[Marxism] DU effects on US combat power?

Y. K. ykleftis at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 5 21:26:03 MST 2005

The use of depleted uranium is genocidal without question and betrays deep 
layers of capitalism’s misanthropy, but does anyone have insights into the 
near-term effects of DU on US combat effectiveness?

We all know that the “1500 dead” troops number is a lie once “road 
accidents”, “pneumonia”, mercenaries, and so on are included. The greater 
number of deaths and debilitating casualties in combat units especially may 
have eroded US combat forces by as much as 15% as of fall 2004 (I cannot 
find the citation now, but I read this number on www.antiwar.com after the 
Falluja massacre as part of a discussion on the relative proportion of 
casualties in combat and support units.)  Whether we understand “tooth to 
tail” (combat to support troops) as a ratio or continuum of the military’s 
division of labor, US troops have reported deadly levels of DU exposure even 
far from battlefields. Units concentrated on support might be even more 
exposed to DU as they repair damages and handle weapons.

Of course, the “cost” of DU must include the exposure of their families, 
their need for medical attention, their inability to work, the necessity for 
training of fresh troops, etc. A decade later at least half of US troops who 
fought in the early 1990s have permanent medical problems ( “Heads roll at 
VA, mushrooming DU scandal blamed”: 
http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=3/6/2005&Cat=14&Num=001 ) The 
DU exposure for the “coalition” militaries is much greater now than it was a 
dozen years ago and the cover up is even more extensive and well-practiced. 
Many troops are already sick. The US military’s management is fully aware of 
the problem.

A clear conception of this looming problem can help with anti-imperialist 
organizing and with gauging the degree of crisis in US military labor power. 
As I understand it, a fourth rotation of troops will return this fall and a 
generation of US-born DU babies should already have appeared. Perhaps 
figures can be drawn from recent statements by the Italian Military Health 
Observatory, which claims as of late last summer that “109 Italian soldiers 
have died of DU” and that “41 pct of active personnel casualties relate to 
disease...The total of 109 casualties exceeds the total number of persons 
dying as a consequence of road accidents.” ( Copy of article at: 
http://www.rense.com/general58/frff.htm ) These figures may include soldiers 
who fought in the Balkans after the wars in Yugoslavia rather than Iraq; 
nevertheless, perhaps we can extract percentages and rates from more open 
medias and governments which can then be extrapolated to US forces.

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