The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Sanctions Born Of Indifference

Sanctions Born Of Indifference 
The Hartford Courant 
October 24, 2000 
"In truth, even had Congress not passed the resolution
[to use force against Iraq], I would have acted and
ordered our troops into combat." 

-- Ex-President George Bush, from his book "A World

"I want every Iraqi soldier bleeding from every

-- Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf 

Truly, one of our greatest privileges as Americans is
to live in a land that has never been occupied by
foreign forces - or at least never in modern times,
not since the British invasion in 1812. 

It is also a most underappreciated privilege. 

For those who have never served in the armed forces
nor seen war at their doorstep, the absence of such
suffering doesn't register. 

That's no excuse for the average American's
indifference to the goings-on around the world, but it
helps explain our behavior when Bush the elder
launched Operation Desert Storm in February of 1991. 

We watched CNN around the clock, perched atop
barstools, sitting down for family dinner, beside our
mate, lying in bed, America's "smart bombs" putting us
to sleep. 

A bunch of nattering chimpanzees - waving our flags
and thumping our chests. 

It was America's first Nintendo War, providing
patriotic entertainment for the whole family including
the kiddies - that's how bloodless it seemed from this

Eighty-eight thousand tons of bombs in the first 42
days - cluster, fragmentation, napalm, fuel-air
explosives, the vast majority of them free-falling,
a.k.a. dumb (even the smart ones missed their targets
30 percent of the time). On the ground, we fired
radioactive bullets that utilize spent uranium. 

It was high-tech warfare, our government told us,
aimed at military targets that included Saddam
Hussein's Ministry of Defense - any and all of which
could have concealed "his weapons of mass
destruction," said Bush the elder. 

The fact that Iraq's president was a stone-evil mass
murderer lent credence to the U.S. government's lies
and omissions about the war, which we readily

Whoopsy! That laser-guided missile we sent into a bomb
shelter? It killed anywhere from 300 to 1,600

Whoops again! Iraq's telephone exchanges, water,
sewage treatment and power plants knocked out. (Well,
they could have been storehouses for Saddam's weapons
of mass destruction, couldn't they?) 

Our returning warriors, feeling poorly used, told us
their actual orders were to kill anything that moved. 

Palestinian refugees trying to escape from Kuwait. 

Civilians walking along the road, seeking shelter,
beside Iraqi soldiers seeking to surrender - U.S.
airmen called it a "turkey shoot." Approximately
25,000 were killed, according to Bill Moyers' special
PBS report after the war. 

We used tanks and earthmovers to bury thousands of
Iraqi soldiers alive, piling sand into their trenches,
raining machine gun fire over them. 

"What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches with
people's arms and things sticking out of them,"
according to U.S. Gen. Anthony Moreno, who arrived
after the slaughter. 

We know the United States perpetrated these war crimes
- and through sanctions against Iraq commits more each

But we don't feel it from this distance. 

That's why you must read every word of writer Matthew
Hay Brown and photographer Brad Clift's extraordinary
series, "Between Sanctions and Saddam." 

You can catch up with what you've missed at The United Nations' sanctions against
Iraq - which would have been lifted long ago, if not
for America - have been killing 4,500 children a month
for nearly 10 years now. A million people in all so
far, half of them kids. 

Brown and Clift take you up close and personal to
these suffering people whose homes and lives have been

Their food supply is scarce, their water contaminated
with sewage, their hospitals deprived of basic
medicinal supplies, causing masses people to die of
minor diseases. 

Says Brown: "We're very aware as Westerners with money
when we end up spending time with a family in a house,
which is more like a cave; accepting their
hospitality; people living among misery and squalor
who insist upon sharing food with you that they very
clearly can't spare." 

The Iraqis die because America insists the sanctions
continue - despite their illegality under the
principles of the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, the
United Nations Convention Against Genocide Convention
and particularly the Geneva Convention: 

Protocol 1 Additional to the Geneva Conventions - 1977

Part IV, Section 1, Chapter III, Article 54 

1. Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is

2. It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or
render useless objects indispensable to the
agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs,
crops, livestock, drinking water installations and
supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific
purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to
the civilian population or to the adverse party,
whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out
civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any
other motive. 

Over a million dead, half of them children, and it's a
non-issue to our presidential candidates as they
strive for the title of most moral. 

The Iraqi people should hate us, but don't. "As we
walked around Baghdad and even around small villages,
we would be surrounded by people who wanted badly for
us to understand that their fight was not with us but
with our government," Brown says. 

Brown feels sure their kindness and lack of enmity is
genuine - but he wonders whether it's based upon a
false premise. 

"Iraqis have the experience of a government over which
they have no control. I'm not sure that they fully
appreciate that in the United States the government is
supposed to be the people. 

"When they say it's not personal, they aren't
appreciating that we are responsible for our
government in a way that they can't be," Brown says. 

It would be incomprehensible to Iraqis that we who
have a say in what becomes policy cannot be bothered
to speak - that we are so accustomed to freedom we
neglect our responsibility to guarantee it shall be
the birthright of future generations. 

It should be incomprehensible to us. 

Iraq Resource Information Site

American Intifada

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Messenger - Talk while you surf!  It's FREE.
This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]