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VETERANS FOR PEACE
Humboldt Bay Chapter 56

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Resolution To Ban the Use
of Depleted Uranium

WHEREAS, In August of 1989, the voters of Arcata, California, expressing their opposition to all nuclear weapons, passed the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Act, which established the City of Arcata as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone;

WHEREAS, the Pentagon has developed a new class of weapons called Kinetic Energy Penetrators, composed of depleted uranium (waste from preparing uranium for bombs or reactor fuel) which was first used in battle during the 1991 Gulf War, where over 300 tons of depleted uranium shells were fired by U.S. forces;

WHEREAS, depleted uranium (DU) has radioactive half-life of 4.5 billion years;

WHEREAS, the Army has declared depleted uranium a radioactive waste that should be isolated in a licensed repository for radioactive waste;

WHEREAS, DU weapons not only penetrate armor and other hardened targets, but also burst into flames releasing quantities of aerosolized uranium particles into the environment that are easily carried by wind or water and are easily re-suspended, blowing radioactive contamination to locations quite distant from battlefield locations;

WHEREAS, ingestion or inhalation of DU causes short- and long-term adverse health effects closely related to complaints of Gulf War Veterans whose ailments are called Gulf War Syndrome;

WHEREAS, the Department of Defense has denied for years the legitimacy of the medical conditions dubbed "Gulf War Syndrome," but has now acknowledged its existence and the necessity of its treatment;

WHEREAS, the Army knew, in advance of the 1991 Gulf War, that inhalation or ingestion of DU particles could have an adverse effect on our service personnel, and had advised leaders to provide protective measures and warnings for those who may be exposed, and medical testing and treatment for those already exposed;

WHEREAS, despite known effects on service personnel and civilians in the Gulf War, DU weapons were again used in Bosnia in 1994-5, in Kosovo in 1999, and in Afghanistan in 2001-2;

WHEREAS, there has been no effort to clean up contamination of DU at any of the battlefield locations;

WHEREAS, it has been reported that residents in Iraq near those 1991 battlefields have shown a 17-fold increase in the rate of deaths from cancer and a 5-fold increase in the rate of severe birth defects among Iraqi civilians.

WHEREAS, 30% of the 700,000 U.S. Gulf War Veterans have filed disability claims, with more claims being made every day, and tens of thousands of them now have serious health problems, while many have children with gross birth defects all of which may be due to their contamination from depleted uranium;

WHEREAS, highly radioactive "transuranic" elements (including Plutonium) have been detected in DU that was used in Kosovo, indicating that some reprocessed nuclear waste is being used in DU munitions;

WHEREAS, DU is widely used as ballast in commercial and military planes and helicopters.

WHEREAS, the U.S. has sold the DU weapons to at least 17 other countries;

WHEREAS, use of DU weapons is a violation of International Law, because they cause indiscriminate harm and damage to the environment;

WHEREAS, the use of depleted uranium weapons can be seen as a form of "Nuclear War" and therefore a "Weapon of Mass Destruction" outlawed by the international community;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of Arcata petitions the President and members of Congress including all of the Senators and all of the members of the House of Representatives to demand the President and the Department of Defense do the following:
  • Immediately ban the further use of depleted uranium weapons and armor in Iraq or elsewhere and also destroy our stores on hand;
  • Ban the sale of uranium weapons and/or depleted uranium to any other country, and urge those countries which already possess DU weapons to also destroy those weapons;
  • Provide appropriate medical testing and medical care for veterans and others suffering from DU contamination;
  • Provide appropriate protective measures, monitoring and medical care of Service Personnel who handle DU weapons or cleanup of DU contamination;
  • Clean up the DU contamination in the battlefields of Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq, utilizing the unused monies budgeted for the Yugoslavian conflict; and to
  • Ban all commercial uses of DU.
BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council of Arcata instructs the city clerk to send copies of this resolution to all of our elected officials, the president, and the United Nations.