Aug 24, 2005

The Bulldog's Orwellian 101

Today's post on The Bulldog Manifesto is a brilliant discussion on how the language surrounding the war in Iraq spins positive, which obviously contributes to why people think that this is the right thing for us to do.

One thing I found most disturbing was the Bulldog's discussion of "depleted uranium" and how we - supposed liberators of oppressed Iraq - are actually fucking killing them in the process:

Depleted Uranium
Your television will never mention the topic of depleted uranium. Depleted Uranium (DU) is a dense, radioactive metal used for armor-piercing shells. American tanks and A-10's fired DU munitions all over Iraq, littering the Iraqi terrain with an estimated 75 tons of DU shells. (These shells have been found to contain traces of Plutonium, which is the most toxic substance we know of. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years, Iraq is destined to be a radioactive nightmare for the rest of human history.)

Beside the fact that our media rarely discusses depleted uranium, when it does get mentioned, it's misleadingly called "depleted uranium". That's Orwellian newspeak again. It should really be called what it is-- "Enriched Uranium"
"The term "Depleted" refers to the removal of uranium-235, but the process for its removal is called "Enrichment." It is Enrichment because what remains is uranium-238, a highly potent radioactive carcinogen that emits alpha particles. Once in our body, either inhaled, or in a flesh wound, or even ingested in contaminated food or water --- you get cancer in your lungs bones, blood or kidneys (Caldicott, 2002). There is one more way, the Uranium is Enriched. Uranium-236 and Uranium-238, otherwise know as Plutonium is laced into the so-called "Depleted" uranium weaponry." -- David M. Boje, Ph.D. (March 13, 2003).

You see, this clever language makes it hard for the public to discern that we fought a nuclear war in Iraq. To be precise, it was an Enriched Uranium Nuclear War. And there is a profound reason for this Orwellian language-- Enriched Uranium weaponry is illegal under the terms and conditions of the Geneva Convention. It is a violation of the Geneva Convention to leave harmful materials on a battlefield after the conflict has ceased.

I urge you to read the rest of this post. It's really quite thought provoking.

1 comment:

mrgumby2u said...

The depleted uranium issue is another example of how we abuse the men and women in our armed forces. It was widely suspected after Chimpy's daddy's war that DU was causing severe health problems (birth defects in their children, raised cancer levels) for our returning service people, but the pentagon has pointedly refused to investigate this. With anecdotal evidence of similar problems with service people returning from the current war, the pentagon still sits on its hands, but now some states are picking up the ball by implementing testing on returning troops.

As with so many important issues, the SCLM had largely steered clear of this.