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News :: Environment
Doing the Wrong Thing in Afghanistan: Depleted Uranium: The Definitive Moral Paradox
22 Aug 2006
By Michael Clarke

It is 'Canada Day' evening, and I can barely hear the
whistles, booms and bangs of the fireworks. It sounds
a bit like distant bombs exploding, reminding me of
the incredible moral paradox our federal government’s
aggressive military role in Afghanistan has created
for all Canadians.

Our government, military, newspapers, television and
radio media are efficiently dispersing the official
sound bytes: “our troops in Afghanistan have the moral
authority”; “Canada is doing the right thing”; “it’s a
noble mission”; and, “we are just spreading freedom
and democracy”.

But, they are not telling us that there is something
else we are spreading around Afghanistan that any
truly moral person would instinctively consider
immoral and evil. It is something very real, but some
governments refuse to recognize it even exists.
Despite their duplicity, it certainly brings to the
table a supreme criminal culpability that historians
may someday benchmark as the definitive moral paradox
marking the failure of Western democracies to resist
the rise of global corporate fascism.

After the Taleban resistance fighters’ ambush in May
killed Capt. Nichola Goddard, Canadian troops called
in a U.S. B-1 Lancer stealth bomber which dropped a
500-pound bomb on a nearby residential compound,
killing an estimated 15 to 20 people. According to the
U.S. Air Force, that was just one of nearly 2,000 air
strikes that were conducted in Afghanistan between
March and May 2006.

Tragically, every air strike uses bombs and missiles
that are encased and ballasted with depleted uranium
(DU) which aerosolizes upon impact, instantaneously
being released into the atmosphere as insoluble
ceramic uranium oxide nanoparticles. Its gaseous
characteristics allow DU to remain suspended in the
air and be distributed around the earth as a
radioactive component of atmospheric dust,
contaminating the environment and indiscriminately
killing, maiming and causing disease in all living
things wherever rain, snow and moisture remove it from
the atmosphere.

Nuclear experts agree that DU is a weapon for killing
lots of people that keeps on killing forever. It meets
the U.S. government’s own definitions of weapons of
mass destruction. And there is no way to ever clean it

An estimated 900 tons of DU was released in the
initial 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The
approximately 2,000 air strikes this spring could
easily have released another 250 tons of DU into the
air and onto the ground, water and crops. According to
the White House website a total of 24,000 bombs were
used in the first year of operations in Afghanistan,
which would suggest a minimum of 3,000 tons of DU was
aerosolized in only the first 12 months of conflict.
There is a lot of deadly radioactive DU around there.

According to one nuclear expert, Leuren Moret, the
United States and its willing accomplices like Canada
have effectively staged a nuclear war in Afghanistan
by using dirty bombs and missiles that “slip the nukes
under the wire”. As quickly as the DU aerosols are
produced they will permanently contaminate vast areas
and slowly destroy the genetic future of populations
throughout the region. The permanent radioactive
contamination and environmental devastation is
unprecedented, resulting in huge increases in cancer
and birth defects which will increase over time due to
chronic exposure, increasing internal levels of
radiation from DU dust and permanent genetic effects
passed on to future generations. Of course, DU weapons
have also been used in Yugoslavia and the Iraq wars
with the same devastating consequences.

Studies to monitor the Afghanis have been carried out
by the Uranium Medical Research Center, which has sent
several field teams to Afghanistan since 2002 to check
the contamination and health conditions around
specific locations that are known to have been bombed.
Approximately 30% of those interviewed in the affected
areas displayed symptoms of radiation sickness,
including congenital problems in newborns. In Kabul
those who were exposed to US-British “precision
bombing” showed extreme signs of contamination
consistent with uranium exposure. In Nangarhar every
person donating urine specimens tested positive for
uranium contamination. The researchers were stunned by
the astoundingly high levels of widespread
contamination. Their report warned, “The UMRC field
team was shocked by the breadth of public health
impacts coincident with the bombing. Without
exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are
ill. A significant portion of the civilian population
presents symptoms consistent with internal
contamination by uranium.”

Using the same calculation method that the U.K. Atomic
Energy Authority employed in their 1990 projection of
potential DU consequences in Iraq, the estimated 250
tons of DU from the 2,000 recent air strikes carried
out in Afghanistan from March to May 2006 could result
in as many as 2,500,000 cancers within the next ten
years. The bomb dropped near Capt. Goddard produced
250 pounds of DU that could cause as many as 1,250
cases of cancer in that village within the next ten
years. But, the bombing in the initial 2001 invasion
could cause as many as 9,000,000 additional cancers
within ten years. These horrible estimates tend to
support Leuren Moret’s contention that this has been a
genocidal plan from the start; this was not a war in
Afghanistan, but a war against Afghanistan. And Iraq,
and Yugoslavia.

However, the laws of war prohibit the use of weapons
that have deadly and inhumane effects beyond the field
of battle, or remain active or cause harm after
hostilities cease. The military use of DU weapons
violates international humanitarian law (Hague &
Geneva), violates the principles of international
environmental protection and contradicts the right to
life established by the UN Subcommittee on Human
Rights. The UN Human Rights Commission determined a
decade ago that DU is a weapon of mass destruction
that should never be used. These rulings mean that the
use of DU is intrinsically immoral as well as illegal.

Of course, there will always be wags who insist that
DU is harmless so there really is no problem. Robert
Jensen, a professor of journalism at UT Austin,
recently delivered a speech at the Brisbane
(Australia) Social Forum titled “The Threats to
Sustainable Democracy” in which he said, “…there is no
power so convinced of its own benevolence as the
United States. The culture is delusional in its
commitment to this mythology, which is why today one
can find on the other side of the world peasant
farmers with no formal education who understand better
the nature of U.S. power than many faculty members at
elite U.S. universities.”

Leuren Moret dramatically proved his point in an
article published in World Affairs – the Journal of
International Issues (July 2004) when she wrote,
“…even uneducated Afghanis understand the impact these
[DU] weapons have had on their children and on future

“After the Americans destroyed our village and killed
many of us, we also lost our houses and have nothing
to eat. However, we would have endured these miseries
and even accepted them, if the Americans had not
sentenced us all to death. When I saw my deformed
grandson, I realized that my hopes of the future have
vanished for good, different from the hopelessness of
the Russian barbarism, even though at that time I lost
my older son Shafiqullah. This time, however, I know
we are part of the invisible genocide brought on us by
America, a silent death from which I know we will not
escape.” (Jooma Khan of Laghman province, March 2003)

Genocide? The word fits too perfectly! The statistical
potential for numbers of DU cancer deaths in
Afghanistan with the passage of time easily surpasses
the Holocaust victim total and sets new upper limits
for satanic crimes against humanity. When government
tells us that we are in Afghanistan with full moral
authority they are being disingenuous, because
genocide can only spring from immoral authority. Dr.
K. Yagasaki has calculated that the U.S. has used more
DU since 1991 than the atomicity equivalent of 400,000
Nagasaki bombs, and it has been spread all around the
planet. Despite the fact that Depleted Uranium
weaponry will eventually annihilate all species on
earth, our “leaders” continue to deploy it with full
knowledge of its destructive potential, even as they
say there is no DU problem. Throughout the history of
this world there has been no greater atrocity against
the people and the planet. Dr. Bartell coined the term
omnicide to reflect DU’s supreme immorality. Jooma
Khan will never believe that the foreign troops
occupying his province have any moral authority. It is
no coincidence that a major international Pew poll
last month showed that the majority of Muslim society
around the world believes Western countries are

So, here’s the moral paradox for all Canadians: How
can the Conservatives, the military, the corporate
media and the regressive Liberals possibly be correct
when they tell us that Canada’s mission in Afghanistan
is noble and moral if our soldiers initiate the
deployment of illegal nuclear DU weapons that deliver
horrific radioactive genocide and cause the permanent
destruction of the environment?

The paradox is instantly resolved. Simply by
requesting air strikes with illegal radioactive DU
weaponry Canadian soldiers are, by definition,
perpetrating immoral crimes against humanity.
Therefore, it is logically impossible that our mission
in Afghanistan is the “right thing to do”. To the
contrary, Canada has become a state sponsor of terror
just like America which is the very wrong thing to do,
and the DU problem we have become involved with due to
our unwise military commitments to the U.S. and NATO
implicate us in terrorist acts much worse than 9/11.
The Muslim world is astute. Western society is
immoral. Our supposedly superior democratic
institutions have allowed the DU atrocities to be
perpetrated globally free from any threat of
international prosecution. In fact, the Canadian
government has suppressed those who would attempt to
bring war crime charges of torture against the United
States, a far lesser crime in comparison.

Take action now. Demand an international public
enquiry about DU war crimes and demand that Canada
bring our troops home immediately and stop expanding
the killing fields.
But, be wary, because democracy around the world has
had a complete breakdown. The Depleted Uranium
insanity is the definitive moral paradox that marks
the triumph of global corporate fascism over the
world’s weak and easily corrupted democratic
institutions. Those who understand that fundamental
morality must begin with serving humanity and stopping
the destruction of Gaia must rise up in resistance.
And they will call us terrorists even though we strive
for the highest moral standards and the greatest good
and, ironically, respect the Nuremburg Principles.

As Robert Jensen warned the Brisbane Social Forum,
“The world is at risk.”

To Learn More - Main sources used in this commentary
that readers are encouraged to consult:

August 2004 World Affairs Journal. Leuren Moret:
“Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War”,

May 2006 Vital Truths and Information Clearing House.
Doug Westerman: “Depleted Uranium – Far Worse than

May 2006 Brisbane Social Forum, Australia: Robert
Jensen: “The Threats to Sustainable Democracy”


(Read comments) - (Post a new comment)
Michael Clarke on depleted uranium
2006-08-22 03:19 am UTC (link)
Michael - this is a terrific article with very good
information presented in a thoughtful and powerful
way. Thank you so much for this excellent analysis of
the depleted uranium issue which is:


The immensity of this global crime against all living
things will slowly be realized over time. Already we
are engulfed in a global diabetes epidemic since 1990,
with many other radiation related illnesses - cancer
is just the tip of the iceberg - increasing likewise
as epidemics. What we do know about epidemics is that
"if it's an epidemic, it's not genetic..."

Thank you so much for your great article, I will
spread it far and wide.

Good wishes and keep on writing... Leuren Moret

(Reply to this) (Thread)
Re: Michael Clarke on depleted uranium
2006-08-22 03:26 am UTC (link)
Michael - I forgot to mention who is responsible for
turning the global atmosphere into an Auschwitz
radioactive poison gas chamber which we are all
sitting in breathing in the deadly poison gas with
every breath we take:


From Berkeley, California, the University that
poisoned the world -
Leuren Moret

This work is in the public domain
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