"The hidden nature of the war against Iraq is tragic... we see no front page stories though these sanctions have caused the death of more than a million people, constituting one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time."
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Most Americans have forgotten the efforts of one congressman to stop the intended genocide of Iraq by President Bush on February 21, 1991. Representative Henry B. Gonzalez submitted to Congress a Resolution to Impeach President George Herbert Walked Bush for "high crimes and misdemeanors." Gonzalez presented five Articles supporting his Resolution. Gonzalez noted that in violation of our Constitution's Equal Protection Clause our coercive economic system determined that US soldiers heading for the Gulf War will be "overwhelmingly black, poor white, and Mexico-American," that Bush bribed, intimidated and threatened members of the UN Security Council "to support belligerent acts against Iraq." That in violation of his constitutional oath plus our Country's signature of the Hague and Geneva Conventions, Nuremberg Charter, Genocide Convention and UN Declaration of Human Rights Bush conspired to wage a massive war against Iraq with massive killing by serial bombardment, indiscriminate weapons and the "potential use of nuclear weapons," and Bush "committed the United States to war without congressional consent," since Bush approached Congress only after he had placed over 500,000 American soldiers in jeopardy. Gonzalez' resolution for impeachment was defeated and Iraq was destroyed.
Last November, Iraq's Saddam Hussein first openly balked at those increasingly humiliating US-UN sanctions which over seven long years have crippled his economy and starved to death a million-and-a-half of his people. In response to Saddam's open rebellion, spin-masters on US radio and in newspapers, National Security Council advisors, Pentagon officials, politicians on CNN and talk shows, and President Clinton himself beat the drums of war while glibly referring to Saddam's hidden "WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION." Though our military long ago destroyed Iraq's shells and missiles (exposing our troops to contamination in the process), and UN inspection teams have spent seven years ferreting out Iraq's few, if any remaining munitions, the US media has continued a almost-daily anti-Saddam campaign.
The UN Secretary-General Kofi Anam responded to that standoff with a trip to Iraq and direct talks with Saddam Hussein. Kofi promised a review of the weapons status and possible lifting of the embargo. The US and Britain immediately screamed "no way" and lobbied in the UN to keep the lid on Iraq, while our US Army laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland, conveniently announced that samples from destroyed missile fragments "showed evidence of deadly VX nerve gas," contradicting Iraq's denial of such weaponry. Further testing by laboratories in both France and Switzerland, however, failed to find any presence of VX.
Again in August, Saddam Hussein, finally fed up with the endless UN intrusion into all aspects of Iraqi life, plus the obvious intent of both the US and Britain to continue the genocidal sanctions as long as he was head of state, said "no more" and slammed the door.
The Clinton administration again screamed, and Congressional big-wigs threatened armed retaliation. After heated debate the Security Council, including China, on September 9th voted to continue sanctions, but it was obvious Council members were becoming sensitive to reports of the continued massive starvation in Iraq.
Meanwhile, accompanied by a huge surge of publicity in both the NY Times and Washington Post, a UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, an American Jew, resigned, while accusing the Clinton Administration of "publicly demanding full inspections but blocking them behind the scenes." Ritter's public image quickly suffered, however, as Iraqi sources complained of his repeated abusive conduct and our FBI reported he had been under their surveillance for relaying restricted UN reports directly to Israel. With no proof that Saddam is hiding weapons of any kind, the French Foreign Minister recently rebuked our UN Chief Inspector for making "absurd accusations" in the Security Council.
Since the Gulf War, starvation and disease-the US-UN weapons of mass destruction-have killed over one and one-half million Iraqis and are still destroying those people and their country. The media speaks of Saddam's "biological weapons," but our fierce 45-day bombing of the Iraqi's water supply, hospitals and sewage-treatment systems during the Gulf War was biological warfare at its most cruel. No need to fire biological missiles into a country when you have already dirtied its potable water with sewage... and thus set the stage for epidemic diseases.
Ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the International Red Cross and other groups have reported on the present devastation in Iraq. Diseases of starvation and poor sanitation: amebic dysentery, malaria, typhoid fever, scabies, and cholera are up from zero in 1989 into the thousands and rising. Low-weight births have increased five-fold while Saddam's hospitals, once the best in the Mideast, lack even the simple tools of modern medicine.
Ramsey Clark said, "There is a human disaster created by the United Nations. A genocide intended to destroy a national, religious, and ethnic group, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring physical destruction in whole or in part." The UN, though forged as an instrument of peace and conciliation, with repeated coercion by Washington and Britain continues this devastating embargo which flies in the face of that organization's stated humanitarian principles."
On July 21 the NY Times reported that Denis J. Halliday, the UN official in Baghdad, supervising the "oil for food program" was resigning. The Times reported Halliday "had become frustrated by constraints imposed by the Security Council... and objected to the United Nations sanctions because of the hardships for ordinary Iraqis."
The Irish Mission to the UN kindly put my call through to Baghdad, and on the 19th and again on the 27th of August I was able to interview Mr. Halliday at some length. In brief, Denis Halliday who has served in the United Nations for 34 years with considerable experience in the Mideast, told me he "couldn't take it any longer."
Iraq is dying, he said. Her people, especially children, succumb by the hundreds daily from starvation as well as those epidemic disease of sewage-contaminated water. People cannot afford essential foodstuffs. Even in Baghdad electric power is intermittent, and in Basrah, the second largest city, the electric system has been "cannibalized" to help Baghdad. Those with money and education have long since fled the country and Iraq has thus lost between two and three million of its intelligencia, "who will probably never return."
What really destroyed Halliday's faith in UNSCOM has been the constant efforts of both the US and Britain to interfere with every aspect of the "oil for food" program. Washington has deliberately delayed some $300 million in contracts for products Iraq desperately needs, including food, medicine, and biologicals of all kinds. The US still delays Iraqis much-needed filters, pumps and chemicals needed to clean their water and process sewage, and excuses this inhumane behavior, saying Saddam might make "military use of these materials." Halliday said the ongoing contracts of oil for food terminate on the 25th of November and fears further delays in the negotiations for renewal.
Halliday stated that Iraq needs at least $2 to $3 billion to correct the deficiencies in water and sewage control plus the badly-needed electric grids. The recent fall in the world price for oil to $8 a barrel, he notes, is a critical blow to the whole program since so much of the money received from oil sales goes to Kuwaiti reparations plus the costs of the UN program.
History suggests we Americans may pay dearly for our government's arrogant mistreatment of Mideast and African peoples. The first two installments seem to have arrived.