Thursday, January 27, 2005

More about depleted uranium

It is way past time to start pounding this information into the heads of our elected officials. Of all the atrocities being commited against the inhabitants of the Middle East, this has the potential to become our daily reminder that "we need to stand up and speak truth to power."


Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the nuclear process, whether military or for energy, and the US has huge piles of it. Though depleted, it is still highly radioactive. DU was introduced in weaponry during the first Gulf War. Initially, DU was used to form tank-penetrating rounds. These were about six inches long and had the feature of penetrating the heavy metal in tanks. Because of its density, depleted uranium was also used in tanks and protective armor for soldiers. Due to its relatively low levels of radioactivity, depleted uranium was considered fairly harmless (it is also used in golf clubs) and the Pentagon has repeatedly denied any danger from its use, even though its original research into the military application of du stated clearly the dangers to personnel.
However, when exploded, depleted uranium releases a highly radioactive gas; tiny alpha particles are easily inhaled into the lungs. When Gulf War veterans returned home, many of them became mysteriously ill, with symptoms highly suggestive of radiation sickness. Thanks to the work of Gulf War veterans like Doug Rokke and Dan Fahey, and many dedicated activists, the dangers of depleted uranium are now well known, but the Pentagon continues to defend its use.

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