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Soldiers Dying in Iraq--And Not Just From War

Most of us cringe every time we turn on the news, fearing that we'll hear about the death of another soldier in Iraq. But they aren't just dying from stealth attacks and car bombs, they're contracting mysterious illnesses as well. Suicide is another cause of death--while only a few of these have been reported in the media, we have a personal contact in Iraq who says there have been many more, which are listed as "noncombatant deaths."

James Conachy writes on the World Socialist Website that the Washington Post reported that "more than 6,000 service members" have been medically evacuated from Iraq since the start of the war, and 4,500 of these are noncombatant injuries. For every soldier who has been killed, another 15 have become so ill they had to be flown back to the U.S. What could be causing this?

One reason could be exposure to the depleted uranium (DU) in U.S. armor-piercing ammunition. Inhaling large concentrations of DU-contaminated particles damages the lungs and kidneys and can cause respiratory illness.

Another cause could be reactions to the anthrax vaccine, which may cause pneumonia. However, the U.S. Department of Defense says it has eliminated SARS and the vaccine as probable causes of the illnesses.

Stephanie Tosta, widow of a soldier who recently died of pneumonia, says, "More and more I think it was the [anthrax] shots. I think they might be lying about this stuff. I really feel like it. Nobody can tell me anything. If it is the shots, then of course they are lying. We just want to know what happened and we have a right to know. But the Army is acting like they are trying to hide something, and that just makes it harder."

The National Gulf War Resource Center (NGWRC), organized for veterans of the 1991 war on Iraq, is helping families who think they?ve been lied to. They think "Gulf War syndrome" is caused by DU exposure and complications from vaccinations. By 1999, 110,000 Gulf War veterans reported health problems linked to their service in Iraq.

The U.S. military rejects any link between Gulf War Syndrome and DU or vaccines, but they have admitted that during the first Gulf War, at least 436,000 American troops entered areas that were contaminated by DU radioactive dust.

Today is the anniversary of the event that began the war on freedom. Do we really know what happened that day?





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