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Congress Letter

Dear Friends:

The following letter came to my attention. However, I can NOT attest to its
truth. Could someone investigate it please?




Please take the time to phone the office of Congressman Lane Evans this
week! He has signed on to the letter described below calling for
continuation of the economic sanctions against Iraq. Evans is fairly strong
on human rights issues, and he probably has not heard from IL constituents
on this.

Call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 this week! Ask for the
legislative assistant that handles foreign affairs and urge Cong. Evans to
withdraw his name from Rep. Crowley's "Keep the Sanctions on Iraq" letter to
the President, a measure that will lead to the continued suffering of the
Iraqi people!


A "Dear President" letter is circulating in Congress calling for the
continuation of comprehensive sanctions against Iraq. Initiated by Rep.s
Crowley (D-NY), Sweeney (D-NY), and Lantos (D-CA), the letter is scheduled
to be sent to the President by Friday.

The letter demonstrates just how misinformed some members of Congress are
about Iraq. The letter falsely states: "Under these sanctions, Iraq last
year exported over $12 billion in oil. This year's revenues are expected to
reach $19 billion- more than in any other year in Iraq's history."In
actuality, Iraq was able to export $28.3 billion dollars in oil and other
goods in 1980. Furthermore, the money made from the Oil-for-Food Program is
kept in an escrow account strictly controlled by the UN Iraq Program.

Nearly half of all the revenues are then taken to pay exorbitant war
reparations to countries like Kuwait (which has one of the highest per
capita incomes of any nation). So assuming that oil prices remain high and
Iraq sells $19 billion this year [which is unlikely], only half of it can be
used to purchase emergency humanitarian goods. This would still fall far
short of what Iraq needs to repair $30 billion of Gulf War damage. It is
also over one billion dollars less than what Iraq spent on civilian imports
in 1989.

Make your voices heard and tell your congressional leaders NO to this new
letter and NO to the continuation of economic sanctions. For more
information, use the following talking points:

*According to the United Nations, more than one million civilians have died
as a direct result of the sanctions. According to Unicef, nearly 5,000
civilians are dying every month because of the sanctions. Most of these are
children and other vulnerable sectors of society.

*Former Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday (who resigned in
protest in October 1998) and current Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Hans
von Sponeck (who is resigning in protest in at the end of this month) have
concluded that the sanctions are the overwhelming and direct cause of
civilian suffering in Iraq. They have also concluded that revenues from the
oil-for-food program are simply unable to meet the basic needs of the Iraqi
people for food, medicine, spare parts and infrastructure.

*The two top United Nations officials entrusted with implementing UN
sanctions against Iraq have both resigned in protest and concluded that only
a complete end to the economic sanctions will stem the needless killing of
Iraqi civilians and allow Iraq's shattered civilian economy to recover.

*In the last several months, public and media attention on the suffering of
Iraqi civilians under the sanctions regime has increased.

*Recently more than 70 members of Congress, including virtually all of the
Progressive Caucus, signed a letter to President Clinton calling for a
de-linking of military from economic sanctions, a proposal also endorsed by
Denis Halliday.

*The Chicago Tribune has run three strongly worded editorials and an op-ed
piece (last week) calling for an end to the economic embargo and a
de-linking from the military embargo. Rep. David Bonior of Michigan recently
referred to the sanctions as "infanticide masquerading as policy.

*Last year in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs, John and Karl Mueller
concluded that sanctions against Iraq have killed more people "than have
been slain by all so-called weapons of mass destruction throughout history."

*The sanctions prevent Iraq from importing sufficient food, medicine and
spare parts to support the civilian population, and prevent the importation
of vital chemicals such as chlorine, which is needed to purify water
(Illness from contaminated water is a leading killer in Iraq)

*The Clinton administration says that all Iraq has to do is comply with the
UN and sanctions will be lifted, but says as well that sanctions will never
be lifted as long as Saddam Hussein is in power. The Iraqi government has
zero incentive to cooperate with the international community when the US
says that nothing the Iraqi government does will lead to a easing of the

No one doubts that the Iraqi leadership is partly responsible for this
situation. But how can people in this country insist that we bear no moral
or legal responsibility for this silent slaughter of innocent civilians
taking place in our name? Aside from the catastrophic consequences of the
sanctions, they have done nothing to make Iraq a more decent society that
increases the long-term stability of the region. As Steve Chapman concludes
in today's Chicago Tribune, "when a strategy is futile as well as lethal to
people who have done nothing wrong, it deserves to be junked."

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