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Open letter to President Clinton on Iraq.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ali Abunimah <>
To:, Cc:

March 21, 2000

Dear President Clinton,

Today in India you uttered the following words of wisdom and compassion:

"I think that the targeting of innocent civilians is the worst thing about
modern conflicts today. And the extent to which more and more people seem
to believe it is legitimate to target innocent civilians to reach their
larger political goals, I think that's something that has to be resisted
at every turn."

First let me express my total agreement with this sentiment.  But forgive
me sir, if I suggest that you do not have the right to speak such words
when you have consistently supported and advanced the embargo on Iraq,
which has devasted Iraq's civilian population, especially its children.
This embargo was recently described by Democratic House Minority Whip
David Bonior as "infanticide masquerading as policy."

And yet despite all the evidence, your administration continues to deny
that the embargo has had any negative consequences for Iraq's population
and you attempt to convince the world that all the blame lies elsewhere.
You also claim that the embargo is not having any effect on Iraq's
leadership, who by your accounts continue to build palaces worthy of the
tales from the Arabian nights. So even by this logic, it appears the
embargo is completely useless. 

The United States attempts to villify Iraq to the point where we forget
that the twenty two million people who live there are human beings. But
people all over America and the world will not forget that Iraqis breathe
the same air as we do, poisoned though theirs may be by depleted uranium;
that they drink the water of the Tigris and Euphrates which gave birth to
civilization, deadly though it may now be because of the destruction by
the United States of water treatment and electricity plants, and the ban
on importing disinfectants; and that they dream the same dreams, shattered
though theirs may be by the sound of bombs, and the loss of so many.

Mr. President, will you not reflect on the fact that thousands of Iraqi
children continue to die each month, and millions to suffer from
malnutrition, all in the name of making the world "safer." This was not
the situation prior to the embargo, despite the fact that the government
in Iraq was not different. You can no longer hide the facts with slick
presentations at Foggy Bottom. 

If such a human catastrophe, which should weigh on all our consciences, is
the result of policies allegedly designed to bring peace and security, I
prefer to take my chances without them.


Ali Abunimah
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