The Human Cost of American Imperialism in Iraq
M. Junaid Alam
redjaguar at attbi.com
Sun Feb 23 17:38:03 MST 2003
For those interested in the consequences of depleted uranium and
sanctions in Iraq, an excerpt from John Pilger's 'The New Rulers of the
A People Betrayed
by John Pilger
February 23, 2003
Dr Al-Ali is a cancer specialist at Basra's hospital and a member of
Britain's Royal College of Physicians. He has a neat moustache and a
kindly, furrowed face. His starched white coat, like the collar of his
shirt, is frayed.
"Before the Gulf War, we had only three or four deaths in a month from
cancer," he said. "Now it's 30 to 35 patients dying every month, and
that's just in my department. That is a 12-fold increase in cancer
mortality. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48 per cent of the
population in this area will get cancer: in five years' time to begin
with, then long afterwards. That's almost half the population.
"Most of my own family now have cancer, and we have no history of the
disease. We don't know the precise source of the contamination,
because we are not allowed to get the equipment to conduct a proper
survey, or even test the excess level of radiation in our bodies. We
strongly suspect depleted uranium, which was used by the Americans and
British in the Gulf War right across the southern battlefields.
Whatever the cause, it is like Chernobyl here; the genetic effects are
new to us.
"The mushrooms grow huge, and the fish in what was once a beautiful
river are inedible. Even the grapes in my garden have mutated and
can't be eaten."
Along the corridor, I met Dr Ginan Ghalib Hassen, a paediatrician. At
another time, she might have been described as an effervescent
personality; now she, too, has a melancholy expression that does not
change; it is the face of Iraq. "This is Ali Raffa Asswadi," she said,
stopping to take the hand of a wasted boy I guessed to be about four
years old. "He is nine. He has leukaemia. Now we can't treat him. Only
some of the drugs are available. We get drugs for two or three weeks,
and then they stop when the shipments stop. Unless you continue a
course, the treatment is useless. We can't even give blood
transfusions, because there are not enough blood bags."
Dr Hassen keeps a photo album of the children she is trying to save
and those she has been unable to save. "This is Talum Saleh," she
said, turning to a photograph of a boy in a blue pullover and with
sparkling eyes. "He is five-and-a-half years old. This is a case of
Hodgkin's disease. Normally a patient with Hodgkin's can expect to
live and the cure can be 95 per cent. But if the drugs are not
available, complications set in, and death follows. This boy had a
beautiful nature. He died."
I said, "As we were walking, I noticed you stop and put your face to
the wall." "Yes, I was emotional ... I am a doctor; I am not supposed
to cry, but I cry every day, because this is torture. These children
could live; they could live and grow up; and when you see your son and
daughter in front of you, dying, what happens to you?" I said, "What
do you say to those in the West who deny the connection between
depleted uranium and the deformities of these children?" "That is not
true. How much proof do they want? There is every relation between
congenital malformation and depleted uranium. Before 1991, we saw
nothing like this at all. If there is no connection, why have these
things not happened before? Most of these children have no family
history of cancer.
"I have studied what happened in Hiroshima. It is almost exactly the
same here; we have an increased percentage of congenital malformation,
an increase of malignancy, leukaemia, brain tumours: the same."
PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.
More information about the Marxism