Distracted by our media's unrelenting vilification of Saddam Hussein, and now by the crisis in East Timor, Americans are missing one of the most egregious genocides of this century. Since the Gulf War, over a million and a half Iraqis, mostly the elderly, children and babies, have been slaughtered by the 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 Schwartzkopf put it. The destruction of telecommunications, water supplies, sewage treatment plants and oil facilities had nothing to do with Kuwait, but with the unspoken U.S.-UN intent to destroy Iraq with those apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction: war, famine, pestilence and death. Noam Chomsky correctly called this "biological warfare."
As writer John Pilger points out in his book Hidden Agendas, despite all the media pictures, the Pentagon finally admitted less than seven percent of their weapons were "smart." Of the 88,500 tons of bombs (seven Hiroshimas) dropped on Iraq, over 70 percent missed their mark. The Gulf War rendered 1.8 million Iraqis homeless and killed over 150,000 Iraqi troops.
Americans have also forgotten that on December 16, 1998, while sexual McCarthyism played out on the floor of Congress, Patriot and Tomahawk missiles again began 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 Republican 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.
By 1998, Rich McDowell, whose Voice 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 the two atomic bombs killed in Japan." He 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 per person per day for the Iraqis. McDowell said UN Security Council sanctions which embargo pipes, pumps, filters, chlorine, ambulance tires, and everything necessary to produce potable water represent a "war of collective punishment."
In October, 1998, Dennis J. Halliday, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Chief of UNSCOM's Oil for Food, resigned in disgust over the U.S.-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 has noted, "Iraq had had the best civilization in the Mideast, with universal medical care, the finest hospitals, free university education for all qualified and overseas grants for graduate students."
As UN expert and author Phyllis Bennis noted in an interview (Z magazine, July/August '99), "For 20 years the Iraqi government denied pretty consistently the civil and political rights of the population. At the same time, the economic and social rights were very well respected. It was a country with a high standard of living, a terrific educational system, and the best public health in the region. Many Iraqis had access to advanced education and to training abroad for advanced degrees...but now in the context of the sanctions, they also have no economic and no social rights. So the U.S. response to the denial of one kind of human rights is to deny all the other human rights...a tragically ironic policy decision on the U.S. side."
Dennis J. Halliday, Ex-Attorney Ramsey Clark and others are reporting mass starvation, waterborne diseases previously unknown in Iraq (such as diarrhea, cholera, strep infections and typhoid), plus animal plagues such as hoof and mouth disease for which the U.S. forbids the importation of the vaccine used worldwide. Screw worm, introduced by our CIA, has been killing off the sheep and goat population on which the people largely depend.
No need to fire plague-bearing missiles into a country when you have already contaminated the drinking water with sewage, and with a strict embargo, forbade the import of every single item necessary to clean it up. Iraqis are dying not only from biological warfare and starvation, but also from the massive use (over 300 tons) in the southern state of Basra of depleted uranium in our anti-tank shells. Malformed babies and a marked rise in pediatric leukemia are being reported. The United States, the only country to employ the carnage of atomic weapons against a civilian population (Hiroshima and Nagasaki), is again the first, with Britain, to use long-term atomic radiation against a foreign people. Since the half-life of depleted uranium is 125,000 years, the lethal radiation from our shells will continue killing the civilian population in southern Iraq for generations.
The U.S. and Britain are pursuing this devastation despite rising world criticism. As late as August, 1999, their north and south overflights (never authorized by the UN), plus a total of 119 bombing missions in which over 1,100 missiles were fired, were still destroying Saddam's economy and killing his people.
Iraq's out-of-date anti-aircraft batteries can never reach high-flying U.S.-British planes, so bombing in retaliation "because their radar locked on" is but another cheap excuse for further killing.
To pursue this mayhem, the U.S. simply ignores the Security Council where Russia, China and France, among others, have asked to quit the sanctions and normalize trade. Even ex-UNSCOM officer Scott Ritter called by-passing the Security Council while pursuing a campaign to remove Saddam, "a failing and contradictory U.S. policy."
On August 20, 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 ever going to find." UN expert Phyllis Bennis reported that the Security Council has prevented UNSCOM from making its findings public. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan again in August asked the U.S.-controlled UN Committee, "to stop blocking the export to Iraq of goods like water and sanitation equipment."
In the face of this growing anti-U.S. sentiment, Washington has turned to its media hotshots to counter the accusations with a series of outright lies. As reported in the New York Times (September 14), Clinton's public-relations spokesman James P. Rubin stated," The [Iraqi] government has failed to distribute about 50 percent of the medicine, about 60 percent of the supplies for clean water...and 40 percent of [the funds for] education... Fact is, Saddam...has decided to deprive the Iraqi people of many requirements while providing luxuries for a small clique of regime supporters. Another of Clinton's spokesmen, Martin Indyk, White House advisor on Mideast policy, a Zionist Jew who was working for Prime Minister Shamir in Tel Aviv before our President made him an instant American citizen, went on CNN this last week with the same lies. Indyk, who represents AIPAC, our powerful Jewish lobby, has publicly expressed Israel's intent to destroy Iraq.
Not one of the many Americans who are almost daily in touch with the Iraqi people lend any credence to Washington's on-going 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 on-going genocide in Iraq.
Forty-four Congressmen recently sent Clinton a letter demanding the sanctions be lifted. Dennis 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 to account."