BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON, D.C. – Medical authorities in the al-Anbar province in western Iraq report a sharp rise in the number of registered cases of a cancer diagnosis as a result of the US military’s use of banned munitions at the time of the invasion and the later occupation of Iraq.
“The radiation of prohibited ammunition used during the US invasion and the later occupation of Iraq is the most important cause for the heightened number of cancer patients in the al-Anbar province,” an oncologist in the western Iraqi province was quoted as saying by the Arabic-language Afaq news channel on Wednesday.
He noted that people in the al-Anbar province are facing different problems which arose from the Americans’ use of banned weapons and munitions, and said that cancer is a terrible disease and that the treatment is extremely expensive, while people in the province cannot afford it, and even the few who could bear the virtually insurmountable expenses are still faced with a severe shortage of cancer drugs.
The United States troops used the deadly white phosphorus in the offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja in 2004, the US said.
“It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants,” spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable said.
The United States had earlier said the substance – which can cause severe burning of the flesh – had been used “only for illumination”, which is a quite unusual excuse, given the extensive use of advanced night and thermal vision equipment by the United States military and their invading NATO and non-NATO allies.
The United States State Department had earlier confirmed white phosphorus had been used in Falluja “very sparingly”, again, allegedly for “illumination purposes”. This is definitely not the first time the United States has been using banned munitions in one of their countless invasions of other sovereign countries. And it most certainly won’t be the last time.
Countries like Vietnam or Serbia are among the more prominent examples of the benefits of “freedom and democracy”. Half a century after the bloody US invasion of Vietnam, which directly killed around 4 million people, the vast majority of whom were civilians, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese have suffered and are still suffering the consequences due to the use of banned munitions by the US.
In Serbia, after the US aerial invasion in 1999, tens of thousands have died and are still dying due to a sharp increase in the number of people with cancer. Apart from the irreversible loss of human lives, the main issue remains the severe strain put on the devastated economies of targeted countries, due to the necessary increase in funds allocated for cancer treatment.