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Bhutto's bullet

To: Retort
From: GS

[Geoff speculates on the ramifications of a DU bullet being used by the Bhutto assassin. Hint: readers anticipating a gratuitous slur on "leftist intellectuals" must wait until para 7, though leftist anti-war activists get theirs in para 3. IB]

Benazir Bhutto may have been killed by DU
Geoffrey Sea
27 xii 07
While complete details await the results of investigation, numerous reports of the Bhutto assassination include the observation that the "bullet-proof" windshield of her vehicle was penetrated and shattered by bullets fired from automatic rifles. Various journalists have already come to the conclusion that, if so, the bullets had to be armor-piercing, or, in other words, tipped with depleted uranium. This would fit with the otherwise military character of the attack, which involved coordinated snipers, a close-range gunman, and explosion of a "suicide" belt.
Given that the attack occurred in the courtyard of Pakistan's premiere military city, it is virtually impossible that it was perpetrated with the consent of national military leaders. Indeed, it is a huge embarrassment for them, and a threat to their power and stability, which was obviously the idea. The culprit military in question is that of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, united in Pakistan under the banner of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, which threatened to kill Bhutto previously in October.
That the Taliban and Al Qaeda use DU munitions is no news, at least for the Coalition forces who have been armoring themselves against DU-tipped bullets in Afghanistan and Iraq for the past five years. It may, however, come as news to the ranks of leftist antiwar activists in the West, who swallowed Islamic militant propaganda about DU being a "U.S. Zionist weapon" hook, line, and penetrator.
Nor is it the case that the Taliban and Al Qaeda get their DU from Western sources. It wouldn't pay to ship it -- the stuff is really really heavy.
All countries with uranium enrichment programs produce DU in ample supply as a by-product. That includes Russia, China, and Pakistan itself. Moreover, the DU from these suppliers is uncontrolled, gladly exported because otherwise it must be disposed of as waste. DU is supplied for many civilian purposes, including civilian aircraft and ship construction, and even the manufacture of hi-tech golf clubs. In 2002, early in the war to remove the Taliban, a large crate marked "Depleted Uranium" was discovered amongst a Taliban arms cache. The fact that the label was in English (but with no American markings), attests only to the profligate international trade in DU.
As lethal violence spreads across Pakistan, who is concerned with the one chance in a million that some one person will get cancer from the bullets that sprayed Bhutto's car a million years from now? And if that is not a concern, then why is the equivalent fear about American bullets in Iraq in any sense rational?  The fact is that bullets everyplace will be manufactured from DU now. It's a penetrator, not a discriminator. We must deal with it, not wish it away; its use is no longer a "choice" for any army that wants to win. That is especially true since international bans will not apply to non-state entities.
This is a horribly tragic day. Some of us remember Benazir Bhutto because her days at Harvard overlapped with ours. If anything good can come of this day, perhaps it will be wider realization that the radical Islamists neither constitute a "resistance movement," nor are they  "freedom fighters," nor do they represent any kind of consensus in the countries they infect. Perhaps leftist intellectuals may now reconsider whether the common enemy should be labeled "liberalism." And perhaps the ridiculous notion that Bush and Rumsfeld somehow "chose" DU in order to "poison Muslim children" will finally be laid to rest in the graveyard of stupid insidious lies.
Because on this day, we can appreciate that the criminals who post the mendacious websites decrying American "DU atrocities" are the same ones who killed Benazir Bhutto, probably shooting DU rounds.