Iraq sanctions

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Sat Feb 20 14:44:31 PST 1999

>Please sign on, distribute, post, announce:
>Available at
>Advisory Board
>Noam Chomsky
>Howard Zinn
>Boston University
>Edward W. Said
>Columbia University
>Robert Jensen
>University of Texas at Austin
>William Keach
>Brown University
>Ad Coordinator:
>Sharon Smith
>February 3, 1999
>Dear Friend,
>A growing chorus of people, in this country and around the world, are
>demanding an end to the murderous sanctions against Iraq, which are a
>direct result of U.S. government policy. The sanctions have taken a
>staggering toll among Iraqi civilians-especially the sick, the elderly and,
>above all, children under the age of 5.
>Here in the U.S., the mainstream media is finally giving some attention to
>the deadly effects of the sanctions. But much more is needed. Most people
>in this country have little or no knowledge of the human suffering that is
>being inflicted by our government, in our name.
>We have initiated a campaign to place a full-page signature ad in the New
>York Times. We believe that such an ad can play an important part in giving
>voice to the growing opposition to the sanctions against the Iraqi people.
>The purpose of this letter is to ask you to sign on to the signature ad,
>which will appear in the New York Times within the next six weeks. We also
>ask that, if at all possible, you enclose a contibution to help finance it.
>As you may imagine, the ad will cost a great deal of money-$34,000. But it
>will allow us to reach the widest possible audience with the facts about
>the sanctions.
>We have enclosed the text of the ad as it will appear. Please fill out the
>form below and return it to us in the enclosed envelope at your earliest
>convenience. We are certain that you share our sense of urgency to place
>this ad as quickly as possible.
>If you add your name, we will contact you to let you know when to look for
>the signature ad.
> _____ Yes, add my name to the New York Times signature ad:
>Name/Title _______________________________________
>Organization* _____________________________________
>Mailing Address____________________________________
>Telephone _________________ E-Mail _________________
>_____ I want to help finance the ad. Enclosed is a check for:
>$50____ $100____ $500____ $1,000____ Other_____
>Please make checks payable to the New York Times and mail to:
>End the Sanctions Against Iraq Signature Ad Campaign
>P.O. Box 16085
>Chicago IL 60616
>v 773-665-8695
>f 773-665-9651
>e endsanctions at
>*Organizations are listed for identification purposes only.
>Sanctions ARE Weapons of Mass Destruction
>We the undersigned call upon the United States government to end all
>sanctions against the people of Iraq.
> At the end of 1998, the United States once again rained bombs on
>the people of Iraq. But even when the bombs stop falling, the U.S. war
>against the people of Iraq continues-through the United Nations harsh
>sanctions on Iraq, which are the direct result of U.S. policy.
> This month, U.S. policy will kill 4,500 Iraqi children under the
>age of 5, according to United Nations studies, just as it did last month
>and the month before that all the way back to 1991. Since the end of the
>Gulf War, more than a million Iraqis have died as a direct result of the UN
>sanctions on Iraq.
>To oppose the sanctions is not equivalent to supporting the regime of
>Saddam Hussein. To oppose the sanctions is to support the Iraqi people.
>Saddam Hussein is a murderous dictator, who promotes those who are loyal to
>him and kills all those who voice opposition to his regime. But throughout
>the 1980s, when it suited U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East, the
>U.S. government was more than willing to ignore Saddam Hussein's brutality.
>In fact, U.S. and European companies provided Iraq with materials used to
>produce Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction." Moreover, the
>sanctions have not affected the lifestyle of Saddam Hussein or his inner
>circle. Food and medicine are available for those who can afford it. The
>sanctions hurt only the Iraqi people.
> The sanctions are weapons of mass destruction. When a UN
>inspections team visited Iraq to survey the damage from the Gulf War in
>March 1991, it concluded that the bombing has reduced Iraq to a
>"pre-industrial age." The team said at that time that if the sanctions were
>not lifted, the country faced "immediate catastrophe." Yet the sanctions
>have continued for the last seven years, preventing Iraq from obtaining the
>hard currency to buy basic food stuffs and medicines-or to rebuild its
>infrastructure. The oil-for-food deal that allows Iraq to sell $5.2 billion
>of its oil every six months has had only marginal effects. The United
>Nations takes one-third of all oil revenues for war reparations and its own
>expenses. The oil-for-food program does not generate enough money to feed
>adequately a population of 22 million. Raising the ceiling would not help.
>The refineries were bombed during the war and need to be rebuilt-even now,
>Iraq is unable to produce all the oil it is allowed to. In October, Denis
>Halliday, the UN coordinator for humanitarian aid to Iraq, resigned in
>protest, arguing that the sanctions "are starving to death 6,000 Iraqi
>infants every month, ignoring the human rights of ordinary Iraqis and
>turning a whole generation against the West."
> The sanctions also prevent Iraq from importing many basic
>necessities. Most pesticides and fertilizer are banned because of their
>potential military use. Raw sewage is pumped continuously into water that
>people end up drinking because Iraq's water treatment plants were blown up
>by US bombs in 1991-and most have never been repaired. Yet chlorine is
>banned under the sanctions because it also could be of military use.
>Typhoid, dysentery and cholera have reached epidemic proportions. Farid
>Zarif, deputy director of the UN humanitarian aid program in Baghdad,
>argued recently, "We are told that pencils are forbidden because carbon
>could be extracted from them that might be used to coat airplanes and make
>them invisible to radar. I am not a military expert, but I find it very
>disturbing that because of this objection, we cannot give pencils to Iraqi
> For the past several years, individuals and groups have been
>delivering medicine and other supplies to Iraq in defiance of the U.S.
>blockade. Now, members of one of those groups, Chicago-based Voices in the
>Wilderness, have been threatened with massive fines by the federal
>government for "exportation of donated goods, including medical supplies
>and toys, to Iraq absent specific prior authorization." Our government is
>harassing a peace group that takes medicine and toys to dying children: we
>owe these courageous activists our support.
> This is not foreign policy-it is state-sanctioned mass murder. The
>Iraqi people are suffering because of the actions of both the Iraqi and
>U.S. governments, but our moral responsibility lies here in the United
>States. If we remain silent, we are condoning a genocide that is being
>perpetrated in the name of peace in the Middle East, a mass slaughter that
>is being perpetrated in our name.
>Anthony Arnove
>South End Press
>7 Brookline Street #1
>Cambridge MA 02139-4146
>v 617-547-4002
>f 617-547-1333

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