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Author: Nathaniel Hurd, NGO consultant on United Nations' Iraq policy Title: When Innocents Don't Matter Date: 18 March 2003 The George W. Bush Administration Iraq policy, on the heels of George H.W. Bush and Clinton Administration Iraq policies, has played a primary role in many Iraqi civilians unnecessarily dying and suffering. An attack on Iraq would lead to much more of the same: this is foreseeable. One might hope that such foreseeable consequences would concern Administration officials enough to implement an Iraq policy designed to end the US role in excess Iraqi mortality and misery. It would be inspiring if Administration officials re-thought and eliminated both the responsible economic measures and military ones. It would be a significant change if Administration officials stopped using the Government of Iraq's brutality as a pretext for pernicious policies. It would be welcome if Administration officials acknowledged that they as decision makers always have options, that none of their decisions is ever inevitable, and that as decision makers they are responsible for the foreseeable or reasonably foreseeable consequences of their past, current and future decisions. A few powerful and influential Administration officials and advisors seem content to give primacy to their stated personal objectives, be they ideological, military, strategic or other, as partially outlined in Project for the New American Century, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century," September 2000, http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf Perhaps they dehumanize and devalue the Iraqis whose lives they help destroy. Perhaps like former US Ambassador to the UN and Secretary of State Madeline Albright in 1996, they believe "the price is worth it". Note: Lesley Stahl's question pertained to the consequences of Security Council economic sanctions on Iraq, sanctions then driven by the Clinton Administration. CBS Reporter Lesley Stahl: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And - and you know, is the price worth it?" Madeleine Albright (then US Ambassador to the UN): "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it." (1) Below are some select quotes from "Rebuilding America's Defenses". Of course, the quotes ought to be read and considered within the context of the entire report. The third quote is even more chilling than the previous two. In September 2000, a year before 11 September, the "Rebuilding America's Defenses" document seemed to suggest that a "catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor", would enable a future Presidential Administration and Defense Department to more rapidly facilitate a "military transformation" that would "preserve American military preeminence in the coming decades". Source: Project for the New American Century, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century", September 2000, http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf 1. "Guarding the American security perimeter today – and tomorrow – will require changes in U.S. deployments and installations overseas." (pg. 14) 2. "In the Persian Gulf region, the presence of American forces, along with British and French units, has become a semipermanent fact of life. Though the immediate mission of those forces is to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, they represent the long-term commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." (pg. 14) 3. "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor." (pg. 51) Those who hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 killed over 2000 people. Many people with loved ones who died on 11 September, and many who didn't lose loved ones, grieved on and after 11 September. I am unable to shake the sense that select Administration officials and advisors have been using that grief and pain to justify and bring about a full-scale attack on Iraq. These advisors and officials' long-standing stated objectives are well documented. Therefore it seems plausible to suggest that at least one of their underpinning goals is as base as increasing America's military capability and positioning comparative advantage. Their actions and resulting and/or likely consequences certainly suggest concern for Iraqi civilians is but a see-through cover. The New American Century document, along with many a previous item from those directly or indirectly related to the Project, appears to suggest that a massive attack on Iraq has long been pre-meditated by those involved, all to secure their personal objectives. Most importantly, the foreseeable human cost of their desired attack is quite clear. Following US actions during the Gulf War and 12 years of US-driven Security Council economic sanctions, Iraqi civilians are extremely vulnerable to a humanitarian shock. Young children are at the greatest risk. This vulnerability has been thoroughly documented. The US military seems poised to attack Iraq with the forces and weapons currently and potentially arrayed. Those who do attack, seem likely to kill tens of thousands, perhaps many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. These civilians would either die having been hit by weapons, or from the public health consequences arising from an incapacitated infrastructure and/or food delivery mechanisms being cut. During the 1991 Gulf War, US air planners ordered US pilots (2) to illegally (3) target Iraq's civilian infrastructure, most importantly the electricity (4) and water and sanitation (5) sectors. The resulting damage led to a humanitarian crisis. (6) Through the Security Council, successive Administrations effectively maintained measures which predictably damaged Iraq's economy and continued and locked into place the Gulf War-related humanitarian crisis. By definition, economic sanctions damage the target economy and give rise to suffering. Of course, the extent of the economic damage and human consequences depends on the sanctions' mechanisms, the degree of enforcement, the target economy itself and the relationship between civilians', the target government and economy. Iraq, heavily reliant on revenue generated by a single export and civilian items from imports, was particularly vulnerable. CIA Director William Webster testified to the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee in early December 1990 "economic sanctions and the embargo against Iraq...have dealt a serious blow to the Iraq economy...More than 90 percent of imports and 90 percent of exports have been shut off...All sectors of the Iraq economy are feeling the pinch of sanctions and many industries have largely shut down...In late November, Baghdad cut civilian rations for the second time since the rationing program began while announcing increases in rations for military personnel and their families. So on balance, the embargo has increased the economic hardships facing the average Iraqi...In addition, services ranging from medical care to sanitation have been curtailed…Iraq's economic problems will begin to multiply as Baghdad is forced to gradually shut down growing numbers of facilities in order to keep critical activities functioning as long as possible...Probably only energy related and some military industries will still be functioning by next spring. This will almost certainly be the case by next summer...By next spring Iraqis will have made major changes in their diets...sanctions are hurting Iraq's civilian economy". (7) For a rather comprehensive list of the foreseeable impact of sanctions on an economy and civilians, see "Table 3: Effects of Sanctions", http://www.unicef.org/emerg/ImpactSanctions.htm in Dr. Eric Hoskins, "The Impact of Sanctions: A Study of UNICEF's Perspectives", UNICEF, February 1998, http://www.unicef.org/emerg/Sanctions.htm UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Security Council's 1999 Humanitarian Panel, and even the Security Council itself, have noted the link between Council economic sanctions and Iraq's humanitarian crisis. (8) In its August 1999 infant and maternal mortality survey UNICEF noted "if the substantial reduction in the under-five mortality rate during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under-five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998." (9) When introducing the UNICEF survey, UNICEF Executive Director quoted the Security Council's 1999 Humanitarian Panel Report, stating "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war." (10) In September 2000 the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated "the current sanctions regime is having a disproportionately negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights by the Iraqi population." (11) Exemptions to the economic sanctions regime (namely the "Oil for Food Program") somewhat improved the humanitarian situation, but the significant economic damage (12) and resulting excess death toll, insufficient food availability (13) (it's worth noting "Up to 1990...Iraq had one of the highest per capita food availability indicators in the region"), (14) child malnutrition rates at an "unacceptable" level (15) and entrenched inadequate household purchasing power, continued. (16) As Amnesty International states, "The economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council have resulted in grave violations of the most basic human rights of Iraq's civilian population - the right to life, health, education and an adequate standard of living, including food, housing and medical care." (17) By Colin Powell's admission, the current Administration's vaunted 2001 "smart sanctions" initiative "wasn't an effort to ease the sanctions; this was an effort to rescue the sanctions policy that was collapsing." (18) The economic measures which gave rise to Iraq's continuing humanitarian crisis remained. See Colin Rowat, "How the Sanctions Hurt Iraq", Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), 2 August 2001 (updated on 14 November 2001), http://www.merip.org/mero/mero080201.html The measures' presence rather effectively undermines the claim that the Administration is concerned with Iraqi civilians' wellbeing. See Per Oskar Klevnas, "Sanctions and the 'Moral Case' for War", Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), 4 March 2003, http://www.merip.org/mero/mero030403.html The Administration's relentless push to attack Iraq, in the face of the foreseeable consequence of a humanitarian catastrophe far worse than the existing Gulf War targeting plus economic sanctions-related humanitarian crisis, seems to further unravel the Administration's humanitarian spin. As UN contingency planning documents (http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/internal.html), UN agency reports, UN officials and personnel, NGO documents (http://www.casi.org.uk/info/themes.html#conseq) personnel, the UN Secretary-General, and even Security Council documents, repeatedly state, 12 years of US-driven Security Council economic sanctions have damaged Iraq's economy and left Iraqi civilians in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian crisis and extremely vulnerable. Moreover, UN contingency planning documents, UN officials and agencies, NGO documents and officials detail the forseeably terrible public health conditions that will likely arise if Iraq is attacked. "Aside from now not having been gainfully employed for some time, during the intervening period, all except the most privileged have completely exhausted their cash assets and have also in most cases disposed of their material assets. Accordingly, the bulk of the population is now totally dependent on the Government of Iraq for a majority, if not all, of their basic needs and, unlike the situation in 1991, they have no way of coping if they cannot access them: the sanctions regime, if anything, has served to increase dependence on the Government as almost the sole provider." (19) Because of economic sanctions, "there are some 60 per cent of the population -- 16 million people -- highly dependent on the monthly 'food basket' -- they 'consume' all the commodities provided, (by consuming or selling part to mitigate other needs), as they have no other means with which to provide for other essential requirements." (20) If there is "degradation of infrastructure in general, and electricity in particular, on which the provision of the services concerned are heavily dependent on, many of these services are not likely to be available following a conflict." (21) If the "electricity network [is] seriously degraded because of damage to generating plants and the transmission and distribution networks[,] then [t]he damage to the electricity network will also result in collateral reductions in capacity in all sectors, particularly water and sanitation as well as health." (22) "[T]he collapse of essential services in Iraq ... could lead to a humanitarian emergency of proportions well beyond the capacity of UN agencies and other aid organizations". (23) If there is such a collapse, particularly an infrastructural one, then "the outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions is very likely. Diseases such as cholera and dysentery thrive in the environment, which will prevail and as a result of circumstances and the present low vaccination rates for measles, meningitis and the like will be ever present." (24) It is worth noting that Pentagon officials have so far not ruled out targeting Iraq's electricity sector. (25) Additionally, a potential conflict would most likely be urban, centered on Baghdad. (26) The UN predicts the "bombardment of infrastructure" and that "[t]he resultant devastation would undoubtedly be great." (27) Even if air planners order pilots to avoid urban infrastructure, as a [United States Central Command] "official acknowledged . . . even the air force's most sophisticated guided munitions fail 7-10 per cent of the time, making it possible that malfunctions or poor intelligence could lead to accidental strikes of civilian targets: 'Bad things will still happen on the battlefield.' " (28) Perhaps most alarming, "In the event of a crisis, 30 percent of children under 5 would be at risk of death from malnutrition." (29) In other words, it seems approximately 1.26 million children under five would be at risk of death if the US attacked Iraq. UNICEF malnutrition documentation effectively supports the approximately 30% vulnerability figure and other statements regarding children's extreme vulnerability. (30) It is worth noting that "[h]alf of Iraq's 24.5 million people are children." (31) For why "Human rights must not be used as an instrument in the rhetoric of war", see Amnesty International's Iraq page (http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/iraq/) Amnesty International further concludes on the same page that "Military intervention will inevitably exacerbate the already precarious situation of the Iraqi civilian population and result in grave violations of their human rights." Amnesty International's position is especially noteworthy. Amnesty International was documenting the Government of Iraq's brutality long before the Gulf War made it politically popular and useful to do so. Rather than providing a written conclusion, it seems more fitting to instead direct readers to the faces of Iraqis, young, old and in between. Perhaps when readers see friends, family members, other loved ones, and strangers, readers will also see Iraqis, just like them. http://facesofiraq.org/faces/index_flash_new.htm http://www.synergynet.co.uk/sheffield-iraq/delegationphotos/ 1. 60 Minutes, "Punishing Saddam", CBS News, 12 May 1996, http://home.attbi.com/~dhamre/docAlb.htm 2. Barton Gellman, "Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq", Washington Post, 23 June 1991, http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/history/0623strategy.htm 3. See Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977, http://220.127.116.11/html/menu3/b/93.htm, especially art. 54 and 56. 4. Report to the Secretary-General on Humanitarian Needs in Kuwait and Iraq in the Immediate Post-Crisis Environment by a Mission to the Area Led by Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management, Annex S/22366, 20 March 1991, para. 21, http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/reports/s22366.pdf and Report to the Secretary-General Dated 15 July 1991 on Humanitarian Needs in Iraq Prepared by a Mission Led by Sadruddin Aga Khan, Executive Delegate of the Secretary-General, Annex S/22799, 17 July 1991, para. 20, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/sadruddin1.pdf and http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/sadruddin2.pdf and "Electrical Facilities Survey", in International Study Team, "Health and Welfare in Iraq after the Gulf War: An In-Depth Assessment", October 1991, http://www.warchild.ca/docs/ist_1991_iraq_report.pdf 5. Report to the Secretary-General on Humanitarian Needs in Kuwait and Iraq in the Immediate Post-Crisis Environment by a Mission to the Area Led by Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management, Annex S/22366, 20 March 1991, para. 21 and 24, http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/reports/s22366.pdf and Report to the Secretary-General Dated 15 July 1991 on Humanitarian Needs in Iraq Prepared by a Mission Led by Sadruddin Aga Khan, Executive Delegate of the Secretary-General, Annex S/22799, 17 July 1991, para. 16 and 18, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/sadruddin1.pdf and http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/sadruddin2.pdf and "Water and Wastewater Systems' Survey", in International Study Team, "Health and Welfare in Iraq after the Gulf War: An In-Depth Assessment", October 1991, http://www.warchild.ca/docs/ist_1991_iraq_report.pdf 6. See International Study Team, "Health and Welfare in Iraq after the Gulf War: An In-Depth Assessment", October 1991, http://www.warchild.ca/docs/ist_1991_iraq_report.pdf 7. CIA Director William Webster, testimony to US House of Representative’s Armed Services Committee, 5 December 2003, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/usdocs/ciabrief.html 8. Nathaniel Hurd, "Security Council Resolution 1441 and the Potential Use of Force Against Iraq", 6 December 2002, pg. 11, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/hurd021206.doc This page contains endnotes to the various stated links between Security Council economic sanctions and Iraq's humanitarian crisis and civilian suffering. 9. UNICEF, "A Note on Estimation of Under-Five Deaths", in "1999 Iraq Child and Maternal Mortality Surveys", 12 August 1999, http://www.unicef.org/reseval/pdfs/irqu5est.pdf 10. UNICEF Press Center, press release, "Iraq Surveys Show 'Humanitarian Emergency'", CF/DOC/PR/1999/29, 12 August 1999, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm 11. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "The Human Rights Impact of Economic Sanctions on Iraq", background paper prepared for the meeting of the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs, 5 September 2000, para. 14, http://www.cam.ac.uk/societies/casi/info/undocs/sanct31.pdf 12. United Nations Development Program, "Portrait of the Current Socio-Economic Developmental Situation and Implications in Iraq Based on Specified Scenarios", confidential draft, 20 January 2003, pg. 3, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/un030120.pdf 13. "The existing food rations do not provide a nutritionally adequate and varied diet. Although since their effective implementation in 1997 they have halted further deterioration in the nutritional situation, they have not by themselves been able to reverse this trend. In spite of the fact that the ration is reasonably adequate in energy and total protein, it is lacking in vegetables, fruit, and animal products and is therefore deficient in micronutrients. With only one quarter of the planned ration of pulses distributed due to gaps in the submission of applications for procurement, the protein quality of the diet has also been poor." (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), "Assessment of the Food and Nutrition Situation: Iraq", 13 September 2000, pg. viii, http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/iraqnutrition.pdf) 14. Report of the Second Panel Established Pursuant to the Note by the President of the Security Council of 30 January 1999 (S/1999/100), Concerning the Current Humanitarian Situation in Iraq, Annex II of S/1999/356, 30 March 1999, para. 12, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/panelrep.html 15. Chief UNICEF representative in Iraq Carel de Rooy, quoted in UNICEF, press release, "Malnutrition down by Half among Iraqi Children", 21 November 2002, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/02pr63iraq.htm 16. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), "Portrait of the Current Socio-Economic Developmental Situation and Implications in Iraq Based on Specified Scenarios", confidential draft, 20 January 2003, pg. 5, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/un030120.pdf 17. US Secretary of State Colin Powell, testimony at US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, "The Fiscal Year 2002 Foreign Operations Budget", 8 March 2001, http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2001/1164.htm. 18. E.g., UNICEF, "Overview of Nutritional Status of Under-fives in South/Centre Iraq", 21 November 2002, http://www.unicef.org/media/publications/malnutritionnov2002.doc and UNICEF, press release, "UNICEF and Partners Push ahead with Polio and Measles Campaigns for Iraqi Children", 18 February 2003, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/2003/03pr10iraq.htm 19. UN, "Likely Humanitarian Scenarios", 10 December 2002, para. 2, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210.html 20. UN, "Likely Humanitarian Scenarios", 10 December 2002, para. 11, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210.html 21. UN, "Likely Humanitarian Scenarios", 10 December 2002, para. 4, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210.html 22. UN, "Likely Humanitarian Scenarios", 10 December 2002, para. 5, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210.html 23. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, "Integrated Humanitarian Contingency Plan for Iraq and Neighbouring Countries", confidential draft, 7 January 2003, pg. 4, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/internal.htm 24. UN, "Likely Humanitarian Scenarios", 10 December 2002, para. 25, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210.html 25. "US Military Draws up List of Targets for Bombing Raids", Financial Times, 6 March 2003 and Senior Defense Official, background briefing on targeting, 5 March 2003, http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2003/t03052003_t305targ.html 26. Stephen Fidler and Peter Spiegel, "The Battle of Baghdad", Financial Times 27. UN, "Likely Humanitarian Scenarios", 10 December 2002, para. 1, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210.html 28. Leyla Boulton and Peter Spiegel, "US Military Draws up List of Targets for Bombing Raids", Financial Times, 6 March 2003 29. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), "Integrated Humanitarian Contingency Plan for Iraq and Neighbouring Countries", confidential draft, 7 January 2003, pg 3, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/internal.html 30. E.g., UNICEF, press release, "Malnutrition down by Half among Iraqi Children", 21 November 2002, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/02pr63iraq.htm and UNICEF, "Overview of Nutritional Status of Under-fives in South/Centre Iraq", 21 November 2002", http://www.unicef.org/media/publications/malnutritionnov2002.doc and UNICEF, donor update: Iraq, 14 February 2003, http://www.unicef.org/media/publications/iraqdonorreport14Jan.pdf and UNICEF, press release, "UNICEF and Partners Push ahead with Polio and Measles Campaigns for Iraqi Children", 18 February 2003, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/2003/03pr10iraq.htm and UNICEF, press release, "Will They Survive War? UNICEF Racing to Bolster the Strength of 400,000 Malnourished Children in Iraq", 11 March 2003, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/2003/03pr14iraq.htm 31. UNICEF, press release, "Will They Survive War? UNICEF Racing to Bolster the Strength of 400,000 Malnourished Children in Iraq", 11 March 2003, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/2003/03pr14iraq.htm Nathaniel Hurd NGO Consultant on United Nations' Iraq policy Tel. (Mobile): 917-407-3389 Fax: 718-504-4224 Residential/Mailing Address: 90 7th Ave. Apt. #6 Brooklyn, NY 11217 _________________________________________________________________ Help STOP SPAM with the new MSN 8 and get 2 months FREE* http://join.msn.com/?page=features/junkmail _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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