In the course of working with Bill Wilson on the depleted uranium issue, I have had the privilege of getting to know various brave and principled men and women. Perhaps the bravest and most outspoken is Major Doug Rokke. Initially employed by the US army to devise protocols for dealing with this radioactive heavy metal safely (it is used to tip armour-penetrating shells) he was horrified when his advice and findings were ignored and suppressed. He and his former colleagues (some now dead) have been severely affected by exposure to depleted uranium. According to him, the USA treats its disabled and sick veterans with contempt, rather than taking their complaints seriously, and he has a lot more to say… He has just given me permission to post this:
“Casualties of War”
Major Doug Rokke, Ph.D.
February 1, 2011
God’s dream of PEACE ON EARTH has been shattered by the United States’ military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Balkans. This dream will fade even more with the probable invasions of Iran and North Korea. Although our leaders tell us these countries pose a threat to our nation and our precious freedoms in reality they have never, do not now, and never will pose any actual threat to us. These nations have never attacked us except after we invaded their nations and even then the attacks on our troops and mercenaries occur within the occupied nations. Although the foundation for our nation’s military operations continues to be that our purpose and actions adhere to the “just war” rationale and that we are acting with God’s blessing, we must ask ourselves if in reality if this is an eternal national delusion. Our combat operations using radioactive “DU” munitions, chemical and biological weapons, thermobaric explosives, microwaves, torture, and conventional explosives have resulted in environmental and food contamination affecting millions of God’s children.
Over 200,000 veterans have died… More dying each day at home… Others classified as less than human…
U.S. casualties for OIF-OEF-ODS [Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Desert Sands] include at least 43,000 wounded in action, 6000 killed in action, and almost 1,000,000 who are ill due to toxic exposures, diseases, or injuries from accidents. Over 200,000 veterans have died, with more dying each day, from disease and injuries after returning home. Suicides are skyrocketing. Families are in turmoil with abuse rampant. These casualties are due to our nation’s actions or failure to act. The casualties are “our” sons and daughters – who we all know and love and who we must care for. But there are millions of ignored and unknown casualties that include the citizens of the nations we have attacked and who we classify as less than human to allow us to justify and dismiss their suffering.
Medical care deliberately denied
Those of us who are “combat” casualties must fight for earned prompt and optimal medical care because it is deliberately denied, delayed, rationed, or ineffective. Too many of us have been required to pay for our own medical care for combat injuries because the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leaders have refused to help us even while these same VA leaders have been given over $24 million in bonuses and spent over $400,000 to sponsor a race car. Sadly, neither Department of Defense nor Veterans Affairs officials will acknowledge publically the number of casualties and causes of so much unwarranted suffering. President Obama said on August 4, 2009 that it would take years to fix the VA. That is nonsense! He simply orders General Shinseki to do so. But the fix will require a significant philosophical change that requires all VA employees to become advocates for injured, ill, and wounded veterans.
Briefed the Pope and the Pentagon
As a retired Army WMD, counter-terrorism, and environmental expert I decided to ensure that all civilian and military casualties receive medical care and that environmental contamination is cleaned up. I authored the adopted but ignored DOD regulations and procedures. Consequently, I briefed to Pope John Paul years ago. Recently I gave an oral and a written briefing to Cardinal Tomasi, Pope Benedict’s United Nations representative, who then briefed Pope Benedict. This request came during my 2008 United Nations Human Rights conference lecture in Geneva, Switzerland. I have spoken in the Pentagon; U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; British and Swedish Parliaments; UNESCO; Centers for Disease Control; National Academy of Sciences; churches; universities; human rights organizations; for television documentaries; and participated in dozens of newspaper, radio, and magazine interviews around the world. Personal interviews include CBS’s 60 Minutes with Morley Safer, CBS evening news with Dan Rather, Al Jazerra, BBC, and as a visiting scholar at the University of the Incarnate Word and St. Bonaventure Catholic Universities.
We can no longer treat the earth and God’s children with such contempt
Consequently, my colleagues and I have been subjected to overt retaliation in an effort to silence us to prevent veterans and families from learning about: (1) DOD and VA reports confirming adverse health and environmental effects; and (2) ignored directives, orders, and regulations mandating medical care and environmental remediation. Despite our continuous efforts to help all of God’s children and protect his creations mandatory medical care and environmental remediation are still being denied, delayed, rationed, or ineffective while unjustified and preemptive war designed to control terrain, resources, and people continues. We can no longer treat the earth and God’s children with such contempt and claim the divine right to intervene in so many nations with God’s blessing. While we wait impatiently for divine intervention, we must ensure that these injustices are stopped with medical and environmental consequences alleviated but above all we must remember that if there is to be peace on earth it must begin with each of us and thus we cannot just ignore our responsibilities as peace makers.