Saturday, August 7, 2010


I once had to protest an administrator in my old school district who was gung-ho to hang a flag of our state, sent from Iraq by a National Guards-mom whose daughter had been a student of ours.

The principal was going to hang it proudly in the gym because as she explained, "It had flown over Fallujah!" She had already read aloud a letter from soldier mom to her kid at graduation the previous spring. (The use of high school graduation ceremonies for recruiting purposes is a topic I will leave for another day.)

As the U.S. prepares to "exit" Iraq at the end of this month, leaving behind only 50,000 troops and the largest embassy compound ever built (fortifed, natch) I am reflecting on the battle of Fallujah. Some years have passed since my country used my tax dollars to bombard the city with weapons of mass destruction. Many of the WMD's were made of depleted uranium; because it is a very dense material, D.U. is used to make missile points that will penetrate strongly. Then the explosion turns the D.U. to fine dust that becomes part of the local environment for a very long time.

One of my stalwart fellow vigilers held a sign for years that said: D.U. = war crime. We used to tease him by saying that those driving by us on the bridge probably thought it said "Duh" because no one knew what D.U. meant.

The children that have been born in Fallujah since the U.S. attacked know what D.U. means, because they are living with birth defects caused by radioactivity levels that scientists who studied the situation describe as "worse than Hiroshima." Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009 was published here in June. The little girl pictured above was lucky to be born with deformed feet rather than a misplaced eye or nose -- I guess. Wonder what will happen if she tries to have children of her own someday?

Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"
A horrible, strangely beautiful rendering of historical data
by Isao Hashimoto (

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