by Susu Jeffrey
In 1944 the U.S. Congress passed the G.I. Bill of Rights, providing help to World War II veterans for medical care, education and the purchase of homes, farms and businesses. By 1951, 8 million vets had gone back to school at a federal cost of $14 billion. Higher education was no longer restricted to the elite, and served as a safety valve during the transition from war to peace. G.I. Bill opportunities helped to move hundreds of thousands more people into the middle class.
My dad, Harry Jeffrey (R-Ohio), was a co-author of that bill and spent his only congressional term writing, and then selling the G.I. Bill of Rights to the American people. Since then, the social experiment in support of ex-military personnel has slowly been gutted, especially since the Vietnam War. “That damn G.I. Bill,” a veteran told me recently. “[Now] after four years you don’t even get enough to go to junior college.” Veterans’ benefits are supposed to do just that—benefit veterans.
But, in fact, the fallout from Iraq Wars One and Two will be never-ending since the poison from American depleted uranium (DU) weapons is dangerous to all life for 4.5 billion years.
the tons of depleted uranium used by the U.S., the Iraq war can truly be called
a nuclear war,” Bob Nichols wrote in a Project Censored article about
the mushrooming DU scandal at the Veterans Administration. The effect of exploding
uranium weapons into contaminated dust is that both the target and the targeters
In the last century’s world wars the disability rate for U.S. military
personnel was about 5 percent. The rate doubled with the Vietnam War to 10 percent
where the chemical Agent Orange was used extensively. Of the 580,000 soldiers
involved in the first Iraq War, 11,000 have died and by 2000, an astonishing
325,000 were on permanent medical disability—more than half!
Iraq War vets have less than a 50-50 chance of coming home whole. DU is more
than a radiological and chemical toxin; nano-sized radioactive dust is produced
with each exploding DU munition. The desert winds blow contaminated particles
around for everyone to breathe and eat. DU, a heavy metal (like mercury), lodges
in the body and attacks the victim’s DNA, resulting in a plethora of symptoms
depending on the vulnerability of the person.
Unfortunately the immediate victim is not the only target of DU poisoning. Sexual
partners of DU-exposed vets have been internally contaminated, according to
geoscientist Leuren Moret in “DU: A Death Sentence Here and Abroad.”
In a study of 251 Mississippi soldiers who had normal children during pre-Iraq
War, 67 percent of their post-war babies were born with severe birth defects—cyclops
(single eye), infants missing arms, legs, organs. And if those children live
and reproduce, will their genetic damage be inherited?
When natural uranium is enriched for nuclear power fuel, more than 99 percent
is removed. This by-product is shipped around the nation to holding and processing
facilities and eventually converted into solid bars. Alliant TechSystems (ATK),
headquartered in Edina, cuts the bars to size for the innards of a variety of
bullets and shells. ATK’s uranium munitions are fired from weapons mounted
on tanks, helicopters and airplanes. In 2004 ATK reported $3.1 billion in sales.
peace activists have held vigils at the corporate headquarters of the bomb
makers since 1968. When Honeywell spun off its weapons division creating Alliant
TechSystems in 1991, the peace community moved from Minneapolis to Hopkins,
and now to Edina, and from the activist group name “Honeywell Project”
to the curent “AlliantACTION.”
More than 2,600 arrests for peaceful trespass resulted in 100-plus trials in
which juries and judges were educated about land mines, cluster bombs, Trident
nuclear submarine systems and uranium-core shells. These weapons and delivery
systems cannot distinguish between soldier and civilian, and are therefore indiscriminate
weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
The contract law firm for the City of Edina was humiliated recently by losing
three jury cases to AlliantACTION amateurs acting as their own lawyers. Speaking
in front of “a jury of their peers” in misdemeanor criminal court,
these citizen experts repeatedly convinced juries of their right to uphold the
greater law. This is not a reference to God’s law but to the U.S. Constitution
which names treaties between sovereigns “the supreme law of the land.”
So the lawyers got together and changed the law.
ATK lawyers and Edina city lawyers wrote 20-some pages of e-mails discussing
legal strategy for the mutual benefit of their corporate and municipal clients.
The new law reduces the trespass charge from a misdemeanor to a petty misdemeanor—from
a charge where you can get a jury, to a judge-only trial. The legality of the
new law is under appeal at this time.
peace activists continue to take it to the streets every Wednesday morning at
7 a.m.; they are also taking it to the state Legislature. A bill to test returning
veterans stationed in hot areas in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo is in play at
the Minnesota Capitol. A similar bill is already law in Louisiana and Connecticut
and is being considered in New York State.
Depleted uranium is dangerous for 4.5 billion years, that is to say—forever.
(Human beings have been around for 2 million years.) To pretend this evil is
legal, is suicide to justice. Justice becomes just us. We are watching America
devolve. “The wrong people are on trial,” Sister Jane McDonald says.
The reason there is no exit strategy from Iraq is because U.S. contractors are
building 14 permanent bases in the middle of the oil reserves. When those bases
are history, depleted uranium will still be rearranging the DNA of any local
Please phone your state senator (651-296-0504) or representative (651-296-2146)
and encourage them to support the armed forces health screening bill. ||
& “depleted uranium”; www.leg.state.mn.us enter Senate
bill 2562 or House