Nuclear Weapons in Iraq War?

L. David Roper (

When George W. Bush became president, he had his warriors draft contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China, Libya and Syria. Bush told the U.S. Defense Department to prepare for using nuclear weapons in some future Arab-Israeli crisis and to develop plans for using nuclear weapons to retaliate against chemical or biological attacks, as well as in cases of "surprising military developments" of an unspecified nature. The plan called for developing "bunker-busting mini-nukes." The classified plan, called the Nuclear Posture Review, was delivered to Congress. Read about it at

Some "surprising military developments" are occurring in Bush's Iraq War. The expected "100 hour war" is stretching out to months and perhaps years. Shock and Awe massive bombing of Baghdad has not produce the expected surrender of the Iraqi government.

Will Bush use nuclear bombs in this war? If he does, that would make the U.S. the first, second and third nation to use nuclear weapons in wars; the first two times the U.S. killed about 250,000 people, mostly non-combatants, in Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan. This time it appears likely that Bush and Company would use a so-called "bunker buster" nuclear bomb that is "only" one-third as powerful as the bombs used in Japan. The purpose would be to kill Saddam Hussein in his bunkers down to 300 feet below the surface; only a nuclear weapon could destroy such bunkers. The fireball from such an explosion would be about one mile in radius, and the area of total destruction would be several miles in radius. Baghdad would be obliterated, as were Nagasaki and Hiroshima. This time the explosion would be deep underground instead of at 17,000 feet; thus huge amounts of radioactive dirt would be shot high into the atmosphere and would spread around the earth; the U.S. would get a large share of it. Much radioactive dirt would fall to the ground in Iraq to be inhaled and ingested by U.S. troops.

Why have the news media not asked Bush to declare that he will not use nuclear bombs in his Iraq War? He has said that he will "do whatever it takes to win this war." Does that include using nuclear bombs?

Speaking of dirt in the atmosphere, there are the huge sandstorms that have impeded the U.S. troops in Bush's Iraq War. That is very special sand, because it contains huge amounts of toxic and radioactive depleted uranium, put there by weapons in the Gulf War (over 300 tons) and by weapons used in the no-fly zone over the last twelve years. Much larger amounts of depleted uranium are being put there by weapons used in Bush's Iraq War. The Gulf War was the first war to use radioactive weapons; another first for the U.S. Iraq will have to live with this radioactivity for millions of years.

Depleted uranium is used in many shells and missiles used by the U.S. military. It is well known that the ongoing massive "Shock and Awe" onslaught on Baghdad involves thousands of missiles that are "hardened" by depleted uranium. Depleted uranium is used because its high density (1.7 times the density of lead) allows penetration of standard tank armor and concrete buildings and because the uranium explosively ignites (pyrophoric) inside the tank or other object penetrated, burning the occupants to a crisp. (The military jargon for the charred bodies is "Crispie Critters.") The U.S. soldiers who operate tanks are surrounded by depleted uranium to make the tanks less vulnerable to anti-tank weapons; that is, they are surrounded by low-level radiation, which accumulates to high doses in their bodies over long times in the tanks. U.S. soldiers who handle the radioactive weapons receive a larger dose of radiation in about one hour than they receive from natural radiation in one year.

When depleted-uranium particles are inhaled and ingested, both chemical and radioactive effects cause illnesses, including cancer, renal failure and chromosome damage that can lead to birth defects in children. There is much evidence that the Gulf War Syndrome and the Bosnian/Kosovo Wars Syndrome (where many depleted-uranium weapons were used) are related to such contamination; even an Afghan Syndrome is appearing probably due to using depleted-uranium weapons in that ongoing war. It has been shown that radioactivity in the Gulf War area is 20 to 100 times normal background radiation. Leukemia incidence in children in Iraq is highest in the 5-9 age group, the group that was born immediately after the war. There has been a cancer epidemic in Iraq since the Gulf War. The radioactivity left in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo will last for millions of years.

The U.S. military and other government agencies know about the health hazards of depleted-uranium, but they overlook it because it helps them win battles and because it uses the left-over toxic and radioactive uranium waste after uranium ore is enriched for nuclear reactor fuel and nuclear bombs.

It appears highly probable that Bush's "whatever it takes to win the war" includes a new Bush-Iraq-War Syndrome for U.S. soldiers when they eventually come home. Families of soldiers in Bush's Iraq War should be pressing Bush to proscribe the use of depleted-uranium weapons in this war, or else their loved ones will likely be coming home with a Bush-Iraq-War Syndrome disease. Actually, it is probably too late for this war, but Bush is planning more wars in Iran and elsewhere.

The use of depleted-uranium hardened weapons, called "weapons of indiscriminate destruction", is forbidden by the same part of the Geneva Convention that forbids the use of "weapons of mass destruction." Any nation's leaders who authorize the use of such weapons are subject to international prosecution.

For more information about the use of depleted uranium in weapons, see: