Monday, January 18, 2010

Severe Birth Defects: Another Tragic American Legacy in Iraq

The ongoing tragedy of war:

From the Guardian:
Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants, compared to a year ago, and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting....
Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable....
The rise in frequency is stark – from two admissions a fortnight a year ago to two a day now. "Most are in the head and spinal cord, but there are also many deficiencies in lower limbs," he said. "There is also a very marked increase in the number of cases of less than two years [old] with brain tumours. This is now a focus area of multiple tumours."...
The Guardian asked a paediatrician, Samira Abdul Ghani, to keep precise records over a three-week period. Her records reveal that 37 babies with anomalies, many of them neural tube defects, were born during that period at Falluja general hospital alone....
These birth defects are linked to the use of weapons containing depleted uranium and white phosphorous. Every single American should realize that these weapons were used in a war which the United States fought against a poor country, and who had done nothing to deserve it. Every American should realize that their government lied to them in order to justify an unprovoked attack against Iraq, a vicious attack which predictably led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, an Iraqi civil war, the destruction of the Iraqi economy, and many other horrors, including birth defects such as these.

Falluja was the scene of the only two setpiece battles that followed the US-led invasion. Twice in 2004, US marines and infantry units were engaged in heavy fighting with Sunni militia groups who had aligned with former Ba'athists and Iraqi army elements.

What set off the battle of Fallujah? Probably not what you think:

Although Fallujah had seen sporadic air strikes by American forces, public opposition was not galvanized until 700 members of the 82nd Airborne Division first entered the city on April 23, 2003, and approximately 150 members of Charlie Company occupied al-Qa'id primary school.
 On the evening of April 28, a crowd of approximately 200 people gathered outside the school, demanding that the Americans vacate the building and allow it to re-open as a school. 
After their smoke gas canisters failed to disperse the crowd,[12] four US soldiers stationed on the roof fired into the gathering, killing 17 and wounding more than 70 of the protesters. US forces said that the shooting took place over 30–60 seconds, while Human Rights Watch has concluded that it is more likely to have lasted approximately ten minutes.[13]
Two days later, a protest at the former Ba'ath party headquarters decrying the American shootings was also fired upon by U.S. troops, this time the U.S. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which resulted in three more deaths.[11][14] Following both incidents, the US soldiers asserted that they had not fired upon the protesters until they were fired upon first.

Who are the terrorists again?

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