Speaking on Depleted Uranium:
Nuclear Holocaust and The Politics of Radiation
Los Altos, California 21apr03
Transcribed by Paul J. Dickson
Kyne's 16-minute lecture, 2 MB MP3
file, of this
lecture | More on Dennis
[ Leuren Moret's 36-minute lecture, 4 MB MP3 file of this lecture | More on Leuren Moret ]
[ Doug Rokke's 71-minute, 8 MB MP3 file, HTML | More on Doug Rokke ]
Army S. Sgt. Dennis Kyne, Leuren Moret, whistle-blower, and Dr. Doug Rokke (L-R)
Photo by Paul Goettlich
Dennis Kyne speaking on April 21, 2003 in Los Altos, CA, USA
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Thank you very much and thanks for being here this is... this is an... important stuff. I'll give you a brief introduction to myself. Real briefly...I got an ID card. The last unit I belonged to was the 59th Army Band, I just resigned from it last week. I'm not as good as the guitar player you just saw, so... I had to get out of there because I can't put that uniform on any more. It's really a disgraceful... what we're doing to our soldiers. (Applause) And so it leads me to a... kinda what Lisa was referring to, the state of the education.
I got a three tier... three independent things I wanted to talk to you, real briefly, on the state of education, 'cause I just got a letter from the County of Sacramento. They sent me a letter requesting to participate in the Troops to Teachers program, right? This is where they're going to recruit troops right into becoming teachers in the educational system here in California. I got this letter. I said... this is remarkable. This is what you call military indoctrination. These professors that we're talking about, you know... not professors, I apologize, these teachers will be down in K12 and high school level stuff, are basically condoning this type of “scripture” that second graders are writing. It's ridiculous... and in addition to that, if you take a look at what Jerry Brown did out there with the Oakland Military Academy in Oakland, I mean, you take a look at the 'starbase' programs going on in San Luis Obispo in Sacramento, you know those kids are in those schools right now and they're not being told one thing about peace, not one thing. They're in there being told, “Hey, we're going to war and everything's cool!” And to me that's no different than a Nazi Hitler Youth. No different than that. (Applause)
And so the state of education concerns me, because... a little bit of brief background on my military career. I was airborne medic with the 18th Airborne Corps during Operation Desert Storm. I'd been nominated... I'm an active duty nomination to attend West Point by my company commander. However you can't go to West Point after you're 22 years old because you'll graduate when you're too old. I was... I spent my 21st birthday in Saudi Arabia, and so I was too old when I got back to go to West Point, right? So I went to drill sergeant's school instead. An' I'm out on Fort Sill, Oklahoma, pushing privates around an I got a platoon of privates on January 17th, Martin Luther King Junior's birthday, and this platoon is predominantly black. And I asked these kids, because I wanted to know, I wanted to have a discussion about one of the greatest leaders of this nation's history... and I can't get one kid to tell me who Martin Luther King Junior is. Not one!
One young black kid raised his hand and said: “I think he's a civil rights leader, drill sergeant.” Now am I supposed to be upset? I can't yell at a private for that... I mean there's a breakdown in our educational system. That was 1994. I'm... I'm not going to imagine that it's got any better. So that legacy we're leaving our youth with is concerning me so greatly that I can no longer afford to sit silent, because after I came back from Desert Storm... “drill sergeant this and that”... I graduated from San José State University with a degree in political science... 'cum laude', right? I'm a political scientist. You're going to hear from medical doctors and medical scientists and... and extreme... nuclear scientists if you will, later. I'm a political scientist and I graduated with high honors and everyone shook my hand and thought I might be a star some day. But the situation is... is that I get a degree in 1995 and I kinda just start being quiet about all of the lies I had experienced in Desert Storm. I kinda just shut up about eight years ago, 'cause people started accusing me of just being a crazy old veteran. You know, just a crazy guy whose just talking out the side of his neck, 'cause nobody wants to agree. This KTVU report you just saw was on at 10 o'clock at night on a Sunday. You think any of the people who were working on Monday saw that? No.
This stuff isn't out in the mainstream, and so as a medic I get totally concerned because we bombed Iraq for 45 days, in 1991, we bombed them for. We bombed them a lot longer than we bombed them for this time (Editor's note: Starting 20th March 2003). We bombed them for 45 days and then we started the ground war. The ground war lasted for three days, that's it. Seventy two hours after we started the ground engagement we were stopped in our tracks and turned around and had to beat feet back to Saudi Arabia. Reason being... is going to become real clear when you listen to Leuren Moret and Doug Rokke later. See, Doug Rokke is the hero of young enlisted men like me. (Applause) He's the only field-grade officer whose out here, you know, towing the line for the soldiers that are over there... just... being brutalized. So, you know, I'm back on this circuit, so to speak, and really what I'd like to talk to you about is that wall that we hit was depleted uranium. Soldiers walked right into it. Our own soldiers, that individual from Oakland (Ed: a reference to the KTVU report) walked right into it and literally... you're standing in a microwave, right? Like a potato, maybe, or something. Because the potato comes out and the skin's still on it and the insides are all cooked.
So I get home and we got a dust-off unit, the 498th Air Ambulance, and we got guys up there whose skin starts peeling off almost instantly when they get home. Almost instantly their skin is peeling off, drying up and flaking off, as if cooked maybe, right? As if a dehydrated orange and the peel just squatted away, right? And so these soldiers are also having some other debilitating effects such as their insides are just falling out of 'em... right in their driveway before they ever make it to the VA hospital. And I'm sitting here as a medic and I'm wondering how in the hell did that happen? I was in the same place they were. And so from my whole adulthood I've spent wondering whether it was ever going to happen to me, you know. And we've been trained since we were kids, 'mind over matter', you know, all the games you can play in your little brain... to pretend there's nothing wrong with you. But I knew there was something wrong with me the minute I came home.
I mean that's literally... literally what I want to talk to you about, is the VA experience these soldiers are going to have when they come home. You see, never in the history of a military build-up have we called up this many reservists or National Guardsmen... never. That's why I resigned my commitment to the National Guard, the Governor's own band in San Francisco. Never in the history have we put this many reservists or National Guardsmen at risk. And the problem is is these soldiers are not coming back to military installations... they're coming back to your neighborhood. They're coming back to your streets, because I mean that's where they come, they come back to their armories and then they go home with their wife. So all these debilitating effects that these soldiers have experienced for the last twelve years are going to be immediate and instant right back in our local communities, because they don't have any infrastructure. They had no infrastructure for the active duty soldiers returning twelve years ago. They got no infrastructure for reservists or National Guardsmen right now. They're not even thinking about it. They're still wondering about an exit strategy to get out of Iraq.
So, briefly I want to tell you, 'cause Lisa mention the School of Americas. This is a brief story. “34th Medical Battalion defeats School of Americas to grab soccer league title”. It's the only time School of Americas has ever been written about on the Fort Benning Bayonet and I was playing goalie that game and we beat 'em in a shoot-out. If you can imagine beating a Latin-American, basically, team, which is... they're great soccer players and we beat 'em. School of Americas exists on Fort Benning. The first cardiac patient I ever treated as a medic was a 54 year old general from El Salvador. It's the first cardiac patient I ever had in the treatment center. I called home and I told my dad, I said, “It happened, I had a cardiac patient, just like you told me medics do. It was a 54 year old general from El Salvador.” He said: “What the hell are you doing working on El Salvadoran generals? Why aren't you working on American soldiers?” I said: “I don't know. I'm 19, right?” I was out there because I spoke Spanish, you know? I was a California kid. That's how I ended up out there and I had no idea what was going on until - I'm kidding you, I mean I'm not kidding you - years later. Years later when you start connecting the dots, you realize what's been going on, but at 19...
We've never fielded since, I mean Vietnam was the youngest military ever, I mean, you know, and we're getting younger as the years go on, right? And they're just not telling you that its 19 and 20 year old kids out there, the same kids who are, you know... well, we know what they're wondering. So, there we go, we've got 26 soldiers earning EFMB this is an Expert Field Medical Badge, it takes a truck load of work to get one of these and very few people get it I got it. So as a medic I knew what I was doing. I was out there monitoring these soldiers and as a medic and a drill sergeant the only thing I've ever been concerned about is the health and welfare of the soldiers. That's it. You know, I can't tell you that I've preoccupied myself with a number of other things, except that... we're at the pinnacle of ignorance for sending soldiers in and killing them ourselves.
In 1991 I filed a claim with the Veterans' Affairs, saying, “I have suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headache, accompanied by nausea, since February of 1991.” This is the... they give you a debriefing, a medical debriefing when you leave the installation. I don't think this medical debriefing is going to be occurring to the National Guardsmen or the reservists. This medical debriefing... June 12th 1991:
“Do you have any urinary problems?”
“Have you had any nightmares or trouble sleeping?”
I said, “No”, but remember June of 1991 we'd only been home three months. I was still collecting baseball cards of, you know, General Schwarzkopf and stuff. But those nightmares have shown up.
“Have you had recurring thoughts about your experiences during Desert Shield and Desert Storm?”
“Do you have reasons to believe that you or any members of your unit were exposed to chemical warfare or germ warfare?”
“Yes.” Answered “Yes” to 'em all. And then there's just an incredible list of: “The following are disease threats found in South West Asia...” Starts with Anthrax and ends with Typhus. Goes alphabetically, so you can imagine what's in between there... there's about 36 of 'em. “Positive responses in items 8, 9, 10 and 11 require answers to the following questions, from a medical doctor...” I never once talked to a medical doctor, never once. I file my claim with the Veterans' Affairs and they basically say that I'm not... they just deny me, they just flat out say they deny me, and in addition to this – if anybody's ever seen Jacob's Ladder (Ed: A 1990 movie about a Vietnam War vet) they're going to know what I'm talking about, right now - this is what I had to write to them in my letter after they denied my claim:
“I have enclosed a copy of the appropriate DD214 (Ed: Discharge papers) as yours in incorrect.” The Federal Government had sent the Veterans' Affairs the wrong DD214, one stating that I had never served in South West Asia... just like in Jacob's Ladder. And it's all here... boy, I hand it out like candy too!
May 3rd 1994, right? Three years post the war: “The veteran currently alleges numerous systems as a result of exposure to bromine.” These are the PD tablets. These PD tablets, we ate three of them a day seven days a week and Major Doug Rokke 'll explain the real ramifications of it, but I vomited profusely and (was) projectile vomiting for days after I ate them. And I stopped eating them 'cause I was a medic and I know if my body doesn't want it then it really doesn't want it. So, I quit eating it, but if you can imagine those soldiers, albeit some of them are from the Ozarks and don't even know we landed on the moon, and if you can imagine there are soldiers who don't even know who Martin Luther King Junior is, you can imagine that they ate a couple of extra packets thinking more's the better. And if it's that bad in what it has done to us and the effects we've had from it, you can't tell me that... that these kids aren't really hurting, and you're going to get some wonderful statistics as we go on. I don't need to overlap or anything like that, 'cause they're going to come to you. But these soldiers, there's an atrocious amount of us who get a check every month. Mine's for two hundred and one dollars. And the reason they give me this check, well, it says right here in my paperwork: “Undiagnosed illnesses.” Could you imagine if they had to diagnose me?
In June... or, I'm sorry, July of 1995, almost four years later after I filed my claim: “Agent Orange, Persian Gulf, ionizing radiation worksheet”. They finally tested me, or said they were testing me up at the VA. I don't even remember what the test was, they never came back and said I got any radiological impacts, but they were saying they were testing us for radiation. I've no idea how much ionizing radiation I was exposed to but I think the kicker is is that when they're giving you a check every month but not telling you what's wrong with you, I mean, this is a crew of geniuses! You know, I mean what do they think, I'm dumb? That I don't realize that what Doug Rokke is talking about is true? So... so the end result here is that the evaluation of an undiagnosed illness “...manifested by chest pains, shortness of breath, back pain, abdominal pain, with nausea and vomiting, headaches and fatigue”, is continued as ten percent disabling.
So, they're admitting that I'm disabled but they just won't admit to the causal relationship between DU, polybromide tablets, all types of things that just basically just created havoc. One of my concerns now, though, as a political scientist, is that in 1985 Ronald Reagan shook hands with Mikhail Gorbachev... and they shook hands just like this... in front of the world. Right? And Ronald Reagan said: “Doveryai no proveryai”, and in Russian that means “Peace through disarmament.” They made a disarmament agree(ment) in 1985 that said that we were going to nuclear disarm... and what we did for the last 20 years is lie to the whole international community about that, and maybe Ronald Reagan has Alzheimer's but I don't. (Applause)
And some of you have my readers out there and I hope you get a chance to glance at them, and those pictures in there are all real, and... anybody who wants to see real pictures of real war and... I keep a photo album, I've been showing it to people for twelve years. And I'm telling you, what this weapon does that we... what we're using, man, it just melts people. It's... it's an incredible weapon we're using. And it's just melting people all over the world! And to bring this a little bit locally for everybody, in closing, Hunters Point (Ed: San Francisco naval shipyard) is just up the road from me and in Hunters Point we left that depleted uranium all over the place. And I think that the alarms should be going off all over this city... and all over this state and all over the place, 'cause it's 'all over the place' itself... and if we don't actually take action, you know, and stand against something that is just totally ignorant. And if we're not able to do it we're going to be left stranded in a few years. And as a political scientist I've studied global warming and the whole meltdown of the universe, I've studied the ice-age stuff and wondered if we're all going to freeze to death. And I read about Jude Barry and the Earth First people back in the early nineties, and nothing has ever scarred the shit out of me like this does... ever!
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And after fifteen years of service to this nation and the constitution and everything I've ever done and... my great-uncle was in World War One and my grandfathers were in World War Two and they said that was the last war we were ever going to fight in because that was the war for democracy... and my uncles were in Vietnam, I have to stand on the other side, now. I have to stand against the military-industrial complex. (Applause)
And once again I thank you all for being here and my last thought is I could take from Socrates, and we could just try to think critically and act wisely, or we could take from Jesus Christ and we could act out of love and kindness, but anything's better than what this country's presenting to the world right now. (Applause)
~ End ~