Epidemic of Birth Defects and Cancer in Iraq: America's Toxic Legacy
June 13, 2013 | uruknet.info | Stephen Lendman
America's Gulf War, intermittent bombings in the 1990s, the 2003 war, and aftermath left a toxic legacy.
Children born with two heads reflect it. Some had only one eye. Missing
sockets look like the inside of an oyster. They're milky and shapeless.
Some children had tails like a skinned lamb. One or more had a monkey's
face. Girls had their legs grown together. They were half fish, half
Miscarriages are frequent. Hundreds of newborns have cleft pallets,
elongated heads, overgrown or short limbs, and other malformed body
parts. Some are too gruesome to view.
Deformed Iraqi newborns are commonplace. So are virtually every known
illness and disease. They're inordinately frequent. They range from
severe headaches, muscle pain and debilitating fatigue, to serious
infections, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors and numerous type
They include leukemia, Hodgkin's disease and multiple myeloma. Others
affect the bile ducts, bones, brain, breasts, colon, prostate,
esophagus, gall bladder, liver, lungs, pancreas, pharynx, ovaries,
salivary glands, small intestine, stomach, thyroid, urinary tract, and
Cancer's been around a long time. In October 2010, Nature.com headlined "Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?"
It said a "striking rarity of malignancies in ancient physical remains might indicate that cancer was rare in antiquityâ€¦."
University of Illinois School of Public Health/Cancer Prevention
Coalition Chairman/Professor Emeritus Samuel S. Epstein titled his 1978
award-winning book "The Politics of Cancer."
Twenty years later, he updated it. It's called "The Politics of Cancer Revisited."
He's an internationally recognized cancer expert. He calls it a growth
industry. Over recent decades, the incidence of numerous types
He referred to doing so in modern societies. Iraq and other US war
theaters are different. Iraq perhaps is in a class of its own. Vast
parts of the country are irradiated.
On May 21, Science Daily headlined "Cancer and Birth Defects in Iraq: The Nuclear Legacy," saying:
Ten years after the 2003 war, Mosul-based scientists "detected high
levels of uranium contamination in soil samples at three sites in the
province of Nineveh which, coupled with dramatically increasing rates of
childhood cancers and birth defects at local hospitals."
Iraq's a toxic wasteland. Scores of pollutants include dangerous
chemicals and metals, oil, gasoline, pesticides, bacteria, other
poisons, and irradiation. Widespread depleted uranium use caused it.
US bombs, missiles, shells and bullets use solid DU projectiles or
warheads. They're de facto nuclear bombs. Their widespread use is more
harmful than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Inhaled or ingested DU particles or dust is highly toxic. They're
designated illegal weapons for good reason. America prioritizes their
use. Iraqis suffer horrendously.
Radioactive contamination is virtually everywhere. DU's half-life is 4.5
billion years. Contamination is permanent. According to Helen
America's two Iraq wars "have been nuclear wars because they have
scattered nuclear material across the land, and people, particularly
children, are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease
essentially for eternity."
From 1991 - 2008, the incidence of birth defects and childhood cancer
spiked sevenfold. Over one-third of US Gulf War vets are dead, seriously
ill, or permanently disabled.
Science Daily said widespread "carcinogenic material across Iraq
suggests the public health legacy of the two Gulf Wars is only going to
get worse." It does so annually.
In October 2012, London's Guardian headlined "The victims of Fallujah's health crisis are stifled by western silence."
Four new studies link "one of the most severe public health crises in
history" to America's two November 2004 assaults on the city. Cancer
rates and birth defects spiked dramatically.
Cancer expert Dr. Chris Busby studied conditions. He called Fallujah's
crisis "the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever
In some respects, Basra replicates it. Its neural tube defects (aka
"open back") incidence is unprecedented. Numbers keep rising.
Hydrocenphalus (water on the brain) cases among newborns are sixfold higher than America. US munitions bear full responsibility.
In September 2012, the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (BECT) headlined "Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities."
Evidence it reported was damning. From October 1994 - October 1995,
congenital defects per 1,000 live births in Basra's Maternity Hospital
In 2003, it was 23. It represented an "astonishing 17-fold (increase) in
the same hospital." From 2003 - 2011, annual evaluations were
conducted. Congenital birth defect occurrences and types were reported.
Metal levels in hair, toenails and teeth were provided. Children with
birth defects had nearly three times more lead in the enamel portion of
deciduous teeth than others living in unimpacted areas.
Parents were abnormally affected. Pregnant mothers and growing fetuses
are especially vulnerable. Exposure to toxic air, water, and soil
pollutants assures trouble.
Following US bombings, contamination increased dramatically. Cancer,
other diseases and birth defects followed. They're at epidemic levels.
They keep rising.
Populations in war zones suffer horrifically. Radiation-affected
theaters compound it. BECT said nationwide Iraq ill health reports
suggest greater crisis ahead.
"News of increases in childhood cancers, of perinatal and infant
morbidity and mortality, and of unusual increases in congenital birth
defects, have continued to emerge from across Iraq."
Data from central Iraq's Al-Ramadi corroborated Fallujah findings. Basra's seriously affected.
"Present knowledge on the effects of prenatal exposure to metals,
combined with our results, suggests that the bombardment of Al Basrah
and Fallujah may have exacerbated public exposure to metals, possibly
culminating in the current epidemic of birth defects."
Internal pre-Gulf War data showed cancer incidence at 40 per 100,000. By
1995, it was 800. By 2005, it doubled to 1,600. Annually, numbers
They understate the problem's severity. Cancer and birth defect rates
are likely much higher. Reporting falls short of what's needed.
Iraq's a cauldron of disease, malformed newborns, pain, suffering, misery, deaths and despair.
Daily violence, extreme poverty and unemployment, malnutrition,
repression, dysfunctional infrastructure, permanent occupation, and
other imperial priorities compound other problems.
Media scoundrels don't explain. US ones hail an Iraq success story. In August 2008, The New York Times called "Iraq a remarkably safer place than it was when" Petraeus arrived.
Violence "plummeted" significantly. Streets "are flourishing with life.
The worst, for now, has been averted." America's toxic legacy was
Violence then was more than acknowledged. Today it's out-of-control.
Resource theft, ecocide, human misery, and health crisis conditions go
News most fit to print is suppressed. Official fabrications substitute. It's standard scoundrel media practice.
Most Americans don't know what's been done in their name. It's true in
all US war theaters. They don't ask. They're not told. It happens every
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."