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To: Our Iraq comrades From: Campaign to End the Sanctions Re: Strategies for letters sent to politicians raising the genocide of Iraq We write to share our thoughts on how to raise the issue of Iraqi genocide by writing letters to politicans. Our concept of a good letter seems to differ from the concepts behind many of the letters to political leaders that have circulated within the sanctions movements, and so we address this issue of letter writing in the hope of promoting greater self-reflection and discussion within the anti-sanctions movement. (We intend to write a series of discussion/position papers, all of which you will be receiving unless you tell us to omit you from this series.) Letters are an excellent vehicle for presenting accurate information about Iraq. We find that education on Iraq is sorely needed; the vast majority of people to whom we talk have, at best, only the vaguest idea of how sanctions operate and are bewildered by the possibility that the US could be killing so many people without their knowing about it. The US public rarely knows the facts that clearly reveal the mass murder of the people of Iraq. Letters present an opportunity for activists to frame the issues of sanctions, bombing, and Middle East armament to allow the reader to finally discover the truth of the destruction of Iraq, and the culpability of the US. When we send a letter to a politican, we consider it a public document, addressed to the individual politician and designed to be copied and circulated to the public. We intend it to be a document that will publically educate this politician about the seriousness of Iraq, so that she or he cannot later say, “Oh, I just didn’t know what was going on.” We want to make explicit that the genocide of the Iraqi people is the moral responsibility of this individual politician, as it is of all US citizens who must exercise their democratic right to protest against such a genocide. We believe each letter sent to a politician addressing the sanctions on Iraq should do the following: (a) describe the extent of the damage done through sanctions in enough breadth and detail so as to make their genocidal effects undeniable, and to this end, reports, sources, and statistics must be cited, either in the body of the letter or in an attached, more comprehensive piece of writing; (b) describe and protest the US bombing of Iraq as an ongong war over two-thirds of Iraq, in which the US and its ally, the UK (France no longer participates) openly display their overwhelming military superiority by patrolling daily with war planes that bomb whatever paltry defense systems the Iraqis are able to erect, regularly murdering people in the process; (c) assert the moral responsibility of the United States for the intentional deadly effects of sanctions and bombing, “intentional” under any definition of criminal law --rational actors are presumed to intend the foreseeable consequences of their actions (if you pull a trigger, and you have every reason to believe the gun is loaded, you can’t say you didn’t intend to kill if you aim and pull the trigger and the bullet enters the victim at the spot at which you aimed); (d) refuse to phrase issues in terms of bureaucratic labels such as “de-linking military and economic sanctions,” “Middle East disarmament,” or “no-fly zones,” for these labels support the disinformation strategy of the Clinton administration, which is to drastically overplay the military threat of Iraq and to use language that minimizes or completely covers up the destructiveness of US policy and US leaders’ deliberate lies and systemmatic concealment of the truth; and (e) describe how the category of “dual use” materials has been enforced by US and UK representatives on the UN sanctions committees, so as to deny Iraq the ability to import items, such as chlorine and spare parts, that are essential for the health of the Iraqi people, and that these actions were taken by these officials despite their knowing what the deadly consequences would be. For your information, we attach a letter written by Kitty Bryant in response to a letter she received from Hillary Rodham Clinton mid-December, 1999, soliciting a financial contribution. (The Clinton letter was addressed to “Dear Friend” and signed “Hillary” in what looks like blue fountain-pen ink; the letter writer uses the warm, chatty tone of an important acquaintance calling on a loyal friend’s support.) Kitty’s response is attached here not as a model; it was written as a specific response to a specific letter. We forward it as an example of a letter with a tone and agenda more confrontational than the letters that have been circulated to us. We offer it to contribute to an open and thoughtful discussion of the goals and strategies of letter-writing We hope people will respond, and we will do whatever we can to facilitate discussion. Forward freely. In solidarity, Kitty Bryant and Bob Allen -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi