Spite-Filled, Ungrateful, Massively Displaced Iraqis Dramatically Raise Their Cancer and Birth Defect Rates

just to make America look bad.

There are, of course, rebuttals to the facts presented. One popular one is “This comes from a ritually impure site, therefore the facts it presents about the massive uptick in cancer and birth defects can be ignored.”

Another one is, “War is a prudential judgment, but abortion is always wrong. So any politician or pundit who cheerled for that war is exonerated by wearing a Precious Feet pin. Being prolife means not having to take responsibility for Iraqi birth defects since who could possibly have foreseen that showering a civilian population with depleted uranium for the better part of decade could possibly lead to cancer and birth defects?”

Another one is, “What? Are you still talking about that? It’s been what? a couple of years? Let it go! Besides, children are resilient.”

Another beloved response is “Oh well, fortunes of war. Whaddaya gonna do?”

Until conservative Christians get past the notion that opposition to abortion does not take away the sins of the world and cease talking as if “prudential judgment” means “Screw the guidance of the Church on any question where she conflicts with the GOP and FOX”, we will continue to see Catholics stampeded into supporting things like this. Being prolife is far more than simply being Anti-Abortion Except When it Harms the GOP Candidate’s Chance of Being Elected.

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  • P Adams

    May God have mercy on us. I had heard about the depleted uranium years ago, but did not know how bad it was. America and its gov’t, along with ALL the gov’t of the world, will have to answer to God. Is there anything we local folks can do?

  • Meggan

    Thank you, Mark. Thank you, thank you, thank

  • Rachel

    Thank you for posting this Mark. Its very important information that needs to get out

  • MeanLizzie

    Mark, any info on why these sort of horrific defects were not reported on after the 1991 attacks where we also used depleted uranium?

    • ivan_the_mad

      They were; look into Gulf War Syndrome.

    • chezami

      Nope. However, it could have something to do with the fact that the war lasted a month. not nearly a decade.

      • A small correction, the active component of the war ended quickly in a cease-fire. The war technically never ended until the election of the first post-Saddam government and the handoffs of the US to said government post occupation. When we decided to restart active hostilities, we notified the UN that we were withdrawing from the cease-fire, not that a new war had commenced.

        I am convinced that this is the source of a significant amount of disagreement in catholic circles because it does mess with the just war analysis if you have one side seeing one war with a long cease fire and the other side seeing two wars.

  • ivan_the_mad

    This isn’t just Iraqis and their children, but coalition veterans and their children as well. This is abominable, and cries out to heaven for justice. This is why the Church just war doctrine is so restrictive and speaks even to the type of arms which can be used.

  • Jeff

    Naturally it would be “ritually impure” and not “untrustworthy”.

    Rhetoric at the service of character defamation. Refusal to engage honestly with those who differ. All the standard bag of tricks.

    Oh yeah. Now I remember why I don’t read Shea as often as I used to!

    • Steve

      So engage– Mark is not the only one on this thread, despite how much you may resent his conversation-starter.

  • Dan C

    I have less belief in the depleted uranium hypothesis, and more belief that chronic stress makes changes on embryos and fetuses. This is an increasingly important area of research and explains why the poor in America have increases in birth defects also. Adverse Epi genetic phenomenon are routine in times of high stress.

    Life in a war zone, as has been the case in Iraq for years, cannot be described as low stress.

    As far as Ms. Scalia’s question about why no reports of this in the 1990’s- such would require a reliable set of observers and public reporting system. It is unclear such existed before. Or…if one accepts the “stress causes birth defects” theory, then one can hypothesize that life under Saddam was less stressful than the past ten years. I actually do not think that is a hugely contested hypothesis.

  • B.E. Ward

    Somewhere, George Bush is in the bath again….

  • KM

    And our “elite” leaders want more of this. Alternet has a report up this week about how our blood-thirsty leaders who attended July’s Security Forum in Aspen are planning for many more years of war.


    “The “war on terror” that began on 9/11 has no discernable end, [said retired CENTCOM chief General James Mattis], likening it to the “the constant skirmishing between [the US cavalry] and the Indians” during the genocidal Indian Wars of the 19th century. “The skirmishing will go on likely for a generation,” Mattis declared.”

    • I have to disagree with Gen. Mattis. Were we to concentrate on the legitimate cause of war, we would likely end things much sooner. The legitimate cause of war being the muslim habit of running religious courts with universal jurisdiction and a proclivity for issuing death penalty decisions that cover large portions of the US public and whose enforcement is given over to any adult male muslim who feels like enforcing it on a particular day. It is a particularly nasty trick on their own moderate majority who are largely disinclined to do such things but who are constantly having their radicals attempt to convince them to be more diligent about enforcing these court judgments.

  • One potential alternative is to actually fact check the thing instead of immediately jumping into swallowing accusations whole and mass character assassination, poisoning the well before anyone can have a chance to respond. Along the way, you might find sources that are more likely to be accepted by conservatives than a hack program like democracynow. Maybe this would serve:


    But a careful read would note two of the three contaminated sites in the study are Saddam leftovers, not relevant to US use of DU shells. So how much of the increase in mutations and deaths is due to which source? I don’t know because I don’t have a subscription to the journal the scientific study was published in. I note it because Saddam nuclear contamination seems to have been a non-issue for the piece you link to. And maybe that sin of omission is part of a pattern which is why a lot of people on the right blow off that source.

    We should take full responsibility for our own actions. We should make restitution for our own sins. Whitewashing Saddam’s sins so the Baath party doesn’t look so bad, I consider that a very different proposition. In fact, I consider it facilitating evil. Go review the latter part of the transcript. They’re shilling for the good old days of the Baath.

    Regarding U-238 (otherwise known as DU), besides making very effective tank ammunition cores is also used wherever you need something dense, the smaller the better. There are a number of airliners flying around with this stuff being used as trim weights in multiple hundreds of kilogram quantities. DU is considerably safer than natural uranium which is a widespread, low grade health hazard in the US, generally called radon to not scare people excessively. Here is a national radon map:

    Yes, we have a lot of this stuff floating around and it’s more dangerous than DU. How DU is supposed to be creating these huge cancer clusters I don’t know. It’s counter-intuitive, but might be true so we should investigate.

    Regarding white phosphorus, it is possible to use white phosphorus legitimately as illumination for night operations, to use it as an incendiary to create fire (also legitimate), to use it as a smokescreen (again, legitimate), and to use it as a toxicological weapon, to fire at people. When used in the latter fashion, it makes distinctive, horrible wounds and that usage is what I understand is banned by the Geneva Conventions. I haven’t seen any real evidence of WP being used illegally by the US. That would have been a desperation tactic and militarily, we were never that kind of desperate.