Published on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
Worse Than Imagined: Consequences of the
In 2003, several weeks before the start of the
A recent article by Drs. Busby, Hamdan and Ariabi in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health describes the consequences on the civilian population of the coalition forces’ attack on Fallujah in 2004. Their conclusions are based on a study they conducted in January and February of 2010, in which a team of researchers visited 711 houses in Fallujah and obtained responses to a questionnaire in Arabic on cancer, birth defects and infant mortality.
Among their findings are dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukemia years after the attack on that city. The infant mortality rate was 80 per 1,000 live births, more than 4 times the rate in Egypt and in Jordan, and some 9 times the rate in Kuwait. After 2009, the infant mortality rate increased even more markedly, to 136 deaths for 1,000 live births.
Already in 2005, Iraqi doctors in Fallujah stated that they were being overwhelmed by the number of babies born with serious defects, and they also reported on the high number of cancer and miscarriages suffered by the city’s population. The rate of babies born with heart defects is said to be 13 higher those born in
Professor Chris Busby, an expert in the effects of radiation on humans said that uranium particles can alter the DNA of sperm and eggs from contaminated adults and cause a multitude of birth defects in any baby they conceive. A doctor in Fallujah quoted by Inter Press Service stated, “I can say all kinds of toxic pollution took place in Fallujah after the November 2004 massacre.”
In addition to white phosphorus, depleted uranium (DU) munitions, which contain low-level radioactive waste, were extensively used in Fallujah. According to the Pentagon, 1,200 tons of DU have been used thus far in
Reports covering the
Writing for The Independent Patrick Cockburn says, “In the assault US commanders largely treated Fallujah as a free-fire zone to try to reduce casualties among their own troops. British officials were appalled by the lack of concern for civilian casualties.”
A documentary produced by RAI, the Italian state TV, shows a series of photographs from Fallujah corpses with the flesh burnt off but clothes still intact, a finding consistent with the effects of white phosphorus on humans. I am reminded of a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa “You and I are Disappearing,” whose first stanza says,
The cry I bring down from the hills
belongs to a girl still burning
inside my head. At daybreak
she burns like a piece of paper.
César Chelala, MD, PhD, is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/28-1
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs