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Ann Arbor (Michigan, USA) City Council Resolution on Iraq

>         Attached below is a resolution on Iraq recently passed 7-1 by the
>Ann Arbor (MI) City Council.  It differs from previous resolutions
>(including one passed in Ann Arbor on 4/5/99) in making arguments related
>to economics and military spending in general.  If you would like to use
>it, please feel free to cut and paste as you see fit for your local
>situation.  There is also attached an Op-Ed which expands on some of the
>issues raised in the resolution, particularly related to defining the
>sanctions issue as a LOCAL issue for American communities.
>         There is also available a 10-page packet of background information,
>outlining the situation in Iraq in a concise fashion, which was submitted
>to Council in support of the resolution.  It contains brief descriptions
>and numerous quotes from those involved in the sanctions process.  If you
>would like a copy, please reply and say "Send background packet".
>         To assist in modifying the resolution and the Op-Ed for your
>community, you may wish to consult the following sources:
>         1)  Economic output:
><> (pp.23-33).  The
>economic output of Iraq is estimated to be $7.2 billion.  You will be able
>to find your local metropolitan area in this list.
>         2)  Tax-related information:
><> (on-line version of
>the Statistical Abstract of the United States) and
><>.  To determine how much your local
>community pays in income tax, you may wish to use an IRS document entitled
>ZIP Code Area Data (for 1997), due out this summer of 2000 (NOTE: I spent 3
>hours Friday calling various IRS numbers trying to track down the '97
>edition--as far as I can tell, it doesn't yet exist, though it's on the IRS
>website.  Go figure...).  A previous document using 1991 data can be found
>at any official Government Document Library (your local library can tell
>you where the closest one is).  Often "State IRS" offices and local
>Chambers of Commerce can also supply data on federal taxes paid by local
>individuals and businesses.  We have found that putting the amount spent
>per local citizen for military activities to be a very powerful argument.
>         3)  Percentage of income tax spent on military activities (47.27%
>for fiscal 2001): War Resisters League <>.
>         4)  US leading the world: a) Statistical Abstract (above), b)
>Entering the 21st Century--World Development Report 1999/2000, c) We're
>Number One: Where America Stands--and Falls--in the New World Order by
>Andrew L. Shapiro, Vintage NY, 1992.
>         If you have any questions, or would like assistance in modifying
>the information below for your local community, please contact me by email
><> or phone (734-662-2216).
>         Bill
>Passed July 17, 2000
>WHEREAS, August 6, 2000 marks the end of a decade of economic sanctions
>against the people of Iraq, and
>WHEREAS, the United Nations reports that these sanctions have resulted in
>the deaths of at least one million citizens of Iraq, including at least
>500,000 children under the age of 5, and
>WHEREAS, these sanctions prevent Iraq from rebuilding its civilian
>infrastructure and receiving much needed medical supplies and other
>essential material, and
>WHEREAS, the economic output of Iraq, with a population of 24 million, has
>been reduced through sanctions to less than one-half of the economic output
>of metropolitan Ann Arbor, and
>WHEREAS, Richard Butler, former United Nations Chief Weapons Inspector, has
>stated that "I deeply believe that sanctions as now applied to Iraq have
>been utterly counterproductive for ...disarmament purpose[s]", and former
>United Nations Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter has confirmed that "...Iraq
>has been disarmed", and
>WHEREAS, Denis Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary General
>and initial Director of the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program, his successor as
>Director, Hans Sponeck, and Jutta Burghardt, head of the United Nations
>World Food Program in Iraq, have each resigned their positions in protest
>over the effects of the sanctions on the population of Iraq, and
>WHEREAS, President Bill Clinton stated on March 21, 2000, "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.", and
>WHEREAS, on April 5, 1999, the City Council of Ann Arbor unanimously
>resolved that "We commend his [Bishop Thomas Gumbleton's] challenge to the
>genocidal policy of sanctions and join him in urging the immediate end to
>this policy", and notes that since that date over 70,000 additional Iraqi
>children under the age of five have perished as a result of the sanctions, and
>WHEREAS, since December 20, 1998, more than 12,000 sorties have been flown
>against Iraq in the US/UK self-declared "no fly zones", at a cost to
>American taxpayers of one billion dollars annually (a sum sufficient to
>place an additional teacher or social worker in every middle and high
>school in the United States), and
>WHEREAS, the residents and businesses of Ann Arbor through income tax
>payments contribute over $380,000,000 annually to the cost of present and
>past military-related activities (over $3,500 per capita), an amount 25%
>greater than the annual city and school budgets combined, and
>WHEREAS, on April 16, 1953, former President Dwight Eisenhower noted that
>"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,
>signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not
>fed, those who are cold and not clothed."
>NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Ann Arbor
>that it again urges the immediate lifting of economic sanctions against
>Iraq, the rebuilding of the Iraqi infrastructure (such as water
>purification, sewage treatment facilities and agricultural irrigation), and
>the allowing of free flow of medical and humanitarian aid into Iraq without
>threat of prosecution by United States or international authorities.
>BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we implore the citizens of the United States
>and candidates for local, state and national public office to place on the
>public agenda a thorough discussion and evaluation of domestic priorities
>and foreign military expenditures.
>BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that copies of this resolution and support materials
>be sent to the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the
>Governor of Texas, other presidential candidates, the Michigan
>Congressional Delegation, the Governor of Michigan, and local members of
>the Michigan House and Senate.
>         Aye:  Sheldon, Hanna-Davies, Hieftje, Herrell, Higgins, Daley, Kolb
>         Nay:  Upton
>Bill Thomson
>July 19, 2000
>         Sunday, August 6, 2000--Hiroshima Day--will mark the passing of 
> ten years
>of economic sanctions against Iraq.  By now, many of the citizens of the
>Ann Arbor area are aware of the basic facts of the situation.  Reliable UN
>agencies put the figure for children's deaths in Iraq at 500,000
>(additional unofficial estimates go as high as 1,000,000).  (For comparison
>purposes, the total number of American battle deaths in the Civil War, the
>Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnamese War were
>566,000.)  A child dies from malnutrition, diarrhea, leukemia or curable
>infectious disease every ten minutes.  Thirteen percent of Iraqi infants do
>not live to see their first birthday.  Iraqi physicians, once the medical
>leaders of the Arab world, have not been able to access medical texts and
>journals since 1990.
>         Individuals as politically disparate as former UN Weapons 
> Inspector Scott
>Ritter; former head of the UN Weapons Inspection Team Richard Butler;
>former heads of the UN Oil-for-Food Program Denis Halliday and Hans von
>Sponeck; former head of the United Nations World Food Program in Iraq, Dr.
>Jutta Burghardt; former Attorney General Ramsey Clark; Former President
>Jimmy Carter; presidential candidate Pat Buchanan; and former candidate
>Jack Kemp have all spoken out against the sanctions, citing their overall
>failure and counterproductivity  in the stated objective of removing Saddam
>Hussein from office.
>         But the reality is, why should we citizens of the Ann Arbor area pay
>particular attention to an event thousands of miles away?  It's a moral and
>ethical issue, yes, but there are lots of trouble spots in the world, and
>we can't be expected to pay attention to them all....
>         I once heard that the values of a culture could be determined 
> simply by
>looking at the purpose of the tallest buildings.  To that I would add--look
>at the public budget.  By those measures, it is clear that the values of
>America are economic and surprise there.  So let me point out
>some economic/military realities.
>         The sanctions against Iraq, prior to the Gulf War one of the most 
> advanced
>societies in the Middle East, have reduced the economic output of Iraq, a
>country of twenty-four million people, to less than one-half of the
>economic output of metropolitan Ann Arbor.  In 1989 the Iraqi education
>budget was $2.1 billion (supporting free education through graduate school
>for any Iraqi citizen); ten years later it had been reduced to $229
>million.  Literacy has gone from 90% to 66%.  Of the $20 billion (over
>three years) that has been provided through the Oil-for-Food Program, $7
>billion has gone for UN expenses and reparations, leaving $13 billion for
>use by the Iraqi public.  This figures out to about $190 per person
>annually, or about 50c a day.  Even in Iraq, it is impossible to live on
>that sum.
>         We are bombing Iraq about every third day, at a cost of 
> approximately one
>billion dollars per year.  For that figure we could put an additional
>teacher or social worker in every middle and high school in the United
>States.  Unfortunately for our culture, there are no skyscraper schools.
>         But it's really much, much worse than that.  The situation in Iraq is
>simply the most recent, and currently most egregious example of resources
>wasted in the cause of American military power.  Did you know, for example,
>that the citizens and businesses of the City of Ann Arbor remit annually in
>the form of federal income tax $380,000,000 to pay for current and past
>military expenditures, or about $3500 per citizen?  That figure is 25%
>greater than the sum of the budget of the City of Ann Arbor and the budget
>of the Ann Arbor Public Schools.  Now that seems to me to be a local issue,
>par excellence.  Is it worth $3500 per year to you to pay for the bombing
>of Iraq and Kosovo, the maintenance of the sanctions, the failure of
>Star-Wars tests, etc.?  Or would you rather use those funds to provide
>better education for your children, more parks, fewer potholes, a house
>payment fund, the vacation of a lifetime, daily Zingermans, or whatever
>else $10 a day would buy?  To change slightly a comment by former Senator
>Everett Dirksen, "$10 here, $10 there; pretty soon we're talking about real
>         With respect to violence, both physical and economic,  the United 
> States
>leads the industrialized world (in term of rates per capita) in
>billionaires, children living in poverty, wealth, income inequality,
>population without health care, infant mortality, death of children under 5
>years old, highest paid athletes, lowest paid teachers, homelessness,
>shortest life expectancy, executive salaries, pay inequality between
>executives and average workers, percentage of population who have been
>victim of a crime, murder rate, murder of children, firearm deaths,
>reported rapes, percent of population incarcerated and capital punishment.
>These are all local issues--can they be unrelated to government-supported
>violence?  Militarily, we lead the entire world in military aid to
>developing countries, and our military spending exceeds that of the next
>four countries (Russia, China, Japan and France) combined.
>         On April 16, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us of the 
> growing
>menace of the military-industrial complex and said, "Every gun that is
>made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final
>sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold
>and not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is
>spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes
>of its children....This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.
>Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of
>         Finally, what is the message that our priority of military and 
> economic
>violence is giving to our children?  Is it a wonder that the child on the
>playground, the student in the classroom or the teenager in the trench coat
>mirrors those ideals?  Is that a local issue?

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