Medical consequences of attacking Iraq.
October 12, 2002 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Medical consequences of attacking Iraq. In a brief, but vivid, editorial, pediatrician and anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott decries the use of U-238 (aka "depleted uranium") weapons. (via boing boing)
posted by xowie (36 comments total)
Right she is. Why not go back to the good old days and use napalm instead. Children and adults will all be ahrmed in the exact same manner--thus equitable and helpful for kids.
posted by Postroad at 6:30 AM on October 12, 2002

U-238 has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. What is the half-life of napalm?
posted by xowie at 6:38 AM on October 12, 2002

Yet because of the sanctions imposed upon Iraq by the United States and United Nations, they have no access to drugs or effective radiation machines to treat their patients.

Right--this lack of access to medicine has nothing to do with a militaristic regime.
posted by goethean at 6:46 AM on October 12, 2002

Are sanctions to blame? Yes.

Stahl: "We have heard that a half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it?"

Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."
posted by xowie at 6:50 AM on October 12, 2002

There is an interesting summary of the effects of depleted uranium here, basically saying there just any evidence to justify saying it has an effect on health.
posted by Plunge at 7:01 AM on October 12, 2002

That's a Rand publication, res ipsa loquitur.

In Iraq, you can correlate the increases in leukemia in children with the districts where they used DU
posted by xowie at 7:09 AM on October 12, 2002

My friend, when they regain control of their precious palaces, the Iraqi Natonial Congress may be disturbed to find them radioactively contaminated for the next 4.5 billion years.

Do any of you think, when our continuing use of such materials becomes widely understood in the Arab world, that the percentage chance of terrorists putting radioactive waste in their bombs will increase, or decrease?
posted by xowie at 7:14 AM on October 12, 2002

Good point. We should use nicer bullets. (?!)
posted by goethean at 7:17 AM on October 12, 2002

Medical consequences of NOT attacking Iraq? Years, perhaps decades more of torture, trauma and psychological abuse. Continued poverty for millions, malnutrition, and so on.

It's assholes like this women who really depress me. By now it should be obvious that intelligence in one realm of life has little or no crossover to others. Actually, I learned this while dating...
posted by ParisParamus at 7:17 AM on October 12, 2002

Would either of you volunteer, even for triple-overtime pay, for a US Marine tour of duty in one of these villages where babies are born without brains? Or with your gonads flush to the metal of one of our country's nice uranium tanks? Did you read the part about DU being found in the semen of U.S. servicemen - doesn't that worry you, just a little bit?
posted by xowie at 7:23 AM on October 12, 2002

xowie is on pace to set an all-time record!
posted by Witty at 7:26 AM on October 12, 2002

So are you!

If one of youse has a decent link or statistic to add, speak now or forever hold your PEACE.
posted by xowie at 7:30 AM on October 12, 2002

Excuse, here is what WHO has to say about it, basically saying the same thing, there just isn't enough scientific evidence on the subject.

I guess my attitude is lets get some scientific evidence, let's study it out before reacting.
posted by Plunge at 7:30 AM on October 12, 2002

Okay, granted, Plunge, that Saddam's hubris and excess has wasted such funds, much like how a homeless person might spend his money on lottery tickets.

But your own site said this excess was "more than 2 billion dollars since 1990." Do you really believe that 2 billion dollars over nearly thirteen years would pay for the feeding and medical aid of the entire population of Iraq?

2,000,000,000 over 12 years is about 166.6 Million a year. The population of Iraq is around 15 million people. That averages Saddam's ridiculous, extortionist excess to slightly over ten bucks per person per year.

Understandably, considering these factors are in U.S. dollars, that can be considered quite a lot, but there is now way that money is equal to the aid that the citizens could be recieving without the restriction of sanctions. The very banning of these supplies makes them more valuable withint the country, as well as their rarity.

If you read all of xowie's link, you would see that even if Saddam didn't waste a single cent of funds from the Oil-for-Food program, it wouldn't fully cover the whole of the Iraqi population. When he can't help his people, why would an asshole like Saddam bother to do anything at all, when he can just use his limited funds to buy palaces... or, perhaps worse, weapons? It's terrible logic, but look who we're dealing with here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:31 AM on October 12, 2002

With a leader like Saddam, G-d only knows what's in the water, air and food supply of Iraq. To attribute health effects to DU is kind of dubious.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:32 AM on October 12, 2002

And Paris, come on now.

Medical consequences of NOT attacking Iraq? Years, perhaps decades more of torture, trauma and psychological abuse. Continued poverty for millions, malnutrition, and so on.

Do we REALLY need to delve back into pretending that we all cared about all of this for the last eleven years, as well as care about this happening in every one of our "allied" nations that don't seem to bother us because they're being good little children and giving us oil? We must bomb Iraq in order to save it... right.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:37 AM on October 12, 2002

BTW - Here is another interesting link on sanctions. I'm having a hard time seeing how sanctions are to blame for their suffering and not the actions of Iraq Govt.
posted by Plunge at 7:38 AM on October 12, 2002

You are more radioactive than depleted uranium.

XQUZYPHYR: Aid isn't supposed to cover the entire Iraqi population. They're supposed to have an economy of their own. Teach a man to fish, and all that good stuff.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:39 AM on October 12, 2002

XQ: if the best you can do is resort to questioning the specific intent of the United States over the years, I'll take it.
Stalin and the Soviety Union helped defeat Germany in WWII. The Soviet Union was evil, but the result was positive.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:58 AM on October 12, 2002

The arguement seems, after the necessary name calling, to now focus upon what is or is not happening to the Iraqui people as a result of our sanctions.

1. Huge sums have been going to many military officers to buy them cars etc in order to win over their support of the regime, as seen on a TV news story.
2. Much oil is being sold that was not supposed to get out of the country by using ships that hugged the coast of Iran, within a three mile limit, putting those ship off limits to US intervention.
3. 25 thousand dollars per family has been paid out to the families of suicide bombers, "martyrs" who lived not in Iraq but in the West Bank.

Not sure of total money spend of course but this indicates at least that Saddam's focus is not exactly on the well bleing of his own people.
posted by Postroad at 8:27 AM on October 12, 2002

I certainly am not leading the call to war parade, but I stopped listening to anything Helen Caldecott wrote about 20 years ago, when I read her screed Missile Envy whose major thesis, if I recall correctly, was that the cold war would never end, and that we were all headed straight to armageddon because the leaders of the United States felt sexually inadequate.
posted by stupidcomputernickname at 9:25 AM on October 12, 2002

This is the same woman who spoke of the 80's arms buildup as doomed to fail and cause a nuclear exchange and winter. I think she is stu-peed.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:31 AM on October 12, 2002

The above comment illustrates why it is embarrassing for a thinking person to be pro-war.

posted by goethean at 9:39 AM on October 12, 2002

The amount of radioactivity due to DU in Iraq is background noise relative to the natural radiation of the area.
posted by jammer at 10:07 AM on October 12, 2002

I love how the Far Left takes positions and couches them in terms of absolute certainty. Will taking over Iraq turn out to be a good thing? Probably. We don't know for sure, of course, but it's the far better bet than doing nothing, or continuing with trade restrictions which hold as much water as a colander.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:11 AM on October 12, 2002

if the best you can do is resort to questioning the specific intent of the United States over the years, I'll take it.

You mean questioning a decades-long history of violent and bloody hypocrisy? Kindly explain to me how that's not the best thing to do.

If the best you can do is spout the same tired "Saddam used WMD on his own people and after eleven years I suddenly care about it, oh my god it just occurred to me all those poor women are being oppressed- no I mean the ones in Afghanistan, who cares how they're being treated in Saudi Arabia" rhetoric that reflects that hypocrisy, I'll take it... with a very small grain of salt, that is.

And will the takeover of Iraq be a good thing? No. It will be a costly operation that will take a large quantity of innocent lives (be it American or Iraqi) and risk countless more when we are required to keep a defensive force there until such time as the rest of the Arab world won't want to try and attack it every waking moment... which I'm sure will only be a few weeks, right? I mean, they did quiet down in Israel in 1967, you know. Who'd even imagine that they'd still want to be bombing the place these days?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:35 AM on October 12, 2002

If we take out Saddam, after, perhaps, a few weeks or months of chaos, the Mideast will actually quiet down. Societies held together by thuggery (read, almost the entire Arab/Muslim world) only respond to force, and, well, they will.

In any case, before asking the George Bush why an invasion is just and necessary, go ask the "Arab world" why they can't seem to make it beyond the Middle Ages. It's not like anyone wants to invade Iraq.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:51 AM on October 12, 2002

Yes, the takeover or Iraq will be a good thing, ESPECIALLY for the Iraqis. As it was for the Germans and Japanese.

Stop being timid.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:53 AM on October 12, 2002

If we take out Saddam, after, perhaps, a few weeks or months of chaos, the Mideast will actually quiet down.

Well, that's nice. I assume you're booking your ticket to participate in those weeks or months of chaos, or are you happy sitting on your arse, thousands of miles away?

Stop being timid.

Spoken like a true chickenhawk.
posted by riviera at 12:38 PM on October 12, 2002

Yes, the takeover or Iraq will be a good thing, ESPECIALLY for the Iraqis. As it was for the Germans and Japanese.

Stop being timid.

Yawn. Hey, I just checked- I didn't incinerate 300,000 people with nuclear weapons yet, and amazingly I still have a penis. What else ya got? Maybe you can insult my mother or tell me I'm a doody-head.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:10 PM on October 12, 2002

Pictures of DU babies (or so the article claims.)
posted by homunculus at 3:17 PM on October 12, 2002

If we take out Saddam, after, perhaps, a few weeks or months of chaos, the Mideast will actually quiet down.


The Middle East will "actually" quiet down within a few months after Saddam is removed? That's preposterous!

Remember that the US presence in the Saudi Arabia has caused anger among the anti-American arabs and have given a financial and political base for many terrorist groups. Just think what a FULL SCALE OCCUPATION of Iraq would do. Outrage would be putting it mildly.

If the US wants to quiet down the Middle East the US should put it's awesome military capabilities to end the war between Israel and Palestine. If the US intervenes and stop the settlements (as the US have asked Israel to do repeatedly, and as the UN Security Council have DEMANDED Israel to do) the Middle East will indeed most likely calm down from an American Perspective.

If the US decides to occupy Iraq, the terrorists will most probably gain thousands of recruits in the general antiamerican backwash.

Oh, and don't forget that if the US annihilate the Iraqi powerbase completely the power vacuum will just empower Iran (not an altogether bad thing considering that Iran is one of the most enlightened and democratic of the Middle Eastern states) and Saudi Arabia. Remember: Divide - and Conquer!

As to the original topic: Being against the use of depleted uranium in a possible conflict isn't the same as being against the conflict. If the US contaminates large areas and make them unsuitable for living the US might as well just use thermonuclear weapons from the getgo - it is cheaper both fiscally and manpower-wise. The problem with those kinds of weapons are the collateral damge they create. Those weapons are qva their side effects creating unnecessary and unproportionally large civilian casualties.
posted by cx at 7:17 PM on October 12, 2002

Could someone maybe put up a website that collects all the various predictions about the war with credits to the people who wrote those predictions? Then, when the war happens (and lets face it kids, it will happen) the page could have all the explanations from the people who mispredicted of why they got it wrong.
posted by davidgentle at 7:50 PM on October 12, 2002

OT: I never thought I would be agreeing with Postroad instead of posting my own response.

Maybe I should go start buying some lottery tickets..
posted by Tystnaden at 8:31 PM on October 12, 2002

(I remember when Paris's user page asserted that 40% of everything he said was BS. Kind-hearted soul though he may be IRL, I've pretty much ignored him since then.)

"This [the invasion of Iraq] could be a golden opportunity to begin to change the face of the Arab world." --James Woolsey, former CIA director.

It's time to acknowledge that many members and allies of the current administration want an empire. Time for them to admit they want one; and time for the rest of us to realize this, too. Maybe they want a relatively benign British Raj-style empire, but it's still an empire. However, I doubt that many Americans are ready to run or serve an empire; we don't have ethical qualms, just short attention spans.

In fact, ADD is the only explanation I can think of for the belief that we can invade Iraq, damage or destroy the remaining infrastructure, remove (with luck) the country's only source of law and order (however tyrannical and monsterous), then waltz off after a few months with hordes of happy Iraqis cheering us on.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:36 AM on October 14, 2002

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