Filtered news 8/15

God help us Alberto Gonzales over imposition of the death penalty.

Do these people even listen to themselves? , and therefore only the doctors providing the abortion should be charged with a crime should the procedure be outlawed:

Such a legal stance is tantamount to "ignoring or infantilizing women, turning them into 'victims' of their own free will," Quindlen wrote. "State statutes that propose punishing only a physician suggest the woman was merely some addled bystander who happened to find herself in the wrong stirrups at the wrong time."

Land doesn't deny that women who have abortions might be addled, but he, along with Yoest, Earll, and Gans, takes exception to them being described as bystanders—or as enlightened women making free, educated choices.

"It's not demeaning to assume that any person who is a mother who could make the decision to do this must be suffering from some form of psychological impairment because of the crisis of the pregnancy or because of societal demeaning of human life," Land said.... Would making most abortion procedures illegal cause women to seek deadly, unprofessional abortions? Almost certainly not, Earll said. "What we saw with abortion is that when it's illegal, most women don't try to have one. The law is a teacher in this."

Look, one either has moral agency or one doesn't. If there's agency, then an illegal act is a crime. If not, then not. But to write off an entire class of women as mentally ill -- if only temporarily -- because they make a decision you don't approve of? That doesn't fit any moral framework I'm aware of. Nor does the outmoded idea that estrogen makes you crazy or the risible theory that society brainwashes women into killing their children.

The "tell" here is the that last line about the law. It really doesn't get any clearer than this: these people think women aren't capable of making moral decisions for themselves. Therefore, they must be "taught" right from wrong and regulated in the meantime. Even as they deny it, they prove the point.

This is a very unforgiving perspective, not to mention a punitive one. As Digby has said over and over again, the laws intended to strike down Roe aren't about ending abortion. They're about regulating women's sexuality, so that Papa always guides the family. After all, he's the only one who can think clearly enough to lay down the law.

Whither the war critics?  Is it true that war critics have all been marginalized? That they no longer get invited to appear on TV? That "their temerity to poop in the punchbowl of the very serious people who failed their country made them rather unwelcome,"

Yeah, probably. But isn't the real dynamic here that.....nothing happened? That the people who show up on TV are the same people who showed up before the war? That neither being right nor being wrong really made any difference? As near as I can tell, talk show bookers just kept on inviting the same people as always and couldn't have cared less about how their war predictions panned out. I mean, it's not like Scott Ritter was getting lots of Nightline gigs before the war either, was he?

Anyway, no larger point here, really. But the anti-war folks didn't disappear from the TV. They were never really there in the first place.

Wingnut warming  Are the global warming denialists really trying to make hay over the fact that a Y2K bug caused NASA to overestimate the average U.S. temperature by 0.03 degrees in 1998? I guess tinfoil caps will do that to you.

And while we're on the subject of desperate wingnuts, is it just me or is the "global warming is a hoax" crowd making a comeback? My vague impression was that flat-out denialism was big in the 90s, but then slowly morphed into an argument that, sure, warming was real, but there was no real evidence that it was manmade. Then that morphed into, sure, warming is real and it's probably manmade, but policywise there's nothing much we can do about it.

But now it seems like straight-up denialism is back in vogue. Is this true? Or am I just re-noticing it lately?

Entertainment  Finally someone (Jon Stewart) calls out Bill Kristol on his neocon Iraq bull$hit. MSM, take note:This is how it’s done.   (9633) |  (14420)   (3386) |  (7878) Although not as combative as William the Bloody’s with Jon, it was a great interview nonetheless. You’ll never see Chris Wallace, Brit Hume or Juan Williams call Kristol out like this.

Wisconsin's     “He’s one sneaky, lying S.O.B., to put it bluntly. He’s the most authoritarian attorney general in the history of the republic. He’s the most dangerous. I never thought I’d long for the days of John Ashcroft.” (Via , sub. req’d)

Dubya's Ministry of Truth The United States “has decided to designate” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “,” a move that allows the U.S. to target the group’s finances. “If imposed, the declaration would signal a more confrontational turn in the administration’s approach to Iran and would be the first time that the United States has added .”  You are what George says you are.

  Following President Bush and Karl Rove’s yesterday on the White House lawn announcing Rove’s upcoming departure, CBS correspondent Bill Plante shouted, “If he’s so smart, how come you lost Congress?” For having the temerity to disrupt the White House’s scripted performance, Plante said he has been :

As the President and Karl Rove walked away from the lectern after their emotional announcement of Rove’s resignation, I yelled a question: “If he’s so smart, why did you lose Congress?”

The President, as usual, didn’t answer. That’s OK — he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to. But judging by some of the reaction, you’d think I had been shouting obscenities in church!

“Unprofessional;” “Inappropriate;” “Unbecoming;” “Doesn’t show much class;” “you are a total idiot;” “Shill for the liberal Democrats.”

When you mix religion and public education   Meet the of Texas’ Board of Education.

The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) on Tuesday a side of “intelligent design” proponents rarely seen by the public at large. The group released a and recording of an extraordinarily candid speech given in 2005 by recently named State Board of Education Chairman Ron McLeroy.

McLeroy told a gathering at

Grace Bible Church in Bryan, Texas, of his efforts to expunge evolution from the state’s high school biology textbooks. “Back in November 2003, we finished [the]…adoption process for the biology textbooks in Texas…. I want to tell you all the arguments made by all the intelligent-design group, all the creationist intelligent design people, I can guarantee the other side heard exactly nothing,” he said.

He went on, condemning other Christian board members for not following his lead.

It gets worse. The Wall has the .

Details .

Ghost writing  From the ...

Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

Homegrown U.S. jihadism? The New York Police Department warns that it's found in the northeast on a "path" to terrorism.

Killing and screwing for money in Iraq  The Iraq War has become a cash cow for a fast growing industry of private soldier-for-hire.  Jeremy Scahill has been doing a lot of work on the subject  -- most recently with this piece, .   See also this AP piece from the weekend, .  We have a lot of mercenaries in Iraq -- perhaps as many as 200,000, at least half of them bearing arms, according to these articles.  Mercenaries are not beholden to the same rules as the regular military, they don’t necessarily report their actions to the military, and they are expensive.  Contractors outnumber our regular military personnel in Iraq.

I worry what will happen with all these private soldiers when the Iraq War ends.  It is difficult enough to turn swords to plowshares when they are regular, military issue swords.  The GI Bill after WWII was a stroke of genius -- it gave returning service people something useful to do and a chance to better their lives.  However, there are many examples, throughout history, of problems caused by unemployed, armed men after peace has been made.  See Barbara Tuchman’s for examples.  I don't know about you but I don't want to see them re-employed on our streets -- as Blackwater's soldiers-for-hire were employed during Katrina.  Mercenaries are a potential threat to somebody's freedom -- our's or someone else's.  Is anybody thinking how to absorb these contractors into the peaceful private sector, sans guns, once we leave Iraq?

Our mercenaries in Iraq are a factor in the second issue:  prostitution.  There have always been prostitutes where there are armies – it is nothing new.  But the military has ways to control  the problem – but the mercenaries are not under the control of the military.  I first read about the situation with prostitution in Iraq in a CounterPunch essay by Debra McNutt, -- and she discusses the problems with the mercenaries, to wit:

Within the Green Zone, a few brothels have been opened (disguised as a women's shelter, hairdresser, or Chinese restaurant) but are usually closed by authorities after reports about their existence reach the media. The U.S. military claims that it officially forbids its troops to be involved in prostitution. But private contractors brag on sex websites that they have sometimes been able to find Iraqi or foreign women in Baghdad or around U.S. military bases. These highly paid security contractors have much disposable income, and are not held accountable to anyone but their companies.

The problem is reported today  on English Al Jazeera, .  A mild taste:

Mayada Zuhair, a spokesperson for the Baghdad-based Women's Rights Association (WRA), said Iraqi and Arab NGOs are trying to monitor the trafficking of young women from the war-ravaged country to neighbouring destinations.

She told Al Jazeera: "We are trying to find out the fate of many widows and teenager girls who were trafficked. Unfortunately it is not an easy process and without international support, funding, and resources, we fear more young Iraqi women will be taken abroad to work in the sex trade."

In the meantime, however, prostitution remains the only option for Nirmeen Lattif, a 27-year-old widow who lost her husband in an attack on Shia pilgrims south of Baghdad.

When she turned to her husband's relatives for financial support, they could not afford to help her.

She says she tries not to think of the gravity of what she does or the dishonour it carries in conservative Muslim society.

"I think of my children, only my children; without money we starve in the streets."

Iraq is not WWII France.  In this part of the world, loss of “honor” carries a social stigma that can mean death.  Women’s rights have been bandied as a reason for democratizing the Middle East.  But now there are widows selling themselves so that their children might eat.  There are families selling their daughters into sexual slavery that the other children might eat.  The war-related rise in prostitution is a very cruel irony.

Turdblossom  Interesting by James Carville.

The Decider  Does President Bush need a primer on the US Constitution from Gen. Petraeus?  From the ...

His view, he says, is that he is “on a very important mission that derives from a policy made by folks at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, with the advice and consent and resources provided by folks at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. And in September, that’s how I’m going to approach it.” Whether to fight on here, he says, is a “big, big decision, a national decision,” one that belongs to elected officials, not a field general.

President Rudy would be a catastrophe  Beyond all the high-button issues about Rudy Giuliani's record as Mayor, colorful personality and open-minded approach to marriage, what doesn't get discussed very often is that a Giuliani presidency would be a foreign policy catastrophe from which the nation might simply not recover. As Eric Kleefeld in this post, Giuliani's new in Foreign Affairs shows that a Giuliani foreign policy would best be described as Bush-plus and premised on the idea that President Bush has not pursued his terrible ideas aggressively enough.

What seems apparent about Giuliani is that he's not kidding when he says that being Mayor of New York City is a lot like being president and running American foreign policy. And reading through not just his emphasis on the War on Terror but the particular way he describes it shows that he believes that being on the receiving end of a mass casualty terrorist attack -- even though his record of preparing for it is -- gives him a unique understanding of how to combat the threat. And into this general ignorance is poured a group of extremist advisors who would likely have us blowing up various other countries in no time.

In other words, he's the Bush pattern all over again -- only this time starting not from a period of relatively high American standing in the world but into the mess Bush has already gotten us.

As with Bush, the agenda Giuliani sets forth is covered with a patina of enlightened foreign policy internationalism, with emphases on nation-building, investing money in helping destabilized countries build rule-of-law based societies. But just as with Bush even a cursory look at the people slated to implement the policies shows a cadre rooted in militarism and ideological escapism.

Republicans looking for a non-insane candidate and Democrats interested in preventing the Rudy disaster should really look into this stuff.

The horse race Hillary says she's "struck a nerve" in the White House with her Iowa ad blasting the President. That and other political news of the day in today's .

Flag salute?   Marc Ambinder finds the creep in :

Biggest applause line: "We should be able to say one nation Under God and the flag salute and not be worried about anybody suing us."

Aside from the rather diseased conception of atheists' role in public discourse,  this raises the question: what exactly is a "flag salute," and how do you say it? And beyond that, does this not strike you as a bit reminiscent of, well,   explains - and makes things worse - as usual:

       At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute -- right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.

       – quoted from The Youth’s Companion, 65 (1892): 446–447.

The initial military salute was soon replaced with a hand-on-heart gesture, followed by the extension of the arm as described by Bellamy. Because of the similarity of this part of the salute to the Hitler salute, the Bellamy salute was widely replaced around 1942 with the modern gesture of placing the hand over the heart without raising the arm. In 1943, the Daughters of the American Revolution, initially resistant to the change, endorsed the hand-on-heart gesture during the Pledge.

This does nothing to comfort me. Oh, and while we're at, has an item that's been making the rounds of the blogosphere:

“We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”

This is actually fairly standard reactionary Catholic political thought. The idea that true freedom is voluntary submission in service is straight out of the New Testament. But the biblical principle is based on mutuality, with the "authority" being ultimately God. And even the Big Guy is not a domineering monarch, but the essence of self-sacrificial love. That's Christ, you know?  In any case, there is a strain of Catholicism that too easily conflates the authority due to the divine with its earthly representatives. And that comes out, well, with Benito and Rudy and all the other creeps. Yeesh.

ACLU to DOJ: WTF?  ACLU officials met with Justice Department officials yesterday to learn more about the administration’s surveillance efforts under FISA. Wouldn’t you know it, the DoJ was .

Dear Mr. Attorney General: 

Today, my staff was briefed by the Justice Department regarding guidelines to institute the new foreign to domestic wiretapping authority Congress granted to you this month by The Protect America Act.

Regrettably, my colleagues reported that they learned virtually nothing new about how you intend to use the broad new authority to intercept emails and phone calls when one party is in the U.S., or how those U.S. people will be protected from unwarranted government intrusion.  With so much at stake, the public needs to have a fuller understanding of what its Justice Department will be doing with its most private communications.

Who could have guessed?

A real... ahem... man of the people  A new report details Mitt Romney's $250 million in assets. That and other political news of the day in today's .

Today's must read Is Room 641A of 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco the heart of the Terrorist Surveillance Program? And does that room hold the key as to whether the National Security Agency engaged in warrantless domestic surveillance as well? If the Justice Department prevails in a this afternoon, we might never know.

Losing "manhood" in Iraq (shhhhhh)   It is well-known that more of our soldiers are surviving  killing blasts because of improved body armor.  It is fairly well known that many of said survivors have head traumas that they will live with for the rest of their lives – because the body armor does not cover the head.  What is less well known is that our soldiers are being wounded at the other end of the body armor, too.  While vital organs are protected by the body armor,  male genitals are not.  David Rosen wrote about this on CounterPunch, .  Here are a couple of snippets:

The real story that has gone unreported is the refusal by the Department of Defense and military hospitals to release data about the casualties soldiers have suffered, the medical procedures being performed or other data that can help suggest the long-term consequences of the current horrendous military misadventure. In particular, little to no information is available as to the injuries suffered by U.S. military personnel associated with male external genitalia. (Even less is provided about the true scale of suffering of the Afghani and Iraqi people.) …and…

For men reared under the tyranny of patriarchal masculinity, nothing is so shameful as the loss or severe injury to one's genital, to a man's ability to sexually perform. Many men experience it as castration. The loss of an eye, hand, leg or other body part doesn't make a man any less of a man; each organ can be replaced, thus sometime even strengthening, empowering the man. However, the lose of the ability to sexually perform, to f**k, is for (some?, few?, many?, most?) men in America experienced as a lose of masculinity, a challenge to self-hood.

The "war on terror" has been accompanied with many dubious expressions of masculinity. It opens with "shock and awe" pulverizing a weakened adversary. It grew with a pathetic president parading on an aircraft carrier in an Air Force flight suit declaring "Mission Accomplished". It reached its nightmare apex with the torture chambers at Abu Ghraib, eroticized with dog leashes and collars around naked Iraqi men's necks along with fetishistically-garbed U.S. servicemen and women inflicting S&M punishment while smiling into the camera.

Today, the bravado of masculinity, of patriotism, is deflating with the growing number of military casualties.

I can’t think of a worse wound for a young man to live with.  I think if I were a young man and that happened to me, I would want to die.  That our government is not giving us the facts about these injuries is not acceptable to me.  How about you?

Turdblossom II  Jon Chait the one remaining member of the Rove personality cult: . Barnes on Rove: "Rove is the greatest political mind of his generation and probably of any generation." Actually the whole quote is even better: "Rove is the greatest political mind of his generation and probably of any generation. He not only is a breathtakingly smart strategist but also a clever tactician. He knows history, understands the moods of the public, and is a visionary on matters of public policy. But he is not a magician." In other words, celebrate him as an intellectual giant among men. Don't fault him for not being God. Is it not enough that he walked among us? Sadder than reading this stuff is realizing that Barnes probably means every word of it.

Big Biz kills little guys  I haven't had time to look far enough into this to know all the details. But even in its outlines I can tell it's a pretty big deal -- and one that doesn't seem likely to get a lot of attention. The short and sweet of it is that Time Warner has proposed and postal regulators have accepted a proposal which is actually reducing postage costs for mega-mags like Time and Newsweek while dramatically raising them for small independent publishers. From small mags on the right and left I've been deluged in recent weeks by letters saying the new rates are tipping them into financial crisis.

Here for instance is a passage from a blast email I got this morning from the Nation's David Corn ...

Teresa Stack, The Nation's president, explains the crisis this way: Postal regulators have accepted a scheme designed in part by lobbyists for the Time-Warner media conglomerate. In short, mailing costs for mega-magazines like Time-Warner's own Time, People and Sports Illustrated will go up less than other magazines or even decrease. But smaller publications like The Nation will be hit by an enormous rate increase of half a million dollars a year.

To be clear, I'm not pitching for contributions to The Nation, a publication we have no ties to. I reprint that passage only by way of example and because the email was in my inbox this morning. I've gotten similar messages from other publications on the left and right and in recent weeks.

Anyway, since TPM mails nothing but an occasional utility bill, I can tell you without reservation that it's not a matter of self-interest for us as a business. But it is a matter of self-interest for every consumer of independent media. And that certainly includes us and I suspect you as well. It's one thing to rail against the MSM and say you get your information from the internet. But still today and I suspect for some time into the future a lot of the independent news you read on the web still comes from reporting sustained by independent print-based publications that are going to be heavily affected by these changes.

For two hundred years US postal rate has been geared to support independent media and political discourse. It's something small magazine publishes and press theory types understand very well but it's not that widely understood in the general public. If that comes to an end it will be a very big deal. Here's a to where you can find out more.

Rudy's penis in office  As TPM Reader DC puts it, Giuliani combines Bush's foreign policy genius with Clinton's sexual impulse control.  Then there's TPM Reader TP who notes that had the Captain of the Titanic survived we probably wouldn't have feted him as the go-to guy on iceberg defense. 

It's not easy to choose Giuliani's most outrageous sexual escapade, but I think from the standpoint of evaluating his fitness for public office, his fling with Cristyne Lategano takes the cake.

Let me refresh your memory, in case the details are a little hazy. Lategano was working as Giuliani's Press Secretary when their affair began, and was later elevated to Communications Director. When the affair ended in May of 1999, he installed her at the helm of the city's tourism bureau, a $150k/year plum. Lategano, now married, denies that anything improper took place, but Rudy himself has issued a series of artful non-denial denials. His ex-wife, Donna Hanover, has blamed Lategano in public statements and court papers for the demise of her marriage. Wayne Barrett, a sort of dark Boswell to Rudy's Johnson, assembled a vast amount of circumstantial evidence backing the allegation. And no one who moved in those circles bothers doubting it for a second; the affair was, by its conclusion, common knowledge in the city - what would once have been termed 'open and notorious adultery.'

I raise this because, this evening, I performed a Lexis-Nexis search for news references to 'Lategano' in the last year. I found a dozen references - every one of them in the New York City media. (The Voice, the Observer, the News, the Post - not even the Paper of Record.) In other words, since Rudy has emerged as a serious national candidate, his relationship with Lategano has received zero scrutiny. Even voters who've learned of his tempestuous marriages know nothing of this affair.

And that's not right. Because the Lategano affair embodies the very worst of Rudy - his penchant for mixing private relationships with public business, his duplicity, and his cronyism. Giuliani had an affair with a (much younger) subordinate, and then pensioned her off on the public dime.

At least Lewinsky was an *unpaid* intern.

I raise it because, unlike so many moral issues that intrude into campaigns, this one actually has a direct bearing upon the crucial issues. And from the press, utter silence. Sure, nothing was ever proven, and Lategano's subsequent denials make this an awkward subject. It's a sad, tawdry story. But the NYC media hasn't had any problem covering it. So what's up with the national press?

Of course, if that doesn't pan out, they can look into why his main activity at the NYC terror command headquarters prior to 9/11 seems to have been .  It will certainly be amusing to watch the press barons and sundry journo worthies ignore all this stuff ...

Turdblossom III  David Frum, conservative writer and one-time Bush speech writer, has a the New York Times evaluating the legacy of Rovism. The verdict, which I hinted at in last night, is that Rovism was not only a disaster in terms of public policy and governance. It was also a disaster in political terms -- the latter fact just took longer to reveal itself.

 The only specific point of disagreement I have with David is that he says that strictly speaking the only wedge issue Rove ever used was immigration. Even by the somewhat narrow definition he employs, I don't see how this can be true. Gays were clearly Rove's wedge issue of choice when the going got rough in recent years. And the biggest wedge issue may not appear to be one at first glance because it wasn't a social issue, at least not in the old-fashioned sense: namely, the War on Terror. There are of course numerous other examples of lesser magnitude one could cite. The difference with the 1980s variant, Lee Atwater wedge issue menagerie is that Rove did not so often or as explicitly target African-Americans as a wedge issue. Attention to them was reserved for keeping them away from the polls.

The point on which I think Frum is correct is when he says that Rove reminded him "of a miner extracting the last nuggets from an exhausted seam." That is right on the mark and it suggests that people should go back to re-reading Judis and Teixeira's , a book which seems now not to have been dead but only asleep.

Having said all this, I think there is one other issue about Rove that could use a little more saying. Everyone knows that Rove's popularity in the Republican party has dropped dramatically as President Bush's popularity went into free fall and took much of the GOP with him. But it's more than just that and more than just Iraq, which of course the congressional Republican party supported more or less to a man. There's a distinct and additional level of unpopularity tied to the fact that even as the president's popularity has dropped -- which obviously he and Rove didn't plan or want -- they've basically been indifferent to the fate of the congressional GOP, even the future of the GOP as a whole. Again and again over the last year the White House has had chances to take some of the heat off congressional Republicans -- to ease back on Iraq, to can Alberto Gonzales, to let go or punish this or that crook. And they haven't done one. And that's spawned a level of rage -- though seldom openly expressed -- that in some respects almost rivals that felt by Democrats.

As with the country going back seven years now, they've shown little interest in the future fate of the GOP after they leave or even at present unless it bears directly on their ability to protect themselves.

In other words, they are now treating the Republican party much as they've treated the country for the last six years.

But doesn't Frum read blogs?  It looks like the most talked-about media piece of the day is on Karl Rove’s White House tenure. Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, argues, relatively persuasively, that Rove crafted a White House political strategy that was predicated on helping Republicans, instead of helping the country. That’s true, of course, but anyone who’s been paying attention the last six years already knew that.

More importantly, Frum offers this take on, well, us.

I notice that much of the Democratic party, and especially its activist netroots, has decided that the way to beat Rove Republicanism is by emulating it. They are practicing the politics of polarization; they are elevating “framing” above policy; they have decided that winning the next election by any means is all that matters — and never mind what happens on the day after that.

Does Frum pay any attention to politics at all? Stop by any of the leading progressive blogs and you’ll see ample discussion of substance, policy, and legislation. In general, the netroots are practically obsessed with what happens “the day after” the election. Indeed, most the online discussion recently hasn’t elevated framing above policy, it’s done the opposite — how can Dems make strides on adding safeguards to warrantless surveillance programs? On restoring habeas? On affecting war policy? On investing in infrastructure?

If Frum wants to suggest Rove believed that “winning the next election by any means is all that matters,” I’d agree with him. But the netroots? Sounds like projection to me.

Turdblossom entertainment  Jon and John say goodbye.   (7286) |  (9336)   (2557) |  (4933)

The salting of Carthage was kinder than this.  Here are some links on depleted uranium.   by John Williams    by Doug Westerman  by Walter A. Davis – a snippet:

Depleted uranium (DU) is a waste product of the uranium enrichment process that fuels both our nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear power programs. In fact, over 99% of the uranium enrichment process results in this waste product, which has a half life of 4.5 billion years. DU is both a toxic heavy metal and a radiological poison. The U.S. currently has over 10 million tons of DU. As we all know, the disposal of nuclear waste is one of the unintended consequences or blowback of the development of nuclear power. A solution to the problem of DU has, however, been found. DU is now used in virtually every weapon employed by the U.S. in Iraq (and in Afghanistan and in Kosovo). To cite the most conspicuous example: every penetrator rod in the shell shot from an Abrams tank contains 10 pounds of DU. DU is selected for weapons for three reasons: it's cheap (was made available to arms manufacturers free of charge and is easy to develop); it's heavy, 1.7 times the density of lead and thus most effective at killing because it penetrates anything it hits; it's pyrophoric, igniting and burning on contact with air and breaking up on contact with its target into extremely small particles of radioactive dust dispersed into the atmosphere. The result: permanent contamination of air, water, and soil. [1]

DU was first used by the U.S. in Desert Storm. The amount used was between 315-350 tons. Five times as much was used during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Over a third of the U.S. soldiers who served in the first Gulf War are now permanently disabled. VA reports indicate 27,571 U.S. soldiers already disabled from the current war and occupation.. The Department of Energy and the Department of Defense of course continue to deny that DU has any harmful effects. A U.N. sub-commission on Human Rights has ruled that DU, which fits the definition of a "dirty bomb," is an illegal weapon. [2]

Huge chunks of radioactive debris full of DU now litter the cities and countryside of Iraq. Fine radioactive dust permeates the entire country. The problem of clean-up is insoluble. The entire ecosystem of Iraq is permanently contaminated. The Iraq people are the new hibakusha. Their fate, like that of the "survivors" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is a condition of death-in-life. The long term health effects of DU on the Iraqui people (and on our own troops) are incalculable. There is no mask or protective clothing that can be devised to prevent radioactive dust from entering the lungs or penetrating the skin. Moreover, DU targets the DNA and the Master Code (histone), altering the genetic future of exposed populations. Because it is the perfect weapon for delivering nanoparticles of poison, radiation, and nano-pollution directly into living cells, DU is the perfect weapon for extinguishing entire populations. The Iraqi's are not alone. Vast regions of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans have been permanently contaminated with radioactive dust and debris [3]

Again, an irony.  We went into Iraq because George Bush said there were Weapons of Mass Destruction there.  There weren't any -- but as it happens, we sure brought plenty of our own, packed with DU -- and our own soldiers are paying for the price of their use as well as the people we have “liberated”.  They will pay and their children will pay.  In Iraq, untold generations will pay.


August 15, 2007 - 11:13am