America’s Perpetual Nuclear War

March 13, 2007

On the evening of July 25, 1945, President Truman confided to his diary that the atomic bomb “seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.” Twelve days later it was “useful” in Hiroshima, and again three days later it was “useful” in Nagasaki.

In a radio speech the day Nagasaki was obliterated, Truman told his American audience, “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”

The world took note that as many as 140,000 civilians were killed instantly or later died of injuries and radiation poisoning at Hiroshima.

To prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power in the Middle East, President Bush has tasked the Pentagon with developing plans for a surgical strike on Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz, which is buried under 75 feet of earth and rock.

One option on the table is the B61-11, the smallest tactical nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. The B61 is a variable yield bomb. It can be calibrated to yield as low as 0.3 kilotons or has high as 170 kilotons of atomic power. Its maximum yield is ten times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

In keeping with our country’s “humanitarian” effort to minimize civilian casualties in a nuclear strike, “low” yield tactical nuclear weapons, such as the B61, have been reclassified by the Pentagon as “safe for the surrounding civilian population.” Because these weapons are now considered as “safe” as conventional munitions, their use is at the discretion of the theater commander. Presidential approval is no longer needed to start a nuclear war.

But the world should note that America has been waging a “low yield” nuclear war that has been killing civilians for almost two decades. Missing from this war are mushroom clouds and very loud booms. Present is nuclear fallout with its insidious long-term effects on both combatant and civilian and its perpetual contamination of land and water resources.

The United States began waging nuclear war in Kosovo in 1990 and has continued through the Persian Gulf War, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The “nuclear tipped” weapon of choice in each of these theaters of war has been depleted uranium (DU) munitions.

To build atomic bombs, and later to fuel nuclear reactors, the U.S. began enriching uranium ore mined from the earth’s surface. In the process, the fissionable isotope Uranium 235, which accounts for 0.7 percent of the ore, is extracted, while the remaining 99.3 percent of the unfissionable isotope, Uranium 238, becomes “low yield” radioactive waste. By the middle of the 1950s there was approximately 600,000 tons of DU waste being stored at various facilities throughout the United States.

Depleted uranium has several properties that attracted the U.S military-industrial complex. It is cheap and plentiful and 1.7 times denser than lead, which makes it an idea metal for armor piercing bullets and tank rounds, armor plating on tanks, and ballast for cruise missiles and aircraft. Consequently, much of what has been dropped, launched, fired or destroyed during combat operations involving the U.S. and its allies in the last two decades is radioactive and will remain so for as long as the Earth exists.

When a “nuclear tipped” DU tank round, containing 10 pounds of uranium, strikes the armor plating of an enemy tank, it ignites and burns through to the interior, setting off the tank’s ammunition. The resulting fire and explosion creates a radioactive dust cloud of submicroscopic insoluble uranium oxide particles, which is suspended in the air and ultimately settles on the ground to be inhaled and ingested by combatant and civilian alike.

Depleted uranium, though it sounds safe, is still one-third as radioactive as the original natural uranium, and will lose only half of its radioactivity in 4.5 billion years—the age of the solar system. Depleted uranium emits alpha and gamma radiation, which can be mutagenic and carcinogenic in the human body and result in cancers and birth defects. It is a nuclear-plated Trojan Horse that continues to kill civilians long after the fighting has moved on.

In April 1991, only one month after the end of the first Gulf War, a secret report prepared by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority was leaked to The Independent of London. The report described the hazards of the radioactive dust from expended DU munitions and destroyed DU-armored tanks getting into the food chain and water supply. The report warned that 40 tons of radioactive DU debris left on the battlefield could, in the decades ahead, cause as many as 500,000 civilian deaths.

The U.S. left behind 375 tons of DU debris in the Gulf War, 800 tons in Afghanistan, and 2,200 tons during the current invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Children are particularly susceptible to DU poisoning and the resulting cancers due to a higher absorption rate in their blood, which is instrumental in building bones and soft tissue. In March 2001, Dr. Aws Albait, a physician practicing in Baghdad from 1990 to 1999, reported a 12-fold increase in leukemia and lymphomas in Iraqi children and a six-fold increase in adults during that decade. In 2004 it was estimated that children under the age of five accounted for 56 percent of all cancer patients in Iraq, compared with 13 percent 15 years ago.

It is not only Iraqi children who are the victims of our perpetual nuclear war, but American children as well. A Veteran’s Administration study of 251 Gulf War veterans in Mississippi found that 67 percent of their children born since the war had birth defects and severe illnesses. In addition, 90,000 veterans suffer from the chronic, debilitating effects of the Gulf War Syndrome, which many researchers believe may be related to exposure to DU fallout.

In 1995, a U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute report stated, “If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with DU in the body are both chemical and radiological.” Regardless, the Pentagon steadfastly refuses to conduct studies of its effects on both military personnel and civilians exposed to DU fallout. In fact, its policy is to silence those who would sound an alarm.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic, founder of the Uranium Medical Research Centre and the former Chief of the Nuclear Sciences Division at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, was fired from his position as Chief of Nuclear Medicine at the veterans’ hospital in Wilmington, Delaware when he refused to terminate his research on Gulf War veterans with symptoms of radiation exposure.

Dr. Durakovic stated, “The Veterans Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body . . . uranium does cause cancer, uranium does cause mutation, and uranium does kill . . . [It] is a threat to humanity.”

If the Bush administration follows through with its plan to attack Iran with tactical nuclear weapons, they will, in essence, only be adding a sound track to the silent nuclear war America has been waging for decades.

But this perpetual nuclear war is not a clash of ideology or religion, nor is it to spread democracy or to fight the long war on terrorism. It is about the immoral war profiteering of the U.S. military-industrial complex, and the even more morally repugnant dumping of its radioactive waste in someone else’s backyard. It is about the maiming and killing of civilians who are not yet born.

Robert Weitzel is a freelance writer whose essays appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Skeptic Magazine, and Freethought Today. He can be contacted at:

Robert Weitzel,

Published in: on March 14, 2007 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  

Birds Poisoned at Chemical Plant in West Virginia

March 9, 2007 at 9:17 am ·
PETA has received numerous calls from employees at the M&G Polymers Polyester Plant in Apple Grove, West Virginia, who report that administrators plan to poison hundreds of birds with either Avitrol or DRC-1339. PETA’s urgent appeals to the plant manager to halt the alleged poisoning program—and allow us to help the plant develop an effective, humanebird-control program—have been met with silence.
Making matters worse, nontarget species often become sick and die when they eat the tainted bait or prey upon poisoned birds. For example, birds of prey—such as red-tailed hawks and peregrine falcons—have been known to fatally ingest the remains of pigeons poisoned with Avitrol and DRC-1339. Directly or indirectly harming any protected bird is a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and is punishable by a $15,000 fine per violation.
In addition to being cruel, poisons and other lethal methods do not control animal populations. The only long-term way to control bird populations is to modify habitats so that they become unattractive or inaccessible to animals. We have sent M&G Polymers detailed information on proven humane bird-exclusion methods, including PETA’s “Permanentand Humane Pigeon-Control Solutions” report and “Street Pigeons: War Heroes, Devoted Parents, Clever Learners” factsheet—all to no apparent avail. Now we desperately need your help.
Please urge M&G Polymers plant manager Robert Bowen to halt this reported bird-poisoning program at the plant and to accept PETA’s offer to work with M&G to develop an effective, humane bird-control program.

Published in: on March 14, 2007 at 3:21 pm  Comments (4)  

“Almost” Heaven, Trash Capitol of the U.S.



ALMOST heaven. Can’t we ever get past the ALMOST part???

I can’t believe that nobody can think of anything better to do for WV than to import garbage from other states! As beautiful as WV is, the argument seems to be over whether our biggest assets are oil and gas (rape the land and send the money elsewhere), coal, (behead the mountains and destroy the ecology), or space for garbage (plenty of space all along our roadways, don’t you think?) Some believe our biggest assets are the people who live here.

But isn’t it the people who live here who are the ones tossing all the trash along the roads? Isn’t it the people who live here who can see nothing here to attract tourists to this area? Everyone seems to be looking for big business on the horizon to save them. Bring on the factories! Hey, if we’re lucky, maybe a new prison will be coming to a town near you, along with more law enforcement, of course. Jobs, you know. It’s the mantra these days. Anything for a job. Destroy the mountains, destroy the environment, drill and dig and dump. Bring in the criminals and the pollution. It’s the wave of the future…

Is this West Virginia keeping up with the Jonse’s? Why is it that the only things that people seem interested in to perk up the economy are destructive?

This state, yes, even Calhoun County, is incredibly beautiful. At least that which has not been destroyed by the aforementioned rubbish. And the world is turning into a pretty harsh place. Does no one see that we could be like a vacation paradise for those who simply want to GET AWAY FROM life as usual? Pushing for tourism would give all the right reasons to IMPROVE the area. Clean up the roadways, create roadside parks and picnic areas, cultivate WV’s heritage rather than tear it down. People could create their own jobs. Traditional arts and crafts, campgrounds, ATV rentals, trail riding, music festivals, these are the things that make us tourist friendly. Not dumps and dozers and destruction.

Our TWO biggest assets here in WV are absolutely the natural beauty and our old time heritage. The people are only an asset if they work in a POSITIVE direction to make this a better place. This is a very simple concept. Yet everyone sits around instead complaining about no jobs, waiting for someone to do something about it, and jumping at the chance to pollute and destroy for money. I have heard the cry of “no jobs” until I want to throw up. There have been plenty of times that I had money in my hand and needed to hire someone to do a job, and could find NO ONE interested in working except a few people who desperately needed beer money.

If this state continues to follow the path we’re already on, the path of least resistance, then we WILL eventually become the trash and eco-disaster capitol of the U.S. But that’s ok, right? It brings in JOBS (Hail Mary!) and the people with all these grand ideas probably figure there are so many ignorant hillbillies and rednecks here they won’t even notice. Keep ’em in beer money and things will be fine.

Published in: on March 9, 2007 at 5:04 pm  Comments (1)  

What if they gave a war and nobody came?

Remember the saying back in the 60’s during the Viet Nam War? “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” Well, back then it was already too late. We were still learning about the concept of a war that nobody wanted or needed, and the crooked, warmongering politicians who promoted it.

But this is 2007. We have already “been there, done that”. There were no WMD in Iraq. Saddam is gone. It has been proven that we were lied to to go to war for oil. Probably our leaders were responsible for the fiasco that was 9-11. Many states have passed resolutions against the war. WV is even working on one at the moment. Only about a third of the population, the ones who actually are willing to voice their opinions, are for the war. There are even officials in the pentagon and in the military who feel the war should be stopped. People as high up in ranks as Colonel are recommending to the officers under them that they should refuse to go. Impeachment is being discussed, even in Congress and the Senate. Impeachment due to being lied to in order to start an illegal war.

Now there are rumblings that the National Guard from Roane County will be deployed for a SECOND time. They already know what they are getting into from the first time around, and now many things have come to light that may not have been so obvious before to some people.

So, now would be the perfect chance, the ultimate opportunity, for the “what if they gave a war and nobody came” scenario to begin unfolding. Imagine what would happen if an entire body, such as the area National Guard, simply refused to go? Is it possible that this would give more motivation to others to step down as well? I think it’s high time that instead of supporting the troops, they start supporting us. It’s high time that the overused phrase “just say no” actually MEANT something honorable and real.

Our country is being run by criminals of the highest order. Our country’s name is mud. We are slaughtering many innocent people and ruining their countries with depleted uranium, so badly that things will NEVER be the same. Are all you national guard folks simply going to lay yourselves on the line for THAT, without question? How will your conscience feel when they finally toss out the crooks and declare the war illegal? It’s time to stand up and say absolutely not. Are you men or are you mice?

Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 4:39 pm  Comments (2)  

“Staggering Neglegence” by Calhoun State Police

Thanks to Bob Weaver for his excellent reporting!!!!


By Bob Weaver

A motion to dismiss a number of drug charges against John M. Richards will be heard by Judge David Nibert.

Richards is facing multiple counts related to the alleged operation of a meth lab in south Grantsville. He had been scheduled to go to trial this month.

Richards’ attorney, Robert C. Catlett, has requested the dismissal after State Police in Grantsville say they lost evidence taken from the Richards residence.

Catlett is asking the state to dismiss with prejudice (cannot be re-filed) or in the alternative to disallow any mention of these items at trial.

Richards’ attorney cites a letter from former detachment commander Sgt. C. J. Ellyson, stating he discarded the alleged meth lab materials from a garage located in the barracks, indicating they were not properly secured by Sgt. Darrin Campbell.

Catlett’s motion further claims proper police procedures were not followed, including the obtaining of chain-of-custody receipts.

Catlett further claims the desire to examine and possibly have tested the evidence, but the court did not grant the opportunity until December, 2006. It was then the Grantsville State Police advised prosecutor Matt Minney that the evidence had been disposed of.

Sgt. Darrin Campbell, in a press statement following Richards’ arrest, told the Hur Herald a field test was positive for the presence of meth, while officers did a search of the property.

Catlett’s motion says “Staggering negligence is the conclusion most charitable to the state…There is no claim that the evidence was destroyed during testing, as there was no testing done.”

Catlett was critical of the Grantsville State Police, saying before a December 19, 2006 hearing, an officer testified that to the best of his knowledge these items were in his possession, when they had “been in a garbage dump for three months.”

The motion says there is “a much darker picture than mere negligence,” indicting “a shocking failure to preserve the evidence” or that the evidence ever made it to the detachment.

Much like the Kelley Mace meth case a few years ago, there was no analysis of an illegal drug, nor was the illegal drug ever presented.

Cpl. Doug Starcher testified numerous times during the Mace case that State Police had an illegal substance (meth) in their possession, taken from her residence using a search warrant.

The case was eventually dropped, when Starcher could not produce the evidence.

A State Police internal investigation and a criminal investigation of Starcher’s sworn statements, indicating perjury, produced no repercussions for the officer.

Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 3:36 pm  Comments (7)