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[casi] News, 9-15/11/02 (5)

News, 9-15/11/02 (5)


*  Iraq's people deserve protection
*  Iraqi refugees threatened with death will be allowed in
*  War in Iraq could lead to more mystery illnesses at home
*  Hungary Offers Airspace, Airfields to U.S. If Iraq War Unavoidable
*  US trains local force to join Iraq invasion
*  Bush war plans assume fall of Saddam before invasion
*  Anti-West backlash awaits oil firms
*  A commitment to Iraq
*  Iraq war 'could kill 500,000'
*  Nation-busting from Afghanistan to Iraq


*  Half-A-Million March in Anti-War Rally in Italy
*  Nobel laureate blasts U.S. 'arrogance' in dealing with Iraq
*  Sharpton: Clergy Must Oppose War
*  Law leads US bishops' discussion on Iraq
*  US Catholic Bishops Say Iraq War Not Justified


by Peter Bouckaert
International Herald Tribune, 9th November

ARBIL, Iraq: During a dinner in Iraqi Kurdistan, the elderly matron of the
family kept asking my interpreter to translate a burning question she had.
She wanted to know if it were true that the United States was going to drop
a sleeping gas on Baghdad, snatch Saddam and his henchmen, and then everyone
would wake up to the new Iraq.

If only things could be so easy. I laughed at the rumor, only to see her
face cloud over with worry: Many of her relatives were still living in

The people of Iraq will be intensely vulnerable in case of U.S. military
action in Iraq. To illustrate some of those risks, my Kurdish driver drove
me to the house closest to the Iraqi military outposts, in the dusty Iraqi
Kurdish village of Kalak. From the roof of the house, I stared in disbelief
at Iraqi Army troops on a line of hills just a few hundred meters away.

The message was clear: Iraq's Kurds, armed with little more than machine
guns, stand no chance against the well-equipped Iraqi troops. The Iraqi
troops are currently restrained from attacking by the threat of U.S.
retaliation. This restraint would be removed if the United States decides to
attack Iraq. It is the villagers of Kalak who could face, almost without
defense, the wrath of a cornered Saddam.

Saddam Hussein is the only known head of state who has used chemical weapons
against his own people, as well as against Iranian troops, and may do it
again in the battle for his life. As my visit to the Kurdish frontlines
showed, Saddam can strike out any time he pleases - including well in
advance of anticipated U.S. military action - and expect little resistance
on the ground.

The debate over Iraq has gripped America, focusing on polarizing questions
about the propriety of preemption, the wisdom of forcing regime change and
the strength of the evidence concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
But whether one favors or opposes war - my organization, Human Rights Watch,
is neutral on that issue - it is equally important to consider the grave
dangers that the Iraqi people could face once war starts, and to develop
workable strategies to minimize those dangers.

The risk of civilian casualties from the fighting itself will be
particularly high in Iraq and is very much on the minds of Iraqis. For one
thing, Saddam is likely to attempt to draw the United States into an urban
battle and use Iraqi civilians as human shields. For another, the Pentagon
continues to make too many deadly mistakes from the air, often by relying on
unreliable intelligence. Finally, the United States must take account of the
potentially devastating impact of destruction of civilian infrastructure
such as water treatment facilities, a practice that caused more civilian
deaths in the first Gulf War than the bombs themselves.

While the danger of civilian casualties caused by U.S. military actions
should not be minimized, the greatest threat faced by the Iraqi people may
well come from the Iraqi Army. The direct civilian death toll of allied
military action during the Gulf War, Kosovo and Afghanistan combined is
dwarfed by the estimated 30,000 who died during Saddam's repression of the
1991 uprisings, or the estimated 100,000 Kurds killed in Saddam's genocidal
Anfal campaign in the late 1980s.

If the United States initiates a war with Iraq, it will have an obligation
to do what it can to protect vulnerable Shia and Kurdish populations from
attack. In Kosovo, NATO bombers could do little from the air to protect
civilians as the Serbian forces intensified their killing spree in response
to the bombing. The United States cannot allow a repeat of that tragic

The safety of the civilian population of Iraq will be greatly complicated by
the fact that there is only a limited humanitarian presence in the country,
and that the agencies present are subject to the whims of Baghdad.

Moreover, war in Iraq could cause furious inter-ethnic fighting and massive
retribution against perceived supporters of Saddam's government. To prevent
bloodbaths, the United States needs to make it absolutely clear to potential
allies among Saddam's opposition that abuses by them will be punished. In
Afghanistan, where such a commitment was not made, Northern Alliance troops
in Mazar-i-Sharif killed hundreds of captured combatants without much worry
about being brought to justice.

The Bush administration appears to be planning for a more ambitious role in
Iraq than in Afghanistan - including the possibility of a long-term military
occupation of the country. In that planning, the security of the civilian
population, particularly in the chaotic early days following Saddam's fall,
must be a paramount U.S. objective.

The writer, a senior researcher for the New York-based organization Human
Rights Watch, contributed this comment to Tribune Media Services


TEHRAN, Nov 9 (AFP) - Iran will only allow into its territory Iraqi refugees
whose lives are in danger in case of a US-led strike on its neighbor, a
senior interior ministry official said Saturday.

Iranian authorities previously said their borders will be closed to any
refugees fleeing a conflict in Iraq, as was the case on the Afghan border
during US operations in late 2001.

"It is only if their lives are threatened that we will allow into the
country Iraqi nationals, though without giving them permission to enter
towns," Ahmad Hosseini, deputy interior minister for refugee affairs, told
the state news agency IRNA.

In mid-October, Hosseini said could set up 16 campts to welcome up to
700,000 refugees in the event of war, but on the other side of the border.

He revised that figure to 500,000 on Saturday, saying 150,000 would be taken
care of by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Iran is also home to some two million Afghan refugees, despite the departure
of more than 320,000 since the beginning of a voluntary return programme in

News & Observer, from The Associated Press, 10th November

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.(AP) - Former Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Wadzinski Jr.
is ready to climb into the cargo hold of the first C-130 leaving to supply a
U.S. assault on Iraq.

But he's still so sick from his deployment during Desert Storm 11 years ago
that the military wouldn't take him.

Gulf War veterans like Wadzinski, who suffer from illnesses linked to their
duty in the war, say sending troops back to the region to fight could lead
to another generation of service members with medical problems that may
haunt them for life.

Many of those cases could show up in North Carolina. The state's military
bases might supply as many as 50,000 of the 300,000 or so troops analysts
say would be needed for a second war with Iraq.

North Carolina bases sent about 100,000 men and women to serve in the last
gulf war, of a total force of 697,000. Although casualties of that conflict
were relatively low - 150 Americans died as a result of injuries - many came
home sick or fell ill later with symptoms doctors still can't explain.

The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses has estimated that 25
percent to 30 percent of the veterans have unexplained illnesses. Veterans
advocates say it may be closer to 40 percent.

There's still no definitive causes for their complaints, despite more than
200 federally funded studies costing more than $213 million. That leaves
many disabled gulf war vets worried that what happened to them might await a
new wave of soldiers.

"Some of my neighbors are already over there," Wadzinski said. "And before
they left, this is what I told them: 'Have a good gas mask that's in good
working order, and know how to use it. And every time something happens, put
it on. There is no such thing as a false alarm.'"

Wadzinski's military records show he was vaccinated before his deployment
against a host of diseases and infectious agents, including anthrax and
botulism. He also took many pills the military provided as protection
against nerve gas.

By the time he got home, however, Wadzinski had recurring rashes on his
arms, chest and legs. Later, the headaches began, followed by chronic
fatigue, and joint and muscle aches.

The military first said it had no proof he had ever served in the gulf. When
he produced records of his own, the doctors told him his problems were in
his head, he said.

He took early retirement in 1994 after 18 years of service. He took a job as
an emergency services worker. Then, in December 1997, he learned his liver
was failing. A transplant Christmas Eve saved his life, but he says he lives
in constant pain.

In his prime, he ran 12 miles a week and lifted weights regularly. Now, at
42, he's barely able to raise the leather satchel filled with paperwork
detailing his fight to get the military to take responsibility for his

Jim E. Brown of Gastonia gave up that battle long ago. He doesn't seek
treatment at Veterans Affairs medical centers, and he doesn't get VA
disability payments, which top out at $2,200 a month for veterans found 100
percent disabled.

When he feels like working, he uses his energy searching out government
documents and disseminating what he and others find through Gulf Watch,
which he founded in 1991 to advocate for gulf war veterans.

For instance, he said, the group has acquired copies of mission logs
detailing the destruction of a chemical-weapons storage facility near
Khamisiyah, Iraq, which the U.S. government only recently acknowledged. The
Pentagon has said the explosions might have exposed 101,000 troops to sarin
and mustard agents.

While the defense department recently issued a statement saying that the
military has improved its protective measures, he said he doesn't think it
will be enough.

"We weren't prepared in 1990, and we're even less prepared now," he said.
"We know we are not up to the task of defending against this stuff, yet the
people in charge are sending us anyway."

Randy Hebert of Emerald Isle, who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's
Disease that government doctors have attributed to his gulf war service, is
more supportive of the Bush administration's stance. So is his wife, Kim,
who looks after Randy now that he cannot care for himself.

But she still worries about the next desert deployment.

"I cringe to think anybody would come home like my husband did," she said.

Tehran Times, 10th November

BUDAPEST -- Hungary has offered its airspace, airfields and intelligence
cooperation to the United States if military action in Iraq becomes
unavoidable, Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs told state radio Saturday.

Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy said Hungary, a NATO member since 1999,
"supports the United States not only in words but by actions and if a
military action becomes unavoidable, we are ready to take part in it by
offering our airspace, airfield and intelligence support," said Kovacs.

Medgyessy made his offer to U.S. President George W. Bush during a meeting
in Washington late Friday, added Kovacs, who is currently in the U.S.
capital with Medgyessy.

Medgyessy also congratulated Bush on the UN Security Council resolution
adopted unanimously Friday aimed at disarming Iraq, but expressed hopes that
the resolution would open the way for a peaceful solution, AFP reported.

Bush has said the resolution has left Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with a
choice of either destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction on his own or
having them destroyed by U.S. military action.

Medgyessy also said Hungary wanted to support the United States in fighting
"terrorists" on the basis of common values and interests, according to

"One can make neither peace nor strike a cease-fire accord with terrorism,"
Kovacs said.

by Raymond Whitaker in London and Andrew Buncombe in Washington
The Independent, 10th November

Military planners preparing for a possible invasion of Iraq have been told
to make provision for an accompanying force of up to 5,000 Iraqis trained
and equipped by the US. Their presence is considered so politically
important, according to one source, that no attack is being contemplated
until they are ready, "and that cannot happen until early January".

Last month the Pentagon confirmed that Iraqi opposition groups had been
asked to nominate 10,000 men to undergo American military training.
According to sources in Britain and the US, their main purpose will be to
provide security for a new civilian government in Baghdad, although some are
also to be trained for possible work with US special forces as observers and

"This reflects the experience of the US and Britain in Afghanistan, where
security for the new government is still very fragile," said a military
consultant to the Pentagon. "In Afghanistan the special forces worked with
the Northern Alliance as they pinpointed targets for air attack, but in Iraq
they will have to bring local assistance with them."

A senior State Department official said the names provided by Iraqi groups
are being security-checked by the US, amid fears that Saddam Hussein's
regime could seek to infiltrate the army with spies. About 5,000 men, mainly
Kurds from northern Iraq, are likely to be selected for training, which will
last from as little as six weeks to 16 weeks.

The rank and file would be given military police training,  "literally how
to arrest someone, how to break up a bar fight". Where the training is to
take place has not been disclosed, but a Pentagon spokesman,
Lieutenant-Colonel Dave LePan, said discussions were continuing with several
European countries. It has been suggested that US bases in Germany could be

Having uniformed Iraqis alongside the Americans and their allies would
clearly help to allay concern among Iraq's Arab neighbours in the event of
an invasion, but Daniel Neep, head of Middle East studies at the Royal
United Services Institute in London, believed their usefulness on the ground
could be limited.

"If the aim is to use them to pacify Baghdad, it will be very difficult to
persuade Kurds to go there," he said. Nor would they be welcomed by the Arab
majority in the capital. The Americans would be reluctant to allow armed
Shia Muslims from the south to occupy Baghdad, Mr Neep added, fearing that
they could become an arm of Iran."

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the long debate over the UN
resolution sending weapons inspectors to Iraq has already begun to affect
Pentagon planning for an attack, since officials do not want to leave too
many troops languishing in the desert. Administration infighting over the
approach to Iraq, which has already lasted for months, is not expected to
stop now that the resolution has been passed.

The steady build-up of US force in the Gulf region will continue, however,
and Britain is expected to issue mobilisation orders within days. General
Tommy Franks, who will command any attack on Iraq, is due in Qatar later
this month for a "command and control" exercise.

by Thomas E. Ricks
Dawn, from The Washington Post, 11th November

WASHINGTON: The Bush Administration has settled on a plan for a possible
invasion of Iraq that envisions seizing most of the country quickly and
encircling Baghdad , but assumes that Saddam Hussein will probably fall from
power before US forces enter the capital, senior US military officials said.

Hedging its bets, the Pentagon is also preparing for the possibility of
prolonged fighting in and around Baghdad. Administration war planners expect
that, even if the Iraqi leader is deposed from power, there could be messy
skirmishes there and in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, the military officials

The war plan, sometimes the subject of bitter arguments between senior
civilian and military officials, has been refined in recent weeks even as
the Bush administration pursued a successful diplomatic effort to secure a
new UN weapons inspection system for Iraq. Officials said that the plan
could still change in some important ways, such as the precise number of
troops required, but that the broad outlines are now agreed upon within the

Most notably, the emerging US approach tries to take into account regional
sensitivities by attempting to inflict the minimum amount of damage deemed
necessary to achieve the US goals in a war. The plan aims to do that mainly
by attacking quickly, but with a relatively small force conducting focused
attacks. But it also hedges by putting enough combat force in the area -
including around 150,000 US and allied ground troops - to engage in close
combat with the Special Republican Guard if Iraqi resistance is stiffer than

The dual nature of the US war plan is designed to encourage Iraqis to revolt
against Saddam. As an administration official put it in a recent interview,
the plan aims to "create the conditions" under which Iraqis can do that.

To create those conditions, the US invasion would begin with a series of
simultaneous air and ground actions and psychological warfare operations,
all aimed at destroying the security police and other institutions that help
Saddam hold on to power.

Under the concept of operations briefed this fall to President Bush, rather
than begin with a lengthy air campaign, as in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, an
invasion would begin with the US military swiftly seizing the northern,
western and southern sectors of Iraq while launching air strikes and other
attacks on "regime targets" - mainly security forces and suspected
repositories of chemical and biological weapons - in the remaining part of
the country around Baghdad, military officials said.

Simultaneously, a nationwide "psychological operations" campaign that is
already underway would use leaflets and radio broadcasts to try to persuade
the Iraqi military to change sides and to tell the Iraqi population that
they aren't being targeted. Also, troops and civilian officials would be
warned against carrying out orders to use chemical or biological weapons.

If Saddam falls quickly, US ground forces wouldn't need to assault Baghdad.

Overall, the plan makes sense by trying both to undercut Saddam's domestic
base and to minimize his ability to strike neighbours, said retired Air
Force Col. Richard Atchison, an intelligence officer who specialized in
targeting during the Gulf War.

Meanwhile, Atchison said, in the west, where there is little except a
highway and two Iraqi military airfields and weapons depots, "you protect
Jordan and Israel."

Some of those officials said they see a strategic benefit in disclosing the
dual nature of the plan. Discussing its broad outline would help inform the
Arab world that the United States is making a determined effort to avoid
attacking the Iraqi people, one said. At the same time, he added, it also
might help the Iraqi military understand that the US military will be able
to destroy any units that resist.

But the entire plan is designed to avoid having to engage in debilitating
urban combat in the streets of the capital, where US technological
advantages would be degraded and civilian casualties would be inevitable.

In phase one of the operation, the US military would move into the nearly
empty western desert bordering Jordan. The purpose of this action would be
to keep Israel from being attacked by missiles or unmanned drone aircraft
laden with chemical or biological weapons. US troops would look for
airstrips and stretches of highway where drones could be launched. They also
would keep a watch for Scud missiles, though US military intelligence
analysts consider it unlikely that Iraq has operational Scuds that it could
deploy to the west.

At roughly about the same time, the 101st Airborne Division and a similar
helicopter-heavy British unit would move from bases in Germany and Turkey
into northern Iraq. This is expected to be a largely unopposed movement
because northern Iraq is Kurdish and has been largely autonomous since the
end of the 1991 Gulf War. The CIA is believed to already be operating there.

In the south, British forces and the US Marines likely would be assigned to
seize airstrips and other key facilities in the heavily Shia section around
the port city of Basra, just north of Kuwait. Then, if Saddam were still in
power, US tanks would spearhead a multi-pronged attack on Baghdad and
Tikrit, the source of Saddam's strongest support. The plan resembles the
1989 US invasion of Panama more than it does the 1991 Gulf War, people
familiar with it noted.

by Peg Mackey
Dawn, 12th November

DUBAI (Reuters): They controlled Iraqi oil flows until Baghdad showed them
the door 30 years ago. Now the Western multinationals are longing for a
second shot at Iraq's vast untapped oilfields when the country is free of UN

Whether sanctions are removed by a US-led war on Baghdad or United Nations
weapons inspections, the world's top oil companies are hungry for access to
Iraq's 112 billion barrels of reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia. But
bitter experience with Western majors has made Iraqi executives wary of
foreign influence in its oil sector, the lifeblood of its national economy.

"Nobody will take Iraq for a ride again," said a veteran Iraqi oil industry
source. "Do foreign oil companies expect to be given production-sharing
contracts after their governments use aggression on us? We want to do things

That strong sense of self-reliance already has inspired Iraqi officials to
rebuild their industry from the ashes of the 1991 Gulf War while under 12
years of UN sanctions.

Although admiring Iraq's resourcefulness, Western oilmen hope to see a
radical change in its go-it-alone mentality when and if the country finally
opens up.

"We've always been up against a high degree of nationalism in Iraq. But
reality must now be faced," said a top Western oil executive working in the
Middle East. "Iraq is on its knees and needs the international oil companies
for their technology, cash and management."

Several billion dollars and cutting-edge Western technology are required
just to boost Iraqi capacity by one million barrels per day (bpd) from its
three million bpd mark.

Many Iraqis still bear a grudge after British, American and French oil
companies controlled their oil industry for half a century through the Iraq
Petroleum Co (IPC).

It was an era when Western majors working in the Middle East used oil output
and prices as an economic and political tool, analysts said.

>From the time it struck oil at the huge Kirkuk field in 1927 until
nationalism forced it out in 1972, IPC - made up of BP, Exxon, Mobil, Shell,
CFP (Total) and Partex - ruled the roost.

That did not sit well with Baghdad, which resented IPC's control over its
revenues. And Baghdad felt cheated when IPC invested heavily in Iran and
Saudi Arabia, at the expense of Iraq where output stagnated.

"BP and other companies felt Iraq was not a stable state where their
investment would be protected in the long term," said Mustafa Alani, a
London-based Iraqi analyst.

"The idea was to keep investment at a minimum in Iraq and build up Saudi
Arabia, Iran and other Gulf countries where they believed prospects for
political stability were higher."

Fed up with what Baghdad saw as IPC's lack of drive, Iraq revoked 99.5 per
cent of the company's territory in the early 1960s. Relations between the
two sides deteriorated further.

The net result was that after nearly 50 years in Iraq, IPC left the country
pumping 1.7 million bpd in the early 1970s.

Less than a decade later, and under its own steam, Iraq hiked capacity to
3.8 million bpd. In this short time Iraq found the prized Majnoon, West
Qurna, Bin Umar and Halfaya oilfields.

Those were the heady days of Iraqi oil. By contrast, the last two decades
have seen war and sanctions battering its infrastructure and preventing
development of many huge finds.

But mindful of its untapped wealth, Iraq under President Saddam Hussein has
planned for the day it can reach six million bpd by drawing up a $20 billion
development scheme which features 11 prime oilfields and assumes foreign

Deals in principle have been agreed with firms from countries showing
political support - Russia, China and France. But some analysts say Iraq
uses such agreements primarily as a means to punish the United States and
bust sanctions.

Indeed, frustration with Russia and China for failing to start work on West
Qurna and al Ahdab, respectively, has left Baghdad threatening to rip up the

Iraq's investment gameplan could change completely if sanctions are lifted
or the United States succeeds in ousting Saddam for his alleged weapons of
mass destruction. But even the most open-minded, Western-leaning Iraqi
technocrats are likely to drive a hard bargain.

"Iraqi oil officials do not see themselves as backward or disadvantaged and
having to give away the store," said Amy Jaffe, President of AMJ Energy
Consulting in Houston. "But if the government feels desperate for
investment, terms would have to be commercial to get deals done quickly."

International Herald Tribune, from The Washington Post, 13th November

What does it take for outside powers to rebuild a war-ruined and badly
divided country? Bosnia offers a state-of-the-art - and sobering - example.
Seven years after a U.S. intervention helped end its civil war and Western
troops poured in to keep the peace, the Balkan nation of 3.5 million remains
far from able to live on its own. The good news is that the horrific
fighting that killed a quarter of a million people in less than four years
has not been renewed, that several hundred thousand refugees and victims of
ethnic cleansing have returned to their homes, and that peaceful and free
democratic elections were held this month for all levels of government - the
sixth elections to be staged in as many years.

But the peace continues to depend on 12,000 foreign troops, including 2,000
Americans; the functioning of government relies in no small part on the
interventions of a Western "high representative" with near-dictatorial
powers; and, most discouraging of all, the victors in the recent elections
were the same nationalist parties that tore the country apart a decade ago.
Bosnia is not now a failed state, but it is a center for the trafficking of
women and narcotics, a hide-out for war criminals and a steady drain on
Western aid and defense budgets. It's not likely to collapse soon, but
neither will foreign troops and administrators likely be able to safely pull
out for many years to come.

The Bush administration has from its onset disparaged the nation-building
projects supported by President Bill Clinton in Bosnia and elsewhere in the
Balkans, and it has occasionally threatened to withdraw American troops. In
Afghanistan the administration has deliberately pursued a different model,
eschewing international administration or a large foreign peacekeeping force
and trying to invest a skeletal Afghan government with authority. But that
strategy has left Afghanistan at the mercy of brutal warlords and at
perpetual risk of chaos. So now White House officials, looking forward to
Iraq, are floating still another model: direct administration by the U.S.
military. The idea is a regime that would last for a period of several years
while a civilian democracy was constructed.

The Bosnia experience offers some support for this more muscular postwar
scheme. Paddy Ashdown, the veteran British politician and statesman who is
now the high representative in Bosnia, has pointed out that the repeated
elections in that country have sometimes impeded rather than advanced the
progress of desperately needed economic and political reforms. Most of the
important changes in the country, from guarantees for returning refugees to
the purging of criminals from government, have happened on the orders of
Ashdown and his predecessors. And further progress is unlikely unless
Western governments tightly condition continued aid on concrete steps by the
Bosnians. In short, while democracy should be a central aim of postwar
nation-building, it cannot necessarily be the starting point - and even if
it is, a strong outside authority is essential.

Yet Bosnia also shows that it is far easier to take over a devastated state
than to let go of it. The Clinton administration originally promised, with
calculated insincerity, that U.S. troops would be needed only a year. They
have now been there nearly seven, and Ashdown and other international
experts believe they will be needed for several more years at least. Iraq
offers a far larger and more complicated challenge of nation-building; it
can only be expected that any postwar mission will be even harder and take
still longer. The Bush administration needs to be honest, both with itself
and with the public, about the scale of the coming commitment - and
scrupulous about planning for the long term. Just as it unwillingly
inherited the Clinton administration's scheme for Bosnia, its successors
will surely be burdened with implementing the decisions made in the coming
months about Iraq.

*  IRAQ WAR 'COULD KILL 500,000'
by Rob Edwards
NewScientist, 12th November

A war against Iraq could kill half a million people, warns a new report by
medical experts - and most would be civilians.

The report claims as many as 260,000 could die in the conflict and its
three-month aftermath, with a further 200,000 at risk in the longer term
from famine and disease. A civil war in Iraq could add another 20,000

Collateral Damage is being published on Tuesday in 14 countries and has been
compiled by Medact, an organisation of British health professionals. It
comes as the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, is deciding how to respond to a
series of deadlines on weapons inspections imposed by the United Nations.

If he fails to meet any conditions, the US and the UK have threatened to
destroy Iraq's presumed weapons of mass destruction using military force.

The report has been commended by both medical and military specialists. "It
is really important that people understand the consequences of war," says
Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the British Medical

"All doctors look at war with a very large degree of horror because they
know the meaning of casualties," she told New Scientist. "Even in the
cleanest, most limited conflicts, people die and people suffer."

General Pete Gration, former Chief of the Australian Defence Forces and an
opponent of a war on Iraq, adds: "This is no exaggerated tract by a bunch of
zealots. It is a coldly factual report by health professionals who draw on
the best evidence available."

The report assumes an attack on Iraq will begin with sustained air strikes,
followed by an invasion of ground troops and culminating in the overthrow of

It concludes that the resulting death toll will be much higher than either
the 1991 Gulf War, which killed around 200,000 Iraqis, or the war on
Afghanistan, which has so far left less than 5000 dead.

In the report's worst-case scenario, nuclear weapons are fired on Iraq in
response to a chemical and biological attack on Kuwait and Israel, leaving a
massive 3.9 million people dead. But the report states that even the
best-case estimates for a short war would initially kill 10,000 people,
"more than three times the number who died on September 11".

The report argues that the 1991 war led to the severe weakening of the
health of Iraq's people and the country's healthcare infrastructure, and
that this would mean higher casualties in any new war.

"Casualties, the cycle of violence and other consequences continue to affect
generation after generation," says the report's author, health consultant
Jane Salvage.

by Arthur C. Helton and Jennifer Seymour Whitaker
International Herald Tribune, 15th November

NEW YORK: The U.S. record on reconstruction in Afghanistan should raise
apprehension about the consequences of a U.S. invasion of Iraq. In
Afghanistan, the Bush policy has ignored the connection between security and
peace-building. But nation-wrecking without reconstruction creates the
environment in which terrorists can thrive, an ominous specter for Iraq.

Bush administration pledges to build a better Iraq after taking out Saddam
Hussein sound disturbingly similar to American promises after the U.S.
military entered Afghanistan. In light of the president's declaration that
America would work in Afghanistan for "a moral victory that resulted in
better lives for individual human beings," George W. Bush seemed to retreat
from his oft-stated antipathy to "nation-building." However, the U.S. record
since the fall of the Taliban drains away any confidence about the prospects
for postwar reconstruction in Iraq. Despite recent statements by the
Pentagon, the administration remains unwilling to commit significant
American resources in Afghanistan except on the battlefield.

The U.S. post-Taliban strategy has fostered a weak central government and
abetted the resurgence of regional fiefdoms headed by warlords. The policy
is dominated by a negative principle - America must not get bogged down in
peace-building. War-fighting - no matter where, when, or to what end -
always has priority. Since the fall of the Taliban, the United States has
continued to spend nearly 30 times as much on pursuing Al Qaeda in caves and
rural villages as on reconstruction of the war-devastated Afghan society.

At the same time, the United States has stood in the way of deploying
peacekeepers outside of Kabul, and has expanded collaboration with warlords
in various regions. As a result, Afghans believe that the central government
has no power to stop bandits from terrorizing travelers, to keep warring
clans from destroying villages and raping women, or to apprehend Islamists
who burn down girls' schools. Warlords openly defy central government edicts
as they battle for turf. With his phalanx of American guards, but no power
to affect security outside the capital, President Hamid Karzai looks
disturbingly like the warlord of Kabul.

The meager trickle of international aid to the Afghan government has left it
feeble. Of the $1.8 billion in international aid pledged for this year, only
about $890 million has arrived. Of that sum, $800 million has gone to UN
agencies and other international organizations, with only about $90 million
routed to the government. At present, the Afghan government has only secured
about half of its modest operating budget of approximately $460 million for
this year. Many ministerial offices still lack furniture and even
rudimentary equipment. Nor have salaries for officials, teachers and police
been paid regularly.

Donors are concerned about the capacity of the inexperienced Afghan
administration to set up effective aid programs, but even a handful of
high-profile early development projects could have helped to legitimize the
new order. Karzai has been requesting funding for just such a project -
road-building - since January 2002. Only now have the United States, Japan
and Saudi Arabia promised $180 million (half the funds needed) to rebuild
the decimated Kabul-Kandahar-Herat road.

The Afghan Finance Ministry and international experts estimate that
rebuilding the country's shattered infrastructure and developing an economy
that can sustain its people will cost at least twice as much as the $5.25
billion pledged for 2002 to 2006. But the per capita per year allocation for
Afghanistan is far smaller than in many other post-conflict situations - $42
for Afghanistan, versus $195 for East Timor, $288 for Kosovo and $326 for

The most important consequence of the U.S. failure to deliver on
reconstruction is the setback to the war against terrorism. Reportedly, Al
Qaeda fighters who had fled to Pakistan are now returning. Former Taliban
militants, only slightly disguised, are edging back into the open. And now,
Afghanistan once again leads the world in opium production.

Nation-wrecking without rebuilding in the wake of military action has a
predictable result - creating the sort of ungoverned chaos out of which the
Taliban first emerged in Afghanistan. America and its allies must do better
there, not to say Iraq, to avoid making the world more dangerous.

The writers are senior fellows at the Council on Foreign Relations. They
contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.


by Luke Baker

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - More than half a million anti-war protesters
from across Europe marched through this Italian Renaissance city on Saturday
in a loud and colorful demonstration denouncing any possible U.S. attack on

Brimming with anti-American feelings and riled by a tough new U.N.
resolution to disarm Iraq, young and old activists from as far afield as
Russia and Portugal joined forces for the carnival-like rally, singing
Communist anthems and 1970s peace songs.

"Take your war and go to hell," read one banner, in a forest of
multi-colored and multi lingual placards.

"Drop Bush, not Bombs" read another. Some placards depicted President Bush
as Hitler and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as Mussolini.

Organizers said the rally, planned months ago, gained added relevance by
Friday's U.N. Security Council resolution which gave Iraq a last chance to
disarm or face almost certain war.

The protest, involving children as well as grandmothers, marked the climax
of the first European Social Forum, a four-day meeting of anti-globalisation
campaigners from all over Europe. Delegates discussed topics from
debt-reduction to support for the Palestinian uprising against Israeli

Florence has been virtually shut down for the November 6-10 period, with the
State Department advising its citizens to steer clear of Italy's art capital
over concerns that violent, anarchist groups might infiltrate the

Authorities estimated that some 450,000 protesters flooded Florence's
streets for the march on a chilly autumn afternoon.

But by dusk, the crowed had swelled to over half a million, many of them
arriving on specially chartered trains and buses. Organizers estimated the
gathering at around one million, making it one of Italy's biggest ever
anti-war rallies.

Despite the large crowds, the march was largely peaceful and no incidents
were reported.

"The atmosphere here is wonderful. Absolutely perfect. It shows that a new
young left is emerging," said Stavos Valsamis, a 27-year-old Greek activist
from Athens.

Children climbed on their parents' shoulders to get a view of the sea of
crowds marching along the seven-km (4.5-miles) route. Many clapped as
marchers passed by.

"This is amazing, it's so impressive," said 12-year-old Bianca Ronglia as
she watched with her family from the side of the road. "I'm happy and proud
that my city is holding this."

The march was bigger than a protest at a G8 summit in Genoa last year, when
300,000 demonstrators took to the streets and an orgy of violence left one
protester dead and hundreds injured.

Some 7,000 police officers were on call but security forces kept a low
profile along the rally's route. No incidents were reported.

The rest of Florence was a ghost town with most shops in the art-rich
historical center pulling down the shutters for fear of vandals. However,
the city's famed museums remained open and offered free entry to the few
tourists around.

Many Florence residents deserted the city for the four days of the forum,
prompting criticism from those who stayed behind.

"I'm really disappointed by my fellow Florentines -- it really shows very
little faith. This whole event has been very calm, in fact the city has been
much calmer and friendlier than usual," said housewife Maria Briccoli, 37.

As well as university-age students, older political activists and thousands
of trades unionists, Saturday's throng also included Italian World War II
partisans and a U.S. Vietnam war veteran who marched in the first row of the

While Friday's U.N. resolution gives the Security Council a central role in
assessing the new arms' inspection program for Iraq, it does not require the
United States to seek U.N. authorization for war in case of violations.

"I think it's a scandalous resolution," said Sean Murray, 29, a member of
Workers' Revolution. "It proves once more that the U.N. is a puppet of
America, Britain and France."

by Suzanne King
The State (S.Carolina), fromThe Kansas City Star, 10th November

Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias on Saturday criticized the Bush
administration's unbending stance against Iraq and accused the U.S.
government of being arrogant.

Speaking to about 200 area high school students attending PeaceJam Kansas
City at Rockhurst University, the former president of Costa Rica said
President Bush and other officials risk alienating the rest of the world.

"I believe that if you keep acting unilaterally, you will become more
isolated every single day," Arias said. "The world is tired...of the
arrogance and unilateralism in Washington."

If force is necessary against Iraq, Bush must follow through and cooperate
with the rest of the world, Arias said. If he does not, Bush risks "fueling
extremism in the Islamic world."

Arias, who was president of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990, also called on
students to take active roles in changing what he called a culture of greed
and cynicism to a culture focused on compassion and generosity.

"There is no way to change values in the 21st century if we don't change
values of the new generation," Arias said. "I don't think we can survive in
the 21st century with the ethics of the 20th century."

Sarah Marquardt, a 17-year-old junior from Liberty High School, said Arias'
words made her consider a different point of view.

"After listening to him, it made me think there may be better ways to solve
our problems," Marquardt said.

The fourth annual PeaceJam Kansas City runs through this afternoon. Today
students from 17 area high schools and youth groups will present their own
"peace plans" to Arias.

The PeaceJam Foundation, based in Denver, holds 14 youth conferences each
year in the United States, India, South Africa, Guatemala and Costa Rica.
Each conference is attended by a Nobel laureate.

Associated Press, 10th November

NEW YORK (AP)  The Rev. Al Sharpton said Sunday he plans to meet with the
Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations this week and is urging clergy
worldwide to help "avoid bloodshed."

Sharpton, an activist who is exploring a bid for the Democratic presidential
nomination in 2004, said he would meet with Iraq's Mohammed Aldouri on
Monday in New York.

"We will not do anything to undermine the United States, but we clearly
would like to see some type of reaching out between moral leaders to try and
avert this war," Sharpton said on "Fox News Sunday."

The U.N. resolution unanimously passed by the Security Council on Friday
gives Iraqi President Saddam Hussein seven days to accept the return of
weapons inspectors. If Baghdad fails to follow through, U.S. officials said
a Pentagon plan calls for more than 200,000 troops to invade Iraq.

The resolution threatens "serious consequences" if Saddam does not accept
and dismantle Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Sharpton said he and other clergy may visit Iraq to further their message.

"Clearly there's so much at stake here that we should try anything we
could," he said.

by Michael Paulson
Boston Globe, 13th November

WASHINGTON - Cardinal Bernard F. Law yesterday took a dramatic step toward
reclaiming his position as a public figure, leading US Catholic bishops in a
spirited discussion of the pros and cons of invading Iraq.

Law, whose own moral stature has been seriously damaged this year by
controversy over his handling of sexually abusive priests, eagerly embraced
a last-minute request from the president of the US Conference of Catholic
Bishops to formulate a statement for the group on the most pressing moral
issue of the day: whether a preemptive strike against Iraq is morally

The cardinal offered few details on the likely content of the statement,
though he said it will be generally ''in opposition to war in this

Law is a world traveler who was born in Mexico and has been deeply involved
in foreign affairs, but he has shunned the limelight since the clergy sexual
abuse crisis began in January.

The sight of him holding forth on the Iraqi situation, as well as on the
kidnapping of a Colombian cardinal and on ministry to Hispanic Catholics,
was another sign of the cardinal's increasing willingness to return to
public life.

In the morning, Law huddled with other leaders of the conference, in view of
the full assembly, to discuss the latest developments in Latin America and
the Middle East. Then he stepped to the podium, calmly fielding questions
from doves and hawks and everyone in between.

And then, perhaps most remarkably, he made a surprise appearance at a midday
news conference at which questions were restricted to foreign policy, though
reporters pursued him afterwards for comment on the abuse crisis and his
role in it. He offered little on the abuse topic, other than to say he has
been apologizing for his errors of judgment ''for 10 months'' and knows he
must continue to do so.

Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the conference, said in an interview
that he didn't hesitate to ask Law to lead the discussion on Iraq after a
bishop from Texas suggested on Monday that it would be inappropriate for the
bishops to gather without speaking out on the possibility of war. Gregory
said he chose Law to lead the discussion because Law is chairman of the
bishops' committee on international policy, a position he has held for three
years and must give up this week.

''He has an outstanding record on being knowledgeable, being informed, and
being committed,'' Gregory said.

Law's once-loud voice on foreign affairs and public policy more generally
has been silent this year, as he dealt with the impact of the abuse scandal.
Last year, the bishops' conference issued statements quoting Law on Africa,
China, Ireland, the Middle East, and Pakistan, as well as on the issue of
global poverty. This year, none of the bishops' statements on foreign policy
have quoted Law.

In Boston, the cardinal has been reemerging over the last several weeks,
actively pursuing a less confrontational relationship with priests, abuse
victims, lay organizations, and the news media. This week, as the bishops
hold their semiannual meeting, there are more signs of his increasing
comfort in public. While during the spring meeting Law used back elevators
to dodge reporters and said little in public, at this meeting he chats
comfortably with reporters and works the room of bishops like the
influential figure he once was.

''It's good to see that he can talk in another forum, other than the forum
of sexual abuse,'' said Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer of San Angelo, Texas, who
triggered the Iraq discussion Monday by declaring that he was astounded to
see no mention of the possible war on the bishops' agenda.

Pfeifer said he was pleased that Law is drafting the proposed statement,
saying: ''He has a lot of skills and expertise. He will do a good job.''

Law said he and his committee would draft a statement overnight and present
it for discussion and approval today. But he said the statement would echo
concerns raised by Gregory in a September letter to President Bush.

In that letter, Gregory urged Bush to ''step back from the brink of war''
and declared that ''we find it difficult to justify extending the war on
terrorism to Iraq, absent clear and adequate evidence of Iraqi involvement
in the attacks of September 11th or of an imminent attack of a grave

In speaking out on the war on Iraq, the bishops will be joining numerous
Protestant leaders, most from mainline denominations, who have opposed a
possible war. A handful of evangelical Protestants have voiced support for
military intervention in Iraq.

The bishops' conference is not unanimous in its thinking about the war on
Iraq. There is a strong peace movement in the Catholic laity, and there are
a few bishops who still identify themselves as pacifists. But the vast
majority of bishops endorse a Christian moral theory called ''just war,''
which holds that military action is justifiable under limited circumstances.

The pacifists urged Law to draft a statement clearly opposing war in Iraq.

''I would hope that all of us are against a war in Iraq,'' said Bishop
Walter J. Sullivan of Richmond. And Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton of Detroit
said, ''I would hope we would speak right out of the Gospel and just forget
about `just war.'''

But Archbishop Philip M. Hannan, the retired archbishop of New Orleans, was
more sympathetic to military action.

''I have seen the results of the atomic bomb, and I have seen two
concentration camps near the end of World War II, and if we allow some
despotic power to rule the earth or even a portion of it, we are in terrible
shape, both for our religion and for the protection of all of our rights,''
Hannan said. ''We ought to be cautious about saying that we are entirely
against war.''

But the most influential voices in the conference, while not pacifists,
clearly do not believe that war is currently justified against Iraq.

''For a just war, you have to have X, Y, and Z, and at the present time, it
does not seem to me that we have X, Y, and Z,'' said Cardinal Theodore E.
McCarrick of Washington, who also has been extremely active on foreign
policy issues.

Law expressed some sympathy for pacifists, saying, ''There are those
prophetic voices who, out of conscience, articulate, and powerfully so, an
absolute pacifist position.'' However, he said, ''This statement will not do

In the past, Law has supported military action by both President Bush and
his father. In 1991, he went beyond the statements of other Catholic leaders
in declaring the Gulf War ''justifiable,'' and last year he joined other
bishops in offering limited support for the war on Afghanistan in response
to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Yesterday, he declined to offer his
personal opinion on war on Iraq, saying he would embrace the collective
opinion of the conference.

White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said that President Bush welcomes the
opinions of religious leaders but that ''he's going to continue to do his
job and do it in a way that protects our homeland and ultimately wins a war
on terror.''

Law also was charged by Gregory with drafting a statement for the bishops'
conference on Monday's kidnapping of Bishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez of
Zipaquira, Colombia, who is president of the Latin American bishops'
conference. The Boston cardinal said Jimenez had been supportive during the
church scandal. ''Over the past 10 months, I've been so touched by the many
expressions of solidarity that I have received from him personally,'' Law

He was followed out of his news conference by a cluster of cameras unusual
for a bishops' gathering, and he offered a reporter from KCBS-TV his first
comments on this week's meeting, which is being dominated by debate over
proposed revisions to the church's national child protection policy.

Asked about whether the meeting might lead to healing, Law said: ''I
certainly hope it will. I think that my experience over the past 10 months
is an extraordinary amount of steps have been taken toward healing, not only
toward healing but toward a whole new approach.''

Striking the conciliatory tone he has adopted over the last few weeks, Law
even had kind words to say about the protesters who are demonstrating
outside the bishops' conference, some of them to demand his resignation.

''I love the protesters,'' he told a group of reporters gathered around him.
''Of course I do. That's what the Gospel says.''

The State, 14th November

WASHINGTON (Reuters): America's Catholic bishops urged President Bush and
other world leaders to "step back from the brink of war" with Iraq, saying
it is not clear such a conflict would be justified.

"Based on the facts that are known to us, we continue to find it difficult
to justify the resort to war against Iraq, lacking clear and adequate
evidence of an imminent attack of a grave nature," the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops said in a statement released late on Wednesday.

The statement, approved at the group's national meeting in Washington, said
Baghdad must "cease its internal repression, end its threats to its
neighbors, stop any support for terrorism, abandon its efforts to develop
weapons of mass destruction and destroy all such existing weapons."

But the bishops questioned whether the aim of bringing Iraq into compliance
with United Nations resolutions on weapons inspections and other matters
justified a war.

"We fear that a resort to war, under present circumstances ... would not
meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong
presumption against the use of military force," the bishops said.

They said church catechism limited just cause for war to cases where "the
damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations (is)
lasting, grave and certain."

The bishops said they were "deeply concerned" by proposals to expand
traditional limits on just cause to include "preventive uses of military
force to overthrow threatening regimes or to deal with weapons of mass

It is one thing to try to change unacceptable behavior of a government, the
bishops said, and quite another to try "to end that government's existence."

Although recognizing that failure to take military action in Iraq could have
its own drawbacks, the bishops worried that "the use of force might provoke
the very kind of attacks that it is intended to prevent, could impose
terrible new burdens on an already long suffering civilian population and
could lead to wider conflict and instability in the region."

The statement urged Bush and other world leaders to "find the will and the
ways to step back from the brink of war with Iraq and work for a peace that
is just and enduring."

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