Thursday, June 22, 2006

67% of Vets have kids with birth defects? Hold on there a minute!

Wasn't that previous post striking? 67% of returning Iraq vets having children with birth defects! What a story! What a tragedy! I thought to myself, I should look into this.

So I did.

Despite Loren being called in that post a Phd, she apparently isn't one. The details are elusive. Some sites say she is. Some say she dropped out of her Phd program. Her Wikipedia entry has been edited to make her out as fairly disingenuous. What looks like the original entry is here. The difference between the two is striking. Which is more accurate? I can see myself that her papers offer little in the way of original sources.

This article is a quite thorough analysis of a couple of anti—Depleted Uranium activists (one of them Loren) and their claims at the Traprock Peace Center. At first glance, this group seems to be on what I'd call the right side of many issues. But do they have the details on Depleted Uranium correct? It sounds so horrible.

Several folks dug out the origin of the 67% statistic—apparently it goes back to an old Laura Flanders article about preliminary data in a study that eventually concluded that there were apparently no effects from the DU. Read the whole page for a little course in how the internet can perpetuate myths. Here's what Laura replied to an email inquiry about her article:
"The '94 article refers to a survey which was part of a study not completed and published by the VA until 1996. My source is the Jackson Ledger reporter, somebody Spear, whom I quote in the piece; she'd been writing about the surveys starting a few months before and appeared on FAIR's radio show to talk about it (a detail that got cut in editing.) Statistics being what they are, the '96 report produced a quite different result from the early research. I haven't read it in its entireity (by this time I was not so closely on the case) but it's title is something like VA Finds NO birth defects. [Private e-mail, to Michael C. Sullivan, 4/14/2003]

The actual report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is indeed called "Birth Defects Risk Not Increased."

Ok. That pretty well takes care of the 67% statistic. Whether the final report is a whitewash of the original data is something only someone who's a real expert on the subject and read the paper could tell. But there is a host of other evidence on this page. Is it all suspect? The process by which DU could injure people seems so obvious. Is there some protective mechanism in the human body that is being overlooked?

According to a the DU debunking page, a UN study of Japanese A-Bomb survivors says
"One of the largest study populations is that of the survivors of the atomic bombing of Japan. According to the U.N. report, "The absence of observable effects in children of survivors of the atomic bombings in Japan, one of the largest study populations, indicates that moderate acute radiation exposures of even a relatively large human population must have little impact."
I've read about how the US supressed evidence of harm to Japanese Bomb Survivors. Atoms for Peace and all that.

(By the way, that Atoms for Peace link is must reading for anyone wondering how in the world we ended up with the Nuclear Policy we've had since World War II. Blame Harry Truman and Bernard Baruch, advisor to presidents, owner of a tungsten mine, inventor of the term "Cold War." Baruch is apparently responsible for the secrecy enveloping the nuclear industry, the complete opposite of the open, international plan to deal with nuclear energy proposed by a panel of experts like Groves and Oppenheimer called the Acheson-Lillienthal report. My, how I'm digressing...)


Blogger M1 said...

BTW (as in referring to my flip reply back at SMC-ville), I'll get back on the 67% number, a number that might very well be out there. I hate the idea that Laura Flanders somehow snuck into a corner of my perfect life. Thanks for the comment and pricking up my tiny ears to a bad number in the sea of DU incrimatories.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 5:40:00 PM PDT  
Blogger M1 said...

And now I realized that I also have to track down whether or not Loren finally got her PhD. Stop double checking my posts, god damn it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 7:15:00 PM PDT  
Blogger steve said...

you wouldn't be related to Rageboy, would you...?

You guys seem to be from the same genepool...!

Friday, June 23, 2006 at 1:51:00 AM PDT  
Blogger M1 said...

I'm a freak. Is Rageboy of the same convoluted stuff? (I'm a wreck at keeping track of my fellow web-toed cousins)

Friday, June 23, 2006 at 7:22:00 PM PDT  
Blogger steve said...

Ah, Rageboy. How can I describe him?

This will give you an introduction:

Note the reviews at the bottom of the page.

It's hard to say if you and he are of the same convuluted stuff, since I've been exposed to the radiation coming from his babblings since, oh, last century, whereas I only discovered your particular brand of Meatballism last month.

Speaking of Meatballism, I'm pleased to announce that the entire text of the original article on Creeping Meatballism is preserved for us all, just as I remember it, here on the web:

Saturday, June 24, 2006 at 2:43:00 AM PDT  

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