The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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[Note: Ramsey Clark is a former US attorney General.] International Action Center 39 West 14th St., #206, New York, NY 10011 212-633-6646 fax: 212-633-2889 http://www.iacenter.org email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ramsey Clark, Chairperson January 28, 1998 H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan Secretary General of the United Nations United Nations Headquarters Room S-3800 New York, NY 10017 Dear Ambassador Annan, The United States government has climaxed months of propaganda and threats against Iraq with the statement it will launch a new sustained attack using missiles and bombs on suspected biological and chemical weapon sites and other targets, alone if necessary, as soon as mid-February. It offers as its excuse Iraq's failure to permit its inspectors unrestricted access to any place in Iraq they choose. For the Security Council to permit the United States to take the enforcement of Security Council resolutions into its own hands and commit acts of war against Iraq would have tragic consequences for the United Nations and the hope for peace. There is no chance that such an assault would not kill innocent civilians. While then - U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger proclaimed it "was impossible" that civilians were killed by surprise U.S. air strikes against the sleeping Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986, we now know hundreds of civilians were killed. It is impossible to bomb cities without killing civilians. In the last three days of his presidency January 17-19, 1993, George Bush ordered hundreds of cruise missiles and air strikes to be launched against Iraq causing scores of civilian deaths. One cruise missile struck the Al Rashid Hotel killing two hotel service employees. U.S. intelligence agencies believed Saddam Hussein was to attend an international Islamic meeting in the Al Rashid at the time. When President Clinton ordered 23 cruise missiles to be launched toward Baghdad on June 26, 1993, justifying his acts by citing the right to self defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, they managed to kill dozens of civilians including the internationally known Layla al-Altar, artist and Director General of Iraq's National Center for Arts, and her husband when a missile hit their home. The United States has made a shooting gallery of the "Cradle of Civilization." People live there. Their lives are threatened and some are lost every time the U.S. decides, for its own political interests, to attack. When the Security Council authorizes, or condones, such attacks, it, too, is guilty of crimes against humanity. Attacks against nuclear, biological, or chemical plants and other inherently dangerous facilities violate international law because they expose civilian populations to death and injury. The General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution on December 4, 1990, specifically prohibiting any attacks on Iraq's two nuclear facilities. The U.S. ignored the resolution. On January 23, 1991, General Colin Powell announced Iraq's "two operating reactors...are both gone. They're down. They're finished." On January 30, General Norman Schwarzkopf boasted his forces had attacked 18 chemical, 10 biological and three nuclear plants. By February 4, 1991, a French military spokesperson was reported to say the chemical fallout was being detected throughout Iraq. See, e.g., Financial Times (London) Feb. 4, 1991; Medical Educational Trust Report, Background Papers, July 1991, p 15. U.S. forces fired more than 900 tons of depleted uranium in missiles and shells into Iraq leaving unretrievable, deadly radioactive matter in the soil and water forever. The U.S. showed no concern for the civilian population of Iraq. It cannot be expected to show more now. The Security Council and the General Assembly should immediately admonish the United States that it must not commit any armed assault, or other grave threats to peace, against Iraq. It should condemn the repeated uses of false propaganda employed to create fear and hatred toward Iraq such as the recent false claims that photographs proved Iraq tested chemical weapons against prisoners. The Security Council should announce that after seven years no credible evidence has been found that Iraq is manufacturing or possesses new nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, and that Iraq has the same rights accorded to every nation to refuse inspectors that it deems a threat to its national security. See, e.g. Chemical Weapons, Convention Implementation Act of 1997. How else could Iraq consider inspections of the residences of its President and high officials by U.S. military officers who served in U.S. intelligence capacities during the 1991 bombing of Iraq? Above all, the Security Council must act now to end the sanctions against Iraq. They are the direct cause of the deaths of a million and a half people, the majority infants, children, chronically ill persons and the elderly. They are genocide as defined by the Convention Against Genocide, and take several hundred more lives each day. There can be no link between these sanctions which afflict the weakest members of society and any acts of the government of Iraq. International law prohibits the use of starvation as a weapon even in times of war. In this moment of crisis, the Security Council and the General Assembly must renounce all sanctions which impact on an entire society, killing and injuring its most vulnerable members. It must prohibit the use of punitive missile and air strikes by one nation against another and specifically a super power against a defenseless people. Sincerely, Ramsey Clark Chairperson, International Action Center