US Removes Radioactive Material from Iraq in Secret Airlift

The U.S. has made yet another chilling contribution to the
ongoing debacle in Iraq: according to Energy Secretary Spencer
Abraham, the U.S. has secretly airlifted ‘roughly 1000 highly
radioactive sources’ from Iraq. U.S. forces initially ignored the
nuclear materials, leaving an enriched uranium storage facility
unguarded while the U.S. government focused its energies on
capturing oil production facilities. When they did pay attention to
the toxic matter, U.S. military personnel broke seals that had been
securing some of the radioactive substances for years. Because of
this failure to secure the material during the invasion, hundreds
of local residents were exposed to dangerous levels of
radioactivity, leading to such disturbing spectacles as students at
the Al-Majidat school for girls playing near large amounts of
radioactive material.

The U.S. has kept the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
in the dark about Iraq’s nuclear legacy. By ignoring IAEA
regulations and requests for information, the U.S. is guilty of the
very charges it leveled against Saddam Hussein as a justification
for war. ‘This is a job for the IAEA and the US ought to be setting
an example of compliance with the full international regulations
concerning nuclear weapons proliferation,’ says Mike Townsley,
leader of the Greenpeace team in Iraq. ‘The US government has lied,
bullied, and bullshitted their way into this war, and I see no
reason why anyone should trust them to do the right or safe thing
with nuclear materials.’

The U.S. is clearly obligated to deal with the nuclear materials
in a more responsible way. In addition to threatening healthy
biological functioning at home and abroad, U.S. mismanagement of
Iraqi nuclear materials has helped compromise national security. In
recent weeks, Iraq’s glowing green stuff has been found in such
disparate countries as the Netherlands and Turkey, indicating a
prodigious flow of nuclear material from the country. Such lax
monitoring of highly dangerous substances could provide terrorists
with tools of destruction: though the materials cannot create a
nuclear bomb, they can be packed around explosives to create a
‘dirty bomb.’ While the political, social, and economic fallout
from the war is already potent, this particular error in empire
building may be toxic for more than just international
relations.
Brendan Themes

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US Removes Radioactive Material from Iraq in Secret Airlift

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