Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Would you vote for Hillary", RadioWest asks

In response to RadioWest with Carl Bernstein discussing his biography of Hillary Clinton:

“Would you vote for Hillary?”

There was a time when I would have voted for Hillary for President, beyond a doubt, and if she becomes the Democratic nominee, then I still will. Whatever her flaws, I still find her to be very intelligent, capable, compassionate and wise, with honorable motives -- all qualities that have been sorely missing in the present administration.

However, the problem lies in her husband's legacy. Will she be able to move forward and act objectively, without the need to protect and/or defend the parts of his policies that, in retrospect, have not worked or have had negative, even dangerous, unintended consequences.

Most notably, there is the use of depleted uranium in U.S. military weapons. It didn't start with Bill Clinton. On the contrary, it began with Bush/Cheney, only it was George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney as Defense Secretary, who first bombed Iraq on January 17, 1991, using penetrators made effective by the extremely hard heavy metal, which would burst into flames and sharpen on contact with its target, leaving tiny radiating particles in the air, and eventually making their way into the water and land, there in Iraq, as well as travelling upon the currents of the great dust storms that Iraq is famous for. The radiation, called "low-level", is no less intense or damaging for being "low-level" -- it just means that the range of the constantly emitting bursts is small, but once particles enter the body, by inhalation, the mouth or through an open wound, that emission range is perfect for attacking nearby cells as the particles work their way through. The kinds of cancers that occur depend on the size and solubility of the particles, and where they get stuck along the way. Doctors in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen the greatest increases in leukemia, and cancers of the liver and lungs, as well as the previously rare occurence of multiple separate cancers. With the sanctions against Iraq in the 90's, treatment was almost impossible, and losses were great.

Then, under President Clinton, there was the crisis in Kosovo and Bosnia, and NATO moved in, armed with U.S. and British weapons. In January 2001, the NATO countries exploded with stories of cancers suffered by the troops who had served in the former Yugoslavia, and demanded an investigation. The United Nations sent a team from the Environmental division and the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, the Pentagon squashed scientific evidence linking DU and medical effects. It was years later that those who were still paying attention learned that Dr. Keith Baverstock of the WHO, their best expert in radiation, filed a report in 2001 acknowledging enormously harmful effects, but, under pressure from the U.S., it was shelved.

Even more horrible, then, is the fact that the U.S. military, no longer capable of pretending to be unaware of the effects, still uses depleted uranium in its missiles, penetrators, shields, tanks, and more. Yet few in Congress are courageous enough to try to introduce and support legislation to stop its use or even seek testing for every soldier who serves in the Gulf. Congressmen Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Kucinich (D-OH) have been leaders in this effort. But even Democrats have been reluctant to take this on, even though the greatest use by far has been ordered by the two versions of Bush/Cheney, in 1991 and from 2003 to the present, because in between the Bushes is Bill Clinton, their most successful President since FDR.

I don't know that Senator Hillary Clinton would be willing to face these truths and stop what so many in the rest of the world recognize as the kind of long-term, boundary-less destruction that qualifies as a war crime. It is the ultimate torture -- to watch your loved ones, especially those who are most vulnerable -- your children, suffer through cancers and birth defects.

We need a leader who will end this.
And we need citizens who will demand to know what the candidates will do about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment