'US uses arms for genocide in its wars'

Jan 31, 2012 12:00 AM

Interview with Linh Dinh, journalist and writer


The use of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition in US-led wars across the globe is 'genocidal' and a 'tremendous crime against humanity,' an analyst tells.
A new report shows US forces have used massive amounts of DU in Afghanistan -- causing a huge number of congenital deformities and cancers.

Several UN human rights commissions have prohibited the use of depleted uranium on humans, including during military conflicts. However, the US government has used weaponized depleted uranium on humans, including: 340 tons during the first [Persian] Gulf war in 1991; every missile used during the 1998 Yugoslavian invasion; at least 1,000 tons in Afghanistan in 2001; and 2,400 tons in Iraq in 2003.
Depleted uranium is radioactive and extremely destructive to humans -- with a half-life of 4.5 bn years. In other words, it takes 4.5 bn years for one kilogram of depleted uranium to reduce to a half a kilogram -- meaning that the US has contaminated certain countries almost forever.

We interviewed journalist and writer Linh Dinh from Philadelphia to get his opinion on the issue.
What follows is the transcript of the interview.

Question: Linh, we know that the US government -- if you were following the discussions we were making here -- the US government has been saying, of course, that it has been using these kinds of weapons, it's been acknowledging it.
At the same time the question arises why would the United States want to use these kinds of weapons which are not just deadly as I said but as our guest in Chicago is also telling us not even recognizing borders, causing a lot of illnesses, cancers in various and in vast, large areas of land and not just depleted uranium but also phosphorous bombs and agent orange was used. Why would the United States resort to these kinds of weapons?

Dinh: It's interesting that you brought up agent orange because during the Vietnam war a vast amount of agent orange was used and the US also denied it was toxic, the same way it is denying that uranium -- depleted uranium is harmful.
So it took until 1984 for American soldiers to finally win a partial lawsuit, a settlement with the Pentagon to get compensation and the amount that was given to them was ridiculously small for a Vietnam veteran who was completely disabled. He only received $ 12,000 over 10 years which is absurd and a widow of a soldier who already died received only $ 37,000.

So we are seeing the same pattern again that is using something which is frankly genocidal, denying that it is harmful and once depleted uranium gets into the environment, into the water, into the soil, into the air it remains there for billions of years and it doesn't just stay in these countries although these populations are the ones who are most affected immediately it would spread all over because once airborne it will spread all over across the globe.
So this is a tremendous crime against humanity for generations to come, for billions of years to come literally. US is doing it. Who knows why? The first reason one can speculate is because of money.

Question: If I could just jump in here. Yes, that is the question when we are looking at the consequences of these weapons, when we obviously know that these are against international laws, you say crime against humanity, genocide Mr Miraki [another speaker on the show] has referred to it or the slow genocide of generations of people.
What has stopped the international organizations, international bodies from stopping the United States?

Dinh: Well, the United Nations is under influence of the United States so it's not really raising a voice and most of the European countries are allies of the United States so it's not raising a voice.
So basically the media is not giving this any kind of coverage at all. It is a crime in itself -- the lack of coverage of this issue, the neglect of this issue, which is a critical issue.

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