The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

U.S. Depleted Uranium and Ukraine

Jun 26, 2023

The White House announced in mid-June that the U.S. will provide Ukraine with shells made of the radioactive metal called depleted uranium, to launch from the M1A1 Abrams tanks the U.S. will give Ukraine. The government says these missiles can penetrate targets deeper than other shells because the uranium is very dense—almost twice as dense as lead, and two and a half times as dense as steel—so supposedly this will help the Ukrainians fight the Russian army.

What they don’t say is that when these shells blow up they spread very toxic dust into the air and ground, which poses a major health hazard effectively forever. Uranium stays radioactive for billions of years, even the “depleted” kind. The U.S. has used depleted uranium munitions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo. Medical personnel and parents in Fallujah, Iraq, especially have spoken out for decades about the birth defects and other health problems they attribute in part to depleted uranium dust.

Companies like Northrop Grumman have made a lot of money providing depleted uranium missiles to the military. Now the U.S. is shopping for a supplier in Poland closer to Ukraine and willing to have its factory workers handle the toxic metal for lower pay.

This has a lot to do with profits, but nothing to do with helping Ukrainians. To the contrary, it will poison them forever.