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Call to Action

Although this message is focused on the US, it applies just as well to 
Britain. Please copy widely, print out and use in leaflets, etc. etc.

Address is:


                     WAR AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ

                      by Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, 
                          Edward Said, and Howard Zinn

     At the end of 1998, the United States once again rained bombs on the 
people of Iraq. But even
     when the bombs stop falling, the U.S. war against the people of Iraq 
continues through the harsh
     economic sanctions. This is a call to action to end all the war.

     This month U.S. policy will kill 4,500 children under the age of 5 
in Iraq, according to UN studies, just
     as it did last month and the month before that, all the way back to 
1991. Since the end of the Gulf
     War, at least hundreds of thousands -- maybe more than 1 million -- 
Iraqis have died as a direct
     result of the UN sanctions on Iraq, which are a direct result of 
U.S. policy.

     This is not foreign policy -- it is sanctioned mass-murder that is 
nearing holocaust proportions. If we
     remain silent, we are condoning a genocide that is being perpetrated 
in the name of peace in the
     Middle East, a mass slaughter that is being perpetrated in our name. 

     The time has come for a call to action to people of conscience. We 
are past the point where silence
     is passive consent -- when a crime reaches these proportions, 
silence is complicity. There are
     several tasks ahead of us.

     First, we must organize and make this issue a priority, just as 
Americans organized to stop the war
     in Vietnam, and to protest U.S. policies in Central America and 
South Africa. We need a national
     campaign to lift the sanctions. 

     This kind of work has already begun, and those efforts need our 
help. For the past several years,
     individuals and groups have been delivering medicine and other 
supplies to Iraq in defiance of the
     U.S. blockade. Now, members of one of those groups, Voices in the 
Wilderness in Chicago, have
     been threatened with massive fines by the federal government for 
"exportation of donated goods,
     including medical supplies and toys, to Iraq absent specific prior 
authorization." Our government is
     harassing a peace group that takes medicine and toys to dying 
children; we owe these courageous
     activists our support.

     Such a campaign is not equivalent to support for the regime of 
Saddam Hussein. To oppose the
     sanctions is to support the Iraqi people. The people are suffering 
because of the actions of both the
     Iraqi and U.S. governments, but our moral responsibility lies here 
in the United States, to counter the
     hypocrisy and inhumanity of our leaders.

     Also, there has been a virtual embargo on news of the effects of the 
sanctions in the mainstream
     media. For the most part, the American people do not know what evil 
is being carried out in our
     name. We must continue to apply pressure on journalists at all 
levels -- from our local papers to the
     network news -- to cover this tragedy. We should overwhelm the major 
press with letters to the
     editor and put pressure on journalists to cover the story.

     And we must realize this could be a long struggle. Preparations 
should begin for all the possible
     strategies, including civil disobedience once a sufficient number of 
people are committed. Direct
     action that forces a moral accounting likely is going to be 

     Whatever else we are doing, we should treat this as an emergency and 
put it at the top of our
     agenda. Existing groups can work on the issue, new groups may need 
to be formed, and national
     networks need to be built. A good central source of information 
exists on the web at

     Without action by us, the horrors will go on, the children will 
continue to die. We must appeal to the
     natural sympathies of the American people, who will respond if they 
know what is happening. We
     must therefore bring this issue, in every way we can, to national 
attention. The only way to avoid
     complicity in this crime is to do everything we can, and much more 
than we have been doing, to end
     the sanctions on Iraq. This issue must be discussed in every 
household and every public forum
     across the country.
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