The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Re: Take the War-on-Iraq IQ Test

> 17. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the western
> forces during the Gulf War ?
> A: 0

You may wish to amend your questionnaire when you take into account
the number of self-inflicted casualties through the use of DU, not to
mention the incalculable harm to current and future generations of
Iraqis. Michael

 "To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire;
 and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace."  - Tacitus
 THE WAR AGAINST OURSELVES An Interview with Major Doug Rokke FutureNet /

 Doug Rokke has a PhD in health physics and was originally trained as a
 forensic scientist. When the Gulf War started, he was assigned to
 prepare  soldiers to respond to nuclear, biological, and chemical
 warfare, and sent to  the Gulf. What he experienced has made him a
 passionate voice for peace,  traveling the country to speak out. The
 following interview was conducted by  the director of the Traprock Peace
 Center, Sunny Miller, supplemented with questions from YES! editors.

 QUESTION: Any viewer who saw the war on television had the impression
 this  was an easy war, fought from a distance and soldiers coming back
 relatively  unharmed. Is this an accurate picture?

 ROKKE : At the completion of the Gulf War, when we came back to the
 United  States in the fall of 1991, we had a total casualty count of
 760: 294 dead, a little over 400 wounded or ill. But the casualty rate
 now for Gulf War  veterans is approximately 30 percent. Of those
 stationed in the theater,  including after the conflict, 221,000 have
 been awarded disability, according  to a Veterans Affairs (VA) report
 issued September 10, 2002.

 Many of the US casualties died as a direct result of uranium munitions
 friendly fire. US forces killed and wounded US forces.

 We recommended care for anybody downwind of any uranium dust, anybody
 working  in and around uranium contamination, and anyone within a
 vehicle, structure,  or building that's struck with uranium munitions.
 That's thousands upon thousands of individuals, but not only US troops.
 You should provide medical care not only for the enemy soldiers but for
 the Iraqi women and children  affected, and clean up all of the
 contamination in Iraq.

 And it's not just children in Iraq. It's children born to soldiers after
 they  came back home. The military admitted that they were finding
 uranium excreted  in the semen of the soldiers. If you've got uranium in
 the semen, the genetics  are messed up. So when the children were
 conceived -- the alpha particles  cause such tremendous cell damage and
 genetics damage that everything goes  bad. Studies have found that male
 soldiers who served in the Gulf War were  almost twice as likely to have
 a child with a birth defect and female soldiers  almost three times as

  Q: You have been a military man for over 35 years. You served in
 Vietnam as a bombardier and you are still in the US Army Reserves. Now
 you're going around  the country speaking about the dangers of depleted
 uranium (DU). What made you decide you had to speak publicly about DU?

 ROKKE: Everybody on my team was getting sick. My best friend John Sitton
 was  dying. The military refused him medical care, and he died. John set
 up the  medical evacuation communication system for the entire theater.
 Then he got contaminated doing the work.

 John and Rolla Dolph and I were best friends in the civilian world, the
 military world, forever. Rolla got sick. I personally got the order that
 sent  him to war. We were both activated together. I was given the
 assignment to  teach nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare and make
 sure soldiers came  back alive and safe. I take it seriously. I was sent
 to the Gulf with this  instruction: Bring 'em back alive. Clear as could
 be. But when I got all the training together, all the environmental
 cleanup procedures together, all the  medical directives, nothing

 More than 100 American soldiers were exposed to DU in friendly fire
 accidents,  plus untold numbers of soldiers who climbed on and entered
 tanks that had been  hit with DU, taking photos and gathering souvenirs
 to take home. They didn't know about the hazards.

 DU is an extremely effective weapon. Each tank round is 10 pounds of
 solid  uranium-238 contaminated with plutonium, neptunium, americium. It
 is  pyrophoric, generating intense heat on impact, penetrating a tank
 because of  the heavy weight of its metal. When uranium munitions hit,
 it's like a  firestorm inside any vehicle or structure, and so we saw
 tremendous burns,  tremendous injuries. It was devastating.

 The US military decided to blow up Saddam's chemical, biological, and
 radiological stockpiles in place, which released the contamination back
 on the  US troops and on everybody in the whole region. The chemical
 agent detectors  and radiological monitors were going off all over the
 place. We had all of the various nerve agents. We think there were
 biological agents, and there were  destroyed nuclear reactor facilities.
 It was a toxic wasteland. And we had DU added to this whole mess.

 When we first got assigned to clean up the DU and arrived in northern
 Saudi Arabia, we started getting sick within 72 hours. Respiratory
 problems, rashes,  bleeding, open sores started almost immediately.

 When you have a mass dose of radioactive particulates and you start
 breathing  that in, the deposit sits in the back of the pharynx, where
 the cancer started  initially on the first guy. It doesn't take a lot of
 time. I had a father and son working with me. The father is already
 dead from lung cancer, and the sick  son is still denied medical care.

  Q: Did you suspect what was happening?

 ROKKE: We didn't know anything about DU when the Gulf War started. As a
 warrior, you're listening to your leaders, and they're saying there are
 no  health effects from the DU. But, as we started to study this, to go
 back to  what we learned in physics and our engineering -- I was a
 professor of  environmental science and engineering -- you learn rapidly
 that what they're  telling you doesn't agree with what you know and

 In June of 1991, when I got back to the States, I was sick. Respiratory
 problems and the rashes and neurological things were starting to show

  Q: Why didn't you go to the VA with a medical complaint?

 ROKKE: Because I was still in the Army, and I was told I couldn't file.
 You have to have the information that connects your exposure to your
 service  before you go to the VA. The VA obviously wasn't going to take
 care of me, so  I went to my private physician. We had no idea what it
 was, but so many good  people were coming back sick.

 They didn't do tests on me or my team members. According to the
 Department of Defense's own guidelines put out in 1992, any excretion
 level in the urine  above 15 micrograms of uranium per day should result
 in immediate medical  testing, and when you get up to 250 micrograms of
 total uranium excreted per  day, you're supposed to be under continuous
 medical care.

 Finally the US Department of Energy performed a radiobioassay on me in
 November 1994, while I was director of the Depleted Uranium Project for
 the  Department of Defense. My excretion rate was approximately 1500
 micrograms per  day. My level was 5 to 6 times beyond the level that
 requires continuous  medical care.

 But they didn't tell me for two and a half years.

  Q: What are the symptoms of exposure to DU?

 ROKKE: Fibromyalgia. Eye cataracts from the radiation. When uranium
 impacts  any type of vehicle or structure, uranium oxide dust and pieces
 of uranium  explode all over the place. This can be breathed in or go
 into a wound. Once it gets in the body, a portion of this stuff is
 soluble, which means it goes  into the blood stream and all of your
 organs. The insoluble fraction stays -- in the lungs, for example. The
 radiation damage and the particulates destroy  the lungs.

  Q: What kind of training have the troops had, who are getting called up
 right  now -- the ones being shipped to the vicinity of what may be the
 next Gulf  War?

 ROKKE: As the director of the Depleted Uranium Project, I developed a
 40-hour block of training. All that curriculum has been shelved. They
 turned what I  wrote into a 20-minute program that's full of
 distortions. It doesn't deal with the reality of uranium munitions.

 The equipment is defective. The General Accounting Office verified that
 the  gas masks leak, the chemical protective suits leak. Unbelievably,
 Defense Department officials recently said the defects can be fixed
 with duct tape.

  Q: If my neighbors are being sent off to combat with equipment and
 training  that is inadequate, and into battle with a toxic weapon, DU,
 who can speak up?

 ROKKE : Every husband and wife, son and daughter, grandparent, aunt and
 uncle,  needs to call their congressmen and cite these official
 government reports and  force the military to ensure that our troops
 have adequate equipment and  adequate training. If we don't take care of
 our American veterans after a war,  as happened with the Gulf War, and
 now we're about ready to send them into a  war again -- we can't do it.
 We can't do it. It's a crime against God. It's a crime against humanity
 to use uranium munitions in a war, and it's devastating  to ignore the
 consequences of war.

 These consequences last for eternity. The half life of uranium 238 is
 4.5  billion years. And we left over 320 tons all over the place in

 We also bombarded Vieques, Puerto Rico, with DU in preparation for the
 war in  Kosovo. That's affecting American citizens on American
 territory. When I tried to activate our team from the Department of
 Defense responsible for radiological safety and DU cleanup in Vieques,
 I was told no. When I tried to activate medical care, I was told no.

 The US Army made me their expert. I went into the project with the
 total  intent to ensure they could use uranium munitions in war, because
 I'm a warrior. What I saw as director of the project, doing the
 research and working  with my own medical conditions and everybody
 else's, led me to one conclusion:  uranium munitions must be banned from
 the planet, for eternity, and medical  care must be provided for
 everyone, not just the US or the Canadians or the  British or the
 Germans or the French but for the American citizens of Vieques, for the
 residents of Iraq, of Okinawa, of Scotland, of Indiana, of Maryland,
 and now Afghanistan and Kosovo.

  Q: If your information got out widely, do you think there's a
 possibility that  the families of those soldiers would beg them to

 ROKKE: If you're going to be sent into a toxic wasteland, and you know
 you're  going to wear gas masks and chemical protective suits that leak,
 and you're  not going to get any medical care after you're exposed to
 all of these things,  would you go? Suppose they gave a war and nobody
 came. You've got to start  peace sometime.

  Q: It does sound remarkable for someone who has been in the military
 for 35  years to be talking about when peace should begin.

 ROKKE: When I do these talks, especially in churches, I'm reminded that
 these  religions say, "And a child will lead us to peace." But if we
 contaminate the  environment, where will the child come from? The
 children won't be there. War has become obsolete, because we can't deal
 with the consequences on our  warriors or the environment, but more
 important, on the noncombatants. When you reach a point in war when the
 contamination and the health effects of war  can't be cleaned up because
 of the weapons you use, and medical care can't be  given to the soldiers
 who participated in the war on either side or to the  civilians
 affected, then it's time for peace.

 For more information on DU, see:




 Sunny Miller's interview was originally broadcast on WMFO (Boston) in
 November 2002 and is available for re-broadcast at:

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]