Fallujah Birth Defect
© msnbc
A horrific example of the birth defects suffered by babies in Fallujah
When I lived in Vietnam I saw first hand the legacy of the use of Agent Orange the US forces had used for deforestation in the Vietnam war. 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use. I was teaching at a school that was supporting a local charity which cared for children still being born with horrific birth defects. They were the third generation to have their lives destroyed by these toxic chemicals. At the care home we visited the heroic nun in charge, who told us how she had first found the children abandoned by their parents in cages with chains around their arms. Many of those children still bore the scars on their wrists. Most would not live past 18. Their spines would curve as they grew until their organs could no longer function. They were there because they had been abandoned on the street by families too poor to look after them. I held a 4-month-old boy who had been found in a shopping bag behind a waste bin. He was deaf, blind and oblivious to the actions of others, and would be deprived of a life we take for granted.

I was recently reminded of that terrible scene after reading an article that stopped me in my tracks. It reminded me of just how horrifying, destructive and inhumane the actions of our world 'leaders' have been. And continue to be.

The news I'm referring to is a shocking revelation that is lost behind the backdrop of Halloween party costumes, the 24/7 coverage the US Presidential election circus and media hysteria of 'Frankenstom' Sandy.

A study recently published in the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology bulletin, found that the weapons and ammunition used by the US and its Imperial apparatus - NATO - in the illegal destruction and occupation of Iraq have led to significant rise in birth defects and unexplainable illnesses. In fact, there has been a five-fold increase in birth defects since the occupation began.

Before the invasion of Iraq just 2 per cent of babies were born with a defect. Between 2007 and 2010 the study found more than half of all babies were born with a defect. Just to repeat that, every other baby born has a congenital birth defect. In addition, during that period 45% of pregnancies ended in miscarriages. In young infants, the toxic metals mercury and lead were found to be at levels 5 times higher than normal.

The US and UK Governments distance themselves from any responsibility. The US Department of Defence responded that they "are not aware of any official reports indicating an increase in birth defects in Al basrah or Fallujah that may be related to exposure to the metals contained in munitions used by the US or coalition partners". A UK government spokesperson said there was no "reliable scientific or medical evidence to confirm a link between conventional ammunition and birth defects in Basra".

They fail to acknowledge that the cause of this suffering is the 3-week bombardment of Fallujah where marines used hell-fire missiles, 2000 lb bombs and tanks loaded with depleted uranium and internationally banned 'white phosphorus' munitions.

RT's Liz Wahl reports:

White phosphorus is the same chemical that Saddam Hussein used against the Kurds in 1991 and was used as an excuse for the US-led invasion of Iraq. It is also the chemical used by Israel when in 2006 it attacked Hezbollah targets during the second Lebanon war with phosphorus shells. In 2009, Israel's military fired white phosphorus over crowded areas of Gaza repeatedly and indiscriminately in its three-week criminal war, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians.

In Vietnam it is not just the long-lasting devastating effects of Agent Orange that is causing misery. 37 years after the Vietnam War, landmines are still killing and maiming Vietnamese civilians. The Vietnamese government estimates that between 1975 and 2007 unexploded landmines have claimed around 105,000 civilian victims.

Perpetual War and Suffering in the Pipeline

One of the most upsetting things to me is how the leaders of Israel and the USA continue to discuss plans for further destruction and slaughter. Even contemplating ways of provoking attacks to justify their bloodshed. As you read this, Israel is continuing to indiscriminately kill unarmed civilians in Gaza. It is disturbing to think that in 10 years' time, if we are still here then, we will be reading new studies on civilian suffering and massive casualties in Tehran, Syria and Lebanon. Whatever political excuses are used to justify these invasions, it is harrowing to think what kind of future awaits us. Israel is already proposing attacks on Lebanon, and the US has been joining in the warmongering to destroy Iran.

Despite the harrowing lessons from our recent history, the massive ongoing loss of life and suffering has not satisfied the blood-thirsty psychopathic 'leaders' or the profit-margins of the military arms manufacturers. Fifty years ago President Eisenhower warned about the growth of a 'military-industrial complex,' and the risks it could pose:
"The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power," Ike said, "exists and will persist." His anxieties back then were prompted by the ten-fold expansion of the US military after two world wars, and by the development of a "permanent arms industry of vast proportions". Today, the proportions of both the military and the industry that serves it are vaster than ever.
He was right, as was Major General Smedly Butler in 1933. when he wrote "War is a Racket". But we have learned nothing and done nothing to curtail the power of the military and government complicity in what amounts to crimes against humanity. Will we will ever reach a point in our 'civilisation' where human life becomes more important than arms deals?

I don't have the answers. I just know that as terrifying as it is, one thing we can do, no, one thing we HAVE to do, is recognise the Truth of the world we live in, and those that control it, for what it is. Sharing with others the evidence of the REAL and horrible long-term effects of our 'humanitarian' wars and alleged spreading of 'freedom and democracy' is essential. In this way, maybe one day enough pressure will be brought to bear on those responsible to call them to account and throw them in jail for life. At that point, humanity can begin to rebuild a new society free from the pernicious and massively destructive influence of psychopaths in power.

We can but hope.
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