U.S. fired depleted uranium in Iraq

Report shows that at least 1,500 rounds were fired against ground troops in civilian areas

Updated - November 17, 2021 12:09 am IST

Published - June 21, 2014 01:01 am IST - WASHINGTON

U.S. military forces fired somewhere between 10,000 and 300,000 rounds of depleted uranium (DU), a toxic, radioactive ammunition, into civilian areas in Iraq during the 2003 occupation, according to government data obtained for the first time ever, by a Dutch peace group.

After the end of the war in December 2011, U.S. forces reportedly gave the GPS coordinates of the DU rounds, as well as lists of targets and the numbers of rounds fired, to the Dutch Ministry of Defence, which was itself concerned about whether its troops may have been in harm’s way.

This data, published as report by the group Pax shows that at least 1,500 rounds were fired against opposition ground troops in or near populated areas of Iraq such as Samawah, Nasiriyah and Basra.

As the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 based on the false claim that erstwhile Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction, few missed the irony of the Pax report which instead revealed that the allied forces invading Iraq, particularly the U.S. and U.K., had deployed DU rounds extensively.

The use of the rounds contravenes at least one official advisory, issued in 1975, by the U.S. air force, which said, “For reasons related to the prohibitions against unnecessary suffering and poison … use of this munition [DU] solely against personnel is prohibited if alternative weapons are available.”

Last March, on the 10th anniversary of Iraq invasion, doctors in Iraqi cities were said to have reported an alarming rise in cancer and birth defects, which “scientists attribute to the use of depleted uranium and other chemicals used in the course of U.S. aerial and artillery bombardments.”

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