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Former Director of the U.S. Army's Depleted Uranium Project reveals toxic effects of America's Military Operations

Dr. Doug Rokke, PhD.

After more than 5 years of unprovoked and unjustified war in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Somalia the use of uranium weapons -- the perfect "dirty bomb" and consequent destruction of each nation's infrastructure, has released all kinds of toxic materials turning these nations into a toxic wastelands. Consequently the number of casualties continues to escalate while U.S. and British officials arrogantly refuse to comply with their own regulations, orders, and directives that require provide prompt and effective medical care to "all" exposed individuals and to clean up all environmental contamination .

Reference: Medical Management of Unusual Depleted Uranium Casualties, DOD, Pentagon, 10/14/93, Medical Management of Army personnel Exposed to Depleted Uranium (DU) Headquarters, U.S. Army Medical Command 29 April 2004, U.S. Army Regulation- AR 700-48: "Management of Equipment Contaminated With Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities" (Headquarters, Department Of The Army, Washington, D.C., September 2002) and U.S. Army Technical Bulletin- TB 9-1300-278: "Guidelines For Safe Response To Handling, Storage, And Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions Or Armor Which Contain Depleted Uranium" (Headquarters, Department Of The Army, Washington, D.C., JULY 1996).

While uranium weapons contamination remains and will remain a serious hazard and can't be cleaned up the hazardous materials that have been dispersed throughout these regions intensifies the adverse health and environmental effects.

The extent of adverse health and environmental effects of uranium weapons contamination is not limited to combat zones in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan but includes facilities and sites where uranium weapons were manufactured or tested including Vieques; Puerto Rico; Colonie, New York; Concord, MA; Jefferson Proving Grounds, Indiana; and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Therefore medical care must be provided by the United States Department of Defense officials to all individuals affected by the manufacturing, testing, and/or use of uranium munitions and for consequent exposures to all of the hazardous materials released as result of combat operations. If we hope to prevent long term adverse health and environmental effects thorough environmental remediation also must be completed without further delay. Although, we can never return affected areas to prewar pristine conditions we must take immediate actions to mitigate the hazards.

I am amazed that seventeen years after was I asked to clean-up the initial uranium weapons mess from Gulf War 1 and that over twelve years since I finished the depleted uranium project that United States Department of Defense officials and others still attempt to justify uranium munitions use. How can the leaders of the United States and England claim to be acting to provide "freedom" to the citizens of nations we invaded, and now occupy, when their actions have caused millions of casualties and extensive environmental contamination? I am dismayed that Department of Defense and Department of Energy officials and their representatives continue personal attacks aimed to silence or discredit those of us who are demanding that medical care be provided to all casualties and that environmental remediation is completed.

A review of available casualty data such as "Analysis of VA Health Care Utilization Among U.S. Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Veterans Operation Enduring Freedom Operation Iraqi Freedom VHA Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards October 2007," reveals that over 263,000 American military personnel have been diagnosed with medical problems that are related to toxic exposures including food and water contamination.

A review of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf War Veterans Information system 'GWVIS' May 2007 report reveals that out of 696,842 Americans who participated in Gulf War 1 as of May 30, 2007 only 620,266 are still alive and that at least 280,623 of those left alive have applied for lifetime medical care because exposures to battlefield toxins.

Sadly United States leaders did not learn and consequently a review of the same casualty data reveals that as of May 30, 2007 out of the 1,129,340 American military personnel who deployed to the Gulf only 963,083 remain alive while at least 407,911 individuals have applied for lifetime medical care.

According to casualty data published in the recent issues of a Army Times at least 29,395 Americans have been wounded in action (WIA) and at least 4000 have no been killed in action (KIA). Obviously the majority of all casualties are classified as "disease and non-battle injuries" (DNBI) and unrelated to actual combat actions but are related to the complex toxic exposures. While Army Times editors report that 89,360 Iraqis have been killed other estimates range from 600,00 to more than 1 million.

The number of Iraqi and other casualties who would be classified as disease and non battle injuries remains elusive but must be proportional to United States DNBI casualties. These numbers are staggering and can never be justified .

Verified medical problems include: Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Malignant Neoplasms, Benign Neoplasms, Diseases of Endocrine/Nutritional/ Metabolic Systems, Diseases of Blood and Blood Forming Organs, Mental Disorders, Diseases of Nervous System/ Sense Organs, Diseases of Circulatory System, Disease of Respiratory System, Disease of Digestive System, Diseases of Genitourinary System, Diseases of Skin, Diseases of Musculoskeletal System/Connective System, Symptoms, Signs and Ill Defined Conditions, and Injury/Poisonings.

Beyond these diagnosed medical problems we must look at what will happen in the future because of extensive air, water, soil, and food contamination. It is obvious that war with the use of today's weapons such as uranium weapons and consequent releases of complex toxic materials causing immediate and eternal adverse health and environmental effects can no longer be justified. Consequently, it is imperative the President of the United States ensures:

1. medical care for all casualties;

2. thorough environmental remediation;

3. immediate cessation of retaliation against all of us who demand compliance with medical care and environmental remediation requirements;

4. and United States military personnel cease the already illegal the use (UN finding) of depleted uranium munitions.

About the writer:

Doug Rokke

Dr. Doug Rokke is a Depleted Uranium expert.

Doug Rokke earned his B.S. in Physics at Western Illinois University followed by his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics and technology education at the University of Illinois. His military career has spanned 4 decades to include combat duty during the Vietnam War and Gulf War 1.

Doug served as a member of the 3rd U.S. Army Medical Command's Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) teaching, medical response, and special operations team, the 3rd U.S. Army captured equipment project team, and with the 3rd U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Assessment team during Gulf War 1(Operation Desert Storm). He was the U.S. Army's Depleted Uranium Project director from 1994 - 1995. He developed the congressionally mandated education and training materials and wrote U.S. Army Regulation 700-48, the U.S. Army PAM 700-48, and the U.S. Army's common task for DU incidents.

Doug has taught nuclear, biological and chemical warfare, hazardous materials, and emergency medicine for over 20 years to both civilian and military personnel. Dr. Rokke was one of the original authors of the 1982 EDRAT (Emergency Disaster Response Assistance Team) proposal which formed the foundation for today's National Guard CSD teams and the Illinois CERT Teams. In preparation for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he wrote and taught the original Chemical / Biological Counter-terrorism Course for civilian emergency responders that is now the federal 120 city and Department of Justice course then served on the emergency response team located at Bermingham, Alabama .

Dr. Rokke serves or has served as an advisor with the U.S. Centers of Disease Control; U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. National Academy of Sciences; U.S. Institute of Medicine; U.S Senate; U.S. House of Representatives; U.S. Department of Transportation; U.S. Federal Aviation Administration; U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. General Accounting Office; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; British Royal Society; British House of Lords and House of Commons; United Nations; U.S. President William J. Clinton's Presidential Special Oversight Board; and local, state, and federal law enforcement, fire, and medical agencies. He has been an advisor and on-screen expert for numerous television documentaries on effects of nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare and depleted uranium with CBS; ABC; NBC, CNN, History Channel; A & E; PBS; Discovery channel, BBC; CBC; Gary Null & Associates; the Power Hour; and German, French, Japanese, Australian, Italian, Spanish, and Greek television networks.

Dr. Rokke has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental science, environmental engineering, nuclear physics, and emergency management and was a staff physicist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 19 years (retired from UIUC). He has also taught elementary school, middle school, and high school. Doug is included in "Who's Who in America" and was recently nominated for "Who's Who in the World" and is included in "Who's Who in Science and Engineering" because his continued efforts and recognition as a national and international expert and educator. Major Rokke has been subjected to ongoing retaliation from Department of Defense officials who do not want information regarding actual adverse health and environmental effects of uranium weapons and their mandatory but ignored requirements to provide medical care to all casualties and to clean up all environmental contamination.

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