DU and You

This past weekend, I attended a video presentation and forum sponsored by my local chapter of Veterans For Peace.

The topic was the use of depleted uranium munitions over the past fifteen years, from the '91 gulf war through Bosnia up to the present day in Iraq. There is a great deal of controversy regarding the consequences and long lasting health effects of using bombs and bullets fortified with depleted uranium. Opinions can range from viewing the use DU munitions as having no significant short or long term health effects (besides those being in a vehicle that is destroyed by one), to the view that DU presents significant health related problems and has the potential to degenerate the integrity of chromosomes (hence genomes) in a systematic widespread way.

That's a big difference - basically between yes and no, between a non-issue and a genocide worse than what happened in Germany to the Jews in WWII. Most likely this is not a black and white issue. But there are certainly some reasons to be concerned.

Basically, the addition of DU to munitions gives them more penetrating power. Uranium is roughly twice as dense as lead. The video, "The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium and the Dying Children" was produced by the Traprock Peace Center. I highly recommend seeing this movie. Certainly anyone in the military, or with family in military service, really needs to see this movie!

We were also treated to a question and answer period with three VFP'ers. Steve Steinfeld, who spent over 20 years in service told his story of working with Nuclear Weapons during his time in active duty. He told us how the Pentagon treated DU with tremendous respect in respect to precautionary measures taken by those involved in the manufacture and testing of the DU munitions. He said that the closer the ammunition got to the "user" the fewer safety precautions were put in place. On the battlefield, in a tank, the principle is expediency over safety.

In one scenario, the video showed how a German doctor undertook the transfer of a spent DU round from Iraq to three different German universities for testing. The first two refused to accept the bullet. The third told him that it was Friday, and to come back on Monday. When he came back, he was arrested for transporting and exposing the public to a hazardous radioactive substance. He was fined, he refused to pay, served 5 weeks in jail - and got his evidence, though in a circumstantial way. When the police came, a hazardous materials team secured the bullet he bore. I am no where near doing justice to the important message this film contains. You simply must see it for yourself.


  1. That's powerful stuff. I mean the post, but the depleted uranium, too.

    Even if there are doubts, concerns about the way DU affects humans and animals, it shouldn't use it.

    And my tax dollars shouldn't pay for it!

    How do we protest this?

  2. You can write the papers and your representatives, and write about it on the Internet. It appears that you're pretty much the only person who visits my blog, so you can write about it on yours to get more attention.

    Other possibilities include using principles of economic boycott to starve businesses who are profitting from the use, sale, distribution etc. of DU and DU related hardware...


Aldo Leopold: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

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