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.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
The Houston Chronicle has published a special section on "Iraq Today". The Chronicle sent two staffers into Iraq for the story, as did another Hearst Corp. paper (the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) earlier this year. The Chronicle's story began prominently on Page 1 of its Sunday edition, and is online at http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/special/baghdad/index.html. Also on Sunday, the Toronto Star began a two-part OpEd by Haroon Siddiqui, the editor emeritus of its editorial page. This piece is extremely (refreshingly) hard-hitting for the mainstream press, as you'll see below (also online at http://www.thestar.ca/thestar/back_issues/ED19990912/opinion/990912NEW02c_OP -HAROON11.html). Notes of support can be sent to the Houston Chronicle at mailto:email@example.com, and to Mr. Siddiqui at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA --- Canada must speak out on embargo September 12, 1999 By Haroon Siddiqui WHY IS CANADA vacillating at the United Nations over lifting the genocidal economic sanctions on Iraq that are killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, especially children? As an influential member of the Security Council, we should be taking a strong moral stand. Instead, Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy is reining in his reformist instincts to appease America and Britain, the only Western states still insisting on pursuing the perverse policy of getting at Saddam Hussein by inflicting untold miseries on innocent Iraqi civilians. For eight months now, the United States and Britain have been waging an undeclared war on Iraq, deploying 22,000 troops, 19 warships and 200 aircraft that have have fired 1,100 missiles and flown 10,000 combat sorties - two-thirds of the missions mounted by the entire NATO command in the war over Kosovo. The ostensible reason has been that Iraq has been violating the two no-fly zones set up after the Gulf War. But the misdemeanours - foolish boasts from Saddam about Iraqi sovereignty, the odd Iraqi radar locking on to an American aircraft, or an Iraqi plane puncturing the prohibited air space for seconds - are neither new nor serious enough to justify the longest U.S.-British bombing campaign since Word War II. The real reasons for the bombing blitz are the American frustration over the collapse of the discredited United Nations weapons inspection program, following revelations that the CIA had infiltrated it to spy on Iraq, and an American decision to topple Saddam, somehow, without ushering in democracy. But the bombing is no more likely to weaken his hold on power than the eight-year-old economic sanctions that have been inflicting a slow death on innocent civilians instead. The horrors have been catalogued in studies by several U.N. agencies, academic institutions and NGOs, the latest being a UNICEF report. With minor variations, they tell us this: > Iraqi civilian infrastructure, bombed to the Stone Age, has collapsed to the point that it needs $41 billion to fix, $7 billion just to bring the electricity generating capacity back to pre-Gulf War level. The country is literally falling apart; > Hospitals have little or no electricity, anesthesia or drugs, not even enough antibiotics and painkillers. > Water purification systems are broken, as are sewage lines. The percentage of people with access to clean drinking water is down to 45 per cent, from 96 per cent. > Standard of living has plunged to the point that half the work force is unemployed. Inflation is running at 5,000 to 7,000 per cent. About 10,000 teachers have quit, unable to survive on $3 to $5 monthly salaries. A third of the children in schools have dropped out. > More than 2 million Iraqis, mostly professionals, have left. > A majority of the 20 million still stuck there are malnourished, especially children. Infant mortality rate has doubled in the last nine years. > The number of civilian deaths since 1991 is between 1.5 million and 1.7 million, including 500,000 children. The death toll of kids under 5 is about 250 a day. That's not the end of the horror story. Radioactive residue from the 1991 allied bombing is working its way through humans. There's 800 tonnes of it from the 1 million rounds of ammunition coated with depleted uranium to make it tough enough to slice through tanks. The number of babies born with huge heads, abnormally large eyes, stunted arms, bloated stomachs, missing heart valves is increasing. The thalidomide-like deformities are showing up in a whole generation in some villages - gruesome testimony to the monumental hypocrisy of America's campaign against Iraq's covert nuclear and chemical weapons program. America and its apologists deflect the entire blame for such Iraqi suffering to Saddam. Or they clear their conscience by pointing to the oil-for-food program that allows $5.2 billion of sales every six months for essentials. That program has its own limitations. Nearly half the revenues are withheld for U.N. expenses, including weapons inspection, and for compensating victims of the Gulf War (including Western oil conglomerates that have so far skimmed off $2.8 billion). Of the half left, Saddam diverts some to his military and ruling elite. And the U.N. screening committee, under U.S. pressure, puts its own bizarre import limitations - no chlorine for desalination plants (because it can supposedly be diverted to chemical weapons) or no pencils (because the lead may be used as a radar-deflecting coat on planes). America remains unrepentant, unmoved by the plight of Iraqis. ``I think the price is worth it,'' was the icily cruel response of Secretary of State Madelaine Albright. Do Canadians think the price is worth it? There's growing consensus - both among governments and grassroots - that the cruelties being inflicted on Iraqi civilians contravene the Geneva Convention against genocide. Let our silence not make us accomplices to such a crime. (To be continued on Thursday). -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***