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News, 9-15/11/02 (5) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * 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 REMNANTS OF DECENCY * 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 IMPLICATIONS OF WAR http://www.iht.com/articles/76425.html * IRAQ'S PEOPLE DESERVE PROTECTION 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 Baghdad. 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 experience. 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 International. http://www.iranmania.com/news/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=12899&NewsKin d=CurrentAffairs&ArchiveNews=Yes * IRAQI REFUGEES THREATENED WITH DEATH WILL BE ALLOWED IN IranMania.com, 9th November 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 April. http://newsobserver.com/nc24hour/ncnews/story/1901606p-1885630c.html * WAR IN IRAQ COULD LEAD TO MORE MYSTERY ILLNESSES AT HOME 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 illness. 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. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=11/10/02&Cat=4&Num=003 * HUNGARY OFFERS AIRSPACE, AIRFIELDS TO U.S. IF IRAQ WAR UNAVOIDABLE 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 Kovaks. "One can make neither peace nor strike a cease-fire accord with terrorism," Kovacs said. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=350657 * US TRAINS LOCAL FORCE TO JOIN IRAQ INVASION 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 target-spotters. "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 used. 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. http://www.dawn.com/2002/11/11/int12.htm * BUSH WAR PLANS ASSUME FALL OF SADDAM BEFORE INVASION 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 said. 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 administration. 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 expected. 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. http://www.dawn.com/2002/11/12/int11.htm * ANTI-WEST BACKLASH AWAITS OIL FIRMS 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 sanctions. 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 ourselves." 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 involvement. 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 deals. 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." http://www.iht.com/articles/76712.html * A COMMITMENT TO IRAQ 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. http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993043 * 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 deaths. 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 Association. "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 Baghdad. 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. http://www.iht.com/articles/76980.html * NATION-BUSTING FROM AFGHANISTAN TO IRAQ 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 Bosnia. 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. REMNANTS OF DECENCY http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=1707942# * HALF-A-MILLION MARCH IN ANTI-WAR RALLY IN ITALY 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 Iraq. 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 occupation. 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 demonstration. 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 crowd. 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." http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/nation/4489035.htm * NOBEL LAUREATE BLASTS U.S. 'ARROGANCE' IN DEALING WITH IRAQ 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. http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=16682914&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * SHARPTON: CLERGY MUST OPPOSE WAR 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. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/317/metro/Law_leads_US_bishops_discussion_ on_Iraq+.shtml * LAW LEADS US BISHOPS' DISCUSSION ON IRAQ 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 justifiable. 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 situation.'' 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 nature.'' 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 that.'' 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 said. 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.'' http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/breaking_news/4518873.htm * US CATHOLIC BISHOPS SAY IRAQ WAR NOT JUSTIFIED 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 destruction." 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." _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk