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Re: [casi] targeting of water treatment facilities (BIS)

Dear all,
I guess this article in the independent
( ) makes
things very clear?
I would like to add to this discussion that if you bomb intentionally the
whole electricity network, a civil target, knowing that the consequence will
be the collapse of water treatment facilities, one can conclude that the
collapse of the water treatment facilities has also been a deliberate
target. If afterwards you don't allow the import of necessary spareparts to
repair the damages, you are twice guilty of genocide on the Iraqi people.
So I think the discussion has been  a little too "intellectual". Simple
deductions can be made without complicated constructions.

Dirk Adriaensens.
Iraqi water and sanitation systems could be military target, says MoD
By Jo Dillon, Deputy Political Editor
02 February 2003

The Ministry of Defence yesterday admitted the electricity system that
powers water and sanitation for the Iraqi people could be a military target,
despite warnings that its destruction would cause a humanitarian tragedy.

While military planners insist they have taken into account the humanitarian
threat in the event of hostilities breaking out, a spokesman for the MoD
admitted decisions may have to be made where a potential target had a "dual

But any plan to bomb Iraq's electricity system will anger aid charities,
whose warnings were repeated by the Secretary of State for International
Development, Clare Short, last week.

Ms Short, who is to take up the matter with the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon
later this week, said that "any bombing to take out electronic capacity and
thus disarm anti-aircraft capacity could present a danger to electrics and
damage water and sanitation facilities as a consequence".

"There would be the resultant danger that people would not have access to
water and that sanitation facilities would be even worse than they are now.
Clearly, preparations need to be made against that eventuality so that the
health of the people of Iraq does not suffer."

While the MoD would not be drawn on possible targets they insisted "every
care would be taken in all circumstances at every planning level that all
targets were military targets and there was very little chance of injury to
civilians or non-military targets. However, a spokesman added: "I can
obviously see the difficulty in this because a target seen as a military
target can also have, sadly, implications for civilian populations as well."

Ms Short has warned that on top of the threat to the water and sanitation
system the Oil For Food programme would also be disrupted by military action
at a time when millions of Iraqis were dependent on it.

"It is a massive system and most of the people of Iraq depend on it, not
simply for adequate supplies but in the case of Baghdad-controlled Iraq for
the very basics of human survival," she said.

"Accordingly, any action needs to be very organised and calm, ensuring that
the capacity of the system is maintained or a replacement system is put into
place very quickly."

However, the Government has admitted there has been only limited contingency
planning for the humanitarian effects of military action on Iraq. While the
United States announced last week it would make available $15m (9m) in aid,
the British Government has yet to announce any additional funding for the
humanitarian effort.

Talks with Iraq's neighbours about the housing of up to a million refugees
have been non-existent, the Government has admitted.

And the United Nations High Commission for Refugees said last week that
plans are "in terms of scope ... not really on a large scale".

----- Original Message -----
From: "H Sutter" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: [casi] targeting of water treatment facilities (BIS)

> Dear Andrew,
> > But the reports don't seem to help us work out
> > 1) just how extensive the specific damage to water-treatment
> > installations was, or 2) how "intentional" it was.
> > (Of course "intentionality" is not necessarily a simple concept).
> Evidently you are concerned: It was you who raised the issue.
> If was you who did the summing up. And it is you who has now
> responded to Dirk's contribution. I sympathize, but I am
> not sure what your concerns are.
> But then I am a witness for the prosecution.
> Are you perhaps a witness for the defence?
> That is, would you like to think that this was the
> "clean" war it's made out to be? And that the USAF stuck
> to a neat list of pre-determined targets - precisely executed
> with "surgical strikes", and on humanitarian principles?
> Or do you just find it hard to believe that nice, western
> governments could do such things? If so, you are not alone.
> I don't think I understand what you mean by 'how "intentional"'.
> And 'how extensive'? Well, Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar's contribution
> is quite specific (Jan 27). He describes what was bombed,
> how often (eg, 5 times), or total destruction. How specific
> would the description have to be?
> In March 1991 UN Under-Secretary General Ahtisaari described
> the overall situation in the Greater Baghdad are as
> 'near-apocalyptic' (apocalypse = total destruction). Here
> is are some of his first impressions:
>      "It should, however, be said at once that nothing that
>      we had seen or read had quite prepared us for the
>      particular form of devastation which has now befallen
>      the country. The recent conflict has wrought
>      near-apocalyptic results upon the economic infrastructure
>      of what had been, until January 1991, a rather highly
>      urbanized and mechanized society."
>      (You find this report on CASI.)
> Specifically, how 'intentional' was the destruction of the
> "baby milk factory" in Baghdad? They meant to bomb it and
> they did. A sign was left at the ruin that said in tall,
> red letters "BABY MILK PLANT" (in Arabic and English). A
> factory that made infant formula and baby food. The French
> company that built it and New Zealand technicians who
> installed new equipment in 1990 later confirmed that. But
> you can't fool a Bush. George Bush the Elder ordered the
> bombing - convinced of sinister goings on.
> And 'how intentional' was the bombing of the Al-Amariyeh
> Shelter? They meant to bomb it, and they did. On the morning
> of February 13, 1991, two missiles (intentionally) hit the
> shelter and hundreds of civilians, including many children,
> were incinerated - burnt to death. You can still see human
> skin attached to the walls, small hands and feet appliqued
> to the ceiling. There are also many flowers, photographs,
> and family mementoes put there by people who lost their
> loved ones.
> U.S. Brig. Gen. Richard Neal admitted the intent. "We don't
> know why civilians were at this location", said a Whitehouse
> spokesman. (It had been used by civilians since 1980's.)
> And 'how intentional' was the carpet-bombing (area bombing)
> of Basra, then a city of 800,000? They meant to carpet-bomb
> it, and they did. The whole city of Basra was declared a
> "free fire zone". The bombing was done with B-52s. Flying at
> 40,000 feet, they dropped up to 60 bombs of 500 or 750 pounds
> at a time. The intent was to carpet-bomb entire areas. I think
> you can visualize 'how extensive' the damage must have been.
> (Notable examples of carpet-bombing are Rotterdam and Dresden.)
> Have you read any of the many reports?
> There is also the letter by the Public Interest Lawyers to The
> Right Honourable Geoffrey Hoon MP, Secretary of State for Defence,
> on behalf of their client, Mark Thomas, The Campaign for Nuclear
> Disarmament. It is dated January 2, 2003 and warns the minister
> against the "proposed use of force against Iraq" - "issues of
> international humanitarian law and 'war crimes'".
> The letter (long) describes in detail the destruction in
> the Gulf War 1991: "The deliberate disproportionate targeting
> and destruction of Iraq's infrastructure towards the end of
> the war leaving it in a pre-industrial condition. Among the
> facilities targeted and destroyed were":
>      "Water treatment, pumping and distribution systems and
>      reservoirs. Telephone and radio exchanges, relay stations,
>      towers and transmission facilities. Food processing,
>      storage and distribution facilities and markets, infant
>      milk formula and beverage plants, animal vaccination
>      facilities and irrigation sites...." And much more.
> There is a long bibliography, listing among others Ramsey
> Clark's Report, Dr. Nagy's paper, the AI 1991 annual report.
> But all this may not be what you are looking for.
> > His eye-witness testimony is just as serious as anyone
> > else's; but it cannot help us decide how "intentional" it
> > was without further evidence. The evidence may be there to
> > find, but it may need a lot of study of all the available
> > reports, and further investigations.
> Andrew, if you do something intentionally, you do it
> deliberately (on purpose). Or else you do it unintentionally
> (accidentally). And to me it seems impossible that the
> "near-apocalyptic" destruction of Iraq was achieved
> accidentally - by straying missiles, etc. So for me, the
> question 'how "intentional"' doesn't arise. But I may be
> missing the point.
> Intent and the Christian Just War Ethic (JWE):
> The US military find justification for this destruction
> in the principles of the Christian Just War Ethic (JWE),
> and the US Air Force Doctrine. So do other people.
> Your original query for "further evidence" was prompted
> by a message on CASI: "Re: Dual crisis looms for millions
> in Iraq" (Jan 23). And you followed up on the author's
> paper "Bomb Now, Die Later". This paper too applies the
> principles of JWE.
> The author wants to establish if the 1991 attack on Iraq
> was carried out according to "Just War Conventions". And,
> yes, she concludes it was, commendably so: "Operation
> Desert Storm should now set a precedent for... future
> conflicts." (This of course is also the official position
> Washington's. For the record: another "clean" war.)
> Given this perspective, it is perhaps understandable that
> the author dismisses the claims of Ramsey Clark and
> Finkelstein.
> She quotes from Clark's eyewitness account that
> "municipal water processing plants, pumping stations
> and even reservoirs have been bombed". "However", she
> says neither Clark nor Finkelstein provide any substantial
> evidence to support their claim that water treatment
> facilities were targeted." And therefore she "cannot
> accept Clark's and Finkelstein's claims."
> Note here that she uses the word "targeted" whereas Clark
> and Finkelstein use "bombed".
> You too wanted to know if Iraqi water system were targeted
> by the 1991 allied air campaign".
> The author assumes that Clark and Finkelstein "may have
> been misinformed, as damage effects may have been a result
> of other, non-coalition activities.... it is possible that
> missiles fired by the Iraqis themselves may have fallen on
> civilian structures during the Gulf War..."
> Hence your question: "Could such damage have come from
> Iraqi ordnance?"
> The _right_ evidence, if it could be found, would of course
> spoil the image of the "clean" war.
> Still, the operative word seems to be "targeted".
> In "Re Dual Crisis looms..." (CASI, Jan 23), reference is
> made to the US Gulf War Air Power Surveys (GWAPS). Apparently
> "target categories" were decided upon prior to the attack.
> Civilian population: "No targeting". This is not surprising:
> it is strictly forbidden to attack 'non-combatants' directly.
> Infrastructure targets list only: "Bridges, Rail Road
> Facilities". From this, the conclusion seems to have been
> drawn, if it was'nt targeted in writing, it wasn't bombed.
> No evidence. But in USAF we trust. Besides, water facilites,
> hospitals, etc. are not 'dual-use' targets. So naturally
> they wouldn't appear on an official list. (Targeted doesn't
> have to mean _written down_)
> And if you are interested in following this up, there is
> an article by Lt. Col. Kenneth Rizer of the U.S. Air Force:
> "Bombing Dual-Use Targets: Legal, Ethical, and Doctrinal
> Perspectives". He admits that reality is not as neat and
> tidy USAF planners make it appear. "He concludes:
>      "Finally, the US Air Force has a vested interest in
>      attacking dual-use targets so long as dual-use target
>      destruction serves the double role of destroying
>      legitimate military capabilities and indirectly
>      targeting civilian morale. So long as this remains
>      within the letter if not the spirit of the law and
>      the JWE, the Air Force will cling to the status quo."
> In other words, they'll do whatever they can get away with.
> I myself go by the Just Peace Ethic. So I am not interested
> in the Christian Just War Ethic or the US Air Force Doctrine.
> Nor do I accept their principles. You may of course.
> But to promote the justifications of the US military on
> this list may be doing CASI a disservice. After all, CASI
> was founded for the sole purpose to campaign against the
> suffering of the Iraqi people - the sanction regime.
> And then there are the Iraqi people themselves, especially
> list members. Put yourself in their shoes: wouldn't it
> pain you to see the brutal destruction of your country
> dismissed as an 'unintentional' side effect? Discussed
> at great length by people you took to be your friends.
> Elga Sutter
> ----------------Original Message----------------
> From: Andrew Goreing <>
> Subject: Re: [casi] targeting of water treatment facilities (BIS)
> Date: Sat, 01 Feb 2003 18:30:00 +0000
> Thanks to Dirk for his remarks.
> He brings our attention to the Harvard Study Team report, the Aga Khan's
> report, and the report of SOS IRAK. All of these (like other witnesses)
> refer to "damage" and "destruction" of water-treatment installations.
> Nobody disagrees with this; just like nobody disagrees with the idea that
> the electrical system was deliberately targeted, with an inevitable effect
> on water purification etc.
> But the reports don't seem to help us work out 1) just how extensive the
> specific damage to water-treatment installations was, or 2) how
> "intentional" it was. (Of course "intentionality" is not necessarily a
> simple concept).
> He also says
> > I witnessed these intentional destructions myself when I was in
> > Iraq in july 1992, but that of course cannot be considered as serious
> > evidence.
> His eye-witness testimony is just as serious as anyone else's; but it
> cannot
> help us decide how "intentional" it was without further evidence. The
> evidence may be there to find, but it may need a lot of study of all the
> available reports, and further investigations.
> List members have surely noted the report from CBS (posted by
> on 25 Jan) titled "Iraq Faces Massive U.S. Missile
> Barrage" in which the battle concept of "Shock and Awe" is explicated by
> one
> of its authors, security expert Harlan Ullman (who could be seen on
> Newsnight last night or the night before).
> "You're sitting in Baghdad and all of a sudden you're the general and 30
> of
> your division headquarters have been wiped out. You also take the city
> down... By that I mean you get rid of their power, water."
> Andrew Goreing
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