A deformed baby in Fallujah
A report from BBC reporter John Simpson today finally revealed to the English-speaking world what everyone living near the Persian Gulf has known all along: the US-led occupation of Iraq since 2003 not only led to the toppling of the Baath Party but also to a public health disaster whose most disturbing feature is a vast increase in birth defects among Iraqi children.
According to Simpson, major birth defects in the city of Fallujah, a city of some 310,000 inhabitants that was the scene of ferocious combat between US and insurgent forces in 2004, have skyrocketed to at least thirteen times the rate measured in Europe. Pediatrician Samira al-Ani told the journalist that she now sees two to three cases at her American-built hospital each day instead of one case every one or two months before the war. The defects range from heart problems, tumors, missing limbs and paralysis to brain damage. One child was born with three heads. A British-based Iraqi researcher called Malik Hamdam reports seeing "footage of babies born with an eye in the middle of the forehead, the nose on the forehead." The situation has become so serious in Fallujah that public officials are urging local women to stop reproducing altogether.
Today's BBC report isn't exactly a scoop. The global press, particularly the Guardian, has been reporting on the phenomenon for years, although you'd never guess it judging by what shows up about Iraq in the American mass media.
What is causing this epidemic? There has been no official inquiry so far, but local officials assume the defects arose from the weapons used by US forces in 2004, when they pounded the city with munitions laced with white phosphorus and depleted uranium. Much of the rubble was simply dumped into the Euphrates River, which the local population uses as a water supply. Both white phosphorus and depleted uranium are believed to cause cancers and birth defects. So far the US military denies any knowledge of these reports.
Yes, we all know that "war is hell" and "freedom isn't free." But isn't this a darkly ironic outcome in a war that was purportedly waged to save innocent people from "weapons of mass destruction"...?
For a detailed video report, click HERE.