Post-combat birth defects in Fallujah population

I didn’t have time to blog this when the BBC first reported it last Wednesday. But the report that found that the rate of birth defects in Fallujah since the U.S. military’s April 2004 assault against it has been higher than that in post-bombing Hiroshima is one that no U.S. citizen should ignore.
Patrick Cockburn had a lot more details about the study underlying the BBC report, in Saturday’s Independent, here.
He writes,

    Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents.
    Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.
    … The study, entitled “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009”, is by Dr Busby, Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi, and concludes that anecdotal evidence of a sharp rise in cancer and congenital birth defects is correct. Infant mortality was found to be 80 per 1,000 births compared to 19 in Egypt, 17 in Jordan and 9.7 in Kuwait. The report says that the types of cancer are “similar to that in the Hiroshima survivors who were exposed to ionising radiation from the bomb and uranium in the fallout”.
    Researchers found a 38-fold increase in leukaemia, a ten-fold increase in female breast cancer and significant increases in lymphoma and brain tumours in adults. At Hiroshima survivors showed a 17-fold increase in leukaemia, but in Fallujah Dr Busby says what is striking is not only the greater prevalence of cancer but the speed with which it was affecting people…

The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. You can download the PDF here.

7 thoughts on “Post-combat birth defects in Fallujah population”

  1. It really is a pity that the highly respected news media doesn’t have the space for this particular story. One day there is going to be an almighty explosion somewhere and people are going to wonder ‘why they hate us?’
    There will, of course, be those to explain that it is our rectitude, decency and compassion towards women that is so threatening to the muslim world. I have marginally more respect for the murderous people firing the artillery and dropping the bombs than for the ideologists who order these actions.

  2. This is a clear one of the war crimes in Iraq after 2003, one that begins with the commander’s stated intent in the operations order. … These socialist hatemongers will strip each one of us of our … hand us over to forces of evil in exchange for wealth and power … You are commenting on: Civilian Massacre in Fallujah? …
    War Crime, Stan Goff comments:”The “tell” is in the audio.

    When the pilot asks permission to fire, he reports a large number of people… not armed people. People. And permission is granted instantly. This is an indication that the mission guidance is to shoot anyone who is in the street. This is a clear war crime, and one that begins with the commander’s stated intent in the operations order. The pilot’s exclamation of satisfaction, “Aw dude!” at the end just underlines how this casual sadism comes to dominate the psyches of those who are part of a military occupation force, and how the ground reality become “race war.””

    Stan Goff retired as a Master Sergeant from the US Army in 1996, his last assignment being 3rd Special Forces Group. He entered military service January, 1970, and his first assignment was as an infantryman with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. His service took him to seven more conflict areas after Vietnam, including Guatemala, Grenada, El Salvador, Peru, Colombia, Somalia, and Haiti. His assignments included 2nd Ranger Battalion, 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, 7th Special Forces, the Jungle Operations Training Center, and the US Military Academy at West Point, where he taught military science.
    These US officers have violated the code, deliberately turned U.S. Marines in Iraq into desensitized war criminals, and marked their service records accordingly.
    It’s fun to kill in Afghanistan, says top US commander just as they doing in iraq from 2003 till now.
    Let not forgot the crimes that done but US administration from GB the senior followed with Bill Clinton with the ugly snake Malden Albright with massacre of 500,000 Iraqi baby/kids with her staggering comment “It’s worth it. Please don’t tell me she apologised for that her apology not can returned 500,000 loved Iraqis to their mums.
    Lastlly take a look to Vanessa Dobos,, gunner: the Rambo style superior woman?

  3. Cockburn’s article seems to suggest the mutagen is depleted uranium. An important question then is how much DU was used in Fallujah and how does this compare with the exposure to DU in other parts of Iraq.

  4. It’s your choice not to print anything critical off your agenda. But you should know that serious scientists (U. Washington’s Amy Hagopian et al.) have already studied Iraqi leukemia rates in much greater depth than this study, using hospital data rather than written survey. their conclusions were that pesticides and oil residues were the most likely culprits for this phenomenon which was in fact widespread, ie not confined to Fallujah or any heavily bombarded area.
    Dragging depleted uranium into the discussion to make some kind of point about US war crimes makes a mockery of their serious scientific work. Not to mention that of the WHO and the Royal Society concerning DU, whose radiological properties you seem not to understand. Iraqis need to learn that allowing their children to handle dangerous carcinogens will kill them, rather than to blame their illnesses on some completely irrelevant factor. Surely this can be woven into your “anti-war” narrative without turning our back completely on scientific opinion?

  5. Thanks to Wengli even if he does seem to be a heartless cynic for mentioning Amy Hapogian. There is widespread increase in leukemia in Iraq and it may very well be war-related.

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