● New Internationalist NOVEMBER Issue 406 Depleted uranium
From this month’s editor
‘Well, you don’t have the torn-off limbs for a start.’ I’d asked a campaigner why depleted uranium hadn’t achieved the same kind of public presence as the anti-landmines campaign and this was part of her reply. She was right, of course. It was easier to make the case against landmines as indiscriminate weapons – they were blowing up all over the place and maiming civilians. No-one could deny their horrific impact. With the remnants of depleted uranium weapons it’s often a much slower story of toxic and/or radioactive poisoning, the cause and effect less easy to demonstrate without recourse to technical complexities. And then there are the unknowns. Among them the biggie – that nobody fully knows what lies in store for future generations. There are alarming signs from the ailments of people exposed to DU and from the bewildering disorders manifesting in some of their children. But they are chronically under-researched. Doctors don’t know how to explain them. The governments who have used these weapons and who claim they are safe don’t seem particularly bothered.
In March of this year two Australian soldiers active during the Gulf War of 1991 tested positive for DU contamination a full 15 years after their return from Iraq. Apart from a whole host of disabling symptoms, one of them was also separated from his wife who had suffered from burning semen syndrome since his return and had developed cervical cancer. Their Government has responded by assuring them they haven’t been exposed. As for the civilians in countries where DU contamination persists, they rarely get tested and their suffering is ‘far away’ from us. It must be brought near.
Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist Co-operative firstname.lastname@example.org
4 toxic souvenirs Will the whole truth about depleted uranium ammunition ever come out? It depends on who’s looking, discovers Dinyar Godrej. Plus 6 DU: From waste to weapon A visual guide.
9 Don’t look, don’t find Can Iraqi doctors break through the wall of indifference? Doug Weir reports.
11 ‘We were expendable’ US Army veteran Herbert Reed’s blistering testimony.
14 the Facts
16 Who’s the real criminal? John LaForge squares up to the largest DU munitions manufacturer in the US.
18 Action Including Building the ban with Belgian activists and DU and the law.
20 sPeCIAL FeAtURe Guilt complex We feel guilty about what we do (flying, driving a car) and about what we don’t do (not making that demo, not recycling enough). Adam Ma’anit traces the roots of these feelings and argues that we need liberation.
2 Letters How the NI insulted children; why you shouldn’t trash an SUV; a Muslim Australian on how she is spat at or insulted every time she goes out. PLUS: Letter from Cairo
24 Currents US Iraq vets against the war; drugs and guns in Colombia’s guerrilla war; Burma’s rebels on the line; World Bank and corruption in Armenia. PLUS: Seriously China permits reincarnation.
27 Making Waves How Masih Alinejad is paying the price for confronting Iran’s leaders.
28 Big Bad World George W stands firm in the face of Polyp. PLUS: NI Prize Crossword
29 Worldbeaters Hillary Clinton, frontrunner in the race for the White House, is a woman. Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends.
30 Mixed Media Including a film about the end of oil, music by Robert Wyatt and five-star books from Naomi Klein and John Berger.
32 Southern Exposure Facing up to Algeria’s riot police, by local photographer Samir Sid.
33 View from Nairobi Why Africa must be heard on climate change, by Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai.
34 Essay: Kabul lives A photographic tribute to a city that has plumbed the depths.
36 Country Profile: Cuba
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Front cover: Ian Nixon. Magazine design: Ian Nixon. All monetary values are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise noted.