Tuesday Mar 27, 201211:49 AM GMT
'US liable for DU birth defects in Iraq'
Children at Fallujah General Hospital (file photo)
Mon Jan 3, 2011 11:59PM
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The US must be accountable for the rising number of cancer rates and birth defects reportedly linked with America's use of depleted uranium in the Iraq war, analysts say.

“I think the Iraqi government should take the responsibility and go to an international court against the American forces to take the responsibility in this case. This is the best solution for the Iraqi victims,” Ali al-Nashmi, an Iraqi political analyst, told Press TV in an interview on Monday.

He made a reference to the US military's attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004 and said that the American forces need to compensate for the damage inflicted on civilians.

US forces besieged and bombarded Fallujah, 30 miles (48 km) west of Baghdad, in April 2004 after four elements of the notorious American security firm Blackwater/Xe were killed in the town.

The US military stormed Fallujah in November that year using heavy artillery and aerial bombing. They later admitted to having used white phosphorus and other munitions.

The fallujah attack left trails of deaths and destruction with many bizarre birth defects and other congenital deformities that raised questions about the US deployment of radioactive material.

According to a study published in July 2010, infant mortality rates, cancer and leukemia cases in the Iraqi city exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs dropped by the US on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the closing days of World War II in 1945.

“Now, what is actually needed to get the Americans to admit that and to come clean about it is for the Iraqi government to launch a comprehensive, rigorous investigation, a formal one and official one, into what happened and the usage of those weapons and to document all those major defects that have happened, so that we can have a formal case. Because those people, who are still suffering, deserve compensations,” Zayd al-Isa, an expert on Iraqi affairs said in a Monday interview with Press TV.

“Now the Americans are basically shying away from admitting or confessing, because they know that this would open the flood gates for foreigners to ask for compensation, particularly those Iraqis who suffer at their hands, those innocent civilians. Also the American soldiers, who basically have repeatedly joined the war twice in Iraq, will ask for compensation from the American government,” he added.

Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the US attack on Fallujah, the British daily The Independent wrote upon the release of the recent study by a number of physicians including Dr. Chris Busby, a professor at the University of Ulster in the UK.

According to the survey, the Iraqi doctors' claims have been supported by a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in children under 14 years old.

Professor Busby said it is difficult to pin down the exact cause of the cancers and birth defects, adding that "to produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened."

The study, entitled "Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009," confirmed the Iraqi citizens' account of a sharp rise in cancer and congenital birth defects.

Researchers found a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a ten-fold increase in female breast cancer and significant increases in lymphoma and brain tumors in adults. At Hiroshima survivors showed a 17-fold increase in leukemia, but in Fallujah, Busby says, what is striking is not only the greater prevalence of cancer but the speed with which it was affecting people.

Of particular significance was the finding that the sex ratio between newborn boys and girls had changed. In a normal population this is 1,050 boys born to 1,000 girls, but for those born from 2005 there was an 18 per cent drop in male births, so the ratio was 850 males to 1,000 females. The sex-ratio is an indicator of genetic damage that affects boys more than girls. A similar change in the sex-ratio was discovered after Hiroshima.

The use of uranium ammunition is widely controversial because of potential long term health effects. The United States and Britain used up to 2,000 tons of this type of ammunition during the Iraq war.

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