them. Economic genocide is genocide nonetheless, and America should be ashamed for what it helped perpetuate. Yet according to Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, “the price [was] worth it.”
During the next decade of sanctions, hospitals and schools fell into disrepair, sewers ran open and onto streets, the Tigris and Euphrates filled with human waste and garbage, electricity and food were in short supply and the entire population took a nose dive backwards in time. Meanwhile, the aerial terrorism that only wealthy nations can maintain never let up, resulting in perpetual terror and fear, not to mention incredible levels of stress and anxiety, and in the random bombing of homes and buildings and places of governance. For over a decade the people and nation of Iraq was not allowed to escape the human hell brought to its borders. The powers that were had decided to make Iraq an example, ruining the lives of its people, murdering 1.5 million people, letting an entire nation rot in the refuse of human decrepitude and to severely regress backwards in time a nation that had previously been among the emerging modern and secular nations of the Middle East.
With the start of the Iraq/Bush War in 2003, what seemed bad was about to get much, much worse, as the entire military apparatus of the world’s foremost war culture was brought inside the once ancient lands of Mesopotamia. Thousands of tons of munitions, artillery and missiles have exploded inside Iraq, devastating, once again, homes, cities, streets, buildings, hospitals and ministries. Though liberated from the reign of Saddam, Iraq still finds itself lacking adequate electricity, gasoline, medicines and other vital supplies. The reconstruction promised by America has never and will never be delivered, as billions of dollars budgeted for rebuilding a nation in ruins have disappeared, pillaged by war profiteers and corrupt politicians from both sides of the ocean.
Anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 innocent civilians have died as a result of America’s occupation of Iraq, all dead because of lies, deceit, greed and love of the Almighty dollar, all dead thanks to incompetence, imbecility and ignorance, all dead thanks to America's silence, indifference, complicity and our addiction to comfort. The occupation has resulted in a classic guerilla warfare resistance by Iraqis fighting for the freedom of their nation and the expelling of occupying forces. This has resulted in tremendous suffering, deep insecurities and fears and an escalating cycle of violence, both against civilians and American forces, that threatens to leave Iraq in a perpetual state of violence and chaos. The initial stages of civil war are apparent, and the real threat of Balkanization, where Iraq splits up into three separate mini-states, cannot be ruled out.
The Killing Fields
Meanwhile, all around Iraq and its cities a clandestine yet deadly killer lurks, invisible and unseen, devastating in its capacity to destroy human DNA, a silent death sentence that has and will befall hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of unsuspecting human beings, both Iraqi and American. This killer festers in the air, water, food supply, vegetation and ground, infiltrating the porous bodies of human beings, cementing itself for life. It lingers on streets and rivers and buildings and homes, carried by wind and rain and through the daily weather patterns of Mesopotamia.
Slowly a land once fertile, an oasis between ancient rivers, the cradle of civilization is being contaminated by the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, poisoned, since 1991, by radiation equivalent to between 250,000 and 400,000 Nagasaki bombs. Thanks to the thousands of tons of ordinance, munitions, missiles and bombs dropped during the Gulf War, and the tens of thousands of tons of ordinance, missiles and bombs dropped by America during the Iraq/Bush War, all saturated with depleted uranium (DU), the nation of Iraq is being destroyed from within by an invisible demon sent from the home of the brave and the land of the free. Many of its citizens are dead Iraqis walking, becoming ghosts of walking dead, unaware of the poison inside their bodies and the death that most certainly awaits them.
Depleted uranium is a silent mass murderer, a clandestine nuclear bomb whose mushroom cloud is never seen exploding, yet the radiation and heavy metals excreted from the weapons it envelopes when they strike their target, the heat evaporating uranium particulates into the air, become airborne contagions that latch onto our carbon and organic bodies. It attacks our organs and our bones, our nerves and blood, mutating our DNA genetic sequence, destroying our immune systems, penetrating our reproductive systems and causing various terminal cancers. It is the ultimate weapon of genocidal intentions, a perfect weapon if one wishes to slowly make putrid the human body, embedding itself into our DNA, guaranteeing that it passes onto the next generation of human being, usually resulting in macabre and grisly consequences.
Today in Iraq, thanks to the Gulf War, cancers have skyrocketed beyond the pale of comparison, leaving doctors dumbfounded how so many clusters of Iraqis with various cancers can exist when so few existed before. Today the natural rate of deterioration of the body once DU enters it is over, resulting in an exponential and ominous increase in fatalities, most by cancer, disease and immune system chaos. Depleted uranium used fifteen years ago is now being felt where American ordinance was dropped from the sky above, as lands, food supply, water and air once contaminated, inhaled and ingested release the WMD lingering in their midst.
Child deformities, stillbirths, mutated fetuses, miscarriages and birth defects have been springing up for quite some time now, as the DU embedded in the sperm and eggs of parents transfers over to the embryo. The mutations taking place, along with the deformities now apparent yet hardly ever seen in human society, are gross distortions of human normalcy, creating beings the likes of which have never been seen before. The photos of what DU can do to newborn babies and fetuses are available on the Internet. Entire regions, towns and neighborhoods are experiencing clusters of these mutations in their newly born babies, with doctors unable to explain the sudden rise in defects and deformities that did not exist previously.
What we are seeing is the beginning of decades of death in Iraq from the aftereffects of DU, an epidemic of radiation poisoning caused by American WMD. An entire population has been exposed to nuclear radiation by America and its government – which has been aware of the effects of DU for some time – and soon the world will be witness to the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Iraqi citizens. The world has entered a black hole into a genocide that will possibly last for centuries. We will see the Iraqi nation’s cancer rate skyrocket to levels we though impossible, affecting large segments of the populace, as well as the subsequent deaths of terminally ill patients, most of them children whose bodies have embedded inside them the deadly remnants of their parents’ depleted uranium. We will witness, as we already can through the grisly photos of DU mutations in babies, the horrific rise in child birth defects and deformities and miscarriages and stillbirths that are already causing thousands of potential Iraqi parents to strongly consider ever giving birth for fear of producing in their child a gross distortion of a human baby.
The devastating increase in malignancies and cancers, now a great worry, will in the next few decades grow exponentially, laying waste to a large segment of the Iraqi population. In essence, they have been given a death sentence by George W. Bush, who, when future historians see the complete damage DU has caused, will be compared to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao in terms of numbers of murders committed, easily surpassing the 1.5 million dead Iraqis as a result of America’s economic genocide of the 1990’s.
Millions of Iraqis, forced through the consequence of their lives to live inside the smoldering radiation that is Iraq, unable to leave a land now poisoned and made toxic through America’s weapons of death and destruction, will have to face a future of uncertainty and trepidation, slowly becoming aware, if they are not already, that inside them lives a WMD that can not only kill them, but their sexual partner as well along with severely deforming any child they might decide to bring into this world. Inside a bubble of death they will live, forever to breathe the particulates of a pestilence first imported in 1991, unable to escape its damaging grip on organic human bodies.
Iraq has been transformed into a vast killing field, a wasteland overrun by the remnants of America’s silent WMD, a cheap and money saving weapon devastating to the human body, capable of killing perhaps millions of innocent human beings, capable of altering entire genetic sequences resulting in the severe birth defects, stillbirths, miscarriages and deformities now appearing almost daily in Iraq. The Cradle of Civilization has transmuted into the Iraqi Killing Fields, a place where only death and disease now prosper, where millions of walking dead stir up the dust of the same killer elements that will invariably leave them without life.
How many will eventually die in the next ten, twenty, thirty, fifty years? How many Iraqis have been sentenced to death, becoming dead men and women walking, not knowing when or if the silent WMD will strike them ill or dead, not knowing if they will produce a grossly deformed human child whose few days living will be remembered for the devastation of its genetic blueprint? Are the walking dead living cadavers waiting only for time to take its course and destiny to fulfill its mission? Will entire generations of Iraqi children be prevented from living thanks to their premature death and gross deformities, never having a chance at life thanks to embedded WMD in their parents’ bodies? Are we seeing the last remaining lines of Iraqi’s distinctive ethnicity, with those now living becoming the last vestiges of what was once considered an Iraqi?
It is not necessary to construct gas chambers, incinerators, gulags or concentration camps to exterminate millions of human beings. We are seeing this reality today in Iraq, in multiple forms, in degenerate warfare, in countless acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by American forces. In the end, millions have and will die at the hands of America and George W. Bush, some quicker than others, some in silent placidness and some in terrible agony, some by bullets and bombs, some by water-borne disease and malnourishment, some by radiation-filled cancers, mutated deformities and destroyed immune systems. The seeds of the Iraq Holocaust have been firmly planted in the now barren lands of the Fertile Crescent.
The Killing Fields of Iraq have risen like a phoenix torched by the radiation of depleted uranium, its invisible mist traversing barren desert and congested cities looking for organic bodies to invade. Its poison will last 4.5 billion years, lingering in the environs of Mesopotamia and beyond, traveling by wind and weather and water, exporting Iraq’s misery to other lands and peoples. In silence and clandestine suffering disease and cancer and deformities will permeate Iraqi society, hovering like a never ending cloud cover inside Iraq, millions made to suffer the consequences of American made depleted uranium and George W. Bush imported misery.
The Killing Fields will in the next few decades take the life of tens of thousands, certainly, millions, perhaps. Yet it will not only be Iraqis made to suffer the consequences of America’s invisible yet devastating nuclear war upon Iraq. Already, 11,000 American soldiers, veterans of the first Gulf War, have died thanks to Gulf War Syndrome, cancer and disease. Over 350,000 veterans, out of 700,000 who served, have asked for serious disability, most of these veterans being in their late twenties and early thirties, in the prime of their lives, cleared as healthy before the war in military conducted medical physicals. Depleted Uranium is the most likely culprit, as many more get diagnosed with terminal diseases and illnesses every year. Many veterans of Gulf War One and now the Iraq/Bush War have themselves been giving birth to deformed and defective children, much like their Iraqi counterparts.
Depleted Uranium, it seems, does not discriminate nor does it need a passport to infect human beings. It has been imported into America by our returning soldiers, a great percentage of which most likely have remnants of depleted uranium buried deep inside them. How many American veterans of Gulf War One and the Iraq/Bush War will in the next few decades succumb to cancer or destroyed immune systems? How many of their children will be born like those in Iraq, unable to live more than a few days or months because their bodies are infested with DU, their appearance no longer presenting the appearance of a human child?
It is estimated that 40,000 to 80,000 more veterans will die in the next twenty to thirty years as the effects of DU run their course. How many more will produce offspring with genetic birth defects, gross mutations of fetuses, miscarriages and stillborns? So much for Bush’s hypocritical culture of life. How many of our soldiers and veterans are dead men and women walking, waiting out a cruel game of DU lottery, hoping their bodies were spared the poison now rampant in Iraq? How many will have their lives altered, never to regain normalcy, never able to bear children, always to wonder if they will be next to fall.
The Killing Fields of Iraq do not discriminate and they do not stop at the border. They do not bother with uniform colors or the crossing of oceans. They are the deadly consequence of criminality and indifference, of greed and emphasis on the bottom line. Sadly, the nuclear silence now deafening in Iraq will alter the course of Iraqi history, not to mention the lives of thousands of Americans veterans who, after a year or perhaps five of living normal lives, will begin feeling the damage DU is doing to their body.
Depleted Uranium is but the next stage in America’s indifference to the Arab world, an indifference that has lasted decades, with the US concerned only for the Middle East’s vast yet dwindling oil wealth, not its human capital nor its interest in freedom, democracy or human rights. In a twisted form of karma, DU has returned the favor to thousands of American soldiers, returning its deadly poison back to the same nation that created it, penetrating the porous skin and bodies of soldiers once occupying Iraq, now a land devastated with the invisible radiation of American DU ordinance. It has attached itself to our soldiers, in time to haunt their health and their families, possibly becoming manifest in the deformities of American babies.
Only the future knows who and how many Iraqis and Americans will be forced to confront premature death. Many will never know what happened to them. Many will come to the realization that the great military industrial complex, putting profit over people, as it usually does, and America’s upper echelons of governance, straight from the Pentagon and Oval Office, knowing full well the dangers of DU, nonetheless decided to commandeer the future lives of millions, deciding the lives of Iraqi civilians and American soldiers were not worth the millions of dollars saved by using cheaper DU.
The great sadness is that the Iraq Killing Fields, with its ghosts of walking dead, will remain unknown to the vast percentage of humanity, for this scandal will never be allowed to see the light of day, neither by America’s government or the corporate world that owns both it and the media. Greater in scope than Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the potential number of deaths greater than some evildoers of times past, Iraq’s Killing Fields will continue killing and deforming, mutating DNA and inflicting untold levels of misery, simply because of its clandestine approach to death, its silent and whispered calls to disease. Its secrecy and cover-up will only be surpassed by its criminality and by the complete callousness of government officials to the plight they helped birth.
There will be no blood and no violence, no bombs or bullets, though abundant suffering. The calamity will not bleed, so it will not lead. It will be boring to the average American, becoming an unspoken genocide free of the violence we are so addicted to and enamored with. The front lines of this battle will be inside hospitals and in the homes of the afflicted, left to confront a destiny not of their own choosing, unable to understand how an invisible weapon of mass destruction could be allowed to be used on civilians and on cities, on humans and on soldiers on both sides. Many will die in disbelief, their lives wasted, slowly rotting from the inside out, seeing their babies deformed, born stillborn or mutated, their last remaining years spent living as ghosts of walking dead, becoming prisoners only of time and of anger.
Iraq’s Killing Fields are as real as the sun, as dangerous as a nuclear weapon, as devastating as any plague. The devastation taking place inside it is anathema to humanity, a war crime and crime against humanity, a malfeasant manifestation by Machiavellian miscreants. If the world entire were made aware of its seriousness, of its criminality and of the callousness of American leaders the backlash would be a giant tsunami of anger. Alas, the quietness of the crime will be elevated, and silence will be the only noise emanating from the plains of the Killing Fields.
Meanwhile, the Killing Fields of Iraq continue to radiate their toxic and deadly poisons, contaminating more Iraqis and Americans with each passing day, like a parasite forever attaching radiation and heavy metals inside human hosts. Only in 4.5 billion years will DU disappear, by then humanity will have ceased to exist. Iraqis’ Ghosts of Walking Dead await humanity’s attention, wanting nothing more than to receive assistance in combating a silent yet devastating killer that is forever altering the Iraqi landscape.
Mired by decades of war with Iran and later the United States, 1.5 million of its citizens, including 500,000 children dead due to economic genocide, 100,000 to 200,000 dead due to American invasion and occupation, and now afflicted by an enemy they can neither see nor touch, the Ghosts of Walking Dead await our response to their hushed and clandestine call for help. In their whispered plea can we see a perpetual future of cancer, death, disease, mutation, deformity and entire generations now endangered and at serious risk of devastation. In their whispered plea can we also see what might happen to tens of thousands of our own men and women, themselves hosts carrying the demons of the Iraqi Killing Fields back home.
The Killing Fields can be felt, their warm winds echoing the cries for help, their plains saturated with the clouds of poison, and of outrage, seeking our full attention in understanding a silent and clandestine genocide taking place where fertility once permeated and where the cradle of civilization once nurtured us before sending us all on our way to all corners of the planet and to most uncertain destinies.
Is the price of what America has done in our name worth our silence and indifference?
Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst, current events observer, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now published by Authorhouse.com. His articles appear regularly at his blog, http://valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com and at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info as well as at other alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org