U.S. occupation destroys Iraq's health and environment by dumping toxic and most poisonous waste
The violent U.S. occupation of Iraq is also a toxic one of deadly chemicals and waste that are hazardous to both the people of Iraq and the Earth. Many of the weapons used by U.S. forces in the seven-year-long war and occupation are not only the deadliest in the world, but also the most poisonous.
As if it was not bad enough that millions of people have died, been injured or been misplaced since the start of the Iraq war. As some occupying forces are leaving the country, the U.S. military is purposely leaving behind waste that will continue to damage people’s lives well into the future.
According to The Times, based in London, millions of pounds of toxic chemicals have been dumped in Iraq. Toxic waste litters many Iraqi streets where kids walk and play.
According to a rule set by the Pentagon, the U.S. military is responsible to bring back or else properly recycle hazardous materials and chemicals brought to or created in the invaded country. But an investigation by The Times found that in five Iraqi provinces waste from American bases was being dumped locally rather than being sent back to the United States.
In both the north and west there were accounts of multiple 55-gallon drums of engine oil leaking into the ground. In other places, open acid containers sit within reach of small children.
Discarded batteries were also found lying close to irrigated farmland. Toxic components could get into the local water supply and threaten the lives and well being of the population.
A reporter from The Times was shown a Pentagon document, dated 2009, by a private contractor stating there was "an estimated 11 million pounds of hazardous waste" produced by American troops. But this is only a partial estimate, as one brigadier general told the same reporter that he was "in the process of disposing of 14,500 tons of oil and soil contaminated with oil."
Iraqis who work or live around the toxic waste have developed rashes and blistering on their hands and feet, as well as respiratory problems.
One Iraqi said that his doctor told him that his blisters and rashes were the direct result of dangerous chemicals. In one account, rats literally dropped dead by the sites where the waste was dumped.
One scrap-yard owner, who was unknowingly buying contaminated metal, said of his workers "… many quit work. So when I get this kind of material now I bury it somewhere far away."
Most of the U.S. waste in Iraq is found among the areas where the hardest fighting took place such as Baghdad, Fallujah and Mosul. Everything from aviation fuel to unmarked cans can be found littering the ground in these areas. Containers carry such warnings as: "hazardous waste—federal laws prohibit improper disposal"; "keep out of reach of children"; "no smoking within 50ft"; "caution—hazardous waste"; and "flammable liquid."
The dumping of toxic waste in Iraq is completely unacceptable and criminal, but not out of the ordinary. The U.S. occupation of Iraq is in the interests of Wall Street and Big Oil, and not in the interests of the people of Iraq. In order for there to be justice, U.S. forces must immediately leave Iraq, pay for a complete environmental cleanup and pay reparations to the country for every single bit of damage done to the Iraqi people and their country.