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War in Iraq - Harmfull to Health in More Ways Than One

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posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 12:14 PM
Since the 1st gulf war in 1991, there have been major issues surrounding the health of service personnel who have or are taking part in either the fighting or occupation.

1991 saw the advent of Gulf War Syndrome or Gulf War Illness, which has still not been fully explained, and which has been linked to a variety of causes such as;
Exposure to chemicals intended to combat nerve agents,
Exposure to pesticides and insect repellants,
Exposure to noxious gases, caused by Saddam Hussein ordering the burning of oil wells,
Exposure to Anthrax Vaccine,
Exposure to Depleted Uranium.

The listed exposure may have been exacerbated by exposure to infectious agents (non military)

Since the 1st Gulf War, there has been a strong movement by former servicemen and women for governments to recognise that GWS was and is a real illness, and for investigations to reveal the cause or causes of the illnesses suffered by many - these people are still waiting.

Gulf War 2 began in 2003, and many service personnel are again reporting symptoms eerily similar to those experienced by veterans of GW1.

However, it doesn't end there.

The 2nd gulf war also saw the large scale use of civilian contractors, with the majority going to Halliburtons, KBR.

The use of these contractors has lead to a great deal of bad practice, such as unsafe wiring, contaminated food and water and environmental hazards.

The contractors use the cost plus method of pricing a job such as this:
P = (AVC + FC%) * (1 + MK%)

* P = price
* AVC = average variable cost
* FC% = percentage apportionment of fixed costs
* MK% = percentage markup

Supporters argue that this is the best way of ensuring transparency and stopping corrupt practice - a moot point since it only takes a small amount of creative accounting to massively inflate costs and increase bottom line.

The upshot of this is that some very shoddy practice has meant that service personnel have been made unfit for duty, and in some cases had their lives endangered.

U.S military contractor KBR, a former subisidary of Halliburton, is facing a number of lawsuits over its activities in Iraq, and elsewhere.

KBR is the largest contractor for the United States Army and a top-ten contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense.

In one class-action suit Joshua Eller, a civilian who worked for the U.S. Air Force in 2006 at the Balad air force base northeast of Baghdad, alleges KBR 'knowingly and intentionally supplied to U.S. forces and other individuals food that was expired, spoiled, rotten, or that may have been contaminated with shrapnel, or other materials'.

KBR 'supplied water which was contaminated, untreated, and unsafe', Eller charged, detailing a number of examples.

He said Halliburton and KBR 'shipped ice served to U.S. forces in trucks that had been used to carry human remains and that still had traces of body fluids and putrefied remains.'


There have also been reports of contractors using open pits to burn waste - toxic, medical and other - with the result that many service peronnel have become ill and have filed lawsuits.

For a full report, download the PDF Here

There have also been reports of wild dogs running around camps with human body parts in their jaws, as they recovered them from the refuse pits.

This is because of a lack of incinerators, which have still not been built 6 years after going into Iraq.

The level of toxicity is astounding:

Acetaldehyde, Acrolien, Arsenic, Benzene, Carbon Monoxide, Ethylbenzene, Formaldehyde, Hydrogen Cyanide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Phosgene, Sulfur Dioxide, Sulfuric Acid, Toluene, Trichloroethane, Xylene. These are just some of the chemicals detected in smoke from the Balad Burn Pit, one of the many vast open pits spewing toxic plumes over Iraq and Afghanistan.

But not to worry; In “Just the Facts,” an information sheet for troops, the Department of Defense has stated that “the potential short- and long-term risks” from Balad “were estimated to be low.” The VA has just announced it will monitor reports of veterans' pit-related illness. But the DoD has yet to declassify old air sample reports or issue current findings.

The Pentagon’s fact sheet appeared after linked to a memo showing that, as early as 2006, the DoD had known that the pit was “an acute health hazard.” In the memo, titled “Burn Pit Health Hazards,” Air Force Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight Commander Darrin Curtis wrote to authorities that he found it “amazing that the burn pit has been able to operate without restrictions over the past few years without significant engineering controls being put in place.” In an accompanying memo, James R. Elliott, Chief of Air Force Aeromedical Services, concurred that the pit’s fumes contained “known carcinogens” and “respiratory sensitizers” that posed a “chronic and acute health hazard to our troops and the local population.”

"Iraqi Crud" and "Black Goop"

This week, the same memo was boldly posted on Wikileaks, more widely publicizing toxic exposure and governmental neglect. The evidence is clear. The Balad Burn pit is a Big Bad Burn Pit which burns most anything that comes its way including medical waste, styrofoam, and plastic. Soldiers, contractors, foreign workers, and Iraqis suffer what troops call “Iraqi crud,” whose symptoms include a hacking cough and black phlegm that goes by the name “black goop.” According to Army Times reporter Kelley Kennedy, “Though military officials say there are no known long-term effects from exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 100 service members have come forward to Military Times and Disabled American Veterans with strikingly similar symptoms: chronic bronchitis, asthma, sleep apnea, chronic coughs and allergy-like symptoms. Several also have cited heart problems, lymphoma and leukemia.” Kevin Wilkins, an Air Force reservist, died last year after returning home from a tour of Balad and Qatar; his wife blames the pit. A year after working at Balad as a nurse, Wilkens was admitted to the hospital for a relentless headache and vomiting, symptoms that began in country. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died a week later.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) has taken up the cause. Six years into the war in Iraq, many bases are still without incinerators. In Afghanistan, U.S. bases have no incinerators. General David Petraeus claims the Pentagon is employing more incinerators, but that burn pits go with the territory: “There is and will continue to be a need for burn pits during contingency operations,” Petraeus wrote to Feingold.


This is before we even begin to look at the increased rates of suicide, severe depression and PTSD amongst service personnel.

It seems that Governments are quite content to let brave men and women fight for them, but are less inclined to actually make sure that the enemy is the most hazardous thing they face.

Quite literally, going to Iraq as part of the armed services is extremely hazardous to your health - not because of insurgents, but because of those in power on "our own side"

[edit on 26/3/2009 by budski]

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 02:44 PM
Starting with a presumption that the Elite are profitting from war, having initiated it through deception (9/11), and are lacking in the emotions humans exhibit, this whole affair makes perfect sense.

They don't care it the flock sustains injury. They want to cull the herd. They have no empathy for the individuals who suffer.

Still, we should not idly accept this. We should rouse others, speak out, fight this Lizard Hearted behavior.

For when it is all said and done, humans are the greater in number (at the moment), and together, we can overcome - which is why They work so hard to divide and conquer.

[edit on 3/26/2009 by Amaterasu]

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 05:06 PM
During my stint at Balad I've heard our officers say that the air-pollution was about 100 times worse than L.A.
That's on a calm day, with the smoke rising vertically from the burn-pits.
I think the wind only shifted twice during my time on days, and I made sure to protect myself from the smoke. But I spent 2/3 of my deployment on nights, so I have no way of knowing how much smoke I possibly inhaled. (lots of stuff smells bad down there, and we were set up pretty much the furthest from the pits)

Edit: I do seem more prone to respiratory illnesses these days...

[edit on 2009.3.26 by Carlthulhu]

posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 11:33 AM
Further to this, I came across yet another news story about shoddy electrical work:

Thousands of buildings at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan have such poorly installed wiring that American troops face life-threatening risks, a top inspector for the Army says.
"It was horrible -- some of the worst electrical work I've ever seen," said Jim Childs, a master electrician and the top civilian expert in an Army safety survey. Childs told CNN that "with the buildings the way they are, we're playing Russian roulette."

Childs recently returned from Iraq, where he is taking part in a yearlong review aimed at correcting electrical hazards on U.S. bases. He told CNN that thousands of buildings in Iraq and Afghanistan are so badly wired that troops are at serious risk of death or injury.

He said problems are "everywhere" in Iraq, where 18 U.S. troops have died by electrocution since 2003. All deaths occurred in different circumstances and different locations, but many happened on U.S. bases being managed by various military contractors. The Army has has reopened investigations in at least five cases, according to Pentagon sources.


It's not enough that troops face danger from insurgents, they are also being killed because their own side can't be bothered to do a proper job.


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