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[casi] FW: [al-awda-unity] Published Op-Ed opposing Iraq Invasion

From: "u11434" <>
To: "al-awda unity" <>,
<>, "Iraq Action Center"
Subject: [al-awda-unity] Published Op-Ed opposing Iraq Invasion
Date: Wed, Aug 28, 2002, 10:46 pm

My op-ed on Iraq was published today.  See below.  I'm unable to send my
usual email messages.  In addition to the increasing fraud and spam
attacks, my new "improved" SPC-SNET internet service won't let me send more
than 20 copies per post.  Anyone know of a good ISP that allows mass
      Cost of making war on Iraq needs a close look

            Stanley Heller August 28, 2002

      A U.S. Senate committee recently held a two-day hearing on going to
war with Iraq. One day on the problem, one day on the cost. All done. U.S.
Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., now says we're on a path for war.
      Perhaps we should take a little more time to think about this before
we put U.S. soldiers in harm's way.

      The Gulf War was not nearly as casualty free as we are led to
believe. True, only about 140 soldiers died, but the number who got sick
from the war is little short of astounding. Last December, the New York
Times reported about South Windsor native Michael Donnelly, who has won a
six-year fight to get the Veterans Administration to declare that his ALS
was a result of his Gulf War service.

      ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a devastating ailment.
Donnelly is forced to use a ventilator and feeding tube to stay alive. A
study has found Gulf War veterans had nearly twice the risk for ALS as
those who were not in the war.

      The increased numbers of ALS victims is just the tip of the iceberg.

      Since the war, more than 100,000 veterans have complained of an array
of symptoms - from joint pain to muscle aches, rashes, chronic fatigue, and
gastrointestinal ailments - that have collectively come to be called Gulf
War illness.

      Seymour Hersh, who exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, wrote
about the illnesses in his book, "Against All Enemies" in 1998. His
judgment is that the suffering vets were "friendly-fire" casualties,
victims of military incompetence and military overkill. The main problem
was the military blew up "dozens of Iraqi weapons depots without taking any
precautions against fallout." One of them was Khamsiyah weapons depot,
which stored shells filled with sarin nerve gas.

      A Senate report revealed that 100,000 U.S. soldiers were in the path
of the "chemical plume."

      Besides exposure to nerve gas, another suspect in Gulf War illness
are pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills, a experimental drug that was
supposed to ward off some effects of nerve gas. Every soldier in the Gulf
was forced to take them and some GI's immediately got sick.

      Finally there's the matter of DU, depleted uranium, which was used to
coat anti-tank shells. Six hundred thousand pounds of radioactive DU
munitions were fired during the war.

      Donald Fahey, a naval officer during the war, estimates that as many
as 400,000 soldiers may have been exposed to "low level" radioactivity.

      This is not all ancient history. NATO soldiers on the ground in
Kosovo have been coming up with serious illnesses and are blaming it on DU
shells used there. Who knows what risks soldiers will face from side
effects of our own weapons in a new Gulf attack.

      Besides the costs to soldiers of a new Gulf War, there are the
straight financial costs. In today's money, the last Gulf War cost about
$80 billion, but it was mostly paid for by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There's
no prospect of any such help in this war.

      With the U.S. economy teetering on another recession, an $80 billion
to $100 billion hit could help push it over the brink.

      Finally, there are the costs to the Iraqi civilians. Relying on
United Nations sources, a recent article in the Detroit Free Press states
"the ongoing collateral damage of the ('91) war and sanctions on Iraqi
civilians has totaled more than 1 million deaths, half of which are
children under age 5."

      Most of this was due to the bombing campaign that destroyed the Iraqi
electrical grid and water purification system. Because of economic
sanctions, the purification system has never been adequately repaired and
large numbers still die monthly. A new war would certainly doom tens of
thousands more.

      Our government has no right to risk U.S. soldiers' lives without some
vital necessity. It has no right to launch an invasion in a region that is
at peace without evidence of some new Iraqi aggression. The mere fact that
the tenth rate Iraqi army "may" possess chemical weapons is not nearly
reason enough. Our politicians should start honesty talking about the true
costs of an attack before unleashing the dogs of war.

      Stanley Heller is chairman of the Middle East Crisis Committee, a
20-year-old human rights organization based in New Haven. He can be reached
at MECC, Box 3626, Woodbridge 06525 or .

      İNew Haven Register 2002

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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