This is a disturbing diary, so I am warning you up front.
A report out of Iraq this past week by Dahr Jamail highlights another stunningly horrific result of the illegal use of white phosphorus and chemical weapons in Fallujah by "coalition forces" back in late 2004 and 2005.
Babies born in Fallujah are showing illnesses and deformities on a scale never seen before, doctors and residents say.
The new cases, and the number of deaths among children, have risen after "special weaponry" was used in the two massive bombing campaigns in Fallujah in 2004.
After denying it at first, the Pentagon admitted in November 2005 that white phosphorous, a restricted incendiary weapon, was used a year earlier in Fallujah.
In addition, depleted uranium (DU) munitions, which contain low-level radioactive waste, were used heavily in Fallujah. The Pentagon admits to having used 1,200 tons of DU in Iraq thus far.
Between the white phosphorus and depleted uranium (as reported back in early 2006, as many as 50% of Iraqi cancer patients were . This number from 2006 is up from around 13% just over a decade years earlier.
Brain damage, cleft palate, deformities, cancer, early death, Down’s Syndrome, stillborn babies, miscarriages, heart defects and missing limbs are just some of the "abnormalities" that are being seen at an alarming rate over the past few years, not to mention bodies where the skin basically melted off after exposure to these dangerous and immoral chemical weapons use.
"We saw all the colors of the rainbow coming out of the exploding American shells and missiles," Ali Sarhan, a 50-year-old teacher who lived through the two US sieges of 2004 told IPS. "I saw bodies that turned into bones and coal right after they were exposed to bombs that we learned later to be phosphorus.
Were these mothers terrorists? What about the babies or children that were exposed to the chemicals and have either died or now have to suffer a life full of health issues - a life that will no doubt be shortened and full of difficulty as a result?
And by the way, this is not limited to Iraqis. As noted last year, Iraq vets have an alarming increase in cancer rates as well:
The number of these cancers remains undisclosed, with military officials citing patient privacy issues, as well as lack of evidence the cases are linked to conditions in the war zone. The U.S. Congress has ordered a probe of suspect toxins and may soon begin widespread testing of our armed forces.
None of these soldiers know for sure what's killing them. But they suspect it's a cascade of multiple toxic exposures, coupled with the intense stress of daily life in a war zone weakening their immune systems.
"There's so much pollution from so many sources, your body can't fight what's coming at it," Valentin said. "And you don't eat well or sleep well, ever. That weakens you, too. There's no chance to gather your strength. These are kids 19, 20 and 21 getting all kinds of cancers. The Walter Reed cancer ward is packed full with them."
The prime suspect in all this, in the minds of many victims — and some scientists — is what's known as depleted uranium — the radioactive chemical prized by the military for its ability to penetrate armored vehicles. When munitions explode, the substance hits the air as fine dust, easily inhaled.
This is yet another huge issue that will need to be dealt with, and like so many others, is a humanitarian matter that will cast a dark cloud on what has been done in our names. Deformities and high cancer rates can’t be ignored - whether it is for Iraqi civilians or for our troops who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The pictures are absolutely heartwrenching (warning: these are very graphic).
The effects are just starting to be seen, and whether it is in Walter Reed for our returning troops, or in the hospitals in Iraq - it is overwhelming:
The doctor added, "I can say all kinds of problems related to toxic pollution took place in Fallujah after the November 2004 massacre."
Many doctors speak of similar cases and a similar pattern. The indications remain anecdotal, in the absence of either a study, or any available official records.
The Fallujah General Hospital administration was unwilling to give any statistics on deformed babies, but one doctor volunteered to speak on condition of anonymity -- for fear of reprisals if seen to be critical of the administration.
A senior Iraqi health ministry official was quoted as saying Feb. 26 that the health sector is under "great pressure", with scores of doctors killed, an exodus of medical personnel, poor medical infrastructure, and shortage of medicines.
The atrocities committed in the name of "freedom" and "liberation" are countless. The fact that this was covered up, then downplayed by this administration is nothing short of disgusting. The ignoring and black out by the corporate media is inexcusable. But the truth is not hard to find - if you can stomach reading through it.
What’s worse is that all of this was done in our names, and most people don’t even know it (or want to know it).