Add to My MSN

The Toxic Legacy of War

3/21/2011 10:55:50 AM

Tags: Iraq, Iraq war, war, depleted uranium, Agent Orange, environment, The American Conservative, David Doody

American-Conservative-2011apr“The litany of horrors is gut-wrenching.” That’s how Kelley Beaucar Vlahos describes the countless deformities that have appeared in Iraqi babies since the first Gulf War in 1991 due to the environmental impact of war on that country. The list is horrific: two-headed babies, eyeless, brain tumors in children younger than two years old. “It is widely accepted among scientists, doctors, and aid workers that war is to blame,” Vlahos writes in the April 2011 issue of The American Conservative.

The presence of so much expended weaponry, waste and rubble, massive burn pits on U.S. bases, and oil fires has left a toxic legacy that is poisoning the air, the water, and the soil in Iraq. Add highly controversial armaments that the U.S. has only hinted at using in this war—such as depleted uranium—and you get a potentially radioactive landscape giving rise to doomed children and stillborn babies.

While the Department of Defense denies the claim that war efforts result in long-term illnesses, Vlahos makes the argument that “[i]n a sense, what is happening throughout Iraq today is the 21st-century’s Agent Orange.” And like the ill effects of the herbicide dumped over Vietnam decades ago, Vlahos sees the American public neatly tucking away the ugly memories of another failed war, this time in the Middle East.

Anyone not ready to buy so easily into President Obama’s claim in his State of the Union address that “our commitment [in Iraq] has been kept” will be served well by reading Vlahos’ exploration into what we are leaving behind.

Source: The American Conservative

Panel image by familymwr, licensed under Creative Commons.



Related Content

Warzone Journalism: The Video Game

Instead giving you a shotgun and a mission to kill everything in sight, a new videogame asks you to ...

Book Review: That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone

“War doesn’t occur in a vacuum,” writes J.L. Powers in her introduction to That Mad Game, a powerful...

The Not-So-Green Side of Marijuana

A seedy set of farmers is poisoning California’s wilderness. Pristine mountains have been marred by ...

Exterminating Lesbian, Gay, and Transgendered Iraqis

The detention, torture, and murder of lesbian, gay, and transgendered people in Iraq is the subject ...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 






Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!