Just before the start of winter break, as our troops formally ended combat operations in Iraq with a subdued ceremony, thousands of elated Iraqis triumphantly took the streets of Fallujah to celebrate U.S. withdrawal.
While much of the anti-American ire emanating from the war-torn city is undoubtedly related to the two incredibly fierce battles we waged there in 2004, feelings of indignation expressed by Fallujah’s residents last month may have been compounded by a possible local health crisis.
As early as 2008, anecdotal stories of unusual birth defects began trickling out of the city. In 2009 a group of Iraqi and British officials banded together and lobbied the U.N. general assembly to commission investigations on growing health concerns in Fallujah. The officials also called on the body to help clean up toxic material leftover as a byproduct of warfare in the city.