“Collateral Damage” The Human Cost of War

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Crater Lake–Nr.Klamath Falls (Ore.)

Sitting here in one of the stunningly mysterious of places in North America, where a cone of an ancient volcano has collapsed, and filled with free-flowing water to form a bottomless lake.  It is hard to contemplate the clouds of war, coalescing over the Middle East, of which this Imperial Homeland — that contains this mysterious Lake –is an actor.

Yet, missing from the debate within this hot pursuit of war against Iran is the cost to the innocent human bystanders of a strike –- especially Iranian civilians — against the country’s nuclear sites. 

According to a recent report, published by an Iranian-American scientist, Khosrow Semanani who has a background in industrial nuclear waste and chemicals, the result would be long-lasting and devastating.

Khosrow Semnani contends in his eighty-page monograph, The Ayatollah’s Nuclear Gamble (the Hinckley Institute of Politics & the Omid for Iran; (http://bit.ly/QWCZIa); the University of Utah; Provo; 2012; free that militarily striking Iran’s nuclear sites, to where the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) has attested that an inventoried three hundred and seventy-one metric tons of uranium hexafluoride has been stored. 

This chemical (uranium hexafluoride) alone could ravage the lives of, not only the Revolutionary Guards and scientific workers at or near these sites, but could endanger innocent non-combatants as well.  Further any “hit” there would ransack their civilizational heritage for those who would survive. 

The reason for this bleak assessment is that a large percentage of Persians are concentrated near the target zones, and they would be exposed to highly toxic chemical fumes and radioactive fallout.

Such plumes, in accord with the mentioned by-product to any assaults against Iran’s experimental nuclear faculties, could “destroy…lungs, [and] blind….severely; burn skin and damage other tissues and vital organs,” in accordance to Semnani’s self-funded research.

Further, the chief investigator states that unlike traditional explosions, the risks to civilians would extend “well beyond those killed from exposure to the thermal and blast injuries at the nuclear sites.”

Curiously, the potentialities outlined above may have a glimmer of hope in regards to its policy implications.  That is, restraining a possible military onslaught for its dis-palatability for the potential assailant’s public.

“This material [uranium hexafluoride] is extremely toxic in both the short-term and the long-term,” Semnani avers estimating between 5,000 through 80,000 will fall immediately:  The rest over a twenty year period.

Khosrow Semnani, although this study suggests a definite political stance shaping his view of the geo-political world, the motivation to publish this work from his own pocket are altruistic, for he desires policymakers to consider the “human dimension” when considering military action.

He is not a player in U.S. policy creation, but he does have an interest through his ancestral antecedents. Therefore, being an Iranian in exile, he does seem to lean towards favoring regime change; accepting the Israeli political assessment of the crisis.  Even so, independent “experts” on the Persian Gulf region have testified to his scientific expertise, and the probable correctness of his scientific conclusions.

Their assessments are that he went to “considerable lengths” to make his model as trustworthy as the accessible data would allow him to do.  Although I, personally, had misgivings in that he was a Persian-American, and most Iranian ex-pats are living here because they are not comfortable with the political environs of their own natal homeland, and, as alluded to above, find Tehran’s regimen to be obnoxious.  Hence, there was much in his political science that displaced this e-booklet askew for me. 

Thus, I sent it out to four individuals who were qualified to investigate his scientific research.  What I did receive back was not encouraging regarding uranium hexafluoride (which is not used in most other nuclear programs for non- or peaceful ends:  From a bio-physicist, “…Irradiation effects are bad enough, but pale compared to this toxic effect.”    

Therefore, I passed on all the information upon which I am composing this essay to my colleague in Lebanon, who writes in Arabic, but is respected in the Shia world to get the above mentioned monograph to the attention of Persia’s scientific community to urge them to move any redundant uranium hexafluoride away from the threatened target zones near densely populated districts to safer locales until this stupidity subsides! I, also, urge my readers here upon the Observer, if they have any connection to that community scientific community to point out the study to which I have allude.


0 replies