Crossposted with permission from Jewish Peace News
The following comment didn’t make it into the introduction to Conn Hallinan’s “Dispatches from The Edge – Gaza: Death’s Laboratory.”
We would like to point out that while the article mentions accusations regarding use of depleted uranium (DU) in Gaza, it doesn’t provide any corroborating evidence.
This isn’t to say that DU wasn’t employed in Gaza. It’s just that we feel that mentioning such a serious accusation without offering substantiation is a questionable practice.
Racheli Gai and Rela Mazali.
This article presents a damning rundown of Israeli war crimes in Gaza–including apparent use of a new weapon (developed in the U.S.) that is extra-lethal and highly cancerous, as well as the better known cases of the use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium. The U.S. provided a significant portion of these weapons to Israel.
Dispatches From The Edge—Gaza: Death’s Laboratory
By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday February 18, 2009
It was as if they had stepped on a mine, but there was no shrapnel in the wound. Some had lost their legs. It looked as though they had been sliced off. I have been to war zones for 30 years, but I have never seen such injuries before.
—Dr. Erik Fosse, Norwegian cardiologist who worked in Gaza hospitals during the recent war.
What Dr. Fosse was describing was the effects of a U.S. “focused lethality” weapon that minimalizes explosive damage to structures while inflicting catastrophic wounds on its victims. While the weapon has been used in Iraq, Gaza was the first test of the bomb in a densely populated environment.
The specific weapon—the GBU-39—is a Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) and was developed by the U.S. Air Force, Boeing Corporation, and University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2000. The weapon wraps the high explosives HMX or RDX with a tungsten alloy and other metals like cobalt, nickel or iron, in a carbon fiber/epoxy container. When the bomb explodes, the container evaporates and the tungsten turns into micro-shrapnel that is extremely lethal up to about 60 feet.
Tungsten is inert, so it does not react chemically with the explosive. While a non-inert metal like aluminum would increase the blast, tungsten actually limits the explosion.