Even though NATO denies using depleted uranium (DU) in Libya, it is suspected that bombs and missiles with contaminated warheads are being dropped into the country. Because its density, low cost, and destructiveness, DU has been a popular choice of ammunition for world militaries. Once weaponized, the uranium waste fragments and vaporizes into easily inhaled toxic oxides, saturating environments with toxic particles, causing skin disorders, lung and bone cancer, chromosome damage, and immune deficiency syndromes. These particles last for 4.4 billion years, leaching into water tables and circulating into lungs. In Iraq, areas hit with DU during the Gulf War show high rates of birth defects, leukemia, and fetal radiation damage.
Since DU shells are standard anti-armor weapons for A10 attack planes, AC130s, and Harrier AV-8B aircraft, U.S. and NATO’s denial of DU usage is suspect. In Britain, the Ministry of Defense insists that DU remains a part of its armory, and the U.S. is one of the few countries that has refused to sign the U.N. ban on uranium waste. After examining impact wounds left on tanks in Libya, Foreign Policy in Focus columnist Conn Hallinan said he is almost certain DU is being used. Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon’s depleted uranium project, has also confirmed its use in ABC News footage of Libyan bombings. According to Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament secretary Kate Hudson, “the US has a long history of only admitting to deploying this radioactive material months or years after it has passed.”
“What a Strange Way to Protect Civilians: Depleted Uranium and Libya” David Wilson, Antiwar.com, April 16, 2011
“Mounting Alarm Over US Use of Depleted Uranium Arms in Libya” Rob Edward, Herald Scotland, April 2, 2011
“NATO Uranium Poisons Civilian Population” Press TV, April 18, 2011
Student Researchers: Stephen Esposito, Greg Lambert, Jud Strong
Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley Ph. D.
Evaluator: Glen Kuecker Ph. D., Historian
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