Our (US) government is poised to resume bombing of Iraq,
citing Saddam Hussein's recent hindrance
of UN weapons-inspection teams
which he accepted in order to end the 1991 Gulf War …
We oppose this most fundamentally because
this would bring mass destruction to innocent civilians
who are already suffering under Hussein's rule
and dying under a harsh and futile 7-year embargo
on necessities such as medicine and food …
Public pressure can lead to better alternatives …
IRAQ FAQs and FACTs
Don't "smart bombs" steer clear of Iraqi civilians?
In 1991, we used twelve times more dumb bombs that missed their military targets than smart bombs that were accurate (10-40% were not, Int'l Herald Tribune, 3/18/91). The carnage was hidden by Pentagon censorship of the media.
Aren't Iraqi civilian deaths due to their use as human shields?
Iraq is a densely populated nation, and we subjected it to the heaviest levels of bombing in history. There were no safe places for Iraqi civilians. We bombed shelters, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and even families fleeing into Jordan. Now, mixing radioactive US bombs with suspected Iraqi chemical or biological sites risks even greater harm.
Why don't the Iraqi people overthrow Hussein?
The main Iraqi democratic opposition is in exile, and Bush and Clinton have ignored them (Prospects for Global Order, vol. 2). After the Gulf War, our generals stood by while Hussein squelched Kurdish and Shiite revolts. Our attacks and sanctions make Hussein stronger, not weaker—it is easy for him to portray himself as a heroic defender of Iraqi victims of US brutality.
Isn't the bombing aimed at Hussein?
Our government has used dissenters such as the Kurds as pawns to weaken Hussein a little, but without losing him as a "balance" to Iran. Bush's war was truncated so as not to topple Hussein, and Hussein would remain after Clinton's war, too.
Isn't the US aim to destroy Hussein's weapons of mass destruction?
Officially, yes. But even if Iraq is hiding chemical or biological weapons (CBWs), we cannot bomb every vial, or every relevant Iraqi scientist. And we are not bombing other CBW-laden Mideast nations, such as Egypt, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The US is easily this century's leader in the use of CBWs (napalm in Asia and Central America, crop-killing insects in Cuba and Korea, Agent Orange, etc.) and US corporations largely supplied Hussein with CBWs, with full approval of Reagan/Bush State Depts. All modern weapons are of "mass destruction"; they are everywhere.
For former UN inspector Raymond Zalinskas' report that all Iraq's chemical and biological weapons sites have been destroyed, listen here.
Doesn't Hussein's use of these weapons against his own people show that he's mad?
Hussein's brutality has not been random. He is accused of gassing rebels—horrifying atrocities, but no worse than US-supported thugs in Indonesia, Cambodia, across Latin America, etc. Before CIA arming of Kurdish factions in the 70s, Hussein's Ba'ath Party treated them better than did Iran, Syria, & Turkey. Bush waited 2˝ years to villify Hussein (and then despite evidence that the 3/88 attack was by Iran—NYT, 4/28/91). The Pentagon's forced experimental injections, and denials of 60,000 vets' Gulf-War-Syndrome ills, reveal a special attitude to its "own" people.
Doesn't his invading Kuwait and bombing Israel show that he must be stopped now?
The invasion was wrong (like Bush's in Panama), but it was not an unprovoked sign of larger intentions. Kuwait was "slant drilling" for oil under lands disputed since the British forcibly divided Kuwait from Iraq for easier control of oil flow (the US plans no bombings of London). One week before the invasion US Ambassador to Iraq Glaspie intimated official indifference to Iraqi troop movements. War fever rose when a Kuwaiti-paid PR firm lied about stolen incubators. And w/o the war, Iraq would not have attacked Israel (cf. Israel's 1981 peacetime attack on Iraq).
Don't we (in the US) have the right to force Iraq to comply with UN resolutions?
Not at all—to attack without UN approval would show more serious US contempt for the UN Charter, which allows only the right of "self-defense if an armed attack occurs" (Article 51). Iraq is not attacking anyone—indeed, it would barely be capable of doing so in its current state—so a US military stampede would be a rogue, international crime. One chief purpose of the UN is to avoid vigilante wars, and the UN alone has the jurisdiction to enforce UN laws.
How else can we get Iraq to allow UN weapons searches?
First and foremost, vigilante aggression is unacceptable, and the murderous embargo on human necessities must be lifted immediately and unconditionally (Article 23 of the Geneva Convention requires "the free passage of all medical and hospital stores … essential foodstuffs, clothing …"). This would save the lives of citizens and the "face" of world leaders, helping end the US/Iraq cycle of toughness producing more toughness. Also, since many nations operating in the region brandish or use CBWs or nuclear weapons-with the US by far the worst offender, and with Iraq itself a target both of threats and of actual
use—all or none should be subject to full-inspection and dismantling programs. As is, Iraq has little reason to believe that cooperating further would lead to its security or to the lifting of sanctions: the US either ignores UN reports of Iraqi compliance, or makes up additional conditions on the fly (that Hussein not build a palace,
pay for captured Kuwaiti weapons, etc.). Secretary of State Christopher even declared that Hussein cannot "stay in office" compatibly with "compliance" (MacNeil-Lehrer, 10/16/94). Our leaders call this "diplomacy", and demand we get fighting mad when it "fails".
**Evidence for the claims in this document are in Ramsey Clark's The Fire This Time, and CAQ (Summer 91, Summer 95) (www.worldmedia.com/caq), and the refs therein. Prepared by Univ. of Michigan prof. Eric Lormand (http://bounce.to/lormand) for an Ann Arbor coalition to prevent the bombing (firstname.lastname@example.org).