Soldiers return home with uranium poisoning

By Staff Writer
October 2, 2003

Complaints of illnesses from U.S. soldiers returning from their duties over in Iraq have sparked studies over the use of depleted uranium weapons in battle. The use of depleted uranium weapons is not new and has been used in the Balkan Wars where similar circumstances occurred.

The Pentagon as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization denies any sort of link between U.S. made weapons and the sicknesses that are happening among the now veteran soldiers of the Balkan wars, the Persian Gulf War and the war still being fought in Iraq.

As reported by, Dr. Douglas Rokke, a former U.S. Army nuclear health physicist, speaks against the use of depleted uranium weapons after previously working with people who suffered from the aftereffects. Rokke himself has rashes, respiratory and kidney problems after exposure to the uranium.

Why would such a dangerous weapon that possibly affects the people who use it be sanctioned for war? Dr. Jolyon Girard, history/ political science professor, said, “They use depleted uranium because it has a stronger impact against the density and strength of a tank.”

Linking the depleted uranium weapons to the illnesses and diseases of the soldiers has been tough. Comparing to the weapons used in Vietnam, Girard said in response to the situation, “It’s somewhat similar to Agent Orange where it was secondary the concern of the aftereffects.”

NATO is beginning to react to health issues concerning uranium tipped ammunition. The European Union has instructed scientists specializing in the field of nuclear weapons to report whether unexplained illnesses and death could be linked to uranium-tipped weapons. According to, Marie-Claude Dubin, a French journalist has said she “has suffered from a range of illnesses since covering the Persian Gulf and Balkan Wars.” This website also states that at least seven Italian soldiers in the Balkan wars have died from leukemia.

The Balkan Wars was the beginning of the investigation into the relationship between uranium tipped weapons and soldiers suffering from various diseases. Last June, Rokke opened up discussion concerning the U.S. soldiers and possibly Australian servicemen and women. The Pentagon and NATO deny that “any U.S. made weapon could have given off this poison” regardless of the fact that cases of leukemia and other diseases are on the rise. The establishing link has been the well-known fact that when uranium tipped weapons is used they release uranium dust particles into the air. An individual can be exposed to uranium, but these soldiers are exposed over a certain limit that causes their body to literally break down. According to this seems to be a touchy subject between the United States as well as other countries because certain countries and even soldiers are denying the fact that their illnesses are due to their exposure to uranium.

Posted to the web by Marisa Gallelli

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