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Poisoned by Dust

Dear Editor:A few days ago, I learned more about the ongoing genocide in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced. Last night I was informed about another tragedy, presented in Poison DUst, a movie about the use of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition in Iraq, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17249.htm. As I watched I felt both angry and heart broken.Depleted uranium, a hazardous byproducts from the nuclear energy industry, allows bullets and missiles to pierce armor. When munitions hit their targets, they vaporize, creating radioactive dust that soldiers and innocent Iraqis breathe in. A United Nations resolution classifies depleted uranium munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.In the first gulf war 320 metric tons of depleted uranium was used. Over the last several years in Iraq, our armed forces have used over 2,000 metric tons of DU. In the months and years to follow, continuous exposure to radiation leads to heart, liver and lung damage, cancer and birth defects in future generations. By the way, DU has a half life of 4 billion years. Over 150,000 veterans from the first gulf war suffer from the effects of “Gulf War Syndrome (GWS).” Many studies link GWS to DU munitions.Whether or not we believe the war in Iraq is justified or not, at a minimum, we need to look after the people fighting on our behalf. They deserve not to be poisoned while on the battle field and proper medical treatment upon returning home.Supporting our troops requires more than lip service or magnets on cars. Even in my deepest imagination, I cannot come close to understanding the suffering millions in the world face every day. How lucky we are to have safe shelter, healthy food and clean air. I offer prayers of love and healing to all beings of this planet, negatively impacted by the actions of the United States.Please spread the word and write or call your elected officials. Also watch or listen to Amy Goodman’s publicly funded “Democracy Now.” Amy provides real news not co-opted by a multinational corporation’s bottom line. http://www.democracynow.org. It can be hard to discover the truth but with awareness and compassion (the willingness to hear another’s plight with an open heart), we can cultivate right action.Thank you for your efforts.Branden CohenCarbondale


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