Depleted Uranium Deaths
What Happened To The Test Tube Paradigm?
By Dennis Kyne
members of the 369th transportation battalion from New York City fought in Operation Desert Storm in
1991. They walked into the "test tube"-they were the
"experiment"-that tested the effects, including the genetic effects,
of the 300 tons of uranium used by the US
military on that battlefield. Now half a million of them are sick, and many of
their babies have birth defects. Far more uranium is being used in Iraq.
When I was in eighth grade science class, Mr. Wadley, who reminded us more of an ice cream truck driver than a teacher, taught the pupils one thing with an incredible amount of emphasis: If the test tube paradigm does not reflect the real world paradigm, then there is absolutely no reason to ever do scientific experiments. Wadley further explained that if you monitor the results of a laboratory experiment and allow this information to be a basis for your intelligence in real world applications, you should see results that are nearly identical.
If the results are not nearly identical, then your departure point was faulty. That is the only safe conclusion. Again, if the results are not similar in scope or comparable in nature, then the departure point was wrong and the test tube lacked something that the real world provides to the equation.
This makes my inquiry most important: "Why does the United States Army violate the very simplest of scientific requirements when it determines the validity of using uranium weapons on the battlefield? What test tube did the military explode hundreds of tons of uranium in and then walk hundreds of thousands of humans into?" We live in a real world result of the use of uranium that you could never put into a test tube to study.
Recently, while in New York, I had the opportunity to discuss the implications of uranium use with Dr. Thomas Fasy, associate professor of pathology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Fasy casually informed GNN's Anthony Lappe and me that the most damaging research regarding uranium is coming out of government laboratories in Bethesda, Md.
Lappe, author of the recent "True Lies," with an entire chapter dedicated to uranium, was on the lookout for this evidence. Not only does it prove uranium is horrific to the human experience, it illustrates the military knows just how pathetic it is to denounce us who have been exposed to this microwave wasteland.
In 1994, Lt. Gen. Calvin Waller said in a "Dateline" television interview with Storm Phillips that he had never been informed this uranium could be deadly. He appeared disgusted by memorandums which stated exposure to uranium used in weaponry could leave a residual effect which might cause death, sickness and, worst of all, genetic mutations.
Calvin Waller was the second in command, behind Norman Schwarzkopf, during Operation Desert Storm. Waller has since passed away, and over a decade after his interview, Bethesda is busy burning through test tubes to come up with conclusions that are late by any standard of science.
Tests should have been done before the military dumped a minimum of 300 tons of uranium in the Middle East in 1991. One ton is equal to 2,600 pounds. Studies should have been conclusive after they stuffed returning veterans into a slew of study groups.
I was in one that tested for ionizing radiation, and in 1995 I was compensated for undiagnosed illnesses. The results should have been solid by the time they dumped bombs in Somalia and Yugoslavia.
What are they going to tell the people living in Vieques, Puerto Rico? Sorry, they didn't have a test tube that resembled your city, so we will just go with the studies from Bethesda. Whatever happened to the test tube paradigm? Maybe Vieques is the test tube.
Pandora's box was opened by the mining of uranium from the cradle it rested passively in. It has killed millions of indigenous humans and altered millions of others genetically.
Modern medicine calls it cancer; I call it radiation exposure. Both express themselves as ruptured cells and altered organs.
With hundreds of thousands of veterans from Operation Desert Storm filing for disability compensation, it is alarming how many of us cannot be diagnosed. How many years will it be before they can diagnose a human being with radiation sickness? Sounds like the half million veterans who stood on the front line of Desert Storm got tossed in the test tube as well.
While we know the test tube was broken, we are sure that other problems were ignored. There was no test tube that included the results of uranium's 21 phases of oxidation, all deathly. There was no test tube that had metallurgical particles cooking down to become smaller than bacteria and viruses.
There was no study of the implications of walking into these gaseous oxides or these particulates so small that even a standard military issue protective mask could not keep them from lodging in lungs. There was no study of the short term, long term or genetic effects of walking into low level radioactive particulate.
I say was, and now there is us. Us being the 500,000 men and women sent to the front who walked into this madness remembered as Operation Desert Storm. Sadly, the 10,000 dead troops and half a million sick and dying veterans are left wondering what happened.
What happened to the daughter of Sgt. Daryl Clark, who was on the front line and drowned in uranium dust from the tank buster rounds that were pelted at his feet? In the same "Dateline" episode, Phillips asks Clark how he feels. Clark responds, "When America called, we were there. Now that we are calling, America isn't answering."
This cry has been echoed in the hospitals, psych wards, prison cells and gutters of America for the past decade, and it is an indicator of what the returning veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom can expect.
Later in this same "Dateline" episode, a goofy looking general by the name of Blank admits to the viewers that the Army dropped the ball. Storm asks him, "Who dropped the ball?" Blank can't provide a name. This is the military way: field grade officers promise to take care of the soldiers and can't seem to figure out who is dropping the ball.
A general sat in the television monitor and said the buck stops somewhere else, but I can't tell you where. The ball dropped so hard that Clark's daughter Kennedy was born without a thyroid and with expressions of radiation exposure. Looks like Kennedy got stuffed down the test tube also.
Middle East experts state that there is an incredible amount of pesticides and herbicides being used in the current war, and this is confirmed by the Department of Defense as well. What does that do in the test tube of 25 million Iraqi citizens? Pesticides, uranium, herbicides, fires, plastics, gases and a list of potential hazards, from rifle cleaner fluid to brake fluid, are being spilled all over the place by gallons.
Science hijacked the battlefield, and supporters say the uranium is necessary because we can pierce the armor of a tank with it. They did the studies, it is conclusive, the stuff pierced armor. Testing officers would fire uranium tipped rounds and watch them pierce tanks.
While we can't dispute these occurrences, surely we would never call it science. Surely it isn't scientific enough to base conclusions that put life as we know it in jeopardy.
Mr. Wadley, my science teacher, would have failed the experiment. He'd have stamped a big "F" on the report entitled "Saving the Middle East with a history of good solid scientific research." He'd say, "There is not one bit of scientific support to substantiate the use of uranium. First of all, everyone knows that most military troops couldn't hit the broad side of a barn when firing any weapon. So, how many of these rounds hit innocent people? Churches, tin shacks, people on motor scooters?"
Wadley was sharp. I know this is where he would lead us: "To fire a round in a piece of steal such as a tank that contains the explosion and say it is safe to fire at a wedding somewhere off the battlefield in Afghanistan is ridiculous."
His style was such he might throw in: "You won't be getting out of junior high school bringing projects like this in. Do you know why?"
"Class, do you know why this fails?" Wadley wasn't afraid of a little embarrassment for the kids either. The class loved it when they spotted one as easy as this, though, and got to yell as loud as their voices could bellow, "It doesn't meet the test tube paradigm."
If the test tube paradigm does not reflect the real world paradigm, then there is absolutely no reason to ever do scientific experiments. It doesn't matter if you are an ice cream truck driver or a teacher, an eighth grade student or a four star general; firing a round into a tank as the test tube paradigm is not even close to the real world paradigm.
We have been tossed in the tube together on this one. Are you going to rely on Gen. Blank telling the world someone dropped the ball here, and we don't know who?
We can slip back into junior high with Wadley for a moment, though, and accept the fact that this is not science they provide us. It is a military misdirection, one that has cost thousands of lives and untold environmental consequences. It is a crime against all living species. Worst of all, it doesn't meet the test tube paradigm.
Dennis Kyne is a combat veteran with 15 years in the US Army. He holds a degree in political science cum laude from San Jose State University with an emphasis on nuclear proliferation. Email him at [email protected] and visit his website, www.denniskyne.com.
originally published in SF Bayview