According to a new study, the shocking rates of infant mortality and cancer in Iraqi city of Fallujah raise new questions about US military battle in Iraq during the Gulf War.
Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima.
Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs.
They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and Iraqi freedom fighters.
Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14’s.
Infant mortality in the city is more than 4 times higher than in neighboring Jordan and 8 times higher than in Kuwait.
Dr. Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the UK University of Ulster, said that “to produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks we launched against by-standing civilians”.
After an 8-month siege against Iraqi’s in Fallujah, the US Marines stormed the city in using artillery and aerial bombing against defensive positions. US forces later admitted that they had used white phosphorus as well as other toxic munitions like depleted uranium.
The US commander who ordered this devastating use of firepower did not consider it significant enough to mention it in his daily report to the US general in command.
However, the extent of genetic damage suffered by inhabitants suggests the use of uranium in some form.
The study, entitled “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009”, is by Dr. Busby, Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi, and concludes that anecdotal evidence of a sharp rise in cancer and congenital birth defects is correct.
Infant mortality was found to be 80 per 1,000 births compared to 19 in Egypt, 17 in Jordan and 9.7 in Kuwait.
The report describes that the types of cancer are “similar to that in the Hiroshima survivors who were exposed to ionizing radiation from the bomb and uranium in the fallout”.
The impact of war on civilians was more severe in Fallujah than anywhere else in Iraq because the city continued to be blockaded and cut off from the rest of the country long after 2004.
War damage was only slowly repaired and people from the city were frightened to go to hospitals in Baghdad because of US military checkpoints on the road into the capital.
Independent / ABC Flash Point War Crimes News 2019.