Hearts and minds, and tumors

on 23 Comments

This powerful and appalling account of some the consequences of Operation Iraqi Freedom hasn’t gotten much attention yet, but the facts it records belong on American news screens. The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn describes the Iraqi city of Fallujah six years after the Marine assault. US forces surrounded Fallujah and pounded it with artillery, much of it apparently uranium enriched explosives. Six years later, the health consequences are dramatic, comparable to Hiroshima, according to an international team of researchers which has compiled and studied the data. A dramatic rise in infant mortality, birth defects and childhood cancers, striking increases in leukemia and lymphoma. Operation Iraqi Freedom will apparently be a gift to the Iraqi people that keeps on giving.

Childhood cancers and birth defects evoke particularly strong emotions. In fact they were one of the “talking points” brought up by those who sold the Iraq war. In 2002, Jeffrey Goldberg, back from his volunteer stint in the Israeli Army, regaled Slate readers and CNN viewers with accounts of Saddam’s “weaponized aflatoxin” whose “only value is to cause liver cancer, primarily in children.” Goldberg was spinning of course—Saddam had developed no weaponized aflatoxin– but he recognized that childhood cancer was a heart-wrenching way to goad Americans to back an invasion of Iraq. He got the invasion he wanted, and the Iraqis have their childhood cancers. If Goldberg has his way, we can only imagine what will be visited on Iranian children. 

Other Americans will read the reports from Fallujah and, as Jefferson said, tremble for their country when they reflect that God is just.

About Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of the American Conservative. The former editorial page editor of The New York Post, he has written for Fortune, The New Criterion, National Review, Commentary and many other publications.

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23 Responses

  1. potsherd
    July 26, 2010, 4:40 pm

    It’s very frustrating in moments like this not to believe in any god, even less a just one, or a sizzling hell.

  2. huraok
    July 26, 2010, 4:45 pm

    The inhumanity of it all. For many people, this won’t affect them one bit.

  3. Mythbuster
    July 26, 2010, 4:46 pm

    “Other Americans will read the reports from Fallujah and, as Jefferson said, tremble for their country when they reflect that God is just.”

    That’s why most Americans won’t read them. And that’s why we have the Fox News’s filter to protect us from such inconvenient truths.

  4. Avi
    July 26, 2010, 5:13 pm

    The US was trucking dirt OUT of Fallujah after the now famous 2004 massacre.

    The US continues to claim that the 1300 killed were all “insurgents”. But the munitions and tactics used in Fallujah against the population indicate that the US was using Depleted Uranium munitions much in the same way Israel was using White Phosphorus in Gaza — indiscriminately.

    So, why was the US trucking out tons upon tons of dirt from Fallujah? The reason being was the trace evidence that D.U. leaves behind. The US feared an outside investigation into the “incident” and the only way to destroy the evidence was to make it vanish, by trucking it out.

    In the documentary Control Room, the filmmaker shows how US military spokespersons did their best to avoid using the term DU (Depleted Uranium) during their press briefings. They also pretended as though DU was harmless, citing the “Depleted” part of the terminology in their defense of this — allegedly — harmless compound.

    And so, 6 years later, these birth defects start to appear.

    Actually, the birth defects appeared as early as 2007, but such news didn’t make it mainstream until recently.

    • potsherd
      July 26, 2010, 7:16 pm

      Trucking it out – to where??

      Like, dumping it into the river?

      • James
        July 26, 2010, 7:27 pm

        they could’ve shipped it down to the moron ranch in crawford.. that would have been a good resting place for it.. put it next to his bedside so he could have some interesting dreams, maybe even trip onto reality which is something that seems to have escaped him to this day…

      • James
        July 26, 2010, 7:32 pm

        maybe judy miller would like some too for her grandkids to play in some sandbox with.. this story is just so upsetting but more then anything the fact that these people responsible for this unnecessary war have not at any time acknowledged the horror they have inflicted on there fellow human beings here on the planet.. it makes me want to cry..

      • Avi
        July 26, 2010, 7:31 pm


        There are vast expanses in Iraq, empty, desert land……

        Put another way, if someone threw a pinch of Heroin on a pile of sugar powder, would it be easily found? Sure, one could test the entire pile, but where does one start, and how long could that process take?

    • kjopp
      July 26, 2010, 8:03 pm

      I’ve read recently that the US also used white phosphorus in Iraq.
      And on the web today saw photos of deformed Iraqi children. There
      are continuing geneticly deformed births in Vietnam resulting from
      agent orange

      • VR
        July 26, 2010, 8:28 pm

        Want to know what happened in Fallujah?


        Warning, extremely graphic. They were so afraid the massacre would get out that American soldiers tried to kill Giuliana Sgrena of Il Manifesto before she got to her flight out of Iraq.

      • VR
        July 26, 2010, 8:58 pm

        Sorry, link did not take, here it is –

        link to channels.com

    • hayate
      July 26, 2010, 10:16 pm

      They trucked dirt out of that airport where the Iraqis put up a fight during the initial invasion. There are accounts of israeli use of new wmds in their recent mass war crimes. It’s possible the americans were using these new wmds as well in Iraq. Trucking out the dirt after these attacks would limit investigation into what whas exactly being used.

      Whatever it was, it’s abominable that israeloamerica has gotten away with these war crimes (equivalent to nazi war crimes, btw) so far.

  5. Citizen
    July 26, 2010, 5:20 pm

    Israel has been using DIME for some time:
    link to politicsnpoetry.wordpress.com

    Who’s copying whom?

    • Avi
      July 26, 2010, 5:36 pm

      Citizen, just to be clear, you’re not saying that DIME is the same as DU, are you?

      DIME stands for Dense Inert Metal Explosive. Such explosives result in very little shrapnel, but are designed to cause severe damage within a localized area. That’s one of the reasons that children that were hit with these munitions in Gaza were more likely to die than those who were hit with other explosives, the tissue damage was so severe that survival rates were very low.

      Lab analysis by independent bodies has shown that Tungsten was present in the bodies of the victims. Tungsten is one of the key elements of DIME.

  6. Philip Munger
    July 26, 2010, 5:47 pm

    If Americans only knew or cared about how many birth defects there have been in the Mekong River watershed, particularly the lowlands where a lot of Agent Orange was used, since 1967. Some estimates of people with associated defects go into the millions. Many were killed by their parents as soon as the defect was discovered.

  7. Chris S
    July 26, 2010, 6:01 pm

    Their bodies must not be able to handle all the Freedom and Democracy we’ve brought them.

    • Chris S
      July 26, 2010, 6:15 pm

      Sorry. Not brought. Given. Our gift. DU is the gift the keeps on giving, and giving. It has billions of years of give left.

      • eljay
        July 26, 2010, 8:37 pm

        Read some good stuff by Fisk re. the DU issue in Iraq. What I want to know is: Where, oh where, is the new Madeleine Albright to tell the world that “it was worth it”?

  8. DICKERSON3870
    July 26, 2010, 9:57 pm

    RE: “US forces surrounded Fallujah and pounded it with artillery, much of it apparently uranium enriched explosives. Six years later, the health consequences are dramatic, comparable to Hiroshima…” – McConnell
    MY QUESTION: Was this essentially a “clinical trial”. Were the residents of Fallujah used as “guinea pigs” by the U.S. to asses the long-term effects of these new toys when used on a captive population? Similar to what Israel did in Gaza? Akin to the CIA surreptitiously administering LSD to that village in France back in the 1951 – affecting nearly five hundred people, causing the deaths of at least five, and the suicides of two? link to telegraph.co.uk

    A brief article in TIME magazine, then a major U.S. news journal, with extremely close ties to the CIA, stated, “Among the stricken, delirium rose: patients thrashed wildly on their beds, screaming that red flowers were blossoming from their bodies.” Other newspapers that converged on the scene described people throwing themselves from rooftops, women and men throwing their cloths off and running the streets naked, and children complaining that their stomachs were infested with coils of snakes.

    Mengele redux? It never really changes, does it? Of course, the victims in Fallujah will undoubtedly get the old “Agent Orange treatment”; the U.S. will simply D.A.K. (deny all knowledge). Has anyone from the MSM even dared to ask for a reaction from the Pentagon to this study? Stuff happens?

    “Here come the helicopters — second time today
    Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
    How many kids they’ve murdered only God can say
    If I had a rocket launcher…I’d make somebody pay.

    I don’t believe in guarded borders and I don’t believe in hate
    I don’t believe in generals or their stinking torture states
    And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
    If I had a rocket launcher…I would retaliate

    I want to raise every voice — at least I’ve got to try.
    Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
    Situation desperate echoes of the victims cry
    If I had a rocket launcher…some sonofabitch would die” – Bruce Cockburn, 1984

    BRUCE COCKBURN – If I Had A Rocket Launcher (VIDEO, 04:57) – link to youtube.com

  9. Mack
    July 27, 2010, 9:16 am

    How is it that Jeff Goldberg is still a free man much less has a job? He’s the very definition of a War Criminal.

  10. LanceThruster
    July 28, 2010, 2:25 am

    Don’t know why the transcript provided hasn’t been cleaned up a bit but the message is crystal clear. The whistleblowers really lay out just how cruel and indiscrimate DU weapons are, and the horrific nature of their lasting effects. Note that the whistleblowers themselves are sick and are being hounded.

    see: link to mindfully.org

  11. Citizen
    July 28, 2010, 7:27 am

    Cancer Rate In Fallujah Worse Than Hiroshima
    By Tom Eley
    link to countercurrents.org

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