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Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Victim of War?

Victoria Claudette Matthew may be one of the youngest victims of the war in Iraq. She has never been to Iraq, however, her father has,- he was a US soldier fighting in the war there. And he is almost certainly a casualty of that war,- in spite of Pentagon's likely failure to classify him as such as his ailments were not caused by a direct combat hit.
In early September 2003, Army National Guard Spec. Gerard Darren Matthew was sent home from Iraq, stricken by a sudden illness.

One side of Matthew's face would swell up each morning. He had constant migraine headaches, blurred vision, blackouts and a burning sensation whenever he urinated.
In June, Matthew contacted the Daily News and asked us to arrange independent laboratory screening for his urine. This was after The News had reported that four of seven soldiers from another National Guard unit, the 442nd Military Police, had tested positive for depleted uranium (DU).

The independent test of Matthew's urine found him positive for DU - low-level radioactive waste produced in nuclear plants during the enrichment of natural uranium.

So, let's note one thing,- a soldier comes home severely sick, it is a known fact that he had been in a war zone where a dangerous radioactive agent had been used, and it takes the efforts of a news publication to get him tested for that agent. Am I the only one having trouble determining whether what we have here is a case of some incredible incompetence,- or a cover-up?

Unfortunately, Spec. Mathew's medical problems were not the only misfortune his family has had to deal with since he came home from the war.

Shortly after his return, his wife, Janice, became pregnant. On June 29, she gave birth to a baby girl, Victoria Claudette.

The baby was missing three fingers and most of her right hand.

Matthew and his wife believe Victoria's shocking deformity has something to do with her father's illness and the war - especially since there is no history of birth defects in either of their families.

While at the moment there does not appear a solid scientific proof to the effect that baby Victoria has been affected by her father's war injuries, there appears to be more than enough circumstancial evidence to study such a possibility. I believe an independent study of the effects of depleted uranium is in order immediately. If such a study concludes that effects of depleted uranium do in fact cause the sort of problems the Mathews are experiencing, than both the soldiers affected directly and their family members affected indirectly by that hideous menace must be recognized, and compensated, as casualties of war.

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