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Substitute "Iraqi" for "Vietnamese" in the following, and ponder anew the true costs and consequences of invading Iraq.

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the hearts of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.

--Martin Luther King quoting a Buddhist leader of Vietnam in his 1967 "Beyond Vietnam" speech.

[Since 1991] A World-Trade-Center's worth of Iraqi children
continue to die every month.

The following was written by Citizens Concerned for the People of Iraq & Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of Iraq and is mirrored from its source at as of August 17, 2002.

Sanctions and War on Iraq:
In 300 words

Before we rush to war with Iraq again, Americans must know what happened in the last war. In 1991, we bombed Iraq's civilian infrastructure to "accelerate the effect of sanctions" knowing it would shut down their water and sewage systems.[1] The UN reported there would soon be "epidemic and famine" and "time was short" to prevent it. We said that "by making life uncomfortable for the Iraqi people we would encourage them to remove President Saddam Hussein."[2] And we waited for this to happen.

We used epidemic and famine as tools of our foreign policy. We did it to cause suffering -- and death -- to get regime change at low cost. We tried to force the Iraqis to do it. But it was not low cost.

We learned from the New England Journal of Medicine in 1992 what happened: "These results provide strong evidence that the Gulf war and trade sanctions caused a threefold increase in mortality among Iraqi children under five years of age. We estimate that an excess of more that 46,900 children died between January and August 1991."[3]

That report was virtually ignored in this country, so that by 1999 UNICEF had to report on 500,000 excess Iraqi children's deaths.[4]

A World-Trade-Center's worth of Iraqi children continue to die every month. Diarrhea is "the prime killer."[5] Meanwhile we live in a fantasy world of surgical bombing, with few civilian casualties, and the untrue belief that the oil-for-food program could possibly meet Iraq's needs.[6]

But these basic facts are unknown to most Americans. A second Gulf War, done the same way as the first, may just overflow the reservoir of anger and hatred we've created by our policies. No one knows what will happen then. Until we recognize what we've done, we cannot judge what might happen.

--What you can do to help change this situation --

-- Thoughts on how to improve this article --

Posted on August 11, 2002.
Updated on August 17, 2002.

Citizens Concerned for the People of Iraq Homepage

  1. "Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq--Officials Acknowledge Strategy Went Beyond Purely Military Targets", by Barton Gellman, Washington Post, 23 Jun 1991, Page A1.
    full article:

  2. "After The War; U.N. Survey Calls Iraq's War Damage Near-Apocalyptic", by Paul Lewis, The New York Times, 22 Mar 1991, Friday, Late Edition - Final, Page A1, Column 6, Foreign Desk.

  3. "Special Article: Effect of the Gulf War on Infant and Child Mortality in Iraq", by Ascherio A., Chase R., Cote T., et al, New England Journal of Medicine, September, 1992, vol. 327, pp. 931-936.
    Abstract and related articles:
    full article:

  4. "Iraq surveys show `humanitarian emergency'", UNICEF, 12 Aug 1999, CF/DOC/PR/1999/29,
    Results of the 1999 Iraq Child and Maternal Mortality Surveys, UNICEF, August 1999,

  5. "Hall Urges U.S. Government to Review `Holds' on Iraqi Civilians' Needs", Press release from U.S. Cong. Rep. Tony Hall's office, June 28, 2000
    full press release:

  6. "The U.N.'s Oil-for-Food Program -- and consequences for Iraq's civilian population", includes excerpts -- -- from four citations:
    • "Iraq and the West: When sanctions don't work," The Economist 4/8/00
    • "The Crisis of Sanctions on Iraq", by Hans von Sponeck, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, director of oil-for-food program 1999-2000, meeting with members of an international WPSR/IPPNW delegation of doctors and activists in Baghdad on April 5, 1999
    • Tun Myat, director of oil-for-food program 2001-present, speaking to a visiting delegation in Baghdad, 5/14/02
    • Denis Halliday, director of oil-for-food program 1997-1998, 10/18/98

See Also:

"In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners."
- Albert Camus, from The Little Book of Peace

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