2017 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2017 19:05:35 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] GLOBAL, DISPOSAL: "The Burn Pits"
The Burn Pits

a review by H. Patricia Hynes
January 6, 2016

“The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers”
A book by Joseph Hickman

They are called “this generation’s Agent Orange” - the open fire pits operated on over 230 U.S. military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan during our wars there. Every kind of waste - plastics; batteries; old ordnance; asbestos; pesticide containers; tires; biomedical, chemical and nuclear waste; dead animals; human feces; body parts; and corpses - was incinerated in them.

The word “incinerate,” suggesting an enclosed burning facility with pollution controls, is misleading. These barbaric burn pits were dug on military bases in the midst of housing, work and dining facilities, with zero pollution controls. Tons of waste - an average of 10 pounds daily per soldier - burned in them every day, all day and all night. Ash laden with hundreds of toxins and carcinogens blackened the air and coated clothing, beds, desks and dining halls, according to a Government Accounting Office investigation. The burn pits recklessly violated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defensewaste disposal regulations. And predictably, base commanders temporarily shut them down when politician and high-ranking generals came to visit.

Some of the U.S. bases were built on the remnants of Iraqi military bases that had been bombed and flattened by U.S. airstrikes. A handful of these bases - at least five - contained stockpiles of old chemical warfare weapons, among them the nerve agent sarin and the blistering agent mustard gas, used by Iraq against Iran and the Kurds in the 1980s and 1990s. The burn pits of these American military bases were placed and dug within the residue of chemical weapons, without first analyzing soil samples.


For the entire book review, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice/Fax: 650/961-8918 

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