"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." - John Donne, 1572-1631
Distracted by our media's unrelenting vilification of Saddam Hussein, and occasional CNN reports that an Iraqi anti-aircraft battery had targeted US or British fighter jets patrolling "no-fly" zones, Americans, for ten long years, have missed one of the most egregious genocides in history. Since the Gulf War, almost two million Iraqis, mostly the elderly, children, and babies, have been slaughtered by a US-British-UN program designed to kill.
There were actually two Gulf Wars. One, to recall Saddam's troops from Kuwait, the second, to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, "bombing it back into the pre-industrial age," as General Schwarzkopf put it. The destruction of telecommunications, water supplies, sewage treatment plants, and oil facilities had nothing to do with Kuwait, but with the unspoken US-UN intent to destroy Iraq with those Apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction: war, famine, pestilence, and death. Noam Chomsky correctly called this "biological warfare."
On Sept. 17, 2000, Professor J. Nagy of George Washington University made public a seven page document he had obtained, prepared by the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The report, hidden by the government for ten years, outlined the Gulf Allies' plan to set the stage for a water-born genocide in that country. The report reads: "Iraq had gone to considerable trouble to provide pure water for its population... importing specialized equipment and purification chemicals... a shortage of pure drinking water... could lead to increased incidents, if not epidemics of disease... Full degradation of the water treatment system will probably take at least six months." The Agency's report "was circulated to all major Allied commands." This information identified not only bombing targets, but those specific chemicals and specialized water purification equipment which the US and British then added to their list of embargoed items, to be certain the genocide would succeed. As intended, Allied bombing destroyed dams, reservoirs, wrecking flood control, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. Pumping stations were crippled as were 31 municipal water and sewage facilities. As raw sewage poured into the Tigris River, the Iraqis only remaining source of water, they died by the thousands. The allies dropped 88,500 tons of bombs, equivalent to seven Hiroshimas, rendering 1.8 million Iraqis homeless and killing over 150,000 Iraqi troops.
The Fourth Geneva Convention which the US signed clearly states: "It is prohibited to attack or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population"... "including drinking water supplies and irrigation works." Professor Nagy intends to pursue, under International law, criminal indictments against those responsible.
Added to the carnage of Dessert Storm, the US and British fired "anti-tank" shells containing depleted uranium, which disintegrates on contact to burn with intense heat, leaving free uranium 238 particles to blow about freely in the desert winds. Inhalation of this dust is already creating both a marked increase in childhood lymphomas, plus numerous birth deformities. Since the half-life of depleted uranium is 125,000 years, lethal radiation from our shells will continue killing the civilian population in Iraq for generations.
Americans have also forgotten that on Dec. 16, 1998, while sexual McCarthyism played out on the floor of Congress, President Clinton again ordered Patriot and Tomahawk missiles to hail down on Baghdad. Operation "Desert Fox" (called MONICA in the Mideast) created extensive damage, killed over 25 civilians, and targeted one of the few oil refineries still able to function. To interrupt the impeachment process, Clinton, before he set the attack in motion, had carefully crafted Chief UN Inspector Butler's report to make certain it appeared Saddam was interfering with the UNSCOM Team.
In 1998, Rick McDowell, whose "Voices in the Wilderness" group had visited Iraq many times since 1991, reported, "As of 1995, over a million Iraqis have died, 576,000 of them children, and three million risk acute starvation... More children have died... than the total of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan." McDowell noted the Oil for Food program was a failure since reparations to Kuwait, paying for UNSCOM and support for the Kurds ate up over 40 percent, leaving less than 25 cents/person/day for the Iraqis. McDowell said UN Security Council sanction which embargo pipes, pumps, filters, chlorine, ambulance tires, and everything necessary to produce potable water represent a "war of collective punishment."
In October 1998, Denis J. Halliday, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Chief of UNSCOM's "Oil for Food" resigned in disgust over the US-British interference with his program in an "all-out effort to starve to death as many Iraqis as possible." He added: "We see the member states... of the Security Council manipulating the organization for their own national interests." Halliday reported UN sanctions had reduced a once-proud civilization to third world status, resulting in crime, prostitution, beggary, family breakdown and corruption. He said Iraqis "were selling their belongings for food." Under Saddam Hussein, Halliday noted: "Iraq experienced the best civilization in the Mideast with universal medical care, the finest hospitals, free university education and overseas grants for graduate students."
Halliday, Ex-Attorney Ramsey Clark and others report mass starvation, waterborn diseases previously unknown in Iraq: diarrhea, cholera, strep, hepatitis, typhoid and polio (which had been eradicated). Animal plaques such as Hoof-and-mouth-disease for which the US forbids the importation of the vaccine to control this disease, kills one Iraqi source of protein. Screwworm, introduced by our CIA, has been killing off the sheep and goat population on which the people largely depend.
No need to fire plaque-bearing missiles into a country when you have already contaminated the drinking water with sewage, and, with a strict embargo, forbidden the import of every single item necessary to clean it up.
The US and Britain pursue this devastation despite rising world criticism. Their north and south overflights, (never authorized by the UN), and bombing missions still murder Saddam's people (over 2000 killed since 1998), and wreck attempts by the Iraqis to rebuild their economy. Iraq's out-of-date antiaircraft batteries never each high-flying US-British planes, so bombing in retaliation "because their radar locked on" is but another cheap US-Brit excuse for further killing.
To pursue this mayhem, the US simply ignore the Security Council where Russia, China and France, amongst others, have asked US to quit the sanctions and normalize trade. Even ex-UNSCOM officer Scott Ritter called bypassing the Security Council while pursuing a campaign to remove Saddam: "A failing and contradictory US policy."
On Aug. 20, 1999, France's Interior Minister said his government "will not support a policy which victimizes innocent Iraqi citizens." The French government noted when Saddam tossed out UNSCOM inspectors last year, "they had tracked down and destroyed all the existing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons capacity they were every going to find." UN expert Phyllis Bennis reported the Security Council prevented UNSCOM from making its findings public.
Not one of the many Americans who are almost daily in touch with the Iraqi people support Washington's ongoing anti-Saddam campaign. Halliday, Ex-Attorney-General Ramsey Clark, the Voices-In-The-Wilderness group, Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, and the Red Crescent as well as the Russian, French, Chinese and other UN Security-Council members, all decry our ongoing genocide in Iraq.
The campaign by the media to cover-up this genocide continues. Hans von Spondek, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, who took over Halliday's position and then resigned in protest over the genocide, in an interview May 6, 2000, stated: "in Boston to meet with the editor of the Boston Globe (owned by the NY Times), I was told not to refer, even, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or the UN Charter, because they have no meaning in that paper."
Von Spondek noted the death rate for children has tripled since 1991, and even much-needed electricity is often lacking in Baghdad. The UN allowed only $112 million for repairs whereas the system rehabilitation minimum is $7.1 billion. Saddam's people, once the best-educated in the Mideast on a 1989 $2.1 billion school budget, today with sanctions struggle with $229 million. The literacy rate has fallen from over 90 percent to barely 60 percent. Computers can't be imported, as the UN fears "military use."
Forty-four Congressmen have sent Clinton a letter demanding the sanctions be lifted, to no avail. Denis Halliday has said: "I went to Iraq to administer the largest humanitarian challenge in UN history. I didn't realize the level of complicity in the suffering... it is to the point of madness. One day we will be called into account."
On Saturday, Sept. 16, 2000 in the beautiful Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption at Geary and Gough in San Francisco, a large crowd heard leaders of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths, one by one, condemn the on-going US-British genocide in Iraq. Denis J. Halliday, who is touring the world to stop this killing, spoke eloquently, followed by Scott Ritter, who said clearly that, despite all the statements from Washington, "Saddam's weapons of mass destruction had been completely eliminated by 1995."
As we listened to one speaker after another in the awesome beauty of that great Cathedral, a great bell tolled every 12 minutes, reminding us that another Iraqi child had just died.