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The apparent U-turn by the Pentagon over DU use by aircraft in Operation Inherent Resolve has been cautiously welcomed by campaigners, but is it a sign of a wider policy shift? Is the threshold of acceptability for the use of DU in operations rising in response to international pressure over the controversial munitions and what part has the A-10 played in this?
The Pentagon has announced that depleted uranium (DU) munitions have not, and will not, be used by US aircraft in the conflict against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The policy U-turn contrasts with statements made over previous months, where Pentagon officials claimed that DU would be used if needed; the decision reflects a growing stigmatisation of the controversial weapons.
The news that US A-10 gunships are now also active in Syria in operations against Islamic State has coincided with the emergence of reports that Syrian civilians fear the long-term health impact of the Coalition’s airstrikes.
Canada’s new Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson has claimed that Canada has been leading global efforts on the non-proliferation of DU weapons, among other things, but does this claim bear scrutiny?
Prof. Manfred Mohr of ICBUW Germany on the life and work of Prof. Siegwart-Horst Günther, the father of the anti-uranium-weapons movement in Germany, who died earlier this month.
Articles on the military use of depleted uranium and issues affecting veterans
- Claims that DU is used in missiles still appear to lack foundation.12 April 2011
- The Iraqi War Logs, recently released on the Wikileaks website, show that the presence in Iraq of munitions containing DU causes difficulties for US troops.2 November 2010 - ICBUW
- A classified German Army manual has thrown doubt over US and UK assurances that no depleted uranium munitions have been used in Afghanistan.21 July 2009
- In a landmark ruling a jury at an inquest has ruled that exposure to depleted uranium in the 1991 Gulf War was the likely cause of the colon cancer that killed British veteran, Stuart Dyson, in June 2008.25 October 2009
- A report by the New Zealand Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has revealed that the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is against the use of uranium weapons by its allies in joint operations but stops short of supporting a domestic ban.9 July 2009
- The Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI) assists the US Army Secretariat in developing policies and strategies to improve or resolve environmental policy issues that may have significant short or long-term impacts on the Army.10 July 2009
- A tribunal in Rome has ruled that the Italian Ministry of Defence failed to adequately protect its troops from the hazards posed by exposure to depleted uranium munitions in Kosovo.16 December 2009
- It has emerged that the United States is seeking alternatives to depleted uranium for the future development and production of medium calibre bullets for its armed forces, although US government sources have declined to confirm the reasons behind the decision.16 January 2010 - Dave Cullen
- Support for Italian veterans with Balkan Syndrome takes major step forward.1 May 2009
- Newspaper finds that four out of nine soldiers show DU contamination, casting further doubt on Government testing programmes30 April 2004
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