By Dave Lindorff
Quietly, and under the radar for now, a movement is growing across the country that could blow up White House war planning and finish off the U.S. adventure in Iraq.
That movement is state-by-state legislation to provide for testing of returning National Guard troops for signs of contamination by depleted uranium.
Kicked off in Connecticut by a feisty Democratic state representative from New Haven named Pat Dillon, a woman who was trained in epidemiology at Yale—her bill passed the state legislature in July unanimously, and goes into effect this October, about the time many Connecticut Guard troops will finally be coming home from Iraq—the measure has copycats hard at work in some 14-20 other states. Louisiana has already passed a similar law.
The military has been insisting that the 3000 tons of DU munitions it has blown up in Iraq in this war so far (and the 1000 tons more it has exploded and fired off in Afghanistan) are safe for troops and for civilians, though there is no real data to prove this because the Pentagon has vigorously resisted testing returning troops (only 270 so far) and the State Department and Pentagon have barred UN or other outside testers from looking into DU contamination in Iraq.
Meanwhile, an early small test sample of nine returned NY State National Guard soldiers, financed by the NY Daily News, found four, or nearly half the sample, to be DU contaminated.
If even a much smaller proportion than 44% of the tens of thousands of U.S. Guard troops who get tested in Connecticut, Louisiana and other states prove to be contaminated with uranium from U.S. weapons, more states are bound to establish similar testing laws. Beyond that, reservists and active duty troops and veterans, all already anxious about the issue, are certain to start demanding tests.
Meanwhile, if DU tests start showing serious contamination of U.S. troops, how are Iraqis going to react?
Unlike in the first Gulf War, when all 300 tons of DU used was fired off in the Kuwaiti and Iraqi desert, this time nearly 10 times as much DU has largely been exploded and burned in urban fighting, putting the dust right in the path of millions of civilians.
This bomb is ticking…
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