Telling half the truth: US made its soldiers sick
The poisonous effects of American meddling and failed policies are still affecting millions of lives internally and abroad.
Recruits threw live grenades into the canyons of "Mortar Alley", sprayed soapy chemicals on scrap metal and solvent burn pits, and poured toxic substances down drains and into leaky underground tanks.
Poisons percolated into aquifers from which they drew drinking water when it rained.
Here’s what the US did to its soldiers
Soldiers and civilians who lived on a US army base never questioned whether their tap water was safe to drink.
Fort Ord, on the other hand, was added to the Environmental Protection Agency's list of the most polluted places in the country in 1990, four years before it began the process of closing as an active military training base. Among the pollutants found in the base's drinking water and soil were dozens of chemicals, some of which are now known to cause cancer.
Decades later, several Fort Ord veterans diagnosed with cancer — particularly rare blood disorders — took to Facebook to ask, "Are there more of us?"
The group quickly grew to hundreds of people who had lived or served at Fort Ord and were concerned that their health problems could be linked to the chemicals used there.
The VA's own hazardous materials exposure website, as well as scientists and doctors, all agree that there are risks of military personnel being exposed to contaminants.
The issue is not limited to Fort Ord. This is occurring throughout the United States and abroad, almost everywhere the military has set foot, and the federal government is still learning about the extent of both the pollution and the health effects of its toxic legacy, according to AP.
According to VA cancer data, veterans have higher rates of blood cancer than the general population. In the Fort Ord region, veterans have a 35% higher rate of multiple myeloma diagnosis than the general US population.
Last year, US President Joe Biden directed the VA to investigate the effects of burn pits and other airborne hazards. The White House announced in November that soldiers who were exposed to burn pits in a few foreign countries and developed any of three specific ailments — asthma, rhinitis, or sinusitis — within 10 years could be eligible for disability benefits.
Here’s what the US did abroad
The US' toxic burn pits
It seems that whenever the US is involved, it leaves behind death and destruction to its own citizens and to millions around the world.
Read More: Is This the Fall of US Strategy in Afghanistan?
US troops stationed overseas have long held a practice of using burn pits to get rid of their toxic waste. The items that went into the burn pits included batteries, medical waste, plastics, ammunition, even amputated body parts, rubber, and chemicals.
A Sputnik report went beyond the burn pits' effects on US troops and spoke with an Iraqi-American researcher who shared firsthand accounts of the health problems faced by Iraqis exposed to the pits.
One environmental toxicologist was among the first US researchers to show a link between the rise in birth defects among Iraqi women and how close they lived to US burn pits.
Nearly 30,000 troops filled out a survey on exposure to burn pits between April to December 2014, and data from the survey highlighted the health conditions experienced by US troops.
The most commonly diagnosed health problems were insomnia and neurological problems. Other problems included allergies, high blood pressure, lung diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.
A 2019 study showed that US troops who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have a higher rate of cancer because of their exposure to burn pits.
It was determined that there was an 88.6% cancer mortality rate among the deceased veterans, whereas the remaining 11.4% succumbed to respiratory diseases. The study also determined that higher proportionate mortality was observed in Army veterans (65.9%) than those who served in other military units such as Air Force (18.2%), Navy (4.5%), or Marines (11.4%).