The Pathology of Weapons of War
"The world establishment is firmly entrenched in the
business of war: The permanent Members of the Security council of the
United Nations were together responsible for 81% of world arms exports
from 1996 - 2000. Indeed, the world leaders who express deep frustration
at the 'irresponsibility' of anti-globalisation protesters lead the
countries that make the most money in this terrible trade. The G8 countries
sold 87% of the total supply of arms exported in the entire world. and
the US share alone has reached almost 50% of this figure. As much as
68% of American arms manufacture goes to developing countries." Amartya
Sen (Published in Resurgence Magazine May/June 2003)
"The divine and the demonic are very close together;
only a thin line separates them/us. We who are indeed capable of divinity
are also capable of the demonic. And the deepest of all demonic activity
is the use of our divine imaginations to invent destruction."
Fox, Original Blessing
We have made great progress in the last hundred years
in the realm of science and technology, in the treatment of disease
and the prolongation of our lives. But at the same time, we stand at
the brink of an abyss into which we may be plunged through our enslavement
to military technology. Weapons that were unimaginable a hundred years
ago can now obliterate all life on earth, sending us back to the beginning
of evolution. The drive for omnipotent power - to reach a position of
"full spectrum dominance" (a phrase used by the Pentagon) - now threatens
the planet and the life it sustains. However, it seems that the sheer
madness of the escalation of the power to destroy passes unnoticed by
the leaders of governments.
the very urgency of the danger is activating an initiative on the part
of millions of people in many different countries to challenge their
governments' addiction to war and weapons, and to call them to account
for initiating wars that are embarked on in the name of self-defence,
freedom and democracy but leave a legacy of further violence and a lethal
trail of human suffering in their wake.
The theme of this website
is that each of us is an expression of a vast sea or field of consciousness
– invisible, and as yet barely recognised by us. We are part of a great
living web of life. We cannot achieve a position of dominance in relation
to nature, life or each other. The belief that we can continue indefinitely
to act as if nations were autonomous units, developing the power to
destroy life on a colossal scale without our demonic inventions returning
to us in the form of an 'enemy', armed with precisely the weapons we
have developed for our own protection, is not only an illusion but a
pathology – a madness. But it is a madness that is very difficult to
see because the drive for omnipotence and dominance is an unconscious
behaviour pattern that is deeply rooted in the pre-human layers (limbic
brain) of the modern psyche. Now we are threatened with destruction by
weapons that may fall into the hands of individuals who will spare no
effort to encompass the destruction of a hated enemy. ISIS, for instance, would not hesitate to use a nuclear weapons. (see The Struggle
for Primacy and Dominance and the Roots of War under the section
Comment on the Home page; also seminar 9: the Dragon).
For over fifty
years the concentration on the development of these weapons — first
and foremost by the United States and the Soviet Union, but also the
United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea
and now Iran — has brought into being the very situation that was most
feared: the power of a nation, group, or psychopathic individual to destroy
life on an apocalyptic scale. The general public is not aware that at
the present time 16 states either possess, are developing or are attempting
to acquire nuclear weapons. 20 states possess, are attempting to acquire
or are preparing a system capable of using biological weapons. 26 states
are in a similar position with regard to chemical weapons.
What has been hidden
from the public over the last fifty years about the manufacture and
stockpiling of biological and chemical weapons is now being revealed
and suggests a scenario more horrifying even than that offered by nuclear
weapons. (1) The propensities for evil in the
human imagination exceed most people's grasp. Few can grasp the enormity
of the fact that scientists and military personnel are capable, whether
in the interests of self-defence or with the intention of destroying
a feared enemy, of inventing and developing weapons which could unleash
an irreversible catastrophe on the world. We did not witness the dropping
of the atomic bombs on the civilian population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
in the way that we witnessed the horrific attack on the twin towers
in New York. Yet even as we discovered what had happened in Japan, we
were barely able to take in the obscenity of that act, justified at
the time as necessary to shorten the war with Japan. Now we are faced
with the possibility of more such atrocities but on a vastly increased
scale, not only through the destructive power of nuclear weapons, but
of biological, chemical and genetically targeted ones as well.
We, the inhabitants
of the planet, are not fully aware of the dangers of the continued development
of nuclear, biological and other weapons because weapons are selected
and funds (derived from the taxes we pay) committed to their development
by governments and military experts without our knowledge. We do not
know that these weapons are in existence until there is mention of their
being used against us or until, (as in Iraq's use of chemical weapons
against the Kurds or the use of depleted uranium by the United States
and Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan), we hear of the victims of such
weapons, which victims include members of our armed forces. Nor have
most people the time to focus on these crucially important issues and
the technological expertise or the power to challenge their governments.
What makes us,
as a species, capable of engendering such evil and worse, incapable
of recognising and acknowledging that it is evil? Why are we still so
unconscious? What is the compulsion that drives us to imagine, invent
and develop ever more demonic weapons of destruction? The arrow, the
battleaxe, the sword and the gun once used in hand-to-hand fighting
have been replaced by nuclear bombs, missiles tipped with deadly depleted
uranium, cluster-bombs that act like land mines, barrel bombs, as used in Syria. In addition, there are biological and chemical
weapons – even the technology to eliminate specific ethnic groups and,
incredibly, to interfere with the upper layers of the atmosphere or
the magnetic field of the earth (2) – all weapons
of destruction which can be targeted at the 'enemy' without involving
loss of life on 'our side'. Every twenty minutes someone is either killed
or maimed by a land mine somewhere in the world. We rarely hear mention
of the babies and children maimed and deformed by depleted uranium.
It is probable
that we are contributing to the increase of aggression by the very fact
of constantly preparing for war. The military obsession with the technology
of war is the factor that makes its occurrence inevitable. Once the
technology is imagined and brought into being, it is almost impossible
to contain. It has to be "tried out" in action. We have reached
the point where the continued anticipation of the need to defend ourselves
against future enemies and the drive to invent ever more sophisticated
weapons has become self-defeating. The leaders of nations and the military
branch of governments are currently living in a mind-set that is out
of date in relation to the needs of the planet and now threatens our
very survival as a species.
married to the imaginative capacity for evil in the human psyche bring
evil into being in the form of weapons of destruction and the suffering
their use engenders. The enemy is now Hitler, now Stalin, now Saddam
Hussein, now Osama bin Laden and North Korea and, most recently, the ISIS jihadists in Iraq and Syria.
There will always be a greater, more powerful enemy as long as we continue
to produce ever more lethal weapons and as long as we continue to demonise
our enemies as being the sole perpetrators of evil. The real enemy hidden
in the shadow aspect of our own nature is our inability to see the enormity
of what we are prepared to do to life and to each other by continuing
down this path.
of all scientists work for industry or the military. Colossal sums of
money are spent every year on the production of weapons - over $1 trillion
on military expenditure world wide. Colossal sums of money are made
through the sale of arms. We produce arms and sell them to countries
which may be at war with their neighbours, yet may eventually involve
members of our armed forces as victims of those same weapons. War and
weapons of war cause devastation, pollute earth and water, create millions
of destitute refugees (currently over 50 million) who are deprived of
their homes and livelihoods. Land mines destroy the lives and limbs
of thousands of children yet ever more continue to be laid. All this
should arouse outrage but the majority of the world's population has
only a minimal grasp of what is being done or of how it might affect
them. Dr. Rosalie Bertell, in her book, Planet Earth, the Latest
Weapon of War, writes,
Wars result in immediate deaths and destruction, but
the environmental consequences can last hundreds, often thousands of
years. And it is not just war itself that undermines our life support
system, but also the research and development, military exercises and
general preparation for battle that are carried out on a daily basis
in most parts of the world. The majority of this pre-war activity takes
place without the benefit of civilian scrutiny and therefore we are
unaware of some of what is being done to our environment in the name
of 'security'. (3)
the Second World War, the expertise to develop nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons spread from the United States and the Soviet Union
all over the world (see below). Anthrax, one of the most deadly of these
weapons, was recognised as "a winner" because it can wipe out the population
of an entire city which will remain contaminated for generations. Iraq,
Iran, North Korea, the United Kingdom, China, India and Pakistan have
access to the expertise needed to make biological, chemical and nuclear
weapons. Via Pakistan's nuclear expertise and scientists supportive
of his cause, the late Osama bin Laden and his followers have access to nuclear
material and the power to make some kind of bomb - perhaps a 'dirty'
bomb combining nuclear waste and conventional explosives, as well as
biological and chemical weapons. Pakistan's "father of the bomb," the
scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, sold the technology for developing
it to Libya, Iran and North Korea (2004).
The facts given
here can only give rise to the utmost revulsion that we – whether ourselves
or an 'enemy' – can conceive of treating human beings in this way in
the interests of our own self-defence or in the service of a religious
ideology. There is hardly a country that is exempt from this catalogue
of evil since each hurries to equip itself with the latest technology
of war insofar as it has the financial means to do so. There is another
aspect to this addiction: we could, for far less than is currently being
spent on weapons and the War on Terrorism, eliminate hunger in the world
and ensure that everyone was provided with the basic necessities of
life. Why are we willing to spend so much more on weapons and war than
on helping people to survive?
exists in the mind of a scientist working on these weapons or an individual
giving the order to produce and use them that their dedication to their
work, their ideology or their military agenda overrides the capacity
for empathy with other human beings? What fissure exists in the mind
of each one of us who accepts the furtherance and use of this technology
because of the protection it seems to offer us or because we don't know
what else to do. We are, in effect, by complicity, potential murderers
on a massive scale. We may name this loyalty to a particular national
group or a particular religion but what of a deeper loyalty to life
that has brought us into being, or the possibility of life for future
generations and for the planet itself? When we become aware of the absolute miracle of our bodies and the intricate neurology that connects each part to all others; when we look at how an embryo becomes a baby in the womb, it seems an act of the utmost sacrilege to destroy something so wonderful and to beautiful.
What can be done?
Since our present path is leading us to catastrophe, we have surely
to look for another way. It seems almost certain that the insistence
on the need for a new vision will come from individuals. Governments
and politicians may be too locked into the struggle for power to heed
the danger that people can clearly see. It is time that the production
and proposed use of these weapons is named a crime against humanity
as the Club of Budapest has done www.clubofbudapest.com.
If enough individuals can find the foresight and greatness of spirit
to renounce these weapons, they will eventually break the negative chain
of cause and effect and help to dismantle the illusion that evil can
be eradicated in an enemy before it is recognised and renounced in ourselves.
letter to the Times (17/2/04) from the distinguished scientist, Dr.
Joseph Rotblat (President Emeritus of the Pugwash Conferences on Science
and World Affairs) is worth quoting here (extract) because he has worked
tirelessly for just such an outcome:
"Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, the Director-General of
the International Atomic Energy Agence (IAEA) hit the nail on the head
when he pointed out that the onus is on the established nuclear powers
to lead the way in nuclear disarmament. As long as some states, including
the most powerful ones, believe that their security demands the possession
of nuclear weapons, how can we deny such security to other states which
consider themselves to be vulnerable?...The elimination of nuclear weapons,
and the establishment of a safeguard regime to prevent the clandestine
acquisition of nuclear weapons, present extremely difficult problems,
but they will never be solved unless an effort is made to tackle them.
The body set up to do this, the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva,
is prevented from doing its job by the continued refusal by the nuclear
powers to put it on its agenda. Unless this issue is given high priority
it is inevitable that other nations will seek security in keeping or
acquiring nuclear weapons and eventually terrorist groups too will acquire
1. see BBC
Documentary July 13th and 14th, and November 19th, 1998; Channel Four
Documentary October 29th, 2001, UK.
2. Rosalie Bertell, Planet
Earth, the Latest Weapon of War, The Women's Press, London, 2000.
See review under Booklist.
3. ibid, p. 2.
The following data on biological weapons and warfare have been
gathered from television documentaries. The information is drawn from
the notes I made at the time. A more complete account is given in a
recently published book called Germs: Biological Weapons and America's
Secret War (see notes).
Biological weapons were developed by Japan in its war with China prior
to the Second World War. (4) The Japanese military
were trying to find efficient ways to kill people by methods other than
conventional weapons. Biological weapons seemed a cheap and lethal weapon.
Doctors and scientists were ordered to find ways of transforming disease
into weapons. The Japanese developed a bomb that could carry anthrax
and bubonic plague. They released plague infected fleas over the city
of Ningpo in 1940. 500 people died and many more were infected. Only
one survivor is alive today.
were planted in the water supplies and wells of Chinese villages.
were deliberately infected with the bacteria and those showing signs
of illness were taken away and made unconscious in order to take samples
of the infection from their bodies. They were then killed.
methods were practised on Chinese prisoners taken to unit 731 at a town
called Pingfan who never came out of it alive. If Japanese scientists
or guards objected, they were beaten or shot…"You had to obey," "We
feared punishment" were the words of one guard who survived. 3000 Chinese
prisoners died at the hands of Japanese doctors. They chloroformed the
prisoner, then drained the blood from his body and squeezed it to extract
every drop of blood that carried the infective agent.
Bacteria were sprayed from the air over Chinese prisoners.
Japanese tried to destroy all evidence of the biological experiment.
At the end of the war the United States should have put the Japanese
scientists and doctors on trial because Pingfan was known about. But
it feared that the Soviet Union would get hold of the information. A
deal was made with the Japanese that Japan would hand over all its information
on biological weapons in return for not being tried for war crimes in
In 1942 the United States began to develop biological weapons that could
attack humans, plants and animals and tested these in the Nevada desert
and in the South Pacific. In addition it developed the means to kill
by means of radiation (spraying over large areas the radio-active by-products
from the manufacture of plutonium) (5) Obviously
these weapons were intended for use on an unsuspecting civilian population.
The American public did not begin to find out about the existence of
these weapons until the time of the Vietnam War. The British were also
developing and testing biological weapons at Porton Down because they
feared the Germans were developing them.
In 1969 the United States (at the suggestion of the then President,
Richard Nixon), renounced the use of them.
In 1972, 104 nations signed an agreement to renounce the use of biological
However, the Soviet Union continued secretly to develop them in remote
areas like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In 1982 a factory was built in
Kazakhstan for the production of biological weapons. 800 scientists
and technicians worked here at the peak of its production. Scientists
developed the use of anthrax and plague as weapons and worked on a project
which included combining viruses like smallpox and ebola to create a
"doomsday virus" which could be loaded into warheads. Enough of these
weapons were produced to kill everyone on the planet nine times over.
(6) They were also working on the genetic engineering
of viruses and testing substances on human genes in order to develop
genetic weapons. It is clear that certain scientists became fascinated
and indeed, intoxicated by their power to invent new ways of destroying
human beings. With the collapse of the Soviet Union this technology
became dangerously available to other nations that were willing to pay
huge sums of money to the now impoverished scientists and technicians
to obtain it.
4. The atrocities in Pingfan are not the only ones that
took place during this war. Iris Chang, an American woman of Chinese
descent, investigated and chronicled the details of the barbaric acts
inflicted by Japanese troops on the Chinese population of Nanking in
1937. Her controversial book was published in 1997. Deeply affected
by the horror of what she was describing, she was hospitalised for depression.
On November 9th, 2004, when she was in the midst of working on another
book on the Bataan Death March, she committed suicide.
5. Professor M.S. Blackett, Military and Political
Consequences of Atomic Energy, Blackwell Press, 1948.
6. Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War by Judith Miller,
Stephen Engelberg and William J. Broad. Publisher: Simon and Schuster,
New York, 2001.
A WAKE UP CALL - General
The public seems to have forgotten about the dangers
of nuclear weapons now that the Cold War is over. But many high-ranking
military officers are sufficiently alarmed about the possibility of
their accidental use to urge abolishing all nuclear weapons, including
those in the U.S. arsenal.
----- One Admiral, Noel Gayler, former
U.S. Commander in Chief, Pacific Command, puts it this way: "Does nuclear
disarmament imperil our security? No, it enhances it."
----- Admiral Eugene Carroll, former director
of U.S. military operations for all U.S. forces in Europe and the Middle
East, states: "Nuclear weapons are the sole military source of our national
insecurity. We, and the whole world, would be much safer if nuclear
weapons were abolished."
Recently, a full-page ad in The New York Times and other
major newspapers called for the U.S. to take the lead in ridding the
world of all nuclear weapons. Among those who signed the ad: Admiral
Stansfield Turner, former Director of Central Intelligence and Commander-in-Chief,
Allied Southern Forces, Europe; General Andrew Goodpaster, former Supreme
Allied Commander, Europe; Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., former Chairman,
Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Charles Horner, former Commander, Coalition
Air Forces, Desert Storm; Admiral William A. Owens, former Vice-Chair,
Joint Chiefs of Staff. The ad calls for immediately de-alerting the
thousands of land- and sea-based missiles now ready to launch in minutes,
and deeply reducing nuclear stockpiles.
One of the first high-ranking military officers to speak
out for abolishing nuclear weapons was General Lee Butler, who, as Commander-in-Chief
of United States Strategic Air Command, had planning and operational
responsibilities for all of America's strategic nuclear forces. Butler
retired from the military in 1994, fully intending not to comment publicly
on national security matters. But two and a half years later, he could
no longer stay quiet about "my deepening dismay as a citizen of this
----- In Waging Peace Worldwide,
the journal of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Butler tells about
his experiences in the military and what led him to devote his life
toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.
-----I get a lot of questions
like, "If you had been President Truman, would you have made the decision
to drop atom bombs on Japan?" "Was this a revelation, was it an epiphany,
what was the catalyst for your change of view?" The questions go to
the issue of when I had the responsibilities as the commander of the
nuclear forces, as a nuclear advisor to the President and, perhaps most
particularly, as the person who devised the nuclear war plan…
----- The evolution of my views was not
an epiphany, not some road to Damascus revelation. From the very outset,
the nuclear arena was superimposed with a blanket of secrecy that was
virtually impenetrable. Access to the knowledge and access to the levers
of power that control this arena was reserved to a very small number
of people throughout its history in this country and in the Soviet Union.
----- I was commissioned as a lieutenant
in June 1961. I became the commander of the nuclear forces of the United
States in January 1991, almost 30 years later to the month. Until the
day I assumed those responsibilities, I had never been given access
to the nuclear war plan of the United States in its entirety, even though
in Washington I had policy responsibilities that directed the plans.
I knew nothing about the submarine operations of the strategic nuclear
forces of the United States, and I had no idea how the decision process
took place that would lead to a command from the President of the United
States to unleash nuclear war and retaliation for a presumed strike.
Up to that point I had developed a series of reservations and doubts
that progressively deepened. I had no basis for understanding whether
these concerns were based on lack of information and insight or whether
they were rooted in the reality of bureaucratic processes run amuck
by the intrusion of the self-serving profit interests of the military-industrial
complex, by the collision of cultures and turf in the Pentagon for budget
dollars, or simply by the towering forces of alienation and isolation
that grew out of the mutual demonization between the U.S. and the Soviet
Union over a period of 45 years. I just didn't know.
----- Beginning in early 1991, I went through
a process that very quickly accelerated and confirmed my worst fears
and my worst concerns. What we had done in this country, what I believe
happened in the Soviet Union, and what I think will inevitably happen
in any country that makes the fateful decision to become a nuclear power-to
acquire the capability to build and employ nuclear weapons-is this:
the creation of gargantuan agencies with mammoth appetites and a sense
of infallibility that consume infinite resources in pursuit of a messianic
vision of a demonization.
A Chilling Ballet
In those responsibilities of commander of the forces responsible for
the day-to-day operational safety, security, and preparation to employ
those weapons, I was increasingly appalled by the complexity of this
ballet of hundreds of thousands of people managing, manipulating, controlling,
and maintaining tens of thousands of warheads and extremely complex
systems that flew through the air, were buried in the bowels of the
land, or patrolled beneath the seas of the world.
----- The capacity for human error, human
failure, mechanical failure, misunderstanding, was virtually infinite.
I have seen nuclear airplanes crash under circumstances that were designed
to replicate-but were inevitably far less stressful than-the actual
condition of nuclear war. I have seen human error lead to the explosion
of missiles in their silos. I have read the circumstances of submarines
going to the bottom of the ocean laden with nuclear missiles and warheads
because of failures, mechanical flaws, and human error. I read that
entire history, and when I came away from it-because I was never given
access to it before-I was chilled. I was chilled to the depth of my
----- Secondly, consider my responsibilities
as a nuclear advisor. Every month of my life as a commander of the nuclear
forces, I went through an exercise called the Missile Threat Conference.
It would come at any moment of the day or night. For three years I was
required to be within three rings of my telephone so that I could answer
a call from the White House to advise the President on how to respond
to nuclear attack. The question that would be put to me in these conferences,
and as it would be in the event, was "General Butler, I have been advised
by the Commander-in-Chief of the North American Air Defense Command
that the nation is under nuclear attack. It has been characterized thusly.
What is your recommendation with regard to the nature of our reply?"
----- That was my responsibility, and about
half the time that call came in the middle of the night as Dorene and
I lay in our bedroom. I had to be prepared to advise the President to
sign the death warrant of 250 million people living in the Soviet Union.
I felt that responsibility to the depth of my soul, and I never learned
to reconcile my belief systems with it. Never.
----- My third responsibility was to devise
the nuclear war plan of the United States. When I became the Director
of Strategic Target Planning-another hat that I wore as the Commander
of the Nuclear Forces-I went down to my targeting room, many floors
beneath the surface. I told my planners that we were going to get to
know each other very well because I wanted to understand the plan in
its entirety. I think this story is the most graphic illustration of
the evolution of my views and my concerns and, ultimately, my convictions.
When I began to delve into that war plan, I was absolutely horrified
to learn that it encompassed 12,500 targets. I made the personal commitment-because
I saw it as absolutely integral to my responsibilities and the consequences
of that targeting-to examine every single one of them in great detail.
Ending the Madness
It took me three years to complete this analysis but only three months
to be convinced that it was the most grotesque and irresponsible war
plan ever devised by man, with the possible exception of its counterpart
in the Soviet Union, which in truth probably mirrored it exactly. Because
what that plan implied was, among other things, in the event of nuclear
war between two nations, in the space of about 16 hours 20,000 thermonuclear
warheads would be exploded on the face of our planet, signing the death
warrant not just for 250 million Soviets, but for mankind in its entirety.
----- The second thing that I began to
grasp was that neither in the Soviet Union nor in the United States
did any of us ever understand those consequences, because the calculation
as to the military effectiveness of that attack was based on only one
criterion, and that was blast damage. It did not take into account fire;
it did not take into account radiation. Can you imagine that? We never
understood, probably didn't care about, and certainly would not have
been able to calculate with any precision, the holistic effects of 20,000
nuclear weapons exploding virtually simultaneously on the face of the
----- That was the straw that tilted my
conviction with regard to the prospects of nuclear war, and ultimately
to an unavoidable responsibility to end this. To end it! And by the
grace of God I came to that awareness and I inherited my responsibilities
at the very moment the Cold War was ending and, therefore, I had the
opportunity to end the madness.
----- So in those three years I did what
I could to cancel all of the strategic nuclear modernization programs
in my jurisdiction, which totaled $40 billion. I canceled every single
one of them. I recommended to the President that we take bombers off
nuclear alert for the first time in 30 years, and we did. I recommended
that we accelerate the retirement of all systems designed to be terminated
in present and future arms control agreements, and we did. We accelerated
the retirement of the Minuteman II force.
----- We shrank the nuclear warplanes of
the United States by 75 percent. By the time I left my responsibilities,
those 12,500 targets had been reduced to 3,000. If I'd had my way and
I'd been there a while longer, they would have been reduced to zero.
Ultimately I recommended the disestablishment of my command. I took
down its flag with my own hands.
Creeping Re-rationalization of Nuclear Weapons
When I retired in 1994, I was persuaded that we were on a path that
was miraculous, that was irreversible, and that gave us the opportunity
to actually pursue a set of initiatives, acquire a new mindset, and
re-embrace a set of principles having to do with the sanctity of life
and the miracle of existence that would take us on the path to zero.
I was dismayed, mortified, and ultimately radicalized by the fact that
within a period of a year that momentum again was slowed. A process
that I have called the creeping re-rationalization of nuclear weapons
was introduced by the very people who stood to lose the most by the
end of the nuclear era.
----- The French re-initiated nuclear testing
at the worst possible moment, as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty hung
in the balance. We in the United States have re-initiated the process
of demonization of "rogue nations." What a horrible, pernicious misuse
of language! What an anti-intellectual dehumanizing process of reducing
complex societies and human beings and histories and cultures to "rogue
nations." Once you do that, you can justify the most extreme measures
to include the reintroduction of nuclear weapons as legitimate and appropriate
weapons of national security.
A Second Chance
That was my evolution. That's
how I transitioned from the coldness of the Cold War years, when I became
an officer in the United States military at the height of the Cold War
just prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis, to someone today who simply
sees himself as a citizen of this planet and who was given an opportunity
to step back from the brink of nuclear catastrophe. I left office feeling
that this process, this extraordinary and unimaginable opportunity,
had been delivered to us by a Creator who forgave our transgressions
and who gave us a second chance. Now we seem determined to fritter it
away. I can't tolerate that. This is why Dorene and I have decided to
devote the balance of our lives on this planet to do our best to save
General Butler founded the Second Chance Foundation,
12020 Shamrock Plaza, Suite 105, Omaha, NE 68154.
A QUESTION OF VALUES
- By General Lee Butler
When I speak to former colleagues about nuclear abolition,
they often ask three questions. One of them is, "What are you smoking?"
A lot of people are just utterly mystified. They simply cannot understand
why, from their perspectives, my views have changed so dramatically.
Some of my mail is pretty hateful. It has absolutely no impact on my
conviction or my assessment, but I've had to learn to live with the
loss of relationships that I treasure.
----- The second question is, "I understand
what you're saying and I kind of endorse it in principle, but why in
the world do you think this is really even possible?" I got a question
from my friend Warren Buffet when I discussed this with him. He said,
"Lee, I agree in principle with what you are saying. I endorse it and
I want to do what I can to help. But don't you think that instead of
zero we ought to have just one?" That is the kind of question that I
get from most people. Shouldn't we just have one? My answer is very
simple. "Warren, if it's just one, how is it that we get to have it,
and who gets to decide that?" And then there's a long pause, and the
response is, "I've never thought of it that way."
----- The third set of questions that
I get really pose a challenge. That is, "Lee you've just lost it. Nuclear
weapons prevented World War III. They are all that stand between us
and the forces of barbarism, the terrorists, the rogue nations. We,
above all people, have the responsibility to continue to provide the
barrier, the shield that shelters civilization and all that we hold
dear. Nuclear weapons are the answer."
----- My response to that is really very
simple. I've thought about this for a long time. It is the very core
of my belief system. We cannot at once hold sacred the mystery of life
and sacrosanct the capacity to destroy it utterly. They are irreconcilable.
If we truly claim to the values that underlie our political system,
if we truly believe in the dignity of the individual, and if we cherish
freedom and the capacity to realize our potential as human beings on
this planet, then we are absolutely obligated to pursue relentlessly
our capacity to live together in harmony and according to the dictates
of respect for that dignity, for that sanctity of life. It matters not
that we continuously fall short of the mark. What matters is that we
continue to strive. What is at stake here is our capacity to move ever
higher the bar of civilized behavior. As long as we sanctify nuclear
weapons as the ultimate arbiter of conflict, we will have forever capped
our capacity to live on this planet according to a set of ideals that
value human life and eschew a solution that continues to hold acceptable
the shearing away of entire societies. That simply is wrong. It is morally
wrong and it ultimately will be the death of humanity.
These two statements by General Lee Butler and the introduction
to them were published in issue 55 of the Timeline section, the Foundation
for Global Community website www.globalcommunity.org.
and are reproduced on this website with the permission of Kay Hays,
Managing Editor, Timeline.
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation 1187 Coast Village Road,
Santa Barbara, CA 93108 www.wagingpeace.org
By Douglas Mattern
President, Association of World Citizens
We are now in the third year of the new century and we
stand bewildered by what happened to the wonderful expressions of hope
and joy that were expressed in the millennium celebrations. Today the
world is a mirror image of the 20th century, which was the most brutal
and destructive in human history. A major factor is the war business
that promotes militarism and conflict while producing enormous financial
profit. A tragic indicator of the values of our civilization is that
"There's no business like war business."
Just think of all the missiles, bombs, etc. that will
be replaced for profit by the armament industry after the current U.S.
military assault on Iraq. In the first 14 days the U.S. dropped over
8,700 bombs, including more than 3,000 cruise missiles. This includes
cluster bombs, which is one of the most barbaric weapons ever created
by the human mind.
Cruise missiles cost over $500,000 each. The Apache Longbow
Helicopter costs about 22 million dollars each. The Bradley Fighting
Vehicle costs over 1.2 million dollars. Each B-1 Stealth bomber costs
over $2 billion.
Today it's Iraq on the receiving end of U.S. bombing.
This country seems to have a proclivity for bombing small developing
countries. Over the past several decades the list includes: Vietnam,
Cambodia, Laos, Cuba, Indonesia, Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Bosnia,
Afghanistan, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Congo, and Iraq
the first time around.
Since 1992, the U.S. exported over $142 billion dollars
worth of weapons to states around the world. This macabre world market
is dominated by the U.S., which accounted for nearly half of all weapon
sales in 2001, more than $12 billion dollars for U.S. manufacturers.
The Center for International Policy estimates that about 80 percent
of U.S. arms exports to the developing world go to non-democratic regimes.
Of the active conflicts in 1999, the U.S. supplied weapons
or military training to parties in 39 of 42 conflicts. Other leading
nations in this "merchants of death" business include Russia, France,
Great Britain, China, Germany, and to a lesser degree, Sweden, Israel,
Belgium, Belarus, Italy, North Korea, and more.
For U.S. companies, even larger profit is in the annual
Pentagon budget. Over $60 billion was allocated to purchase new weapons
for 2003. The Pentagon spends over $30 billion annually in research
and development for new weapons.
The U.S. armament industry is the second most subsidized
industry after agriculture. The administration's FY 2004 military budget
is a big increase over 2003 at nearly $400 billion when including funding
for nuclear weapons that is under the Department of Energy (DOE) Budget.
Moreover, military spending is scheduled to increase over the coming
years with projections of a $502 billion budget in FY 2009.
Steven Kosiak, director of budget studies at the Center
for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment, says, "We've come to the point
where we're spending more money than we spent during the Cold War."
This money is to pay for a new generation weapons, including the militarization
of space, which is a dream of never ending profits for the weapons industry.
The top lobbyist for the 2000 elections was Lockheed
Martin at $2.8 million. In 2001, Lockheed-Martin had $14 billion in
sales of weapons to the U.S. and foreign buyers. Moreover, Lockheed
Martin recently received a $3.5 billion contract to sell F-16 jet fighters
to Poland. As a new member of NATO, Poland, along with Hungary and the
Czech Republic, agreed to modernize their military and purchase new
weapons. For the Lockheed sale, the U.S. Government loaned Poland $3.8
billion. The expansion of NATO is a vehicle to sell U.S. weapons, and
not surprising, the weapons industry is the biggest lobbyist for NATO
The small arms trade is also a lucrative business, totaling
between 4-6 billion dollars per year. The leading exporters in terms
of value are the U.S. and Russia. But this business is spread around
the world with over 1,000 companies in some 98 countries involved in
the production of small arms and/or ammunition. Small arms kill over
500,000 people a year in conflicts.
HANDGUNS & MURDERS
The violence and obsession with armaments goes down to rifles and handguns,
with the U.S. leading the parade. There are more than 65 million handguns
in the U.S., and some 192 million in total firearms. In 1998 alone,
dealers sold an estimated 4.4 million guns in the U.S., nearly two million
of them handguns. The result was 12,102 people murdered by firearms.
The nuclear weapons industry may soon get a new boost
as the Bush team is threatening to resume nuclear testing at the Nevada
underground site to develop new nuclear weapons, including "bunker busters"
for use against hardened underground targets.
The Cold War ended over a decade ago, but the Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute reports the world nuclear stockpile
in 2002 totaled over 30,000 warheads. In addition to deployed nuclear
warheads, thousands more are held in reserve and are not counted in
official declarations. Moreover, thousands of U.S. and Russian warheads
are on a hair-trigger alert, ready for launch in a few minutes notice.
The Center for Defense Information reports the United States spends
$27 billion annually to prepare to fight a nuclear war.
Today the war business is in full swing with thousands
of scientists and engineers going to work daily with the task of building
or developing new weapons, including space-based weapons that would
turn the heavens above into a new source of terrorism for humanity below.
At the same time, UN Secretary General Koffi Annan reminds
us that half of humanity lives in poverty, existing on an average of
$2 a day. The Arias Foundation reports that world military spending
increased from $798 billion in 2000 to $839 billion in 2001. Half of
the world's governments spend more on the military than for health care.
This expenditure is a monumental waste of our wealth, resources, and
intellectual talent for the means of destruction and astonishing profits
for the armament companies. The war business is the world's ultimate
We are at a pivotal point in history, thus the decision by the U.S.
and Britain to wage war on Iraq, rather than working tirelessly for
a civilized resolution through the United Nations, is a step backward
to the barbarism of 20th century warfare. Time is crucial! It's imperative
that we do all that is necessary to initiate a dramatic change to end
the violence and war that now threatens the very fabric of our civilization.
This requires that we pull down the curtain on the "architects
of destruction" and put the war business permanently out-of-business.
And it means ending the foolish quest to establish an American empire.
We must put our energy and priority into strengthening and building
a new United Nations. As former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali
puts it, a third generation UN.
The first generation, the League of Nations, represented
governments only. The current second generation UN is also comprised
of governments which have the power, but it also includes a tremendous
input and dependence on Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). The third
generation UN must be democratic and also include the representation
of the world's people and NGOs, and with some corporate responsibility.
This could include a two-tier Parliament. One tier comprised of governments,
and the second tier comprised of civil society.
The imperative change in the third generation UN must
be the ability to resolve conflicts between nations and peoples through
the framework of world law. There is no workable alternative to end
the war system with all of its political, economic, and cultural elements.
"The age of nations is past, the task before us now, if
we would survive, is to shake off our ancient prejudices and build the
earth." - Teilhard de Chardin
Douglas Mattern is president of the Association of World
Citizens (AWC); a San Francisco based international peace organization
with branches in 50 countries, and with UN NGO status. The website for
AWC is http://www.worldcitizens.org/"http://www.worldcitizens.org/ http://www.worldcitizens.org/
Sources for material in this article include: Center for Defense Information
(CDI) Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Stockholm International
Peace Research Institute (SIRPI) United Nations Development Program
(UNDP) United Nations Department for Disarmament U.S. State Department
Please see 'Booklist Page' for a review of Dr. Rosalie
Bertell's recent book, Planet Earth - The Latest Weapon of War
(The Women's Press Ltd., London, 2000).
NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE -
General Lee Butler
Let me begin by simply expressing my appreciation to those
of you who have laboured for so many years, understanding intuitively
what took years for those of us, presumably experts in this business,
----- And that is, that at the heart of
the matter, nuclear weapons are the enemy of humanity. Indeed, they're
not weapons at all. They're some species of biological time bomb whose
effects transcend time and space, poisoning the Earth and its inhabitants
for generations to come.
----- It took me almost forty years to
grasp the truth. It required thirty years simply to reach the point
in my career where I had the responsibilities and, most importantly,
the access to information and the exposure to activities and operations
that profoundly deepened my grasp of what this business of nuclear capability
is all about.
----- What I have come to believe is that
much of what I took on faith was either wrong, enormously simplistic,
extraordinarily fragile, or simply morally intolerable. What I have
come to believe is that the amassing of nuclear capability, to the level
of such grotesque excess as we witnessed between the United States and
the Soviet Union over the period of the fifty years of the Cold War,
was as much a product of fear and ignorance and greed and ego and power
and turf and dollars, as it was about the seemingly elegant theories
----- Let me just take a moment and give
you some sense of what it means to be the Commander of Strategic Nuclear
Forces, the land and sea-based missiles and aircraft that would deliver
nuclear warheads over great distances. First, I had the responsibility
for the day-to-day operation, discipline, training, of tens of thousands
of crew members, the systems that they operated and the warheads those
systems were designed to deliver - some 10,000 strategic nuclear warheads.
I came to appreciate in a way that I had never thought, even when I
commanded individual units like B52 bombers, the enormity of the day-to-day
risks that comes from multiple manipulations, maintenance and operational
movement of those weapons. I read deeply into the history of the incidents
and the accidents of the nuclear age as they had been recorded in the
United States. I am only beginning to understand that history in the
former Soviet Union, and it is more chilling than anything you can imagine.
Much of that is not publicly known, although it is now publicly available.
----- Missiles that blew up in their silos
and ejected their nuclear warheads outside of the confines of the silo.
B52 aircraft that collided with tankers and scattered nuclear weapons
across the coast and into the offshore seas of Spain. A B52 bomber with
nuclear weapons aboard that crashed in North Carolina, and on investigation
it was discovered that with one of those weapons, six of the seven safety
devices that prevent a nuclear explosion had failed as a result of the
crash. There are dozens of such incidents. Nuclear missile-laden submarines
that experienced catastrophic accidents and now lie at the bottom of
----- I was also a principal nuclear adviser
to the President of the United States. What that required of me was
to be prepared on a moment's notice, day or night, seven days week,
365 days a year, to be within three rings of my telephone and to respond
to this question from the president: "General, the nation is under nuclear
attack. I must decide in minutes how to respond. What is your recommendation
with regard to the nature of our reply?"
----- In the thirty-six months that I was
a principal nuclear adviser to the President, I participated every month
in an exercise known as a missile threat conference. Virtually without
exception, that threat conference began with a scenario which encompassed
one, then several, dozens, then hundreds and finally thousands of inbound
thermonuclear warheads to the United States. By the time that attack
was assessed, characterized and sufficient information was available
with some certainty in appreciation of the circumstance, at most he
had twelve minutes to make that decision. Twelve minutes - for a decision
which, coupled with that of whatever person half a world away who may
have initiated such an attack, held at risk not only the survival of
the antagonists, but the fate of humankind in its entirety - the prospect
of some 20,000 thermonuclear warheads being exploded within a period
of several hours.
----- Sad to say, the poised practitioners
of the nuclear art never understood the consequences of such and attack,
nor do they today.
----- I never appreciated that until I
came to grips with my third responsibility, which was for the nuclear
war plan of the United States.
----- In January 1991, when the Cold War
had already been declared over, I went downstairs, on my first day in
office, to meet my war planners in the bowels of my headquarters. Finally
for the first time in thirty years, I was allowed full access to the
war plan. Even having some sense of what it encompassed, I was shocked
to see that in fact it was defined by 12,500 targets in the former Warsaw
Pact to be attacked by some 10,000 nuclear weapons, virtually simultaneously
in the worst of circumstances, which is what we always assumed.
----- I made it my business to examine
in some detail every single one of those targets. I doubt that that
had ever been done by anyone, because the war plan was divided up into
sections and each section was the responsibility of some different group
of people. My staff was aghast when I told them I intended to look at
every single target individually. My rationale was very simple. If there
had been only one target, surely I would have to know every conceivable
detail about it, why it was selected, what kind of weapon would strike
it, what the consequences would be. My point was simply this: Why
should I feel in any way less responsible simply because there was a
large number of targets? I wanted to look at every one. -----
At the conclusion of that exercise I finally came to understand the
true meaning of MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. With the possible
exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, this was the single most
absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life.
I was sufficiently outraged that I alerted my superiors in Washington
about my concerns. The shortest version of all of that is that I came
to fully appreciate the truth that now makes me seem so odd. And that
is: we escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination
of skill, luck and divine intervention, and, I suspect, the latter
in greatest proportion.
----- The saving grace was that the Cold
War was ending at this very moment. I was faced with a decision of great
personal consequence. Now having fully appreciated the magnitude of
our nuclear capability and what it implied, when joined in an unholy
alliance with its Soviet counterpart, what was I to do? Awaiting in
my inbox were $40 billion of new strategic nuclear weapons modernization
programmes, wanting only my signature. What should be our goals for
the next rounds of arms-control negotiations? How hard should I fight
to maintain the budget of strategic forces, to keep bases open? And
what to do with the nuclear war plan in all of its excess? My conclusion
was very simple: I of all people had the responsibility to be at the
forefront of the effort to begin to close the nuclear age.
----- I withdrew my support for every single
one of those $40 billion of nuclear weapons programmes and they were
all cancelled. I urged the acceleration of the START 1 accords and that
Minuteman 2 be taken out of the inventory at an accelerated pace. I
recommended that for the first time in thirty years bombers be taken
off alert. The President approved these recommendations and, on the
25th September 1991, I sat in my command centre and with my red telephone
I gave the orders to my bomber troops to stand down from alert. I put
twenty-four of my thirty-six bases on the closure list. I cut the number
of targets in the nuclear war plan by 75%, and ultimately I recommended
the dis-establishment of Strategic Air Command, which the President
also approved. I took down that flag on the 1st of June 1992.
----- As you can imagine, I went into retirement
exactly five years ago with a sense of profound relief and gratitude
- the relief that the most acute dangers of the Cold War were coming
to a close, and gratitude that I had been given the opportunity to play
some small role in eliminating those dangers. You can also imagine,
then, my growing dismay, alarm and finally horror that in a relatively
brief period of time, this extraordinary momentum, this unprecedented
opportunity began to slow down. Once again the creeping re-rationalization
of nuclear weapons began. The START 2 treaty was paralysed in the US
Senate for three years and now in the Duma for three more. The precious
window of opportunity began to close, and now we find ourselves in the
almost unbelievable circumstance in which United States nuclear weapons
policy has reverted to that of 1984. That our forces with their hair-trigger
postures are effectively the same as they were at the height of the
----- What a stunning outcome. I would
never have imagined this state of affairs five years ago. This is an
indictment. The leaders of the nuclear weapons states today risk very
much being judged by future historians as having been unworthy of their
age, of not having taken advantage of opportunities so perilously won
at such great sacrifice and cost of re-igniting nuclear arms races around
the world, of condemning humankind to live under a cloud of perpetual
----- This is not a legacy worthy of the
human race. This is not the world that I want to bequeath to my children
and my grandchildren. It's simply intolerable. This is above all a moral
question and I want to reiterate to you a quote. I took this quote to
heart many years ago. It is from one of my professional heroes - General
Omar Bradley, who said on the occasion of his retirement, having been
a principal in World War II and having witnessed the aftermath of the
bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: "We live in an age of nuclear
giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance
without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery
of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on the Mount. We
know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than
we know about living."
----- We have a priceless opportunity to
elevate, to nudge higher and to learn to live on this planet with mutual
respect and dignity. This is an opportunity we must not lose. My concern
was such that I could not sit in silent acquiescence to the current
This article is taken from Resurgence Magazine,
Edition 200 (May/June 2000), and is an edited text of a speech given
the previous year at the Canadian Network Against Nuclear Weapons. It
is reproduced here with permission from Satish Kumar, editor, Resurgence.
General Lee Butler was Commander-in-Chief of the United
Command, Offnut Air Base, Nebraska. He retired in 1994.
THE WAR TO END WAR?
World Review no.108, August 2001
WHEN THE HISTORY of our time comes to be written
it will tell us, no doubt, of immense public concern for the ecological
perils we are so impetuously promoting, of the moves being made towards
economic globalisation, of concern for human rights, of the mass-motoring
mania being sustained by a constantly expanding consumption of finite
fuel resources, of the non-stop expansion of human numbers in an already
overcrowded planet and much else besides.
----- But what will surely amaze any
future historian and his readers, assuming there will be any of either
category living, is the incredible degree of passivity that currently
prevails over the proliferation of monster weapons of mass destruction.
----- In 1945 the USA was the only country
to possess nuclear weapons and it proceeded to destroy a huge area
of two Japanese cities with them. Why did it not drop them at sea
or in open country to show their potential, instead of on inhabited
cities? One writer has suggested that the decision had nothing to
do with the Japanese war but with a US intention to intimidate the
Soviet Union. Stalin appears to have been duly intimidated, enough
to proceed with production of similar weapons of his own.
----- Today twenty countries, probably
more, possess these awesome weapons and even these have to be seen
in the context of other weapons, such as microbiological bombs capable
of obliterating the human life of a continent.
----- Governments, at least some of them,
are alive, if only partly so, to the dangers; hence the non-proliferation
treaty. Part of the monstrous passivity with which these developments
are generally viewed springs from and assumption that the consequences
of using them to the users are so terrible they will never be used.
Another ingredient of this passivity springs from a conviction that
there is nothing the ordinary citizen can do to halt such developments.
Both assumptions have, of course, no validity, which in an era dominated
by mass forms of reasonlessness, does nothing to lessen the grip they
may hold on the untutored mind.
----- The treaty has in any case now
been repudiated by the USA. And what doctrine now governs the USA?
The mightiest war machine in all human history? On this we need to
look at its own most recent enunciation of its objectives:
-----"The ultimate goal of
our military force is to accomplish the objectives directed by the
National Command Authorities. For the joint force of the future, this
goal will be achieved through full spectrum dominance - the ability
of US forces, operating unilaterally or in combination with multinational
and interagency partners, to defeat any adversary and control any
situation across the full range of military operations.
----- 'The full range of operations includes
maintaining a posture of strategic deterrence. It includes theatre
engagement and presence activities. It includes conflict involving
employment of strategic forces and weapons of mass destruction, major
theatre wars, regional conflicts, and smaller-scale contingencies.
It also includes those ambiguous situations residing between peace
and war, such as peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, as
well as non-combat humanitarian relief operations and support to domestic
----- 'The label "full spectrum dominance"
implies that US forces are able to conduct prompt, sustained and synchronised
operations with combinations of forces tailored to specific situations
and with access to and freedom to operate in all domains - space,
sea, land, air, and information. Additionally, given the global nature
of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain
its overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power
worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance."'
United States Department of Defence:
Joint Vision 2020. 30 May 2000.*
This is not the utterance of an inebriated GI in some
tavern, it is the considered view of the officials controlling the
war machine! It needs to be seen against the global background of
the Arab/Israeli conflict, the Indo/Pakistan conflict over Kashmir,
or the confrontation of the US with China, to say nothing of the burgeoning
military power of a united 'Europe'.
----- The cause of 'Europe' is being
sponsored not only by business interests which seek to make a packet,
but by numerous starry-eyed idealists who are convinced it will bring
peace to the continent. Perhaps it will, as the US enjoys internal
peace even as it becomes involved, as it has been involved, in every
major war in the globe for well over 100 years. These and many other
developments need to be seen against the general unpopularity of war,
coupled with the prodigious expansion of what is politely called 'the
----- Trade? This is a trade in death.
Death of countless mothers and children, to say nothing of horrible
degrees of burning and maiming of millions more. So Britain sells
tanks, guns, bomber planes, sophisticated devices of germ warfare,
battleships, submarines, and other instruments of murder to all and
sundry. After all it is all part of 'growth', it creates 'jobs' and
results in a favourable balance of trade. What government seeking
re-election could ask for more?
----- No doubt it is also busy exporting
coffins, as well as medicines, blankets and stretchers for the injured
victims, providing more 'growth', and more jobs and even better export
figures. The USA does the same, so does Russia and other great powers,
demonstrating that great powers can also be moral pygmies.
----- But when does 'trade' become war?
'A nation armed and prepared for war can no more help going to war
than a chicken can help laying an egg'. So Russia sells arms to Arab
powers, the USA sells arms to Israel. China sells arms to Pakistan
and Britain sells arms to India.
----- What is happening under our noses
is the creation of a global tinderbox in which madmen are wandering
around with flaming torches. Madness on a gigantic global scale does
not cease to be madness and this particular form of insanity cannot
fail to create conditions which are unpredictable and uncontrollable
and which may well result in the demise of the entire works of civilisation.
Inevitable road to war
As sure as mass motoring results in a high level of fatal crashes,
so the mass development of weapons of death cannot fail to lead to
war. At the dawn of a new century we have to face the brute fact that
the third world war is an event waiting to happen as surely as storm
clouds presage rain.
----- What do we do? A Pope doing his
job would at once excommunicate every government official in sight,
and Archbishop of Canterbury or of anywhere else would organise mass
protests and lead them with a hunger strike, Jewish Rabbis and Muslim
Imams would join forces to save the world from this commercialised
infidelism, the Dalai Lama would be leading a global pilgrimage of
protest and peace, accompanied no doubt by the leading dignitaries
of the Sikh and Hindu communities. Perhaps the Zoroastrians and the
Millennium Dome spiritualists might join them. Perhaps even the Quakers
would disturb their organised silences and feel impelled to act…..
----- These people and others are the
largely self-appointed moral spokesmen of mankind, but where are they?
Here is the gravest moral crisis ever to have erupted in human history
and collectively their impact on it has about as much effect as a
damp lettuce leaf on a tornado.
----- Is there no fundamental sense of
right and wrong which might prompt all of them to join forces to insist
that this global march to universal death must stop? Beside the prospect
of a general Armageddon what does it matter what absurd qualms people
may have about the ordination of women priests, or disagreements about
divorce, about family breakdown, about gay marriages, about adultery
or a hundred other issues which absorb so much apparent moral fervour?
----- If morality has a function it is
first to avert the all-too-human tendency for people to plunge into
fratricidal forms of strife, and instead to promote peace and security;
it is, secondly, to secure that base so that the way is open to the
development of human nobility. On both counts all religious leaders
today are betraying their own trust and that of their followers. Trade
in war proceeds unchecked and governments everywhere are promoting
a life-pattern which is wiping out of existence the remotest prospect
of any form of human nobility. If the silence of religious leaders
is not acquiescence what then is it?
----- Is there no move from any quarter
anywhere that might alert all these leaders to the dangers now in
train? A move which might bring them all together in a global moral
crusade to halt the march to death and human degradation to which
at present they are showing all the insouciant irresponsibility of
professional strumpets? Perhaps enough to make them insist that their
governments abandon insanity and take the path of peace? A collective
voice of sanity from them would alert the peoples of the world.
----- How long, O Lord, how long?
*Quoted by Ken Coates in the current issue of The
Spokesman, the journal of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation,
obtainable from Russell house, Bulwell lane, Nottingham, NG6 OBT,
This editorial is reproduced from Fourth World
The Close, 26 High Street, Purton, Wiltshire SN5 4AE.
MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS (415)868-1600
- (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924 April, 2005
Radioactive Uranium Nano-Particles Pinpointed As Major Issue in
Gulf War Syndrome By Christopher Bollyn - American Free Press
Depleted uranium weapons and the untold misery they
wreak on mankind are taboo subjects in the mainstream media. There
are indications, however, that the media embargo is about to be
breached. Despite being a grossly under-reported subject in the
mainstream media, there is intense public interest in depleted uranium
(DU) and the damage it inflicts on humankind and the environment.
While American Free Press is actively investigating DU weapons and
how they contribute to Gulf War Syndrome, the corporate-controlled
press virtually ignores the illegal use of DU and its long-lasting
effects on the health of veterans and the public.
In August 2004 American Free Press published a ground-breaking
four-part series on DU weapons and the long-term health risks they
pose to soldiers and civilians alike. Information provided to AFP
by experts and scientists, some of it published for the first time
in this paper, has increased public awareness of how exposure to
small particles of DU can severely affect human health.
Leuren Moret, a Berkeley-based geo-scientist with
expertise in atmospheric dust, corresponds with AFP on DU issues.
Recently Moret provided a copy of her correspondence to a British
radiation biologist, Dr. Chris Busby, about how nanometer size particles
of DU-less than one-tenth of a micron and smaller-once inhaled or
absorbed into the body, can cause long-term damage to one's health.
Busby is one of the founders of Green Audit, a British organization
that monitors companies "whose activities might threaten the environment
and health of citizens."
Moret's letter was meant to assist Busby in a legal
case being heard in the High Court in London where a former defense
worker, Richard David, 49, is suing Normal Air Garrett, Ltd., an
aircraft parts company now owned by Honeywell Aerospace, claiming
exposure to depleted uranium on the job has made his life a "living
David worked as a component fitter on fighter planes
and bombers but had to quit due to health problems. He says he developed
a cough within weeks of starting work. Today, David suffers from
a variety of symptoms like those known as Gulf War Syndrome, including
respiratory and kidney problems, bowel conditions and painful joints.
Medical tests reveal mutations to his DNA and damage to his chromosomes,
which, he says, could only have been caused by ionizing radiation.
He has also been diagnosed with a terminal lung condition.
Honeywell denies depleted uranium was ever used at
the plant in Yeovil, Somerset, where David worked for 10 years until
1995. David claims that DU's existence at the plant was denied because
it is an official secret. David has asked the High Court for more
time to gather evidence. The hearing is due to resume in April.
"I don't have any legal representation," David said, "so I am representing
myself. It is a real David versus Goliath case. "I am confident
I will win. I hope to set a precedent for other cases of people
who have suffered from the effects of depleted uranium."
Moret's letter on the particle effect of DU is based
on research done by Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist and
former scientist with the Manhattan Project and the National Laboratory
at Livermore, California. Fulk, who has developed a "particle theory"
about how DU nano-particles affect human DNA, donates his time and
expertise to help bring information about DU to the public.
Asked about Fulk's particle theory, Busby said it
is "quite sound." "DU is much more dangerous than they say," Busby
added. "I've always said that it contributes significantly to Gulf
When Moret's correspondence to Dr. Busby was posted
on the Internet over the New Year's holiday under the title "How
Depleted Uranium Weapons Are Killing Our Troops," some 6,000 people
read the letter in the first two days. The following Monday, a producer
from the BBC's Panorama program contacted Moret to arrange an interview.
If the BBC follows up with an investigation on the health effects
of DU, it may be hard for the US media to remain silent.
More than 500,000 "Gulf War Era" vets currently receive
disability compensation, many of them for a variety of symptoms
generally referred to as Gulf War Syndrome. Experts blame DU for
many of these symptoms." The numbers are overwhelming, but the potential
horrors only get worse," Robert C. Koehler of the Chicago-based
Tribune Media Services wrote in an article about DU weapons entitled
"Silent Genocide." "DU dust does more than wreak havoc on the immune
systems of those who breathe it or touch it; the substance also
alters one's genetic code," Koehler wrote. "The Pentagon's response
to such charges is denial, denial, denial. And the American media
is its moral co-conspirator."
The US government has known for at least twenty years
that DU weapons produce clouds of poison gas on impact. These clouds
of aerosolized DU are laden with billions of toxic sub-micron sized
particles. A 1984 Dept. of Energy conference on Nuclear Airborne
Waste reported that tests of DU anti-tank missiles showed that at
least 31 percent of the mass of a DU penetrator is converted to
nano-particles on impact. In larger bombs the percentage of aerosolized
DU increases to nearly 100 percent, Fulk told AFP.
Depleted uranium is harmful in three ways, according
to Fulk: "Chemical toxicity, radiological toxicity, and particle
toxicity." Particles in the nano-meter (one billionth of a meter)
range are a "new breed of cat," Moret wrote. Because the size of
the nano-particles allows them to pass freely throughout the organism
and into the nucleus of its cells, exposure to nano-particles causes
different symptoms than exposure to larger particles of the same
Internalized DU particles, Fulk said, act as "a non-specific
catalyst" in both "nuclear and non-nuclear" ways. This means that
the uranium particle can affect human DNA and RNA because of both
its chemical and radiological properties. This is why internalized
DU particles cause "many, many diseases," Fulk said. Asked if this
is how DU causes severe birth defects, Fulk said, "Yes."
The military is aware of DU's harmful effects on the
human genetic code. A 2001 study of DU's effect on DNA done by Dr.
Alexandra C. Miller for the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute
in Bethesda, Maryland, indicates that DU's chemical instability
causes 1 million times more genetic damage than would be expected
from its radiation effect alone, Moret wrote. Dr. Miller requested
that questions be sent in writing and copied to a military spokesman,
but did tell AFP that it should be noted that her studies showing
that DU is "neoplastically transforming and genotoxic" are based
on in vitro cellular research. Studies have shown that inhaled nano-particles
are far more toxic than micro-sized particles of the same basic
British toxicopathologist Vyvyan Howard has reported
that the increased toxicity of the nano-particle is due to its size.
For example, when mice were exposed to virus-size particles of Teflon
(0.13 microns) in a Univ. of Rochester study, there were no ill
effects. But when mice were exposed to nano-particles of Teflon
for 15 minutes, nearly all the mice died within 4 hours. "Exposure
pathways for depleted uranium can be through the skin, by inhalation,
and ingestion," Moret wrote. "Nano-particles have high mobility
and can easily enter the body. Inhalation of nano-particles of depleted
uranium is the most hazardous exposure, because the particles pass
through the lung-blood barrier directly into the blood.
"When inhaled through the nose, nano-particles can
cross the olfactory bulb directly into the brain through the blood
brain barrier, where they migrate all through the brain," she wrote.
"Many Gulf Era soldiers exposed to depleted uranium have been diagnosed
with brain tumors, brain damage, and impaired thought processes.
Uranium can interfere with the mitochondria, which provide energy
for the nerve processes, and transmittal of the nerve signal across
synapses in the brain. "Damage to the mitochondria, which provide
all energy to the cells and nerves, can cause chronic fatigue syndrome,
Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's Disease, and Hodgkin's disease."
Also see: http://www.llrc.org/du/duframes.htm
THE HORROR OF DEPLETED URANIUM IS
NOT LIMITED TO IRAQ – IT MAY WELL BE AT OUR DOORSTEPS. THE
INFORMATION WHICH SOME GOVERNMENTS ARE CONCEALING IS PRESENTED HERE.
BY JAMES DENVER
©copyright James Denver 2003
‘I’m horrified. The people out there –
the Iraqis, the media and the troops – risk the most appalling
ill health. And the radiation from depleted uranium can travel literally
anywhere. It’s going to destroy the lives of thousands of
children, all over the world. We all know how far radiation can
travel. Radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales and in Britain you
sometimes get red dust from the Sahara on your car.’
The speaker is not some alarmist doom-sayer. He is
Dr Chris Busby, the British radiation expert, Fellow of the University
of Liverpool in the Faculty of Medicine and UK representative on
the European Committee on Radiation Risk, talking about the best
kept secret of this war: the fact that, by illegally using hundreds
of tons of depleted uranium (DU) against Iraq, Britain and America
have gravely endangered not only the Iraqis but the whole world.
For these weapons have released deadly, carcinogenic and mutagenic,
radioactive particles in such abundance that – whipped up
by sandstorms and carried on trade winds – there is no corner
of the globe they cannot penetrate – including Britain. For
the wind has no boundaries and time is on their side: the radioactivity
persists for over 4,500,000,000 years and can cause cancer, leukaemia,
brain damage, kidney failure, and extreme birth defects –
killing millions of every age for centuries to come. A crime against
humanity which may, in the eyes of historians, rank with the worst
atrocities of all time.
Yet, officially, no crime has been committed. For this story is
a dirty story in which the facts have been concealed from those
who needed them most. It is also a story we need to know if the
people of Iraq are to get the medical care they desperately need,
and if our troops, returning from Iraq, are not to suffer as terribly
as the veterans of other conflicts in which depleted uranium was
A dirty Tyson
‘Depleted’ uranium is in many ways a misnomer. For ‘depleted’sounds
weak.. The only weak thing about depleted uranium is its price.
It is dirt cheap, toxic waste from nuclear power plants and bomb
production. However, uranium is one of earth’s heaviest elements
and DU packs a Tyson’s punch, smashing through tanks, buildings
and bunkers with equal ease, spontaneously catching fire as it does
so, and burning people alive. ‘Crispy critters’ is what
US servicemen call those unfortunate enough to be close. And, when
John Pilger encountered children killed at a greater distance he
‘The children’s skin had folded back like parchment,
revealing veins and burnt flesh that seeped blood, while the eyes,
intact stared straight ahead. I vomited..’ (Daily Mirror)
The millions of radioactive uranium oxide particles
released when it burns can kill just as surely, but far more terribly.
They can even be so tiny they pass through a gas mask, making protection
against them impossible. Yet, small is not beautiful. For these
invisible killers indiscriminately attack men, women, children and
even babies in the womb – and do the gravest harm of all to
children and unborn babies.
A terrible legacy
Doctors in Iraq have estimated that birth defects have increased
by 2 – 6 times, and 3 – 12 times as many children have
developed cancer and leukaemia since 1991. Moreover, a report published
in The Lancet in 1998 said that as many as 500 children a day are
dying from these sequels to war and sanctions and that the death
rate for Iraqi children under 5 years of age increased from 23 per
1000 in 1989 to 166 per thousand in 1993. Overall, cases of lymphoblastic
leukaemia more than quadrupled with other cancers also increasing
‘at and alarming rate’. In men, lung, bladder, bronchus,
skin and stomach cancers showed the highest increase. In women,
the highest increase were in breast and bladder cancer, and non-Hodgkin
On hearing that DU had been used in the Gulf in 1991, the UK Atomic
Energy Authority sent the Ministry of Defence a special report on
the potential damage to health and the environment. It said that
it could cause half a million additional cancer deaths in Iraq over
10 years. In that war the authorities only admitted to using 320
tons of DU – although the Dutch charity LAKA estimates the
true figure is closer to 800 tons. Many times that may have been
spread across Iraq by this year’s war. The devastating damage
all this DU will do to the health and fertility of the people of
Iraq now, and for generations to come, is beyond imagining.
We must also count the numberless thousands of miscarried babies.
Nobody knows how many Iraqis have died in the womb since DU contaminated
their world. But it is suggested that troops who were only exposed
to DU for the brief period of the war were still excreting uranium
in their semen 8 years later and some had 100 times the so called
‘safe limit’ of uranium in their urine. The lack of
government interest in the plight of veterans of the 1991 war is
reflected in a lack of academic research on the impact of DU but
informal research has found a high incidence of birth defects in
their children and that the wives of men who served in Iraq have
three times more miscarriages than the wives of servicemen who did
not go there.
Since DU darkened the land Iraq has seen birth defects which would
break a heart of stone; babies with terribly foreshortened limbs,
with their intestines outside their bodies, with huge bulging tumours
where their eyes should be, or with a single eye – like Cyclops,
or without eyes, or without limbs, and even without heads. Significantly,
some of the defects are almost unknown outside textbooks showing
the babies born near A-bomb test sites in the Pacific. Doctors report
that many women no longer say ‘Is it a girl or boy?’
but simply, ‘Is it normal, doctor?’ Moreover this terrible
legacy will not end. The genes of their parents may have been damaged
for ever, and the damaging DU dust is ever-present.
Blue on blue
What the governments of America and Britain have done to the people
of Iraq they have also done to their own soldiers, in both wars.
And they have done it knowingly. For the battle-fields have been
thick with DU and soldiers have had to enter areas heavily contaminated
Moreover, their bodies have not only been assaulted by DU but also
by a vaccination regime which violated normal protocols, experimental
vaccines, nerve agent pills, and organophosphate pesticides in their
tents, (in some cases, assorted nerve agents and sarin). Yet, though
the hazards of DU were known, British and American troops were not
warned of its dangers. Nor were they given thorough medical checks
on their return – even though identifying it quickly might
have made it possible to remove some of it from their body. Then,
when a growing number became seriously ill, and should have been
sent to top experts in radiation damage and neurotoxins, many were
sent to a psychiatrist.
Over 200,000 US troops who returned from the 1991 war are now invalided
out with ailments officially attributed to service in Iraq –
that’s 1 in 3. In contrast, the British government’s
failure fully to assess the health of returning troops, or to monitor
their health, means no one even knows how many have died or become
gravely ill since their return. However, Gulf veterans’ associations
say that, of 40,000 or so fighting fit men and women who saw active
service, at least 572 have died prematurely since coming home and
5000 may be ill. An alarming number are thought to have taken their
own lives, unable to bear the torment of the innumerable ailments
which have combined to take away their career, their sexuality,
their ability to have normal children, and even their ability to
breathe or walk normally. As one veteran puts it, they are ‘on
DU death row, waiting to die’.
Whatever other factors there may be, some of their illnesses are
strikingly similar to those of Iraqis exposed to DU dust. For example,
soldiers have also fathered children without eyes. And, in a group
of eight servicemen whose babies lack eyes seven are known to have
been directly exposed to DU dust. They too have fathered children
with stunted arms, and rare abnormalities classically associate
with radiation damage. They too seem prone to cancer and leukaemia.
Tellingly, so are EU soldiers who served as peacekeepers in the
Balkans, where DU was also used. Indeed their leukaemia rate has
been so high that several EU governments have protested at the use
The vital evidence
Despite all that evidence of the harm done by DU, governments on
both sides of the Atlantic have repeatedly claimed that as it emits
only ‘low level’ radiation DU is harmless. Award winning
scientist, Dr Rosalie Bertell who has led UN medical commissions,
has studied ‘low level’ radiation for 30 years.
2 She has found that uranium oxide particles have more than
enough power to harm cells, and describes their pulses of radiation
as hitting surrounding cells ‘like flashes of lightning’
again and again in a single section.2 Like many scientists worldwide
who have studied this type of radiation, she has found that such
‘lightning strikes’ can damage DNA and cause cell mutations
which lead to cancer. Moreover, these particles can be taken up
by body fluids and travel through the body, damaging more than one
organ. To compound all that Dr Bertell has found that this particular
type of radiation can cause the body’s communication systems
to break down, leading to malfunctions in many vital organs of the
body and to many medical problems. A striking fact, since many veterans
of the first Gulf war suffer from innumerable, seemingly unrelated,
In addition, recent research by Eric Wright, Professor of Experimental
Haematology at Dundee University, and others, have shown two ways
in which such radiation can do far more damage than has been thought.
The first is that a cell which seems unharmed by radiation can produce
cells with diverse mutations several cell generations later. (And
mutations are at the root of cancer and birth defects.) This ‘radiation
induced genomic instability’ is compounded by ‘the by-stander
effect’ by which cells mutate in unison with others which
have been damaged by radiation – rather as birds swoop and
turn in unison. Put together, these two mechanisms can greatly increase
the damage done by a single source of radiation, such as a DU particle.
Moreover, it is now clear that there are marked genetic differences
in the way individuals respond to radiation – with some being
far more likely to develop cancer than others. So the fact that
some veterans of the first Gulf war seem relatively unharmed by
their exposure to DU in no way proves that DU did not damage others.
The price of truth
That the evidence from Iraq and from our troops, and the research
findings of such experts, have been ignored may be no accident.
A US report, leaked in late 1995, allegedly says, ‘The potential
for health effects from DU exposure is real; however it must be
viewed in perspective…the financial implications of long term
disability payments and healthcare costs would be excessive.’
Clearly, with hundreds of thousands gravely ill in Iraq and at least
a quarter of a million UK and US troops seriously ill, huge disability
claims might be made not only against the governments of Britain
and America if the harm done by DU were acknowledged. There might
also be huge claims against companies making DU weapons and some
of their directors are said to be extremely close to the White House.
How close they are to Downing Street is a matter for speculation,
but arms sales makes a considerable contribution to British trade.
So the massive whitewashing of DU over the past 12 years, and the
way that governments have failed to test returning troops, seemed
to disbelieve them, and washed their hands of them, may be purely
to save money.
The possibility that financial considerations have led the governments
of Britain and America cynically to avoid taking responsibility
for the harm they have done not only to the people of Iraq but to
their own troops may seem outlandish. Yet DU weapons weren’t
used by the other side and no other explanation fits the evidence.
For, in the days before Britain and America first used DU in war
its hazards were no secret.4 One American
study in 1990 said DU was ‘linked to cancer when exposures
are internal, [and to] chemical toxicity – causing kidney
damage’. While another openly warned that exposure to these
particles under battlefield conditions could lead to cancers of
the lung and bone, kidney damage, non-malignant lung disease, neuro-cognitive
disorders, chromosomal damage and birth defects.5
A culture of denial
In 1996 and 1997 UN Human Rights Tribunals condemned DU weapons
for illegally breaking the Geneva Convention and classed them as
‘weapons of mass destruction’ ‘incompatible with
international humanitarian and human rights law’. Since then,
following leukaemia in European peacekeeping troops in the Balkans
and Afghanistan (where DU was also used), the EU has twice called
for DU weapons to be banned.
Yet, far from banning DU, America and Britain stepped up their denials
of the harm from this radioactive dust as more and more troops from
the first Gulf war and from action and peacekeeping in the Balkans
and Afghanistan have become seriously ill. This is no coincidence.
In 1997, while citing experiments, by others, in which 84 percent
of dogs exposed to inhaled uranium died of cancer of the lungs,
Dr Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine
at Georgetown University in Washington was quoted as saying, ‘The
[US government’s] Veteran Administration asked me to lie about
the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body.’
He concluded, ‘uranium…does cause cancer, uranium does
cause mutation, and uranium does kill. If we continue with the irresponsible
contamination of the biosphere, and denial of the fact that human
life is endangered by the deadly isotope uranium, then we are doing
disservice to ourselves, disservice to the truth, disservice to
God and to all generations who follow.’ Not what the authorities
wanted to hear and his research was suddenly blocked.
During 12 years of ever-growing British whitewash the authorities
have abolished military hospitals, where there could have been specialized
research on the effects of DU and where expertise in treating DU
victims could have built up. And, not content with the insult of
suggesting the gravely disabling symptoms of Gulf veterans are imaginary
they have refused full pensions to many. For, despite all the evidence
to the contrary, the current House of Commons briefing paper on
DU hazards says ‘it is judged that any radiation effects from…possible
exposures are extremely unlikely to be a contributory factor to
the illnesses currently being experienced by some Gulf war veterans.’
Note how over a quarter of a million sick and dying US and UK vets
are called ‘some’.
The way ahead
Britain and America not only used DU in this year’s Iraq war,
they dramatically increased its use – from a minimum of 320
tons in the previous war to a minimum of 1500 tons in this one.
And this time the use of DU wasn’t limited to anti-tank weapons
– as it had largely been in the previous Gulf war –
but was extended to the guided missiles, large bunker busters and
big 2000 pound bombs used in Iraq’s cities. This means that
Iraq’s cities have been blanketed in lethal particles –
any one of which can cause cancer or deform a child. In addition,
the use of DU in huge bombs which throw the deadly particles higher
and wider in huge plumes of smoke means that billions of deadly
particles have been carried high into the air – again and
again and again as the bombs rained down – ready to be swept
worldwide by the winds.
The Royal Society has suggested the solution is massive decontamination
in Iraq. That could only scratch the surface. For decontamination
is hugely expensive and, though it may reduce the risks in some
of the worst areas, it cannot fully remove them. For DU is too widespread
on land and water. How do you clean up every nook and cranny of
a city the size of Baghdad? How can they decontaminate a whole country
in which microscopic particles, which cannot be detected with a
normal Geiger counter, are spread from border to border? And how
can they clean up all the countries downwind of Iraq – and,
indeed, the world?
Professor Major Doug Rokke, former chief officer of the Depleted
Uranium Project at the Pentagon and a victim of harmful effects
of DU should perhaps be given the last word:
‘What I expect is that we will again see serious health effects
in the American soldiers who go there and use it. We will see health
effects in all the residents of that region. We will see health
effects in the Iraqi soldiers who will be the targets of direct
uranium used by US forces. I must repeat and make this very clear,
as the head of the project to clean up uranium munitions during
the 1991 Gulf War, and as the director of the Depleted Uranium Project
for the Department of Defence who did the research, and as a DU
casualty, the use of uranium munitions during warfare is a crime
against God, is a crime against humanity, and should be considered
a war crime. You cannot take solid uranium radioactive waste, throw
it in anybody’s backyard and refuse to provide medical care
and complete the environmental clean-up that is required to sustain
the health and safety of the citizens of the earth’
So there are only two things we can do to mitigate this crime against
humanity. The first is to provide the best possible medical care
for the people of Iraq, for our returning troops and for those who
served in the last Gulf war and, through that, minimize their suffering.
The second is to relegate war, and the production and sale of weapons,
to the scrap heap of history – along with slavery and genocide.
Then, and only then, will this crime against humanity be expunged,
and the tragic deaths from this war truly bring freedom to the people
of Iraq, and of the world.
James Denver writes and broadcasts internationally
on science and technology.
1. The Lancet volume 351, issue 9103, 28 February
2. Rosalie Bertell’s book Planet Earth the Latest Weapon of
War was reviewed in Caduceus issue 51, page 28
3. www.gulflink.osd.mil/du_ii/du_ii_tabl1.htm#TAB L_Research Report
4. www.wagingpeace.org/articles/02.01/020117moret.htm The secret
official memorandum to Brigadier General L.R. Groves from Drs Conant,
Compton and Urey of War department Manhattan district dated October
1943 is available at the website www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2003/Leuren-Moret-Gen-Groves21feb03.htm
5. www.gulflink.osd.mil/du_iitab11.htm#tab L_research report summaries
The Low Level Radiation Campaign hopes to be able
to arrange a limited number of private urine tests for those returning
from the latest Gulf war. It can be contacted at: The Knoll, Montpelier
Park, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 5LW. 01597 824771. Web: www.llrc.org
Below is an editorial published in October in
the Baltimore Sun, written by Dr. Helen Caldicott, Founder and President
of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, whose book The New Nuclear
Danger was published in 2002.
"As the Bush administration prepares to make war
on the Iraqi people -- for it is the civilian population of that country
and not Saddam Hussein who will bear the brunt of the hostilities
-- it is important that we recall the medical consequences of the
last Persian Gulf war. It was, in effect, a nuclear war. By the end
of that 1991 conflict, the United States left between 300 and 800
tons of depleted uranium 238 in anti-tank shells and other explosives
on the battlefields of Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The term "depleted" refers to the removal of the fissionable element
uranium 235 through a process that ironically is called "enrichment."
What remains, uranium 238, is 1.7 times more dense than lead. When
incorporated into an anti-tank shell and fired, it achieves great
momentum, cutting through tank armor like a hot knife through butter.
What other properties does uranium 238 possess? First, it is pyrophoric.
When it hits a tank at high speed, it bursts into flames, producing
aerosolized particles less than 5 microns in diameter, making them
easy to inhale into the terminal air passages of the lung. Second,
it is a potent radioactive carcinogen, emitting a relatively heavy
alpha particle composed of two protons and two neutrons. Once inside
the body -- either in the lung if it has been inhaled, in a wound
if it penetrates flesh, or ingested since it concentrates in the food
chain and contaminates water -- it can produce cancer in the lungs,
bones, blood or kidneys. Third, it has a half-life of 4.5 billion
years, meaning the areas in which this ammunition was used in Iraq
and Kuwait will remain effectively radioactive for the rest of time.
Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to the effects of radiation
than adults. My fellow pediatricians in the Iraqi city of Basra, for
example, report an increase of six to 12 times in the incidence of
childhood leukemia and cancer. Yet because of the sanctions imposed
on Iraq by the United States and the United Nations, they have no
access to antibiotics, chemotherapeutic drugs or effective radiation
machines to treat their patients. The incidence of congenital malformations
has doubled in the exposed populations in Iraq where these weapons
were used. Among them are babies being born with only one eye and
with an encephaly -- the absence of a brain.
However, the medical consequences of the use of uranium 238 almost
certainly did not affect only Iraqis. Some American veterans exposed
to it are reported, by at least one medical researcher, to be excreting
uranium in their urine a decade later. Other reports indicate it is
being excreted in their semen That nearly one-third of the American
tanks used in Desert Storm were made of uranium 238 is another story,
for their crews were exposed to whole body gamma radiation. What might
be the long-term consequences of such exposure has not, apparently,
been studied. Would these effects have surprised U.S. authorities?
No, for incredible as it may seem, the American military's own studies
prior to Desert Storm warned that aerosol uranium exposure under battlefield
conditions could lead to cancers of the lung and bone, kidney damage,
non-malignant lung disease, neurocognitive disorders, chromosomal
damage and birth defects.
Do President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul Wolfowitz, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld understand the medical consequences of the
1991 war and the likely health effects of the next one they are planning?
If they don't, their ignorance is breathtaking. Even more incredible,
though, and much more likely, is that they do understand but don't
I have added in here information posted on a
website on June 19, 2006
The address of this page is : www.uruknet.info?p=24081
"I have never seen... double and triple cancers
in one patient... My wife has nine members of her family with cancer"--
When anyone makes nuclear energy or nuclear weapons,
a massive amount of radioactive waste is created. In the U.S., Depleted
Uranium is harnessed by the government as a component for bombs, shells
and automatic weapons bullets.
Nuclear waste remains radioactive for billions of years,
contaminating ground, water and air, causing cancer, birth defects
and death, although DU is allegedly "safe" for humans, according
to Pentagon scientists (irony being the weapons are still meant to
D.U. is now everywhere in Iraq: (and much of Aghanistan)
bullets made with uranium lay in the residential streets, neighborhoods
in Baghdad and Fallujah have been bombed with uranium weapons... and
doctors in Iraq have taken notice:
"Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra
which I have never seen before.... double and triple cancers in one
patient. We had one patient with 2 cancers one in his stomach and
kidney. Months later...cancer was developing in his other kidneyhe
had three different cancer types. The second is the clustering of
cancer in families. We have 58 families here with more than one person
affected by cancer. Dr Yasin, a general Surgeon here has two uncles,
a sister and cousin affected with cancer. Dr Mazen, another specialist,
has six family members suffering from cancer. My wife has nine members
of her family with cancer.
"Children in particular are susceptible to DU poisoning. They
have a much higher absorption rate as their blood is being used to
build and nourish their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues.
Bone cancer and leukemia used to be diseases affecting them the most,
however, cancer of the lymph system which can develop anywhere on
the body, and has rarely been seen before the age of 12 is now also
common" -- Doctor Jawad-Al-Ali
Whatever is causing the cancer is probably behind the
birth defects in Iraqis, which are now commonplace: babies with missing
brains, sex organs, spines, tumors instead of eyes or intestines outside
of the body, et cetera. Like babies born in the wake of Hiroshima
& Nagasaki or near bomb-test sites.
"Did the use of Uranium weapons in Gulf War 2 result
in contamination of Europe?"
"In 1979, depleted uranium particles escaped from
....National Lead Industries... near Albany, N.Y.,which was manufacturing
DU weapons for the U.S military. The particles traveled 26 miles and
were discovered in a laboratory filter by Dr. Leonard Dietz, a nuclear
physicist. This discovery led to a shut down of the factory in 1980,
for releasing morethan 0.85 pounds of DU dust into the atmosphere
every month, and involved a cleanup of contaminated properties costing
over 100 million dollars" -- Center for Globalization Research
Thousands of pounds of D.U. were dropped in the bombing campaigns
against Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001-2003, causing a near total
incineration of the uranium and leaving its "dust" scattered.
Then, British scientists Chris Busby and Saorise Morgan
"...the highest levels of depleted uranium ever
measured in the atmosphere in Britain, were transported on air currents
from the Middle East and Central Asia; of special significance were
those from the Tora Bora bombing in Afghanistan in 2001, and the "Shock
& Awe" bombing during Gulf War II in Iraq in 2003.
"...The British government facility (AWE) was taken over 3 years
ago by Halliburton, which refused at first to release air monitoring
data, as required by law, to Dr. Busby"
Radioactive waste doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care
about your innocence, whether you're Arab or Kurd, European or Asian,
baby or insurgent, American soldier or American business contractor.
D.U. doesn't dissolve in water, meaning it is never excreted from
an animal's body. It is passed on into any offspring and into their
offspring. It is the perfect weapon, working through postmodern society's
ASTRO-IMPERIALISM - By
The United States is seeking to "control space" and
from space "dominate" the Earth below - and "control" and "dominate"
are words used repeatedly in US military documents.
----- The Bush administration is gung-ho
for US projection of military power in space. As a recent report of
the Space Commission chaired by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
puts it: "In the coming period, the US will conduct operations to,
from, in and through space in support of its national interests both
on the Earth and in space."
----- Star Wars is back. But there's
a difference. Star Wars first emerged under Ronald Reagan in 1983.
Then it was purportedly needed to fend off what Reagan called the
"evil empire" - the Soviet Union.
----- There is no Soviet Union any longer.
Now a key rationale for Star Wars, as US military documents acknowledge,
is the global economy - of which the US is the engine. The US would,
from the "ultimate high ground" of space, "dominate" the planet below
in part to keep the global economy on track.
----- The US Space Command's Vision
for 2020 report (its cover depicting a laser weapon shooting a
beam down from space zapping a target below) states: "The globalization
of the world economy will also continue - with a widening gap between
'haves' and 'have-nots'." From space, the US would keep those 'have-nots'
----- The US Space Command describes
itself in this way: "US Space Command - dominating the space dimension
of military operations to protect US interests and investment, integrating
Space Forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum
----- Vision for 2020 compares
the US effort to "control space" and Earth below to how centuries
ago "nations built navies to protect and enhance their commercial
interests," referring to the great empires of Europe that ruled the
waves and thus the Earth to maintain their imperial economies.
----- The US Space Command seeks to become
"the enforcement arm for the global economy," as Bill Sulzman, director
of Citizens for Peace In Space put it.
----- The citizens are not aware of the
broad military plans of the US for space because of the PR spin of
the new Star Wars pitch (it's about protecting against a "Space Pearl
Harbour", as the Rumsfeld Commission puts it).
----- But other nations of the world
do understand. That is why, at the United Nations (UN) last November,
a resolution was introduced - on which 163 nations voted 'yes' - for
"Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space". It reaffirmed the basic
international law on space, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, and specifically
its provision that space be set aside for "peaceful purposes". The
United States abstained.
----- A country leading in the international
effort to stop the US plans by strengthening the Outer Space Treaty
and barring all weapons from space is Canada - no potential rival.
As Marc Vidricaire, representing Canada, said at the UN last year:
"It has been suggested that our proposal is not relevant because the
assessment on which it rests is either premature or alarmist. In our
view, it is neither. One need only look at what is happening right
now…" Moreover, stressed the Canadian statement, "There is no question
that the technology can be developed to place weapons in outer space.
There is also no question that no state can expect to maintain a monopoly
on such knowledge - or such capabilities - for all time. If one state
actively pursues the weaponization of space, we can be sure others
----- But the rogue state called the
United States is blocking the Canadian initiative. For the US thinks
it can be - as the motto of the Air Force Space Command terms it -
"Master of Space".
"MASTER OF SPACE". It appears as a Space Command uniform
patch and is in three-foot-high letters over the entrance of the Air
Force's 50th Space Wing. It pretty well sums up the US attitude toward
----- Working closely with the military
in achieving this goal are major aerospace corporations. Indeed, the
Long Range Plan starts out by explaining how it has been "US
Space Command's number one priority….investing nearly twenty years
to make it a reality." And "The development and production process,
by design, involved hundreds of people including about seventy-five
----- The Long Range Plan goes
on to list those seventy-five corporations - beginning with Aerojet
and going through Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Sparta Corp.
to TRW and Vista Technologies.
----- President Dwight Eisenhower warned
in his farewell address in 1959 of the influence of a "military-industrial
complex". Now, the US military boasts about how giant corporations
are helping in setting US military doctrine.
----- Star Wars, with its powerful backers,
never, in fact, went away. Funding at $6 billion a year continued
through the Clinton administration. Last December, Clinton's Department
of Defence cleared the way for development of the Space Based Laser
Readiness Demonstrator - a project of Lockheed Martin, Boeing and
TRW - with a lifecycle budget of $20 to $30 billion.
----- It was Clinton's Assistant Secretary
of the Air Force for Space, Keith Hall, who said: "With regard to
space dominance, we have it, we like it, and we're going to keep it."
----- And things are far worse now with
the Bush administration, which is intimately linked to the aerospace
companies. Vice-President Cheney himself is a former member of the
TRW board and his wife Lynn is a member of the Lockheed Martin board.
They are tied to the ultra-right think tanks that, with the US military,
have been promoting Star Wars. The Bush administration is pushing
hard and fast to make space a new arena of war.
----- The report, Space Commission,
seeks "superior space capabilities". It says the US President should
"have the option to deploy weapons in space." It emphasizes that it
is "possible to project power through and from space in response to
events anywhere in the world. Unlike weapons from aircraft, land forces
or ships, space missions initiated from Earth or space could be carried
out with little transit, information or weather delay. Having this
capability would give the US a much stronger deterrent and, in a conflict,
an extraordinary military advantage."
----- It proposes that the Space Command
become the nucleus of a US Space Corps, to be like the Marine Corps
and possibly a fully separate Space Force or Space Department - on
par with the Army, Navy and Air Force.
----- As the man whose legislation got
the Rumsfeld Space Commission established, Senator Bob Smith of New
Hampshire, said: "It is our manifest destiny. We went from the East
Coast to the West Coast of the United States of America settling the
continent and they call that manifest destiny and the next continent
if you will, the next frontier, is space and it goes on forever."
----- The book, The Future of War:
Power, Technology and American World Dominance in the 21st Century,
by George and Meredith Friedman, concludes: "Just as by the year 1500
it was apparent that the European experience of power would be its
domination of the global seas, it does not take much to see that the
American experience of power will rest on the domination of space…Just
as Europe expanded war and its power to the global oceans, the United
States is expanding war and its power into space…Just as Europe shaped
the world for half a millennium, so too the United States will shape
the world for at least that length of time…For better or worse, America
has seized hold of the future of war, and with it - for a time - the
future of humanity."
The rest of the world will not sit back and accept US
world dominance from space. If the US moves ahead on its programme
of astro-imperialism, and deploys weapons in space, other nations
such as China and Russia will meet the US in kind. There will be an
arms race and inevitably war in space.
----- As First Secretary of China's UN
delegation, Wang Xiaoyu, has declared: "Outer space is the common
heritage of human beings". "Space domination," he stated, "is a hegemonic
concept. Its essence is monopoly of space and denial of others' access
to it." If the US pushed ahead, other countries would in response
launch their own space military programme, China vowed. However, China
is, for now, holding off and, paralleling Canada's initiative, also
seeking an international ban on weapons in space. But the US has rebuffed
the Chinese initiative, too.
----- What a legacy to be left for our
children and their children at the dawn of this new century! If the
US makes space a new place for war, no one will profit but Boeing,
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and TRW.
Karl Grossman is Professor of Journalism at the State
University of New York. His books include Weapons in Space
(Seven Stories Press, 2001).
The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power
in Space can be contacted at: PO Box 90083, Gainesville, Florida 32607,
These extracts from a lecture given at the Technology
Teach-In, New York, February 2001, have been reproduced from Resurgence
Magazine, #208, September/October 2001 with the permission of the
editor, Satish Kumar.
NATO'S Military Debates Should Be About Arms Reductions
Bonn - With about two thirds of the world's military
expenditure being made by NATO countries, it is ridiculous that there
is a dispute within NATO on allegedly too little effort by the Europeans
in military spending or within the United States on how much the Pentagon
budget should grow.
----- On the contrary, there has never
been a better time for NATO to take new arms control and disarmament
initiatives. Despite a completely changed security environment, global
military expenditures still amounted to $800 billion in 2000, and
are on the increase again; the present stock of major conventional
weapons is still over 422,000 pieces; 22.7 million troops still serve
in regular armies and almost 8 million employees work in the arms
----- After substantial reductions in
arsenals during the 1990s, disarmament is at a standstill in many
countries and in some there is even rearmament, with the United States
setting the trend.
----- In the mid 1990s, negotiated arms
control fell into a crisis at the multilateral level within the United
Nations system and bilaterally between the United States and Russia.
Paradoxically, governments have continued for several years to reduce
their arsenals substantially, despite the gridlock in arms control
----- The crisis of traditional arms
control and the present turning point in disarmament are closely related
to the major changes in international politics of the 1990s. Two major
factors contributed specifically to this crisis:
----- First, with the slow but continuous
disintegration of Russia's military apparatus, the United States emerged
as the dominant power in international security relations. At the
end of the Cold War the former antagonists saw the opportunity to
make reductions since it was obvious that military arsenals were oversized.
More major conventional and nuclear weapons have been decommissioned
than was actually agreed upon in the treaties.
----- However, the U.S. interest in strategic
stability through bilateral arms control waned as the situation in
Russia continued to disintegrate. The United States has increasingly
come to believe that it can control smaller states by military means.
The development of a missile defense system is the clearest expression
of this policy.
----- Second, many countries started
to change their perceptions of military threat and, consequently,
the meaning and purpose of arms control. The number of military interventions
in distant regions increased in the 1990s. United Nations peacekeeping
missions moved to centre stage in discussions of new and future military
missions. Attention focused on regional and internal wars. The weapons
used by the warring parties, including land mines, small arms and
light weapons, were included on the international arms control agenda.
----- The type of classical arms control
developed during the Cold War proved insufficient for dealing with
this new situation. Stability between major military powers is not
the main problem in post-Cold War conflicts. The emphasis is now on
limiting the destructiveness of weapons and reducing costs.
----- The negotiations of the Ottawa
land mine treaty represent the most prominent example of the emerging
reorientation of arms control. When it became clear that it would
be impossible to reach an agreement within the traditional arms control
forum, the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, a coalition of the
willing negotiated the Ottawa treaty successfully in a new forum.
----- There are two fundamentally contradictory
approaches to military-based security. One approach is the attempt
to reach military superiority - the road apparently taken now with
the planned U.S. missile defense system. The second approach is based
on arms control, negotiations to reduce military arsenals and confidence
building. Which of the two concepts will be adopted depends on the
world community's resistance against the present U.S. push for increased
Herbert Wulf is director and Michael Brzoska is director
of research of the Bonn International Centre of Conversion, a non-profit
organization that promotes the transfer of former military resources
to civilian purposes. They contributed this comment to the International
Herald Tribune 8/8/01.