By Felicity Arbuthnot
Most of us have woken in the witching hours and wondered: 'why did I ever say that ...' and known it would return to haunt. Most of us too, can spot the instant a public figure does the same. 'Watch my lips' no more tax rises, said George Bush Snr. Doomsday was sure to follow. 'I feel the hand of history on my shoulder' said Prime Minister Blair in Northern Ireland. The country's Parliament went into meltdown and remains a political Chernobyl sarcophagus. 'Mission accomplished', declared by George W. Bush on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1st 2003 may prove to be the Mother of all Blunders. The only small blessing is that he wasn't flying the plane which delivered him on the deck at one hundred and fifty miles an hour, given unfortunate encounters with quad bikes, ordinary bikes (near totalling a policeman at Gleneagles) and Pretzels.
The ruins of lives, homes, towns, villages in Afghanistan and Iraq, the pollution of the region and the entire planet (Dr Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk found that radiation from weapons used in Iraq, travelled and quadrupled radiation readings in Europe in just nine days)* the ongoing destruction and estimation of as many as three hundred thousand subsequent violent deaths in Iraq, up to ninety five percent possibly at the hands of and certainly under the watch of, occupying forces or their cohorts and employees, the drip drip of dodgier and dodgier dossiers (there'll surely be more) to justify an entirely unjustifiable and illegal invasion; the disappearance of an entire sovereign government, up to thirty thousand people held in Iraq without trial. Hidden detention centres and disappeared flown around the globe to be tortured, un-named and untraced, denied all the legalities that painstaking, if imperfect, international Treaties and Conventions have committed to, built over generations. Missing $billions of sovereign moneys, squatted sovereign buildings, imposed puppet governments and no end in sight, on to Iran, the road to Damascus in an 'endless war' which, says the ‘Pretzelly’ challenged President, could last generations.
We may, in fact not have the luxury of generations for war or even peace. I am indebted to Irving Wesley Hall of www.notinkansas.us for meticulous, referenced addition to the Depleted Uranium debate. They have army sources unavailable to most, a chilling inside track. The lie to the spin. Two stories of enormity which they have uncovered perhaps demonstrate the historically incomparable mess we are in. Bearing in mind that it is estimated that two thirds of those who served in the 1991 Gulf war are sick or on disability benefits, thought to be linked to DU and or untested inoculations and destruction of toxic sites, orders of magnitude more of DU has been used and continues to be used in Iraq. This time round though, no meaningful figures regarding DU contamination are obtainable. 'Medical professionals in hospitals and facilities treating returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan have been threatened with ten thousand dollar fines and jail, if they talk about the soldier or their medical problems', states Hall. 'Reporters have been prevented access to to more than fourteen thousand medical evacuees, flown nightly ... to Walter Reed Hospital near Washington DC. What is the DoD hiding?' He asks.
Hall relates the sad, salutary tale which perhaps answers his own question. Seargant Michael Lee Tosto, possibly 'first American victim of 2003's "Shock and Awe" ..' He died in Baghdad on June 17th 2003, aged twenty four. In common with a number of deaths reported at that time, he died, said the army, of pulmonary edema, or cardiac failure after showing flu like symptoms. His family said he was A1 fit and had never suffered any major illness. Dr Garth Nicholson of the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Huntingdon Beach, California and an expert of DU poisoning told Hall: 'We are witnessing the same symptoms of radioactive poisoning today as fifteen years ago.We are hearing the same denials of reality from Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defence ...'
Michael's father wondered why his son was wearing white gloves, when his son was delivered for the funeral by the army. Michael's wife, Stephanie, reached under one glove and found his wedding ring was missing, Queried, the army replied that it may have been 'contaminated'. Rather than send back his identifying 'dog tags', they sent back brand new ones. Were his, too, contaminated?
Major Richard J, McNorton, specially charged by US Central Command to assist bloggers in obtaining accurate information has been remarkably reticent in replyting to Hall's requests regarding the following US Army Central Command communique (June 2005.) It stated that ' ... soldiers of .. 62nd Quartermaster Company from Fort Hood, Texas', had been supplying water for showers to, ironically, 'Camp Forward Danger' in Iraq to men and women of the New York National Guard, with water from the Tigris river, untested for radiation. 'Our men and women just spent six months taking radioactive showers in a depleted uranium broth ... washing open wounds ... eating more than five hundred meals with food, plates, cutlery washed in hot water - in two senses of the word ..'
An enraged soldier contacted Hall: 'I am sick and probably dying ... this was a suicide mission ..Bush. Cheney, Rumsfeld .. are no better than Bin Laden (we are on a ) suicide mission to murder innocent people (and) volunteering unwittingly to be nuked by DU.'
Nuked Iraqis have additional to contend with. A letter from an Iraqi doctor, received yesterday, states in part :
We are living in a complicated risky horrible deteriorating miserable unhappy life. Nobody dare to get out of house after sun set. No patient is able to go to a hospital at night even if this means dying at home. Our daily talk is who, and how many lives were ended by violence. Imagine, only in our street 10 people were killed ... If you want the mangnitude in our locality, the number probably exceeds 150.
... theft, darkness in view of interupted electricity, and sounds of explosins and gunfire at night .... life ending business is becoming the most profitable job these days.
The forensic medicine dept receives an estimated number of three thousands bodies terminated by firearms per month in Baghdad only . The reasons cant be explained in this letter .... all are intended consequences in an invaded (sorry liberated) country.
My neighbor, a young man (just like my son), was attacked by two bullets inhis head just 200 meters away from our house at noon time when ……. (my 8 years daughter) was back from school.
When I returned Safia rushed with a hysterical smile: Daddy, daddy, you know our neighbor, Mr ...was dead after 2 shots in his brain. What shocked me is that she is smiling, not sad, not crying.
Soon after this, Safia had difficulty in sleep ... and now she usually cant sleep alone unless in my bed holding me with her arms.
The US Administration still hasn't bought that history of modern Iraq and failed foreign adventures there. Condoleeza (I've an oil tanker named after me) Rice and Donald Rumsfeld went to instruct the new 'Prime Minister' last week (having temporarily buried the hatchet not in each others heads.) His name is Nuri al Maliki. The last puppet Prime Minister was imposed by the British. His name too was Nuri ( Sa'ad.) He was murdered and dragged round the streets until he was referred to as Shish Kebab. Not much left.