From Matthew J. Nasuti, KabulPress.org:
U.S. service members and their Iraqi and Afghan allies have a common enemy. It is not Iran, the Taliban or al-Qaeda, but the Pentagon which operated hundreds of toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the U.S. completes its withdrawal from Iraq and begins to draw down in Afghanistan, the American military, pursuant to its "pollute and run" policy, is abandoning millions of kilograms of toxic and potentially radioactive waste. Everything is being buried and covered over, just as it did in Vietnam and in the Philippines when the U.S. withdrew from Clark Air Base and the Subic Bay naval installation. The Pentagon seems to hope that all the health problems of U.S. troops can likewise be buried and covered over.
The (U.S.) Air Force Times ran an editorial on March 1, 2010 that read: "Stamp Out Burn Pits." We reprint the first portion of that editorial:
"A growing number of military medical professionals believe burn pits are causing a wave of respiratory and other illnesses among troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Found on almost all U.S. bases in the war zones, these open-air trash sites operate 24 hours a day, incinerating trash of all forms - including plastic bottles, paint, petroleum products, unexploded ordinance, hazardous materials, even amputated limbs and medical waste. Their smoke plumes belch dioxin, carbon monoxide and other toxins skyward, producing a toxic fog that hangs over living and working areas."
On April 12, 2010, the Richmond Times-Dispatch carried an article by David Zucchino who investigated the American burn pits in Iraq. He interviewed Army Sgt. 1st Class Francis Jaeger who hauled military waste to the Balad burn. Jaeger told Zucchino:
"We were told to burn everything - electronics, bloody gauze, the medics' biohazard bags, surgical gloves, cardboard. It all went up in smoke."According to a website called the "Burn Pits Action Center" large numbers of American veterans who came in contact with burn pit smoke have been diagnosed with cancer, neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, breathing and sleeping problems and various skin rashes.