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America’s Legacy of Mutagenic War (News Analysis)

Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War
Wednesday February 09, 2011 - 12:47:00 PM

A series of disturbing reports from Iraq and Vietnam (backed up by a horrific collection of videos) have exposed a hidden legacy of war — weapons that continue to create victims years after the conflict has ended. 

Thanks to the US military’s embrace of Mutagenic Weapons — technologies that can poison cell tissue and ransack the human DNA far into the future — babies and children have become the latest form of "collateral damage." Today, in Vietnam and in Iraq (and in Kosovo and Afghanistan), children are being born with deadly cancers, grotesque tumors, twisted or missing limbs, freakishly enlarged heads, and a range of horrific mutations. 

In Vietnam, the US sprayed an estimated 20 million gallons of chemical defoliants over the country to kill vegetation that provided cover for the insurgent armies. The Pentagon and the manufacturer (Dow Chemical) knew as early as the 1950s that Agent Orange contained dioxin, an intensely dangerous chemical that could poison the ground and water and kill animals and people long after application. Today, 35 years after the war’s end, three million Vietnamese live with compromised health and crippling deformities attributed to exposure to Dow’s long-lasting poisons. Every day, mothers give birth to deformed babies as the latest generation of Vietnamese children struggles to survive America’s legacy of Agent Orange. 

Wounds of the Vietnam War 


Toxic Legacy of the Vietnam War 


In Iraq, Baghdad’s hospitals are filled with grieving families of children born with deformities and cancers. In Fallujah (the site of two devastating US attacks in 2004), children now suffer from cancer at rates greater than those experienced by the survivors of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In November 2004, Operation Phantom Fury destroyed 70 percent of the homes and shops in “the City of Mosques.” An Iraq Health Ministry official charged that US used “internationally banned weapons” in the assault — including napalm, phosphorous bombs, chemical weapons and shells containing depleted uranium. 

US Ammunition Blamed for Iraqi Cancer Hike 


In July 2010, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a report on cancer rates and infant mortality in Fallujah. An extensive survey of nearly 5,000 individuals revealed that survivors of the 2004 assault experienced a 12-fold increase in childhood cancers, a 10-fold jump in breast cancers and significant hikes in adult lymphoma and brain tumors. Fallujah has also seen an unprecedented 38-fold increase in leukemia. (By comparison, leukemia rates following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima increased 17-fold.) Infant mortality in Fallujah hit 80 per 1,000 births (compared to 9.7 percent in neighboring Kuwait) and the number of male births has plummeted — another sign of genetic damage. 

Dr. Chris Busby, one of the report’s authors, concluded that the “congenital illness and birth defects” were likely linked to “very major mutagenic exposures [that] must have occurred… when the [US] attacks happened.” Noam Chomsky called the report “vastly more significant” than the disclosures in the “Afghan War Diaries” released by Wikileaks. Regrettably, the findings have received little to no coverage in the US media. 

Once again, there is harrowing video evidence to support these conclusions. Warning: these videos are very disturbing but they must been seen — and shared. Here is the link: 

Deformed Babies in Fallujah 


These stories -- along with many videos now circulating on the Internet -- carry a powerful message to viewers around the world. Protestors in the Middle East once held aloft a banner that read: "America! Ask Why You Are Hated!" The answer is found in the images of these young victims, born with missing limbs, missing eyes and stolen lives. 

We can never win a "war on terrorism" with more war. War and terrorism are mutually self-enforcing. The simple fact is: War IS terrorism. And now, in the name of “national security,” we are attacking tomorrow’s children. 

Gar Smith is Editor Emeritus of Earth Island Journal and co-founder of Environmentalists Against War.