The Iraq Assault
By Edward W. Miller

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore do not send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." - John Donne (1572-1631) * * *

On Thursday, December 16th at 1 a.m. Mideast time, while the ridiculous pageant of sexual McCarthyism played out on the floor of Congress, Patriot and Tomahawk missiles began to hail down on Iraq and the outskirts of Baghdad. The attack, termed Operation Desert Fox, continued until dawn, by which time over 200 missiles had found their way from U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf, creating considerable physical damage, while both wounding and killing Iraqi citizens.

The onslaught ended with sunrise, only to be repeated Friday night with missiles of greater explosive power, weighing in at 2000 pounds in contrast to 1000-pound missiles of the night before. The joint U.S.-British attack was to continue nightly, at least until Ramadam, which began Saturday at daybreak. Wire from Baghdad December 18 reported a third wave of British-American missile strikes targeting TV transmitters and oil facilities. With over 25 Iraqis killed and many more wounded, damage was reported at government buildings, a hospital and a museum, the pharmacology college of Baghdad and several factories that were being monitored by UN weapons inspectors. Al-Thawra, the Baath Party paper's headline read, "Operation Monica."

Protesting the strikes, Russia recalled her ambassadors from both Washington and London while China condemned the operation, calling UN Inspector Butler a liar and a tool of the Clinton Administration. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov insisted on Butler's dismissal.

The timing of this latest assault on the people of Iraq, an assault which follows eight years of life-destroying embargo which has killed over 1.5 million Iraqis, paralyzed their economy and sent this most prosperous Mideast country back into a third world status, was carefully planned by Clinton to interrupt the Republican's impeachment crusade. As described in the Washington Post, Clinton's office, on the phone for hours with Butler, UN chief inspector, had carefully crafted Butler's report to make sure it appeared Saddam was interfering with the UNSCOM team. Then, without UN Security Council approval, Clinton set the attack in motion.

The U.S.-British Task Force has 24,100 troops, 22 warships, 110 aircraft, including B-1 bombers, and British jets, plus the USS Enterprise, plus 15 B-52 heavy bombers. The population of the United States is 250 million, Iraq, 17 million. The U.S., typically a bully, again picks on a tiny country. Granada is the best example.

Since coming into power, the Clinton Administration closely controlled by both the oil and Jewish lobbies has made every effort to continue this genocide of the Iraqi people, and as Madeline Albright has often stated, will continue until Saddam is removed from office.

Over the past eight years, "Iraq has been the subject of the most stringent sanctions ever imposed on a country in human history," reported Ali Abuniman of the Arab-American Action Network. Ali adds, "Almost nothing is permitted into the country. No new cars, radios, computers, schoolbooks, pencils, writing paper, eye glasses, shampoo, soap or industrial machinery...even sending in a computer disk is a violation of the U.S. law. You can't send anything without prior permission of the U.S. Treasury."

As Francis A. Boyle, U.S. Professor of International Law notes, the failure to permit the machines of communication into that country has made Iraqis feel abandoned by the outside world. Boyle adds that Iraq was much more technically-advanced before the Gulf War. Rania Masrik, Coordinator on the Iraqi Action Coalition, says, "The Iraqis are suffering from complete isolation and alienation."

Even efforts by civilian organizations to bring medicines and other supplies into Iraq have brought U.S. government reprisals. One group, Voices in the Wilderness, which has taken over $500,000 worth of supplies into Iraq, was warned by the Office of Foreign Assets and Control that they faced a $160,000 fine unless "proper authorization" was obtained. (New York Times, December 16)

More serious was the cancellation mid-December of all mercy flights to both Honduras and Nicaragua from New York, Los Angeles, Miami and elsewhere, as our military commandeered those National Guard aircraft which were being employed for this increasingly critical relief effort in South America, "because of potential need for forces in the Persian Gulf" as the New York Times reported.

Saddam has been so vilified by our controlled media it is difficult to believe anything good of this ruler. However, prior to the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein had used his oil money to create one of the most prosperous and modern civilizations in the Mideast. He provided free university education for any qualified student, and with the onset of the Intafada, when Israel closed the Palestinian's university, Saddam offered these foreign students free tuition and a stipend for board and room in Iraq. Under Saddam, Iraq offered free and universal medical care and made Baghdad's General Hospital the best-equipped in the Mideast. Since the Gulf War and the U.S.-UN embargo, that facility has been a shambles, lacking IV solutions, medicines, syringes or even reliable electricity for surgery. What it will be after the present murderous onslaught, no one knows.

This sudden attack on Iraq is in violation of both international law and our own Constitution. In addition, Clinton had no business initiating Operation Desert Fox without the consent of the UN Security Council. As Stephen Zunes, Chair of the Peace and Justice Studies program at the University of San Francisco, pointed out, "No member of the Security Council can unilaterally enforce a security resolution without express approval by the Security Council. The U.S. had such authorization in 1991, but has no such mandate now. If the U.S. can unilaterally attack Iraq for its violations of a UN Security Council resolution, then Russia can unilaterally bomb Israel for its many violations of the UN Security Council resolutions.

There is another issue involved in Clinton's self-serving military misadventure. As Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law at University of Illinois points out, "the War Powers clause of the United States Constitution, Articles I, Section 8, expressly requires authorization by Congress before the President can engage in acts of war, unless there is a direct attack on the United States." Boyle adds, "Clinton has also violated the War Powers Resolution of 1973 that was enacted by Congress over President Nixon's veto in order to prevent a repetition of the Vietnam War scenario, where Americans were misled by repeated lies, misrepresentations, deceit and falsehoods every step of the way."

As has been reported by a number of human rights organizations as well as such investigators as our previous U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the U.S. and Britain, hiding behind their political control of the UN Security Council, are involved in a genocide of the Iraqi people, having killed to date, both by starvation and their particular brand of biological warfare, more than one and a half million Iraqis since the Gulf War.

This latest onslaught, at a cost of over $2 billion to the American taxpayers, will further impoverish the Iraqis (a people once the most prosperous in the Mideast), create more U.S.-directed anger amongst the Arab nations as well as world-wide disgust at our bullying, and encourage those acts of so-called terrorism which Washington is using to impose restrictions on its own population.