The US assault on Iraq that began 20 years ago has left a toxic legacy worse than that of the Hiroshima bombing, according to a study that looked at cancer rates and infant mortality.
After the bombing in Japan, the rates of leukemia among those living closest to the detonation increased by a devastating 660%, about 12 to 13 years after the bomb (which is when radiation levels peaked). In Falluja, leukemia rates increased by 2,200% in a much shorter space of time, averaged just five to 10 years after the bombings. Anecdotally, doctors in Iraq began reporting a big increase in cancer rates as well as congenital anomalies (commonly referred to as “birth defects”) after the US began bombing the country. The research, led by Dr Christopher Busby while he was at the University of Ulster, showed that the doctors’ observations were backed up by data.
In addition to the huge increase in leukemia, Busby and his colleagues found a 1,260% increase in rates of childhood cancer in Falluja after the US bombing as well as a 740% increase in brain tumors. They also found evidence that Iraqis had been exposed to radiation, as infant mortality rates were 820% higher than in neighboring Kuwait.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945 was one of the worst atrocities in human history. When Dr Busby compared the numbers to those in Falluja, he found that “the cancer levels are astonishing”, adding: “The peak effect in those at Hiroshima who were most irradiated was less than the effect in all of Falluja.”
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