US military should end use of depleted uranium

Regarding your Jan. 9 article "Aftershocks from anti-tank shells" and editorial "A bullet gone too far?": Even after extensive use of depleted uranium (DU) by the United States and United Kingdom in the Gulf War affected the health of thousands of Iraqis and its own soldiers, NATO is still claiming that the use of DU has no adverse health effects.

Our government continues to deny any health problems associated with depleted uranium, ignoring the evidence of many reputable scientists. Iraq would be a productive source of research on the effects of DU since so much was used there.

We must stop making DU, stop using it, stop selling it, and clean up all the areas where it has been used.

We are tired of this country's lies. We are supposed to be the strong, moral leader of the world, but if truth be told, if there is money in it, we do it.

Betty Schroeder Tucson, Ariz.

Your Jan. 9 article brought to mind an earlier "peaceful use" for nuclear-power plant waste - food preservation by irradiation. The use of depleted uranium for military weapons is much worse, however. These weapons unavoidably spread dangerous radioactive contamination wherever they are used, while spent uranium used for food treatment is (hopefully) kept contained so that people won't be exposed to the radiation. Because of the potential grave harm to people which it poses, I hope that depleted- uranium ordnance will be outlawed soon.

Dave Karasic Quincy, Mass.

In your Jan. 9 editorial, "A bullet gone too far?" you wrote, "No doubt this armor-piercing weapon saved American lives, justifying its use." This same lopsided logic could also justify the use of cluster bombs that are still killing people in Serbia, Kosovo, Iraq, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and elsewhere.

The remainder of the editorial strongly implies issues such as uranium poisoning killing innocents and violating sovereignty laws are all less important than "potential postwar repercussions."

Trevor McConnell Klamath Falls, Ore.

Historic Preservation Trust is pro-active

Your Dec. 28 opinion piece "Chicago's preservation blues" failed to accurately portray the National Trust for Historic Preservation's involvement in the Maxwell Street district and its purpose in presenting a preservation award to Mayor Richard Daley.

Far from being silent on the preservation of Maxwell Street buildings, the trust in 1997 helped convince the University of Illinois to give greater focus to historic preservation and the final plan now includes the preservation of nine historic buildings along Maxwell Street.

In Chicago, the National Trust has recognized important African-American sites in recent years. Far from supporting policies that destroy the historic fabric of cities, the National Trust is committed to making preservation relevant to everyone.

The trust's preservation honor award to Mr. Daley is well deserved. Since taking office in 1989, he has overseen an unprecedented revival of the nation's third-largest city and become a powerful advocate for historic preservation. Under his leadership, the number of individual landmarks has doubled from 70 to 142 in the past 10 years, including a dozen new African-American historic sites. The number of landmark districts has increased from 17 to 30.

Mayor Daley leads the way in preservation. His use of preservation as a community revitalization tool, from the South Side to the Loop to the "Bungalow Belt," is a model for leaders in government nationwide.

Richard Moe Chicago President National Trust for Historic Preservation

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