Sunday, August 31, 2003

Egypt's dirty depleted uranium secret

firing of 120mm DU penetratorEver since the first gulf war, I've been hearing and reading plenty of propaganda condemning the USA for its use of uranium-238 ammunition in Iraq. Undoubtedly, the release of hundreds of thousands if not millions of depleted uranium rounds in Iraq represents a great tragedy for the Iraqi people and the Middle East in general. There is undeniable evidence that traces of uranium-238 which can be found all over battlegrounds in Iraq is the cause of a radically increased incidence of cancer-type illnesses and birth defects in Iraq, and anecdotal evidence suggests that the "gulf war illness" for which more than one third of American gulf war veterans now receive disability compensation is caused by exposure to depleted uranium particles.

All of this has been widely reported, not only in the western media, but also (predictably) in the Arab press. I am annoyed by Egyptian journalists who so energetically condemn American usage of depleted uranium while ignoring the fact that Egypt joined the "depleted uranium club" in the 1990's, when it received from the USA thousands of rounds of 120mm armor-piercing DU ammunition for its M1A1 tanks. So in any future war, the Egyptian armed forces will litter the desert with radioactive "silver bullet" waste, just as US forces have in Iraq. In fact, the Egyptian army has probably already fired hundreds if not thousands of these rounds into the desert in training excercises.

But this won't be the first time that depleted uranium ammunition has been used in Egypt. The 1973 October war saw the world's first combat use of depleted uranium ammunition, when some Israeli tank units were issued with 105mm DU ammunition, which was used against Egyptian forces.

So, dear Egyptian media-slaves, if you are really so concerned about Uranium-238 being deposited all over Iraq, perhaps the prospect of U-238 contamination right here in Egypt might concern you more! Let's start with a series of hard-hitting interviews with top Egyptian military officials demanding their explanation and justification for why Egypt must possess this disgusting weapon.