This past November, Democracy Now! producer Jeremy Scahill traveled to Iraq and spent a few days in Basra, where he had the chance to visit communities and hospitals, and talk to residents in the area, which was heavily hit during the Persian Gulf War. Doctors there told him about a dramatic rise in cancer, birth defects and other illnesses, and attributed this to the use of depleted uranium by the U.S. military. Depleted uranium is used in the manufacture of bullets that are able to pierce armored tanks, and they were used both during the Gulf War and in the latest air strikes against Iraq. In a town called Socorro, in New Mexico, similar health problems were noticed by area residents. The town has been site since 1972 of a depleted uranium testing plant at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
- Damacio Lopez, Research Director of Revisioning New Mexico, a non-profit organization that researches campaign reform and the use of depleted uranium. He attended a conference on depleted uranium in Iraq this past December 2-3. He also co-authored the report “Uranium Battlefields Home and Abroad: The Use of Depleted Uranium by the U.S. Department of Defense.”