DU Weapons: Biden Preparing to Deliver “Nuclear Rounds” to Ukraine?

January 28th, 2023 - by Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com & White House Press Briefing & Prensa Latina

Bradley Fighting Vehicles can use DU shells linked to birth defects.

White House Refuses to Say If Ukraine Will Get Toxic Depleted Uranium Ammo

Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

(January 26, 2023) — The White House refused to say if it will provide Ukraine with Bradley Fighting Vehicles equipped with radioactive depleted uranium rounds, ammunition that is linked to cancer and birth defects.

Depleted uranium is typically created as a byproduct of producing enriched uranium and is extremely dense, making it an effective material to pierce the armor of tanks. Bradleys can be equipped with depleted uranium ammunition, which is why they are known as “tank killers.”

When asked on Wednesday if the Bradleys the US is sending to Ukraine will be equipped with depleted uranium, a senior Biden administration official said, “I’m not going to get into the technical specifics.” The official also declined to answer if the M1 Abrams tanks the US is providing Kyiv will be equipped with a depleted uranium cage.

Konstantin Gavrilov, the head of Russia’s delegation in Vienna on arms control, has warned Moscow would view the use of depleted uranium weapons in Ukraine as the use of a “dirty bomb.” Gavrilov claimed that Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks could also be equipped with depleted uranium rounds.

“In case such munitions for NATO-made heavy weapons are supplied to Kiev, we will consider that as the use of dirty nuclear bombs against Russia with all the consequences that come with it,” he said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Cancer and birth defects spiked in Iraq after the Gulf War, during which the US fired an estimated one million depleted uranium rounds. The US also used toxic ammunition in its 2003 invasion, and studies have found that birth defects are more common in areas where depleted uranium was used. Birth defects are still common today in the city of Fallujah.

White House Sidesteps Uranium Issue
Press Briefing by Officials on Ukraine Support (Excerpt)

White House Briefing Room, January 25, 2023

REPORTER: … Two related questions. One, will you be providing an M1A1 or an M1A2? And will it have the depleted uranium cage? And then, on the issue of the depleted uranium, will you also be providing depleted uranium ammo for the Bradleys? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks. I’m not going to get into the technical specification of this specific platform.

REPORTER: And on the Bradleys ammo question?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’m sorry, I might not have heard. What was your other question?

REPORTER: Will you be providing depleted uranium ammunition for the Bradleys, which is part of what makes them the “tank killer” that Pentagon officials called them?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Again, I’m not going to get into the technical specifics on either platform. Thanks….

And from Moscow:

Russia Warns Against Supplying
Depleted Uranium Munitions to Ukraine

Prensa Latina

MOSCOW (January 26, (2023) — The supply of depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine is very dangerous, said the head of the Russian delegation to the Vienna-based Arms Control Committee, Konstantin Gavrilov.

The diplomat told the Izvestia newspaper that the German Leopard-2 tanks, as well as the Bradley and Marder IFVs can use armor-piercing projectiles containing depleted uranium cores.

Gavrilov added that if the vehicles supplied by NATO make use of such munitions against Russian troops, it will be considered as the use of a dirty bomb and will be harshly responded to by Moscow.

He reiterated that the continued arms supplies to Kiev only aggravate the role of the European Union and NATO as parties to the conflict, even though they insist on denying it.

ACTION: Tell your members of Congress to oppose the tanks and more weapons for Ukraine because there is no military solution.       Sign the letter here

Alice Slater: If you want to know the horrors of depleted uranium, check out Metal of Dishonor, a book that Ramsay Clark helped to organize after the horrid poisoning in Iraq of not only Iraqis, but also our own US veterans. I wrote one of the chapters in the book.

Marcy Winograd: Tanks? No thanks! Please click below to send a letter to Congress in opposition to sending tanks and more weapons to Ukraine for endless war. We need a ceasefire and negotiated settlement. We need diplomacy now!

Jack Felice Cohen-joppa: Metal of Dishonor is a good intro, but it is quite dated, and there is at least one significant error promulgated on pages 26-27 and 62.
Dan Fahey will acknowledge that the claim he made (pp 26-27) for DU as ballast in the Tomahawk cruise missiles used in Iraq in 1991 and 1996 (manufactured by my neighbors here at Raytheon in Tucson) is in fact a misunderstanding of the Navy document cited in the footnotes from Bukowski, et al, Uranium Battlefields Home and Abroad. The DU ballast in the flight tests of the nuclear-armed Tomahawk described in the Navy document is in fact part of the mock warhead, because it mimics the material density of the real warhead (composed of uranium and plutonium, presumably), providing a comparable total mass and weight distribution in the test missile to simulate a nuclear warhead.
Elsewhere in the book, Appendix II includes a more accurate list of DU platforms, notably NOT including the Tomahawk.
This misreading resulted in an explosion (pardon the pun) of misinformed claims in the 1990’s and 2000’s that “probably” ALL U.S. aerial bombs and missile warheads included DU as a penetration aid. The upshot of all that disinformation was the “conclusion” in some hysterical quarters that up to ten times more DU was expended in Iraq than any official figures of DU ammo used would indicate – some sources claiming up to 3,000 tonnes! Dan Fahey later compiled the best evidence available and determined that about 300+ tonnes were expended in Iraq, 1991, and another 100-200 tonnes in 2003 (~90% from A-10s, which fly daily in training over my home in Tucson).*
The problem with such hyperbole is that if one asserts that ten times as much DU caused the health impact we have observed in Iraq, one is implying that DU is perhaps only one tenth as hazardous as the evidence actually shows! Why would one diminish the toxic impact by claiming ten times more was used to get it? Sometimes the eagerness to demonize the U.S. is easily dismissed when it’s fueled by the default suppositions of evil, when the facts alone are enough of an indictment! We don’t need to gild the turd.
Furthermore, claims that DU was used extensively in U.S. aerial bombs and missiles in Afghanistan (starting with Tomahawk warheads) have never been verified by production records or DU licensing documents (as other DU uses are confirmed), nor established by forensics. Patents claiming DU is used in these weapons are just that – patents, spelling out alternative dense materials that would function similarly to preserve patent protection of the novel application. Patents do not represent production. ** DU penetrating shrouds are used for the earth-penetrating nuclear warheads, but then the hazard from the DU is not the big story.

* Fahey, The Use of Depleted Uranium in the 2003 Iraq War: An Initial Assessment of Information and Policies, June 24, 2003
** Cohen-Joppa, DU Disinfo Dupes Project Censored, http://www.nukeresister.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/DU-Disinfo-essay-1005.pdf