We come to the White House to condemn the ongoing US and British bombing of Iraq and to demand an end to the US-led UN economic sanctions. These attacks mean increased suffering and death for a people already victimized by the scourge of brutal economic sanctions. Blood is on the hands of the Clinton Administration, the Congress, the US Military, and all those who endorse these bombing raids and who enforce the economic sanctions.
During the December bombing of Iraq an array of weapons of
mass destruction were used -- from the
lethal B- 1 Bomber to Tomahawk cruise missiles. More cruise missiles were used in this attack (over 400)
than during the entire 42 day US bombing of Iraq in 1991. While the Pentagon reported that over 100 Iraqi
targets were successfully hit, it ignored news of civilian casualties and that the bombings destroyed a UN
warehouse in Iraq containing 2,600 tons of rice intended for hunger relief.
With respect to the impeachment of the president, much has been said about ending the "politics of destruction." These words ring empty as the US wages an unrelenting war against Iraq in order to protect US oil interests. and as George Bush stated, to protect our way of life. The deceit, hatred and misuse of power played out in the impeachment proceedings is but a reflection of a US foreign and military policy of secrecy and destruction! The US and British attack of Iraq is a gross violation of Divine and International law, and a war crime. It is a continuation of what Bush beg&e in 1991 when he ordered 88,000 tons of bombs be dropped on Iraq, killing over 150,000 civilians. We mourn and pray for past and present Iraqi victims. We pray that those supporting the war against Iraq will beg for God's mercy and ask forgiveness from the Iraqi people. We pray for a national conversion of heart to the way of compassion and nonviolence.
We support nonviolent. diplomatic solutions to conflict instead of military solutions. We call for an end lo future military threats against Iraq and for the immediate withdraw! of all US troops and weapons from the Persian Gulf. We call . too, for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, not only in Iraq, but everywhere in the world. It is hypocritical for the US, the world's leading nuclear superpower and main arms dealer in the Middle East. to demand that Iraq eliminate its weapons while refusing to disarm its own lethal arsenal. It is also hypocritical for the US and UN lo demand that Iraq disarms while Israel possesses some 200 nuclear weapons. If real disarmament is to occur there must be an equal standard applied to all nations.
UNSCOM failed to provide conclusive evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The one weapon of mass destruction that UNSCOM has overlooked is the weapon of sanctions. UNICEF estimates that over 1.5 million Iraqis have allot, half of whom are children. as a direct result of economic sanctions. UNICEF estimates that 250 Iraqi children die daily from preventable diseases and malnutrition. One million Iraqi children are now malnourished. The UN "Oil for Food'' deal has failed to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people. The sanctions have served only to strengthen the repressive Iraqi regime. The economic sanctions are an act of counter-population warfare. Article 54 of the Geneva Protocol I states: "Starvation of' civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited." We call for the immediate lifting, of these criminal sanctions.
It is time to stop demonizing Arab peoples and to recognize that the Iraqi people are our brothers and sisters-- we are all children of the same Creator. In this New Year it is time to make peace with Iraq. In the name of God who commands us not to kill, we must stop the killing of the Iraqi people. Let Iraq live!
For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649