At the Hay literary festival Hans Blix, nuclear weapons inspector whose advice was spectacularly disregarded over Iraq’s WMD, has told the UK that renewal of its Trident nuclear capability with a cost of £100 billion would not serve any purpose, or make Britain safer. He suggested it may have more to do with pride than protection.
Nuclear weapons are illegal, unusable, unaffordable and immoral and yet, at a time of hardship, when health, education, housing and general social needs of the population are subjected to draconian austerity measures, money is diverted to fund the most monstrous creation of the XX century.
Is it really so unthinkable to use them? In reality war has already become a little nuclear. Depleted Uranium (DU) is now well established in the battlefield and the consequences of its use are emerging, against a backdrop of denial and ‘secrecy’.
Since 2001, medical personnel at the Basra hospital in southern Iraq have reported a sharp increase in the incidence of child leukemia and genetic malformation among babies born in the decade following the Gulf War. Iraqi doctors attributed these malformations to possible long-term effects of DU… In 2004, Iraq had the highest mortality rate due to leukemia of any country.[WHO] The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) has made a call to support an epidemiological study in the Basra region, as asked for by Iraqi doctors, but no peer-reviewed study has yet been undertaken in Basra.
A medical survey, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009” published in July 2010, states that the “Increase in cancer and birth defects…are alarmingly high” and that infant mortality 2009/2010 has reached 13.6%. (Wikipedia)
John Pilger writing for The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/26/iraqis-cant-turn-backs-on-deadly-legacy) reports that ‘Dr Jawad Al-Ali… an internationally respected cancer specialist at the Sadr teaching hospital in Basra, … told me that in 1999, and today his warning is irrefutable. “Before the Gulf war,” he said, “we had two or three cancer patients a month. Now we have 30 to 35 dying every month. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48% of the population in this area will get cancer: in five years’ time to begin with, then long after. That’s almost half the population. Most of my own family have it, and we have no history of the disease. It is like Chernobyl here; the genetic effects are new to us; the mushrooms grow huge; even the grapes in my garden have mutated and can’t be eaten.”
The nuclear industry (WMD, DU and nuclear energy) moves huge sums to lobby, coerce, blackmail and deceive. It is the epitome of antihumanism and anti-environmentalism. Hans Blix is right about Trident, but he is now Head of Advisory Board for United Arab Emirates Nuclear Program another example of the oft seen conflict of interests created by the illusory separation between nuclear weapons and nuclear power.