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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 
             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
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