War College

67 things you might want to know before the bombs drop

Illustration by Bob AulABRAHAM.

"AL."

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.

ANTHRAX.

AREA, COMPARATIVE.

BAGHDAD.

BLOOD.

BUSH, GEORGE W.

CASUALTIES.

CHENEY, DICK.

CHICKENHAWK.

CLAREMONT.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

DOMESTIC POLICY.

ESCHATOLOGY.

EUROPE, OLD.

FRANKS, TOMMY.

FREE VERSE.

FREEDOM FRIES.

FRIENDLY FIRE.

FUNDING, TERRORIST.

GAS.

HALABJA.

HUMAN SHIELDS.

IRAQ.ISRAEL.JIHAD.JUST WAR THEORY.KISSINGER, HENRY.KURDS.LANGLEY.McCAFFREY, BARRY.McVEIGH, TIMOTHY.MONEY.NATION BUILDING.NOBODY HOME.NOT IN OUR NAME (NION).NUCLEAR WEAPONS.NUMBERS. OIL.PATRIOT ACT II.PATRIOT MISSILES.PLEDGE.POWELL, COLIN.PROTEST.QAIDA, AL-.RADICAL FUNDAMENTALISTS.RAWLS, JOHN.RECEIPTS.REGIME CHANGE.RUMSFELD, DONALD H. RUPERT'S LITTLE WAR.SARIN. SAUDI ARABIA.SUIT.SUITS, CHEMICAL-WARFARE PROTECTION.TERRORISTS, IRAQI.TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS. TRANSCRIPT.URANIUM, DEPLETED.VONNEGUT, KURT.WAHHABISM.WATER.X-RAYS.YANKEE IMPERIALISM.ZINNI, ANTHONY.

Compiled by OC Weekly DataLab researchers Gustavo Arellano, Cornel Bonca, Paul Brennan, Nathan Callahan, Kent Corley, Stacy Davies, Steve Lowery, Todd Mathews, Anthony Pignataro, Nick Schou, Will Swaim, Jim Washburn and Dave Wielenga Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, former chief of the U.S. Central Command as well as commander of the 1992 Operation Provide Comfort, which airlifted supplies to the embattled Kurds in northern Iraq, is an unqualified opponent of a U.S. war in Iraq. In a little-known speech at the Economic Club in Miami, Florida, on Aug. 23, 2002, Zinni spoke of the civil war that would spring out of any U.S. action in Iraq—forcing the U.S. to deal with a dozen, two dozen, even 90 or so groups—as well as the chaos that would plague the Middle East. "Attacking Iraq now will cause a lot of problems," said Zinni. "Our relationships in the region are in major disrepair, not to the point where we can't fix them, but we need to quit making enemies we don't need to make enemies out of. And we need to fix those relationships. There's a deep chasm growing between that part of the world and our part of the world." The explanation pretty much the whole world has for why George W. Bush is so hell-bent on invading and occupying Iraq. Go figure. According to a World Information Service on Energy study, a U.S. soldier is exposed to gamma radiation similar to one chest X-ray for every 20 to 30 hours he or she spends in an Abrams tank armed with depleted uranium ammunition. If the soldier's body comes into direct contact with a depleted uranium shell, the dose rate increases to up to approximately 50 chest X-rays per hour. See also URANIUM, DEPLETED.

The evening news has been full of stories assuring us that American troops are well-prepared to fight on a battlefield poisoned by chemical, biological or radiological weapons. The NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protective clothing is displayed, and the reporter dutifully explains that no matter how cumbersome or uncomfortable these suits may be, our troops are protected. But these reports miss the real danger to soldiers advancing into Iraq through a poisoned atmosphere: their own water. Combat troops get most of their water from canteens, and these canteens are supplied by large, mobile water tanks known as "water buffaloes." Simple physics: as the water is drained from the water buffaloes, air fills the space once occupied by water; in a contaminated atmosphere, some of that air is bound to be contaminated. Simple chemistry: some of those contaminants are bound to dissolve in the water buffaloes' water supply. That water will then be consumed by the soldiers, whose suits, no matter how sophisticated, cannot protect them from the contents of their canteens. The Pentagon knows about this problem but has no plans to protect the front-line water supply. Consult Captain Bart Bacon's article "A Deadly Flaw in NBC Defense" on the Soldiers for the Truth website (www.sftt.org/article02072003a.html).

A reaction to the paganism and social dissolution that plagued the Middle East. Nowadays, it refers to the extreme form of Islam practiced by the Taliban in Afghanistan and by our good friends, the ruling Saud family of Saudi Arabia. See also SAUDI ARABIA. American icon and author of anti-war classic Slaughterhouse Five. "I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d'etat imaginable." When placed inside the tip of a bullet or artillery shell, this nuclear-waste byproduct pierces tank armor. Up to 40 percent of the ammunition made with depleted uranium incinerates upon impact, allowing radioactive and highly toxic particles to drift through the air. U.S. troops who cleaned up Bradley fighting vehicles and Abrams tanks that were hit by depleted uranium rounds in friendly fire incidents reported suffering rashes and respiratory ailments. In southern Iraq, where most of the fighting took place during the Persian Gulf War, cancer rates soared in villages near the Highway of Death, where U.S. aircraft ambushed Iraqi armored columns fleeing Kuwait, killing thousands of troops still inside their vehicles. According to one military report, there were 35 dead and 72 wounded in crews of U.S. tanks and Bradley Fighting vehicles thanks to so-called "friendly fire" incidents involving depleted uranium shells. This includes soldiers who were exposed to significant quantities of depleted uranium aerosol dust and depleted uranium fragments during the fighting.

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