DU Horrors to be Repeated In Iraq?
The British Government makes clear its determination to use DU.
Britain to Use DU Weapons
The ministry of defence has made no secret of the fact that they are planning to continue using depleted uranium. This month, in response to a letter from CADU addressed to Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon, the Ministry of Defence wrote "DU will remain part of our arsenal for the foreseeable future because we have a duty to provide our troops with the best available equipment with which to protect themselves and succeed in conflict". Deeply ironic we felt to talk of protecting our troops with DU weapons. Campaigners may also be interested to note that this August Alvis acquired the manufacturing of Challenger II tanks after buying Vickers' defence business from Rolls Royce.
Denial of DU Effects on Health
Only this month a report by the Uranium Medical Research Centre in Washington DC found that 11 years on over half the Gulf Veterans in the study tested positive for DU. Another study, also out this month by German biochemist, Professor Albrecht Schott, found that British veterans who fought in the Gulf and Balkan wars (where DU was also used) had up to 14 times the usual level of chromosome abnormalities as would be found in civilian populations.
Yet Britain is one of the few countries in NATO that still refuses to recognise Gulf war Syndrome and compensate its soldiers. To expose more soldiers to DU contamination without first establishing the cause of an illness that has affected thousands of British Gulf Veterans nor provide for their subsequent care is a gross dereliction of duty by the MOD.
Refusal To Take Responsbility for Past Actions
When a site in Cardiff, Wales, was found to be contaminated with depleted uranium this July, soil was classified as low level radioactive waste and transported to a radioactive waste disposal facility near Sellafield. None of these protections have been afforded to Iraqi civilians. The MoD argues in its reply to CADU that it is under "no legal obligation to return to the region post-conflict to clear up any DU that remains." However this was only a precedent that was set by the USA after precarious legal argument, and certainly not a moral one, that can justify exposing a civilian population for possibly generations to come with toxic and radiological pollutants.
If Britain is to go down this route then there must be an honest and widespread public debate about this issue. We believe that the British Government is using selective science and the protection of political and military interests to suppress this debate.
CADU is profoundly opposed to any US and British attack on Iraq believing that they have shown no factual basis to the assertion that Saddam Hussain is a threat either to the West or to his neighbours at this time and that an invasion of Iraq will add nothing to the proclaimed objectives of "the war on terror". The War will only add to the suffering of the Iraqi people, who have already borne the brunt of the harshest ever UN sanctions for the past 11 years, destabilise the region and will clearly be illegal under international law. We think the British Government's clear determination to use DU weapons again in Iraqi despite the unresolved death and illness of those contaminated first time around is completely immoral and irresponsible.
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Page last updated: January 28, 2003