The Uranium Munitions Pledge of Resistance

by John Lewallen, April 04, 2004

The Uranium Munitions Pledge of Resistance An Action Proposal With Footnoted Analysis
To: Veterans for Peace, Traprock Peace Center, Dan Fahey, Robert Gould, All Others Interested
--by John Lewallen 1
Please accept this humble offering from my winter's work. I look forward to being in groups with you to lovingly work for an end to war on Earth.
I'm proposing a worldwide campaign of nonviolent resistance to the use of uranium munitions.

I believe the strategy of person-by-person nonviolent resistance is the best way to speed the end of uranium munition use on Earth. It's something each of us can do now to start out. Organized, it could be a powerful way of encouraging nonviolent noncooperation with war itself. Many other strategies--legal, political, ecucational--are urgently needed to counter the Big Institutional Lie that uranium munitions are no big problem. With Major Doug Rokke, I IMPLORE YOU TO ACT1

Below I have tried to summarize the amazing set of factors that today have made uranium the state-of-the-art deep-penetration munition metal for U.S. armed forces worldwide, dooming U.S. troops using it to a highly toxic and mutagenic battlefield environment filled with uranium vapor, which has been known as a chemical and radiological warfare agent since 1943. This means that, based on what happened to Gulf War 1991 vets, at least one out of three soldiers sent to Iraq today will be disabled by the toxins encountered there within ten years.

The strategy of nonviolent resistance is required because the fastest conceivable effective ban on uranium munitions is several years away at best. The absolute Pentagon commitment to a weapon that is creating millions of human casualties worldwide by poisoning the environment with uranium oxide particles has created a Big Institutional Lie with tentacles everywhere, all focused on one thing: keep using uranium munitions!

Stop Using Uranium Munitions Now!

I begin my report on the health effects of uranium munitions with a heartfelt personal appeal: stop using uranium munitions now! If you are the President of the United States, or under the President's command, you are commiting a war crime by using, or ordering the use, of uranium munitions.

If you are a soldier about to use a uranium bullet, missile or bomb, don't do it. The uranium oxide vapors unleashed when you pull the trigger put both you and your target in a battlefield gas environment of tiny, deadly, mutagenic uranium oxide particles. These tiny uranium oxide particles made when up to seventy per cent of the uranium projectile you shoot burns on friction and impact will stay in the environment as long as the Earth exists, bringing death, a host of diseases, and mutation to many living creatures.


Uranium is the leading deep-penetration metal used today in United States military munitions worldwide. Uranium combines superior density with the tendency to sharpen and burn on impact. The first wartime use of uranium munitions was in 1991, when United Nations forces used an estimated 320 tons of uranium munitions in Iraq, primarily in anti-tank munitions in desert warfare. 2. These munitions contributed to the complete neutralization of the Iraqi tank forces, so much so that during the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, many Iraqi tanks were abandoned unused.

All commentary on uranium munitions is colored by the fact that U.S. armed forces worldwide are fully committed to the use of uranium munitions. The official U.S. military position is that uranium munitions pose no toxic or radioactive health danger to anyone. 3. In fact, as has been known by the U.S. military since 1943, when the inventors of the atomic bomb described uranium vapor as an agent of chemical and radiological warfare, breathable uranium is a horrific weapon with both chemical and radiological toxicity. 4. Extensive testing of uranium munitions show that from ten to seventy per cent of the uranium vaporizes on impact, in particle sizes ranging down to the microscopic. 5.

Today in 2004, thirteen years after the first massive use of uranium munitions, countless thousands or millions of its victims cry in vain for relief as the United States and other military forces continue to use uranium munitions. Anyone seeking to end this suicidal chemical and radiological gas warfare is confronting one of the biggest institutional lies in history, the lie that uranium munitions pose no long-term or widespread health hazard. This lie is so huge, and has so many tentacles and subtleties, that it has become institutional orthodoxy in the United States.

The truth, as it is being pieced together by dedicated, disciplined, peer-reviewed scientists worldwide, is too horrifying for most people to contemplate. The vaporized, ceramic uranium oxides which billow as smoke from an impacting uranium munition have poisoned the human environment with minute, undetectable uranium oxide particles which will remain radioactive and toxic for the lifetime of Earth. Unlike natural uranium, which is soluble, breathed uranium oxide particles are insoluble, and become lodged in the human body if breathed, remaining there for many years, causing a host of diseases. Uranium oxides are mutagenic, attacking the genetic code which allows the human race to reproduce without crippling mutation. 6.

Today the United States military forces are fully committed to a munition metal which, based on U.S. Veterans Affairs disability statistics on veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, will, along with the effects of other toxins in Iraq, disable one out of three battlefield troops who use uranium munitions within a decade of their exposure. To repeat: ONE-THIRD OF THE VETERANS OF THE 1991 GULF WAR ARE DISABLED TEN YEARS AFTER THE WAR. 7.


"Briefing on Depleted Uranium," Colonel James Naughton, U.S. Army Materiel Command, March 14, 2003: (Image of burned, blackened, and shattered Iraqi tank on screen) "Why do we use it (depleted uranium)? This is the result. What we want to be able to do is strike the target from farther away than we can be hit back, and we want the target to be destroyed when we shoot at it. We don't want to see rounds bouncing off. We don't want to put our soldiers in the position that you see, if you watch 'Kelly's Heroes,' where they load tank rounds with paint in order to blind the target. And I'm sure everybody in here has probably seen 'Kelly's Heroes' once, because in World War II we faced a problem of not having the overreach we have today. "We don't ever want to go back to that. And we don't want to fight even. Nobody goes into a war and wants to be even with the enemy. We want to be ahead, and depleted uranium gives us that advantage. We can hit, and they can't hit us." 8.

The story of how uranium munitions, and uranium armoring, became today's state-of-the-art metal of war worldwide begins with the ages-old desire of military forces to have superior spears and shields: spears that will fly farther than the enemy's and penetrate the opponent's best armor, and armor that will stop any spear the enemy can throw.
In the 1960s tungsten carbide was the primary metal used by the U.S. armed forces for armor-piercing projectiles. Tungsten carbide could not reliably penetrate the double-and triple-plated armor developed in the 1960s, touching off a scramble to invent a better armor penetrator.
That decade the military began experimenting with uranium as an armor-piercing metal. Tungsten carbide continued to be favored over uranium, for two reasons: problems in developing a consistent alloy, and penetration tests that failed to show clear superiority of uranium over tungsten carbide against older-model Soviet tanks.
In the early seventies, it became clear that the latest-generation armors would be impenetrable by tungsten carbide. Also, tests by the Air Force and Navy using small-caliber uranium rounds (20-,25-, and 30mm) clearly showed the penetration superiority of uranium rounds. Extensive Army testing for a better tank round metal for the 105mm M68 tank gun led to the XM774 Cartride Program in 1973, which used an alloy of uranium and titanium in an improved design that allowed the uranium core to withstand high acceleration without breaking up.
In the words of John Pike of <>: "Since the selection of depleted uranium for the XM774 cartridge, all major developments in tank ammunition have selected depleted uranium, including the 105mm M833 series and the 120mm M829 series (the latter being the primary anti-armor round used in the Gulf War). This pattern continues today, with the latest generation of the 105mm M900 series and the 25mm M919 for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle." 9.
When a uranium round is fired, friction and impact vaporize from ten to seventy per cent of the uranium, depending on what the round hits. Uranium is pyrophoric, meaning it burns on friction and impact. Also, unlike tungsten which dulls when it penetrates, uranium rounds shatter and burn as they penetrate armor, sharpening the round as it goes. In 1991, uranium munitions turned Iraqi tanks into hellish crematoria thick with breathable, burning particles of uranium.
Today very few people know the full extent of the use of uranium, depleted or fully radioactive uranium, as a metal of penetration by the world's armed forces. A cloak of secrecy and web of deception make it impossible for an ordinary soul to know when, where, and how much uranium has been used on bullets, artillery rounds, bombs and missiles worldwide.

The Groves Memo: Gas Warfare With Uranium Vapor

In 1943, the Manhattan Project scientists, racing to beat Hitler in inventing the atomic bomb, realized the Germans might use vaporized uranium as a gas warfare agent, or that U.S. forces might want to use it. Here is a quote from the "Groves Memo" written by Drs. James B. Conant, A.H. Compton, and H.C. Urey to General L.R. Groves on October 30, 1943 (the "material" referred to is uranium):

"As a gas warfare instrument the material would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicles, or aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. The amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small. It is estimated that one millionth of a gram accumulating in a person's body would be fatal. There are no known methods of treatment for such a casualty. "Two factors appear to increase the effectiveness of radioactive dust or smoke as a weapon. These are: 1) It cannot be detected by the senses; 2) It can be distributed in a dust or smoke form so finely powdered that it will permeate a standard gas mask filter in quantities large enough to be extremely damaging. An off-setting factor in its effectiveness as a weapon is that in a dust or smoke form the material is so finely pulverized that it takes on the characteristic of a quickly dissipating gas and is therefore subject to all the factors (such as wind) working against maintenance of high concentrations for more than a few minutes over a given area....
"Areas so contaminated by radioactive dusts and smokes, would be dangerous as long as a high enough concentration of material could be maintained...they can be stirred up as a fine dust from the terrain by winds, movement of vehicles or troops, etc., and would remain a potential hazard for a long time....
"Particles larger than 1 micron in size are likely to be deposited in nose, trachea or bronchi and then be brought up with mucus on the walls at the rate of 1/2-1 cm/min. Particles smaller than 1 micron are more likely to be deposited in the alveoli where they will either remain indefinitely or be absorbed into the lympatics or blood." 10.

The Clouds of Hell: Baghdad, October 1, 2003

The Uranium Medical Research Centre, a nonprofit research group, sent a bold team of sample-collectors into Baghdad in the fall of 2003 to collect soil, water and urine samples for uranium contamination testing. Here is part of their report on the U.S. battlefield cleanup effort in Baghdad, October, 2003:

"The most disturbing circumstance was observed in the U.S. occupied base in south-western Baghdad in the Auweirj district. It is close to the International Airport and hosts one of the largest Coalition bases around Baghdad....The area was subject to considerable aerial bombing and rocket fire prior to the Coalition ground forces' arrival followed by several ground skirmishes along the main routes to the International Airport and western entrances to the city.
"Leaving the downtown core for Auweirj requires crossing one of the elevated bridges over the Tigris Rover. The raised bridge provides a long view towards the south/southwest. On October 1, the team's third day in Baghdad, this view was interrupted by an enormous dust cloud hovering over a several hectare area, rising upwards of 300 meters (1000 ft.). The cloud slowly traversed Auweirj...Auweirj contains a wealthy residential neighbourhood...Some of the highest overall ambient air and ground surface radioactivity readings were measured in Auweirj...
"As the team's vehicle approached Auweirj, the cloud was blanketing the Coalition-occupied base, depositing a layer of fresh dust on people, houses, automobiles, and the highway. We had to turn on the windshield wipers. Departing the Coalition-occupied base was a long, steady stream of tandem-axle dump trucks carrying full loads of sand, heading south away from the city. Returning from the south was a second stream of fully loaded dump trucks waiting to enter the base....The soil removal was lofting tonnes of fine, light dust into the local environment, which was then falling back to inundate square kilometores of residential neighbourhoods and Coalition occupied facilities." 11.

A Deadly Pack of Pentagon Lies: Michael Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. (Econ.)

Representing the U.S. Department of Defense Iraq Deployment Health Support Directorate, Dr. Michael Kirkpatrick made the following statements on March 14, 2003:

"Depleted uranium is 40 percent less radioactive than natural uranium around us. And so when it's outside the body it's just not an issue. It's only when it's internalized--either by inhaling the dust, the oxide, as Colonel Naughton said when there is penetration of armor, it does self-sharpen and it does create an oxide dust. And there are people who were in or on the vehicles that were struck in friendly fire, who did inhale that oxide, and we have not seen any medical consequence from that....
"When DU does strike armor and that oxide is created, it falls to the ground very quickly--usually within about a 50-meter range. As Colonel Naughton said, it's heavy. It's 1.7 times as heavy as lead. So even if it's a small dust particle, it's still very heavy. And it stays on the ground....
"Our studies in the United States over 15 years have not shown depleted uranium going from the soil into the groundwater. It just does not move from the round that is in the soil. And the bottom line is there is going to be no impact on the health of the people in the environment, or people who were there at the time it was shot."12.

The Vanishing Urine Samples In 1991 the victorious Gulf War veterans returned outwardly unscathed from the Iraqi battlefields, having taken only small numbers of visible casualties. However, they had been exposed to a staggering array of toxins, including rushed vaccinations and breathable vapors from uranium munitions. That same year Dr. Asaf Durakovic, who at the time was also a Colonel in the U.S. Army, became aware that Major Doug Rokke, who had been doing cleanup work to remove U.S. military vehicles destroyed by "friendly fire" in Kuwait and Iraq, was seeking medical treatment for several U.S. and British soldiers who were showing a wide array of symptoms which suggested the possibility of poisoning by inhaled uranium vapors.
Both Maj. (also Dr.) Rokke and Col. Durakovic were under specific orders to protect U.S. troops from the health hazards of uranium munitions. Dr. Durakovic, Director of Nuclear Medicine at a VA hospital, immediately agreed to treat the sick troops. An expert in the toxicology of uranium and other radioactive materials, Dr. Durakovic took urine samples from the sick soldiers, and sent them by registered mail to a lab in Aberdeen, Maryland for analysis of uranium content, broken down into the different uranium isopopes, which could indicate the source of the contamination.
"The urine samples never arrived in Aberdeen," Dr.Durkovic recalled in a 2003 interview. "All my inquiries were futile. Patients had renal surgeries, they were very sick, and some died."
Dr. Durkovic then had to endure constant verbal attack from many quarters to continue his work of protecting U.S. troops from battlefield uranium vapor contamination. The same thing happened to Major Rokke. Then began an internal struggle of the soul within the United States military establishment, as the impulse to find out the truth and protect human health gave way first to the deeper military instinct to cling to the superior metal of penetration at all costs, and now also to the chilling knowledge that everyone in a responsible position who has claimed that uranium munitions pose no significant chemical or radiologcal hazard to human or environmental health is potentially liable for damages and guilty of crimes under U.S. and international law.
Today, Dr. Asaf Durakovic and Major Doug Rokke, are two leaders of an international movement to stop the use of uranium munitions. As Director of the Uranium Medical Research Center, Dr. Durakovic brings his lifelong expertise in the medical effects of radiation to the field study of the leavings of uranium munitions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Every serious student of the health and environmental effects of uranium munitions is well-advised to read Dr. Durakovic's two key articles, "Medical Effects of Internal Contamination With Radiation," and "Undiagnosed Illnesses and Radioactive Warfare." 14.
These two scientific, peer-reviewed articles thick with references to actual research studies offer an ordinary person the best basis for sorting out the truth about the health effects of uranium munitions from the multitude of misunderstandings, lies and distortions.
Doug Rokke has become "The Flying Squirrel," his nickname as a B52 pilot in Vietnam, a short and very energetic speaker hopping, shouting and gesticulating in an Oct. 2,2003 speech before the Humboldt County, California, Veterans for Peace. Major Rokke believes a lot of his superior officers are lying war criminals who should be brought to prosecution, and he read written, signed orders and statements to lie and cover-up the horrible toxicity of uranium munitions. 15.

The Disappearing Medical Records

In 1995, Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT), contacted his friend Robert Newman, a retired journalist, to help him investigate a strange new disease, or diseases, sweeing through Gulf War veterans. "The Congressman was receiving a disturbing number of letters and e-mails from sick veterans in his district complaining that, when trying to get treatment at veterans hospitals, they were told, 'It's all in your head.' They weren't getting any help," Mr. Newman recalled in a 2001 interview. 16. Congressman Shays held fifteen hearings on what came to be called "Gulf War Syndrome" for the committe he chaired, the Subcommittee on Security, Veterans Issues, and International Relations, beginning March, 1996. After interviewing veterans and experts in various fields, the subcommittee concluded that Gulf War Syndrome was caused by radiation and/or chemical substances they encountered during their military service in Iraq, such as PB and untested vaccines they were forced to take.
"We learned that the medical records of nearly all the veterans had disappeared," Newman said. "For the five years or so it took Congress to launch this investigation, the Defense Department and Veterans Administration took their time responding to veterans who sought treatment or compensation. In the end, the requests were refused. At best, they took folks in but insisted the symptoms were just due to stress.." 17.

Disability Compensation Without Investigating Cause In October, 1998, Congress passed two laws based on the findings of the 14 bipartisan members of Congressman Shay's subcommittee. "The gist of those laws," Robert Newman explained, "is this. One stipulates that even without medical records, the illneses of Gulf War veterans must be recognized as due to their service in the Middle East, and the Defense Department and the Veterans Administration are required to offer prompt and appropriate treatment and compensation. The other one...prohibits the administration of any experimental drugs to soldiers without their consent."
This law opened the way for the Veterans Administration to award full disability to 221,000 Gulf War veterans with a host of symptoms by September, 2002, with thousands of cases still pending. It also diverted attention away from any scientific inquiry into the causes of Gulf War Syndrome.
When Hiroshima newsman Akira Tashiro interviewed Robert Newman in 2001, he was still devoted to monitoring the Veterans Administration for just treatment and compensation for Gulf War Syndrome victims. "The laws are absolutely inadequate," Robert Newman said, because full treatment and compensation would cost an impossibly large sum of money. Based on what he had learned about the probable long-term medical effects of breathing battlefield uranium vapors, Newman expressed worries that, for the next ten years, cancer and neurological disorder will increase among Gulf War veterans. 18.

Mutant Science:
The 1998 Rand Report A prime example of what one might call "Mutant Science" --truth chopped up and spliced with lie to make the Big Institutional Lie--is the 1999 Rand Report which concluded, and I quote,
"Although any increase in radiation to the human body can be calculated to be harmful from extrapolation from higher levels, there are no peer reviewed published reports of detectable increases of cancer or other negative health effects from radiation exposure to inhaled or ingested natural uranium at levels far exceeding those likely in the Gulf. This is mainly because the body is very effective at eliminating ingested and inhaled natural uranium and because the low radioactivity per unit mass of natural uranium and DU means that the mass of uranium needed for significant internal exposure is virtually impossible to obtain....Large variations in exposure to radioactivity from natural uranium in the normal environment have not been associated with negative health effects." 19.
The 1999 Rand Report on Depleted Uranium, prepared by a research think-tank on contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, provides the "scientific basis" for the Pentagon's claim that uranium munitions pose no hazard to human health or the environment. It is a review of the literature, brushing aside such evidence as Major Rokke has gained by doing actual clean-up and testing of uranium munitions as not being "peer-reviewed published reports."
It says first, "any increase in radiation to the human body can be calculated to be harmful from extrapolation from higher levels." In reality, since 1991, worldwide evidence of horrific casualties with multiple symptoms has been found wherever uranium munitions have been used.
The lack of "peer-reviewed published reports" linking negative health effects to inhaled battlefield uranium vapors is a flat-out lie; see Dr. Durkavoic's two key studies referred to above. "...the mass of uranium needed for significant internal exposure is virtually impossible to obtain." This is blatantly untrue, both because battlefield concentrations of uranium vapor are massive, and because even one minute particle of uranium oxide lodged inside a person's body can cause the destruction of dna in adjoining cells.

Toxic Forever, Radioactive for The Expected Lifetime of Earth As the armies of the United States range across the Earth showering bullets, artillery rounds, bombs and missiles, it is known only to insiders what type of uranium is being used, how much, or where. Quoting the Rand report, "The material generally used by the U.S. Department of Defense is 40 percent less radioactive than natural uranium." 20. However, Uranium Medical Research Center field investigations found that natural uranium bombs and munitions had been used by the United States in Afghanistan during 2002, heavily contaminating the population and environment. 21. Even the March, 2003 Pentagon briefing on uranium munitions noted that some reactor-generated "transuranics" are used in uranium munitions, indicating that nuclear reactor waste is used in uranium munitions. 22.
Whether the munition is natural or so-called "depleted uranium", the tons of breathable, alpha-emitting uranium oxides being generated as I write will penetrate throughout the entire environment and remain, virtually undetectable, chemically and radioactively toxic for the lifetime of Earth.

The Big Lie is Institutional Truth, The Truth is Heresy: Dan Fahey and Dr. Robert Gould

Anyone seeking to rescue the human race from this ongoing suicide mission to permeate the biosphere with breathable uranium oxide particles is confronting one of the most elaborately constructed institutional lies in history.
Consider the work of Dan Fahey, "an independent policy analyst on the uses and effects of depleted uranium munitions." 23. Dan Fahey's credentials are similar to mine: I am also an independent policy analyst studying the health and environmental effects of using uranium munitions. I have a record of military analysis writing going back to my book "Ecology of Devastation: Indochina" (Penguin Books, 1972), an ecological analysis of the U.S. war in Indochina, including early information on the effects of the herbicide Agent Orange. Today I finance my research and writing with my cottage industry, the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company. I do not know how Dan Fahey finances his work. Today Dan Fahey is the leading critic of "depleted" uranium munitions informing the U.S. Congress and mainstream press. Dr. Robert Gould, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility, recommended Dan Fahey as an authoritative expert on uranium munitions to me. In a phone conversation with me, Dr. Gould rejected the idea that uranium munitions pose a major danger to the human race. "It's not Hiroshima," he said. (In fact, the 320 tons or more of uranium munitions used in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War constituted the greatest environmental release of vaporized radioactivity in human history until the recent hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq, much greater than Hiroshima. 24.)
At an October, 2003, meeting of activists which I facilitated in Philo, California, Dr. Gould heard information brought by Humboldt County Veterans for Peace, who had just heard a speech and received information about uranium munitions from Dr. Doug Rokke.
Dr. Gould sent me this email message on November 19, 2003:
"As I mentioned at the teach-in, I believe that DU is a toxic material because of its heavy-metal and radioactive qualities, and I think it should be banned as a weapon, that there should be good studies of civilians and soldiers and that clean-up should proceed without waiting for the results of these studies. But I don't believe that DU is the most toxic material around (compared with highly radioactive waste, for example), and I think that much of the material presented at the teach-in is overstated based on available evidence and knowledge of the chemistry, and when so presented, obscures other significant potential contributors to observed health effects (oil fires and leaks, release of CW agents from warfare, the legacy of dirty Iraqi industrialization, immunization of troops, nutritional effects of sanctions, etc.)
Particularly since most of 'us' will agree on 'what needs to be done,' I remain puzzled by the apparent need for many in the progressive movement to put out such limited monocausal 'science' to convince people, since there are abundant credible arguments (as in the Dan Fahey material I sent you prior to the meeting) that better make the points."
Dan Fahey is a leading critical authority on uranium munitions in the United States today. Reading Dan Fahey's initial assessment on uranium munitions used in Iraq during 2003, this researcher has concluded that I am witnessing the Big Institutional Lie being used to delude, and to keep the uranium munitions reform movement from making any serious efforts to stop the use of uranium munitions.
Dan Fahey's assessment begins by noting that although "there is little known about the actual quantities of DU released or the locations of contamination, it appears approximately 100 to 200 netric tons was shot at tanks, trucks, buildings and people in largely densely populated areas." As Tedd Weyman noted in the "Iraq Gulf War II Field Investigation Report," "there is a significant discrepancy between the independent reports that rely on official government and defence department numbers (i.e. 100-200 metric tonnes) and the 1000 to 2000 metric tonnes of DU attributed to estimates by unnamed United Nations Environment Program and Pentagon sources." 26.
Mr. Fahey denounced the "pre-war propaganda" of lies used by the White House and Pentagon early in 2003 "to justify the use of DU munitions as a military necessity, and to dismiss concerns about the health and environmental effects of the use of DU munitions." Quoting a January 2003 White House report which stated that "scientists working for the World Health Organization, the UN Environmental Program, and the European Union could find no health effects linked to exposure to depleted uranium," Dan Fahey noted that "scientists from these organizations never looked for health effects linked to exposure in DU in any post-combat environment." Fahey went on to document several of the lies used by Dr. Michael Kilpatrick at the March 14, 2003 press conference on uranium munitions, which, he wrote, "perhaps reflected an urgency to deflect criticism and concern about DU on the eve of war."27.

Mr. Fahey's vigorous critique of the Big Pentagon Lie that uranium munitions pose no major hazard to human or environmental health is followed by an equally vigorous assertion of that lie. Mr. Fahey does not want to see uranium munitions banned, or use of uranium munitions stopped. Dan Fahey's policy recommendations are limited to better informing U.S. troops about uranium munitions, bioassays of U.S. troops with extreme battlefield exposure, revelation of when and where uranium munitions have been used, cleanup of "DU sites," and more studies of the problem. Mr.Fahey urges a health assessment of all the troops who, in his estimate, were extremely exposed to uranium munitions in 1991, who, he wrote, are just 900 in number. 28.
Then Dan Fahey's report attacks "anti-DU activists and people using the DU issue to further other political agendas or raise money." First, Mr. Fahey quotes an unnamed source from the "UK Green Party" making various unfounded claims about uranium munitions. Then he tars Drs. Doug Rokke and Asaf Durakovic with the same brush, to discredit and dismiss their devoted life's work to discover and reveal the true health effects of uranium munitions. Dan Fahey accuses Doug Rokke of making "exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims." 29.
Then comes this blood-chilling paragraph by Dan Fahey, independent researcher on depleted uranium munitions:
"The old myth that large quantities of DU are used in missiles and bombs has taken a new twist with the claim that 'non-depleted uranium' is being secretly used in hard target, deep penetration, and DBHT (deeply buried hard target) weapons that combine uranium with high explosives. Citing unspecified 'government reports and independent research,' the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC) claims these new warheads contain '100s to1000s of kilograms' of uranium that is 'extracted from the nuclear fuels and nuclear weapons production cycles prior to the uranium enrichment phase.' UMRC claims that secret use of uranium is responsible for illnesses in Afghanistan, but this assertion is undermined by the lack of any evidence that any missiles or bombs used in Afghanistan contain any natural or depleted uranium." 30.

Is The United States Military Using Uranium in Bombs and Missiles?

The full scope of U.S. military use of uranium munitions is secret. So how the hell does Dan Fahey, an independent researcher like me, know that it is an unsubstantiated "myth" that uranium is used by the U.S. in bombs and missiles?
The Uranium Medical Research Centre discovery that non-depleted uranium was used in bullets and bombs in Afghanistan is based on field work and sophisticated urine analysis for the different isotopes of uranium. First the UMRC found that the isotope content indicated natural uranium contamination in Afghanistan, not depleted uranium. Testing further, the UMRC found ceramic uranium in the urine of Afghans, indicating that the extreme heat of burning munitions had produced the uranium. This, according to Dr. Durakovic, has made some Afghan valleys permanently uninhabitable. 31.
Dr. Doug Rokke also is sure there is uranium in many of the bombs and missiles used by US armed forces today. The basic evidence he cites is the burning, glowing metal clearly visible on CNN views of the 2003 "shock and awe" attack on Baghdad: uranium, according to Dr. Rokke, is the only penetration metal which burns on impact. 32.

A Call to Action: Stop Using Uranium Munitions Now!

In today's competition for attention to issues, the issue of uranium munitions is easily buried and forgotten. Dr. Robert Gould, President of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, advised me to worry about something more dangerous like "high-level radioactive waste" in the email quoted above. In order to cause effective change, groups such as Veterans for Peace and Physicians for Social Responsibility will need to focus on uranium munitions, and organize long-term, relentless campaigns to end the use of uranium munitions. Is this going to happen? The only Congressional bill dealing with the hazards of uranium munitions--the "Depleted Uranium Munitions Study Act of 2003" (HR 1483, sponsored by Rep. McDermott)--is, in my view, not worthy of support. In calling only for studies of the problem and cleaup of US uranium munitions test sites, it deludes and defuses the worldwide effort to halt the ongoing catastrophe of uranium munition use.
How likely is it that the U.S. military, fully committed to uranium munitions and uranium armor as state-of-the-art, involved in shooting wars in several nations worldwide now--how likely is it that they are going to drop their radioactive munitions and be like "Kelly's Heroes" again, with the second-best metal of war in the world?
I actually dropped the topic in despair last fall, until I heard that my future son-in-law was about to be deployed to Iraq with his private company. Now we're talking about the genetic integrity of my bloodline! So I tossed off a brief piece, "Do Not Force Our Children to Breathe Uranium!" My daughter's fiance quit that job and stayed out of Iraq.
It is time for everyone on Earth to stop using uranium munitions now! A campaign of nonviolent noncooperation, informed by group effort, seems the most effective strategy. The Big Institutional Lie is going to keep uranium munitions poisoning people and environments for some time, but we can, in small and big ways, refuse to pull the trigger on uranium munitions.


1.John Lewallen is a writer and peace activist focused in 2004 on uranium munitions and their health and environmental consequences. His published books include "Ecology of Devastation: Indochina" (Penguin Books, 1972), and "High-Altitude Nuclear War" (, 2002), an analysis of today's great-power nuclear weapons confrontation available from Books. He supports himself with income from his cottage industry, the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company, and maintains the website

2. "Briefing on Depleted Uranium," Colonel James Naughton, March 14, 2003
The use of 320 tons of uranium munitions in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War is a U.S. Department of Defense estimate. An authoritative Iraqi estimate is that 800 tons of uranium munitions were used by the U.S. and allied forces during the 1991 war, with more than 300 tons used in western Basra, Iraq (Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, Director of the Oncology Center, Basra, Iraq, "Effects of wars and the use of depleted uranium on Iraq," Japan Peace Conference, Naha, Okinawa, Jan.29-Feb.1, 2004

3."Briefing on Depleted Uranium," March 2003.

4. "Memorandum to:Brigadier General L.R. Groves, from Drs. Conant, Compton, and Urey," Oct. 30, 1943, declassified June 5, 1974, supplied by Major Doug Rokke, hereinafter referred to as the "Groves Memo."

5."RAND Report on Depleted Uranium," RAND, 1999, p.4, hereinafter referred to as the "RAND Report"

6. Durakovic, Asaf, "Undiagnosed Illnesses and Radioactive Warfare," Croatian Medical Journal, Vol.44, No.5, 2003, pps. 520-532.

7. See the National Gulf War Resource Center website for the latest Veterans Affairs disability statistics

8. "Briefing on Depleted Uranium, 2003."

9. John Pike,, page on "Depleted Uranium," is my source for this thumbnail history of uranium munitions as a super-metal.

10. Groves Memo.

11. Weyman, Tedd, Iraq Field Team Lead, "Abu Khasib to Ah'qua: Iraq Gulf War II Field Investigation Report", p. 14.

12. "Briefing on Depleted Uranium, 2003."

13. Dr. Asaf Durakovic, audio interview, 2003

14. Durakovic, Asaf, "Medical Effects of Internal Contamination With Uranium," Croatian Medical Journal, Vol. 40, No. 1, March, 1999; and "Undiagnosed Illnesses and Radioactive Warfare," Croatian Medical Journal, Vol.44, No.5, 2003, pps. 520-532.

15. Major Doug Rokke, Oct. 2,2003 speech for Veterans for Peace, Humboldt County, California, on video.

16. Tashiro, Akira, "Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium," published 2001 in Hiroshima, Japan, by The Chugoku Shimbun, p. 34.

17. Ibid., p. 35.

18. Ibid.

19. Rand Report, Chapter 3, p. 1.

20. Rand Report, p. 2.

21. Durakovic, Asaf, "Undiagnosed Illnesses and Radioactive Warfare," section on "Afghanistan Uranium Studies."

22. "Briefing on Depleted Uranium," March, 2003.

23. Fahey, Dan, "The Use of Depleted Uranium in the 2003 Iraq War: An Initial Assessment of Information and Policies," June 24, 2003, available at

24. Durakovic, Asaf, "Undiagnosed Illnesses and Radioactive Warfare."

25. Fahey, Dan, op. cit., p.1.

26. Weyman, Tedd, op. cit., p.11.

27. Fahey, Dan, op. cit., p.2.

28. Ibid., pp.8-10.

29. Ibid., p.11.

30. Ibid., p.12.

31. Dr.Asaf Durakovic, audio interview, 2003, available at

32. Major Doug Rokke, October 2, 2003 speech.


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