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More talking points on Iraq

Additional Talking Points:

1.   The New York Times reports that a proposal before the Security Council
will double the amont of oil Iraq is allowed to sell under the oil for food
deal.  The new amount would be $5.2 billion every six months, after UN
administrative costs, reprations, etc. are taken out.

UN's own agencies have reported that the oil for food deal has led to no sign of
improvement in the health and nutritional situation of msot Iraqi's (Unicef
report, Nov 26).  Now it reports that increasing the oil for food deal will
allow Iraqis to increase their caloric intake to 60% of what the average
American's is.  
        This is still totally inadequate to meet the current needs of Iraqi
civilians, the greater nutritional needs of children, and cannot begin to
repair the damage of 7 years of comprehensive sanctions to a generation of

2. In November, nine aid agencies working in baghdad released a statement
that the UN deal could meet barely 10% of Iraq's food and medicine

Our delegations have spoken with doctors in iraqi hospitals who state that
they carry 5-10% of the medicine they need. Now we declare that we are so
generous as to provide them with the money to purchase 10-20% of the
medicine needed to save sick and dying children.

3. Dennis Haliday,the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, stated on
January 12 , 1998, that Iraq would need in the neighborhood of $30
billion/year to meet its current requirements for food, medicine, and
         Even doubling the oil for food deal cannot begin to repair iraq's
shattered infrastructure, a medical system which is in near total collapse,
and a destroyed economy.

4. The Clinton Administration will insist that its support  for doubling the
oil for food deal demonstrates that it is separating the suffering of Iraqi
civilians from Saddam Hussein, yet they insist in the same breath that the
sanctions will remain in place as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power,
until Saddam Hussein meets every one of the US' demands.  
        They insist that they must use military force even though they admit this
will kill civilians.

5. Even assuming that the oil for food deal goes through and begins in
march, it will be several months before the effects trickle down to the
civilian population.
         According to Unicef stats, 4,500 children are dying every month from the
sanctions, this nearly a year after the first oil for food deal went into
effect. The death of a single child from these sanctions is a terrible
crime, and between now and when Iraqis actually feel the impact of increased
food rations another 20-30,000 children will probably have died as a direct
result of
these sanctions.

6. In an interview with John McLaughlin a few weeks ago, one of our
delegation members was asked if he thought the suffering of the Irqi people
could be considered genocidal. 
        Ask yourselves what we would call the deliberately inflicted deaths of
hundreds of thousands of innocent children, the destruction of a society's
economy, health care system, social infrastructure. 
         We have so thoroughly demonized and dehumanized the people of Iraq that a
leading columnist with the NYT can openly call for the killing of civilians,
the bombing of installations where civilians might be, and no one flinches.
A genocidal complacency on the part of the American people is what this is,
a genocidal policy on the part of the American government.

7. International experts on chemical and biological weapons generally agree
that they can be manufactured relatively cheaply. They are a weapon of the
weak (even though the US maintain them as well).  It would be virtually
impossible to destroy Iraq's capacity to make these sorts of weapons. 
         To continue to hammer on about finding weapons we don't even know exist is
a perfect rationalization for keeping the sanctions in place, keeping Iraq
from fully reentering the world oil market at a rapid pace, and a perfect
justification for the Pentagon to call for continued massive spending on its
own weapons of mass destruction.

8. The US HAS NO ENEMIES. Instead, we have manufactured a series of demons
(North Korea, Iraq, Cuba, Iran) out of all proportion to the threats they
pose to international peace to justify maintaining war spending at Cold War
levels. The US now spends as much on Defense as most of the rest of the
world combined, and national security officials have talked openly of
nuclear options against iraq.  Our militarization of the world, our
willingness to employ mass
starvation and disease as a tool of foreign policy, these are the real
threats to peace.

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