Others say ...

“I'm the commander — see. I don't need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation.”

- President George H. W. Bush, as told to Bob Woodward in "Bush at War"

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

- British historian John Lord Acton (1834–1902)

“It is a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing in Iraq. What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.”

- Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

“The lengths they are going to raise doubts about their true motivation. Baghdad has long ceased to pose a threat to its neighbors. ... The United States is behaving like the colonial powers used to in the 19th and 20th centuries. ... I had hoped that after a certain period of acclimatization the United States would use the role which it assumed after the end of the Cold War, as the only superpower at the moment, to turn the U.N. into a strong world instrument to promote progress and basic democratic values. ... America is admittedly a functioning democracy, but only inside its own borders.”

- former U.N. Secretary General Butros Butros Ghali

“Bush has strengthened the North Korean military, who say the North is the next target after Iraq. He gives them more arguments to build nuclear weapons. President Kim late last week made it clear that President Reagan talked with the Soviet Union, which he called the ‘evil empire,’ and that one needs to talk and show respect for governments, even if you dislike them. Yet President Bush has again used such arrogant language. Perhaps Bush is not sophisticated enough to see it, but surely his advisors know that if you kick North Korea like a dog, you must expect them to kick back.”

- South Korean embassy official

“I just returned from the World Economic Forum and found myself confronted with the most uniform and significant anti-American sentiment that I've ever encountered in my career of 30 years dealing with foreign leaders abroad. Not a single American diplomat, elected official, journalist, businessman, or labor leader would disagree with the assessment I just gave you. ...

“[Iraq is] the world's problem, but not what you hear out of the civilian Defense Department, this cockamamie notion of a new doctrine of preemption, which no one understands.”

- Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Senate speech, January 28, 2003

- PeaceMeal, Jan/February 2003


Cities and counties oppose war

City and county councils around the country, spurred by antiwar sentiment, have passed resolutions or signed letters opposing a unilateral, pre-emptive U.S. military attack on Iraq and urging President Bush to work with the United Nations to resolve the existing crisis.

Fifty-seven municipalities in 20 states, representing about 13 million people, have passed such measures, from small towns like Woodstock NY to cities as large as Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. Many have liberal leanings, like Berkeley CA, Madison WI, and Santa Fe NM, but others, like Des Moines IA, San Luis Obispo CA, and Blaine County ID, have large numbers of Republican voters.

Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia WA and Multnomah County OR, which includes Portland, are among those taking action. The Multnomah County measure, passed by a 4-to-1 vote, opposes a “threatened violation of the United Nations Charter by unilateral, pre-emptive military action against the sovereign nation of Iraq, and the dangerous precedent such action would establish.”

Reflecting a widespread concern of city and county officials that a war would have a damaging effect on social spending, Chicago Alderman Leslie Hairston stated that the “cost of the war will dry up federal funding for domestic programs for a war that has yet to be justified.” Chicago, in a 46-to-1 vote, is the largest city as yet to take a stand.

Officials at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC, a nonpartisan group helping to organize municipal campaigns against the war, said that nearly 70 other cities and counties — and the Maine state legislature — were considering similar resolutions.

The resolutions are just one sign of an active antiwar movement. The group Win Without War recently began airing a 30-second television ad featuring Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, the chief ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church, which counts President Bush as a member. In the ad, Bishop Talbert says that going to war “violates God's law and the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Bishop Talbert, when bishop of Seattle, was WCP’s guest speaker at the Atomic Cities Peace Memorial in August 1985.

- compiled from citiesforpeace.org and The New York Times
PeaceMeal, Jan/February 2003

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


U.S. considers oil grab to pay for war

Pentagon plans to finance an Iraq war and postwar military occupation by seizing Iraqi oil revenues were revealed January 10 in an explosive exposť by Newsday, a Long Island daily. There are strong advocates inside the administration, including in the White House, for appropriating the oil funds as “spoils of war,” according to a source who has been briefed by participants in the dialogue. The source was quoted as saying, “We take all the oil money until there is a new democratic government [in Iraq].”

In December, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments prepared a study on the Iraq war, which advocated the oil grab to cover the occupation costs. Justice Department attorneys are cautioning that talk of “spoils of war” and “oil grabs” may be illegal. The Bush administration has promised to hold Iraqi oilfields “in trust” for the people of Iraq.

More recently, the Sunday Herald (U.K.) reported on February 2 that the Bush administration has been negotiating a covert deal to spread the spoils between U.S., French, Chinese and Russian oil companies in exchange for allowing U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq only weeks instead of months to complete their work.

- PeaceMeal, Jan/February 2003


Huge death toll forecast from war on Iraq
Pre-emptive attack could lead to massive humanitarian catastrophe

A war against Iraq could escalate into a nuclear conflict that would kill up to 4 million people, according to a study by medical and public health experts. Even without nuclear weapons, as many as 500,000 people could die — and most would be civilians.

The study report, Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq, was issued November 12 by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. Produced by Medact, the organization's affiliate in the United Kingdom, the report was released in the United States by IPPNW member group Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and is available at http://www.ippnw.org/CollateralDamage.html

Collateral Damage is based on projections from the 1990-91 Gulf War, which was responsible for nearly 200,000 deaths among military personnel, civilians, and refugees in Iraq. It analyzes current US combat scenarios and concludes that a new conflict will be much more intense and destructive than the first Gulf War. The report asserts that a US-led attack on Iraq could kill between 48,000 and 260,000 civilians and combatants in just the first three months of conflict. Post-war health effects could take an additional 200,000 lives. The report argues that the 1991 war led to the severe weakening of the health of Iraq's people and the country's healthcare infrastructure, and that this would mean higher casualties in any new war.

Dr. Amy Sisley, a Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical System, explained the report's findings. "In an era where images of combat are beamed from aircraft, it is too easy to forget about the direct, physical consequences of war. Bombs deafen, blind and blow apart people, riddling them with shrapnel, glass and debris. They collapse buildings on victims and destroy infrastructure vital to finding and treating the wounded. Unexploded ordnance left behind kills and maims, and battlefield toxins can contaminate the environment for decades."

The aftermath of a US-led attack could include civil war, famine, epidemics, millions of refugees, and economic collapse, according to the report. Economic collapse in Iraq could lead to soaring oil prices and trigger a global economic crisis.

"As documented in Collateral Damage, a pre-emptive attack would exacerbate the disastrous levels of death, disease, disability and despair already present in Iraq," added Dr. Victor W. Sidel, who advised the report authors. Dr. Sidel is a Professor of Social Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and Past President of the American Public Health Association.

Collateral Damage warns that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could retaliate to an attack by setting fire to oil wells and by releasing chemical, radiological or biological weapons. The report considers how the substantial use of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) might trigger a nuclear response: "An Iraqi CBW attack on Israel or elsewhere could provoke immediate nuclear retaliation from Israel, the US and/or UK, while the UK and US have not ruled out the nuclear first-strike option," it noted. If nuclear weapons were used, the death toll would rise into the millions.

The report has been commended by both medical and military specialists. "This is no exaggerated tract by a bunch of zealots," said General Pete Gration, former Chief of the Australian Defense Forces. "It is a coldly factual report by health professionals who draw on the best evidence available."

Medact's report proposes alternative strategies to war, including targeted sanctions against the Iraqi elite, creation of a visible and accountable containment system to restrict the arms trade, establishment of a longer term and sustainable development plan for Iraq, and an international effort to foster democratic political processes in Iraq. It recommends an allowance of time for Iraq to comply with international pressure for disarmament.

IPPNW Executive Director Michael Christ said the need to ensure that Iraq is disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction does not warrant an attack which will result in massive civilian and military casualties. Christ stated, "Neither Iraq's suspected weapons programs nor Saddam Hussein's tyranny provide moral or military justification for risking the lives of massive numbers of innocent civilians. We urge all nations to spare the innocent in favor of full and effective inspections."

- Compiled from the IPPNW, the British Medical Journal, and other UK on-line sources
PeaceMeal, Nov/December 2002

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


Weapons inspectors’ mission faces long odds

Embarking on the most important mission they have ever undertaken, UN weapons inspectors face long odds in accomplishing their work in Iraq and preserving an imperfect and difficult peace. They will be aware that there are senior officials in the Bush administration desperate for them to fail so they can start a devastating war against Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein.

Such an attempt has already been made. On November 19, White House spokesmen made comments that Iraq was “in material breach” of UN Security Council resolution 1441 for allegedly firing on US or British planes in the “no-fly zones.” “Material breach” is diplomatic code for the kind of violation the Bush administration is intent on finding in order to launch an attack.

Both the Russian Foreign Ministry and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan denied this to be the case. Annan said, “I don't think that the Council will say this is in contravention of the resolution of the Security Council.” The Russian Foreign Ministry stated, “Recent claims that Iraq’s actions in the ‘no-fly zones’ can be seen as a violation of the UN Security Council resolution 1441 have no legal grounds.”

The “no-fly zones” were imposed unilaterally by the United States and United Kingdom in 1991 without UN Security Council approval. Both Russia and China consider the zones illegal. Even Secretary of State Colin Powell has acknowledged that their legality is arguable. US and UK aircraft have justified their regular weekly bombings of Iraqi sites in the zones, which have caused civilian casualties, by saying Iraqi radar had locked onto their aircraft.

Hans Blix, the 74-year-old former Swedish Foreign Minister who heads UNMOVIC, the new body that will look for Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons programs, said while briefing inspectors that “human knowledge and experience” will be paramount.

The weapons inspection teams are made up of 270 staff, including 27 Americans, working in three shifts with 100 on mission at any time. The initial team comprises 30 technical and logistical experts, with 18 weapons inspectors to begin spot inspections. Between 85 and 100 will be on the ground by the end of December — unless President Bush has found an excuse for a military strike before then.

Dr. Blix has warned that any intelligence agents found working among the inspection teams will effectively be fired. His warning referred to the fact that the United States undermined the previous UNSCOM weapons inspections by infiltrating CIA agents and equipment into the inspection teams without the knowledge of the UN in order to spy on the Iraqi military. The spy scandal badly damaged the credibility of the inspections process, especially after reports that data collected through UNSCOM were used by the US to pick targets in the December 1998 bombing of Iraq.

UNMOVIC has charted a road map of more than 1,000 sites to inspect, with 100 on a priority list. The inspectors have at their disposal a new generation of technology, including commercial spy satellites, miniature and portable radiation detectors and air sensors, powerful radar systems that can penetrate underground, and germ detectors able to check for anthrax, smallpox and such agents. This time the inspectors will have no Iraqi minders to hinder their work and will be concentrating initially on surprise visits to the senior scientists in Iraq’s weapons programs.

Inspectors will be looking for evidence that Iraq has bought fissile material off the shelf to build a nuclear bomb in kit form. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that most of Iraq’s nuclear program was neutralized in its work up to 1998 — and was in any case seriously flawed. Instead of looking for large-scale enrichment facilities, they will have to find small, well-screened sites that leave only the tiniest radiation footprint for sensors to detect.

Former inspectors involved in looking for evidence of Iraq’s biological programs under UNSCOM believe that the biological facilities could be equally easily hidden, amounting to the kind of small fermentation facilities found in any brew-pub. Finding them will likely come down to the intelligence provided by individual nations and interviews with key Iraqi scientists.

And at the back of all the inspectors’ minds is the knowledge that the nation with the world’s most powerful military — which is already pouring troops and equipment into the region is just waiting for them to fail. Hawks surrounding President Bush have made it clear that they would not be disappointed if Blix and Mohamed al-Baradei, the head of the IAEA, which will look for Iraq’s nuclear weapons, fail in their mission. Indeed, they would be happiest of all if the full inspection teams never made it to Iraq. An “untruthful” Iraqi declaration on December 8 of what weapons it holds could, if challenged by the US based on its own intelligence of what it believes Iraq possesses, trigger an invasion.

Blix stated, “Inspectors may be more likely to encounter smoke rather than smoking guns. However, smoke might be enough to trigger government concern or action.” Sources say that Blix will accept US intelligence as a valid pointer on where to go, but will not consider the material to be conclusive. The US has said it will not provide Blix or El Baradei with all the intelligence it holds, suggesting that it will reach its own conclusions, match them against the inspectors’ findings, and use that as the test of whether to go to war alone.

Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the IAEA, said, “Our job is not to go in as an occupying army and overrun a place the size of France. Our job is to be detectives ... to look for clues and to prove and disprove what we are being told.”

It is the word “disprove” that is likely to cause the greatest friction. For what they will be disproving is not just Iraqi denials, but likely too the claims of President Bush and Tony Blair of what Iraq holds. And behind this is the belief held by US officials that there is “no chance” of Saddam complying with UN resolution 1441.

That in turn hides a more deeply embedded US agenda: that if the UN inspectors succeed in disarming Iraq, the Bush administration will find it hard to justify its aim of removing Saddam. And for Bush to fight the 2004 presidential election with Saddam still in office would constitute a political disaster.

- compiled from The Observer (London), Reuters, and other sources
PeaceMeal, Nov/December 2002

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


High school student suspended for voicing opposition to war

Troy Stewart, a senior at Marquette High School in Marquette, Michigan, was suspended from school for speaking out against a war with Iraq at a school pep assembly on Friday, October 18. As a captain of the varsity soccer team, Stewart was asked in advance to talk at the assembly for a couple minutes — with no mention of what he was to talk about. Stewart chose to inform the student body of their choices regarding the conflict with Iraq. He prepared and delivered a short speech; and when he finished, he received a standing ovation from the students. At the conclusion of the assembly, hundreds of students as well as faculty congratulated Stewart on the content of his speech.

Forty-five minutes later, Stewart was called to the office of Principal Robert Anthony. Anthony stated that Stewart had embarrassed him in front of the school superintendent and informed Stewart that he was being charged with disorderly conduct. As punishment, he could not play in a district soccer playoff game the following Monday, October 21, because he had in-school suspension (ISS) that day. The playoffs were to be the culmination of Stewart’s 11 years as a player, so his mother requested that the suspension be given on an alternate day. The principal replied that he was scheduling the suspension specifically so that her son could not play.

Stewart’s mother then appealed to Superintendent Patrick Smith and learned that he had not even been present at the pep assembly when Troy Stewart gave his speech. However, Smith said he supported Principal Anthony 100 percent. When Mrs. Stewart told Smith that her son’s speech received a standing ovation, Smith replied: “Hitler received a standing ovation.”

On the morning of the playoff game with Troy in ISS, his parents met with Principal Anthony. They showed him the school district’s printed Discipline Code, which states that a student charged with an infraction and his parents have five days to request a meeting with the administration, and no punishment will be issued until the meeting has been held. Anthony didn’t budge an inch. Mr. Stewart asked him about his son’s right to freedom of speech, and Anthony replied that a student’s Bill of Rights is gone when he walks through the school doors.

Over the weekend, several students had informed Troy they were planning a sit-in to protest the violation of his Constitutional rights. When the Stewarts emerged from the meeting, they found a large group of students waiting in the hallway to hear the outcome. Upon learning that the situation had not been resolved, the students filed into the office in a quiet protest, letting their signs do the talking. The principal used threats to remove the students from the office into the hallway. Anthony then told the students if they did not return to class, they would all receive punishment. They did not speak and no one moved a muscle.

Anthony then agreed to take Troy Stewart and three students from the protest group into his office to try to resolve the issue. After an hour-long meeting, Anthony said he would render his verdict at 10:00 AM. At that time, Troy and his mother were called into Anthony’s office. Anthony said that after Troy’s day in ISS, he could leave to travel to Traverse City (a five hour drive) to play in the soccer game – which would have put him at the game during the middle of the second half.

Mrs. Stewart told Troy he had the option of serving ISS, or leaving school at that time to drive to Traverse City and at least watch the game. Anthony then informed them that if Troy left school at that time, he would not even be allowed to attend the game. Astonished, Mrs. Stewart asked how he could prevent a parent from driving her child to an out-of-town soccer game as a spectator. Anthony said police would be called as the Athletic Director would be traveling to Traverse City to watch the game and would know if Troy attended. Troy chose to leave school.

At that point, the Stewart’s decided to pursue the matter with the help of an attorney. Marquette County Judge Anderegg issued a restraining order against the school pending a hearing on whether the school violated Troy’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Troy arrived at Traverse City just in time to play in the game. The entire soccer team was given Monday and Tuesday as travel days and were to be excused from school. Troy was marked as being absent.

- Listen to interviews with Troy Stewart and Principal Robert Anthony on the Pacifica Radio website: http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/peacewatch/peace20021111.html

The speech that got Troy Stewart suspended

“To start off this speech, I would like to quote the great Mahatma Gandhi in saying that ‘violence will only create more violence.’ As I am sure that all of you are aware of our escalating situation with Iraq, I would like to stand up and speak out against it. Our rage influenced President George Bush to recently propose what he puts as ‘using military force’ against Iraq. Military force, my fellow classmates, is a war, and war is the slaughtering of innocent people.

“In an age of a shaky economy, struggling 401(k)s and scandalous CEOs, an unnecessary war is just what this country needs to push it over the edge of insanity.

“I am sure that many if not most of you couldn't care less. We're teenagers, that's what we do best. But I ask you senior males, if the situation continues to escalate, and the draft is reinstated, what will you tell your family and friends when you are forced to fight a cause, which is not worth fighting for? What will you put in the letters you send them from a trench over five thousand miles away? And just imagine the look on your mother's face when a messenger shows up on her doorstep with bad news.

“I do realize that on this day, October 18, 2002, that the situation is not to this point — yet. But that my friends is why I am here. If you think you can serve no purpose in the anti-war effort, you couldn't be further from the truth. There are rallies to be gathered, protests to be held, and a purpose to be stood up for. If you would like any information on these activities, you are more than welcome to contact me.

“In closing, I would like to part you in the same way that I started, with more words from Mr. Mahatma Gandhi: ‘For this cause I too am prepared to die, but for no cause, my friend, will I be willing to kill.’”

- PeaceMeal, Nov/December 2002

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


No 9-1-1939!

The following is a speech delivered by WCP chairman Jim Stoffels at a rally for peace in Richland, Washington, on September 28, 2002.

Can you believe we are seriously considering ... and even being stampeded by our President to invade Iraq again? How did we get into this mess?

Last week Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota asked Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, "What is compelling us to now make a precipitous decision and take precipitous actions?"

Referring to 9-11, Mr. Rumsfeld responded: "What's different? What's different is 3,000 people were killed."

That statement is totally dishonest. Our entire intelligence apparatus found no link between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist attacks on the United States.

The obsession with toppling Saddam Hussein grew out of the administration's failure to deliver Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." Exploiting the contagion of fear following 9-11, the administration has hyped a small-time tyrant like Hussein into a global bogeyman. President Bush and company would have us believe that the world's lone remaining superpower — we who contained the Soviet Union for half a century until it fell are now somehow incapable of containing little Iraq.

Well, if the commander-in-chief of a billion-dollar-a-day military machine is incapable of containing Iraq, perhaps he should step down and let us find someone who can.

What are the issues?

The issues are irrelevant, according to our president. We don't have time for issues. Our Congress doesn't have time for a calm and rational discussion of the issues, he says. They have to act now — before the election!

I accuse our president of playing shameful election-season politics with people's lives. His frantic clamoring to invade Iraq is a reckless, irrational call to light a powder keg in the Middle East.

But we do have time for issues. The issues are legality and morality. Or, perhaps, I should say illegality and immorality.

The fundamental question is: Is the United States of America going to be a nation of law or the biggest rogue nation in the world?

Under international law, no country has the right to change the government of another country.

A pre-emptive attack is a further violation of international law because it is an act of war, not of defense.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland without provocation. A pre-emptive invasion of Iraq by the United States would be a similar act of pure aggression.

The consent of our Congress cannot make such an attack legal. Not even the consent of the United Nations can make it legal. And it certainly cannot make it moral.

Might does not make right.

Forty-eight religious leaders in the U.S., representing many different denominations — Baptist, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Orthodox, Presbyterian, Quaker, Reformed, Unitarian, and others sent a letter to President Bush stating they believe it is morally wrong for the United States to take pre-emptive military action against Iraq.

Our administration has demonized Saddam Hussein and presented us as the savior of the world. Anyone who sees good and evil in such absolute terms of black and white is not in touch with reality. Evil has neither an "empire" nor an "axis" but is universal to the behavior of every human person and every human institution, including "we the people of the United States."

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

In conflicted times of great consequence such as this, warmongering is not what we look for in our elected representatives.

Our president has dug himself into a very deep policy hole with as little apparent thought for exit strategy as his strident call to attack Iraq. Only the checks and balances of our government, it seems, can prevent a contained situation in Iraq from becoming an open-ended disaster.

The power of the Congress, including even the threat of impeachment, must be exercised to prevent our president from executing his self-fulfilling prophecy of doom.


Loving 'enemy' brings big fines

Two Seattle residents, retired civil engineer Bert Sacks and Rev. Randall Mullins, have each been fined $10,000 for violating U.S. economic sanctions by taking medicines to Iraq. The fines were imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department.

Returning in late May from his eighth trip to Iraq, Mr. Sacks explained his position: "I have seen the children of Basra, ill and dying because of unsafe water. How can I ask the government which deliberately bombed civilian infrastructure during the Gulf War — knowing it would create conditions of unsafe water and doing so as a tool of coercion how can I ask this government for permission to bring medicines to those still in need?"

Mr. Sacks traveled to Iraq with a delegation from Voices in the Wilderness (VitW), the Chicago-based group working to end the sanctions. In December 1998, OFAC threatened the entire group with fines totaling $163,000. However, these are the first actual fines that have been imposed.

Both Sacks and Rev. Mullins have refused to pay the fines. Instead, they announced campaigns to raise $10,000 each to purchase and deliver desperately needed medicines to pediatric wards and clinics in Iraq.

Kamal in Basrah, Iraq, hospital with VitW members Bert Sacks (right) and Phil Steger in 2000. Kamal died a few days later, his body wasted away with leukemia. Sanctions kept him from receiving the medicine he needed. The cure rate for childhood leukemia in industrialized countries is very high, 90% or better. In Iraq under sanctions it is 0%.

VitW photo by Alan Pogue. Documentary photographer Alan Pogue began his career in 1968 while serving as an Army chaplain's assistant and combat medic in Vietnam.

A Treasury Department spokesman, Rob Nichols, said anyone refusing to pay a fine will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. "If someone doesn't pay a fine, we begin a collection process that can last up to six months," he said. After six months, the Treasury Department would refer any such case to the Internal Revenue Service for collection, which could result in further fines and eventual jail time.

Kathy Kelly, co-founder of VitW, said, "We will continue resisting economic warfare by sending delegations to Iraq and, if need be, taking up residence in Iraq in advance of and during any new massive military assault against Iraqi civilians."

Kelly cited a paper from the United Nations Sub-commission on Human Rights: "The sanctions regime against Iraq is unequivocally illegal under existing international humanitarian law and human rights law. Some would go as far as making a charge of genocide."

Further information is available at the "Declaration 2002 " action alert on the VitW website: http://www.nonviolence.org/vitw

- PeaceMeal, July/August 2002

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


Witness: Kathy Kelly, Voice in the Wilderness

We sit in the quiet room, mirrored in opulence,
twenty-foot ceilings, velvet walls embossed and gilded,
polished rare wood floor, marble staircase spiraling
from the long enclosed entryway off Central Park,
complete with iron portcullis,
to hear Kathy Kelly, tiny Chicago-Irish sprite.

"This little flower" she calls herself,
looking as if she'll tell us of the first grade class she teaches.
She tells instead her journey to Kuwait, Iraq, Haiti,
the ravaged wounds of the world.

Could I have worried if the corn would grow,
having planted it, as she had,
bright kernels in the poison soil around the missile silo
and have sat praying and singing while the Jeep came,
and the handcuffs?
Could I have asked the boy soldier,
his army rifle pointed at my head,
Do you think it will grow?
Could I have heard without hate his abashed,
"I sure hope so, ma'am"?

Could I have camped as she did, on the border of Kuwait,
have befriended the young Iraqi men who dug into the sand,
awaiting the U.S. Army?
Could I have come home after seeing the Iraqi bus come
to move the witnesses,
the Iraqi leader approach the first witness, kiss his forehead,
and order the soldiers to lift him gently by his elbows into the bus?
Could I have sat like her on the steps of the U.N.
fasting for 20 days,
have rejoiced that one policeman whispered:
All I've had today is iced tea, to join you?

When she finishes, I walk out into Fifth Avenue sunlight,
startled that we are in New York.
I wonder, can I go on as I have,
teaching poetry, correcting freshman essays?
What are commas to all this,
of the long struggle for grace in language,
or even the students' bright faces of understanding?
What are these,
what am I,
as this tiny woman witnesses to the violence
and willful ignorance
killing this Earth — and her people?

- Sr. Doretta Cornell, RDC, Bronx NY,
in the National Catholic Reporter

Kathy Kelly is director of Voices in the Wilderness, the Chicago-based campaign to end the economic sanctions against the people of Iraq: http://www.nonviolence.org/vitw/

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


U.S. knew sanctions would kill kids

Pentagon documents show that the United States government, contrary to the Geneva Convention, intentionally used economic sanctions to degrade Iraq's water supply following the 1991 Gulf War, knowing that the consequences would be increased illness and disease - particularly among children. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents dated January 22, 1991, the year after sanctions were put into place and the very month Operation Desert Storm was launched, state: "Failing to secure supplies [for water purification systems] will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease."

The documents analyze the "effects of bombing on disease occurrence" in Baghdad, Iraq's capital city. "Increased incidence of diseases will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification/distribution, electricity, and decreased ability to control disease outbreaks." Iraq's rivers "are laden with bacteria" such as E. coli, salmonella, and others affecting "particularly children." Unless the water is purified, the documents note, epidemics of such diseases as acute diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis, diphtheria, meningitis, and typhoid could occur.

Food and medicine will also be affected: "Food processing, electronic, and, particularly, pharmaceutical plants require extremely pure water that is free from biological contaminants," one document states.

A third document dated March 15, 1991 — the month after Desert Storm ended confirms the dire predictions. It says: "According to a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)/World Health Organization report, the quantity of potable water is less than 5 percent of the original supply, there are no operational water and sewage treatment plants, and the reported incidence of diarrhea is four times above normal levels."

The DIA documents were discovered on-line by Thomas J. Nagy, who reports his findings in the September issue of The Progressive magazine (http://www.progressive.org). Nagy teaches in the School of Business at George Washington University.

A heavily censored June 1991 document assesses health conditions in Iraq at that time and notes that the "Iraqi medical system was in considerable disarray, medical facilities have been extensively looted and almost all medicines were in critically short supply." The document reports that at least 80 percent of the population in one refugee camp had diarrhea and that cholera, hepatitis type B, and measles had broken out. "Gastroenteritis was killing children … in the South, 80 percent of the deaths were children ...," the document added. Kwashiorkor, a disease resulting from starvation, was observed in Iraq for the first time.

During the Gulf War, the United States conducted bombing deliberately aimed at civilian targets. A 1995 report by the General Accounting Office explicitly states that the Desert Storm air campaign was aimed at five basic categories of targets, including "population will." Bombing civilian infrastructure such as electricity, water, sanitation and other things which sustain life was intended, the report says, to "degrade the will of the civilian population."

The newly-discovered Pentagon documents leave little doubt that our government knew it was going to cause massive illness and death among civilians — particularly children by preventing repair of the civilian infrastructure intentionally bombed, but continued the economic embargo anyway for 10 more years as of now.

The United Nations Children's Fund has reported that the deaths of more than half-a-million children under the age of 5 were directly related to the U.S.-led economic sanctions, and that 5,000 Iraqi children continue to die every month for this reason. When confronted with these horrendous statistics during a 60 Minutes interview in 1996, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright replied, "We think the price is worth it."

"The Geneva Convention is absolutely clear," writes Dr. Nagy in The Progressive. "In a 1979 protocol relating to the 'protection of victims of international armed conflicts,' Article 54, it states: 'It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.'"

- compiled from The Progressive and other sources
PeaceMeal, Sept/October 2001

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)