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

The "Dirty Bomb"

Sep 9, 2002

Attorney General John Ashcroft declared in May that the government had apprehended a "dirty bomber", a former Chicago gang member who had joined Al Qaeda. In fact, the accused had no materials to construct such a bomb, no knowledge of how to do it. But it certainly made a big propaganda hit.

It turns out, however, that "dirty bombs" have been used before, and in Iraq, the very country which we are told is raising a nuclear threat to the world. But the "dirty bombs" weren’t released by Saddam Hussein, but by the United States itself!

During the Gulf War the U.S. fired off 350 tons of artillery shells made from depleted uranium. The military likes these shells because uranium is so hard it can penetrate tanks and other armor. So-called "depleted" uranium is taken from nuclear reactors. The fact that it’s called "depleted" doesn’t mean it carries no radiation–it means it’s effective life in a reactor is used up.

When shell casings made of "depleted" uranium break up, they disintegrate into dust, enter the soil and are blown by the wind. The uranium particles can be inhaled and lodge in the bones where they release what is called "low level" radiation. This radiation causes cancer and other serious diseases.

Not only have these shells had a long-term ill effect on the people of Iraq, there is some evidence that they are one of the causes of Gulf War Syndrome which has affected many U.S. soldiers who were there during the war.

Yes, the threat of the "dirty bomber" is real–but it’s the U.S. military who’s the culprit.