Since 1991, a World Trade Center's worth of Iraqi children continue to die every month
Compared to what occurred over 11 years ago, the dangers today in the expanding quantum breakdown of adherence to the foundations of international law cannot be overstated. We must educate ourselves, friends, and acquaintances about what is being squandered in our name. Otherwise we become accessories after the fact to the destruction and death that threatens to engulf all life on earth.
This brings us to the central meaning of "Sanctions and War on Iraq: In 300 words". What does it say about our society and culture that since 1991, a "World-Trade-Center's worth of Iraqi children continue to die every month" as a direct result of the crimes against humanity perpetrated under the direction of the last three Presidents of the United States? What does this fact mean to each and every person in this nation-state who pays annual taxes, the largest portion of which goes to the ongoing expansion of the United States military? As tax-paying members of the United States, can we reconcile our culpability for these Iraqi deaths with the deaths of people one year ago in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania?
Facing these questions is extremely difficult. But face and resolve them we must. As responsible citizens, confronting these questions does not compare with the experiences of the people who died on 9-11 and those who died throughout Iraq from 1991 to today. As so frequently stated these days, "We will not forget", let us remember there is more to the story than only the events of 9-11.
Concerning the participation every tax-paying citizen of the United States has in the ever-expanding military budget, connecting with people working on challenging this situation makes a positive difference and offsets the misguided priorities of solving conflict by making war. The Pentagon receives about one-half of every dollar that Congress annually allocates. One Million Taxpayers for Peace focuses on encouraging participation to refuse and resist supporting expansion of the military and to add one's voice to those challenging the belief that war is a solution to problems. (See their summary of what our taxes pay for.)
The War Resisters League (WRL) "is committed not only to eliminating war, but the causes of war -- causes intricately linked to the violence that pervades our society". They recognize that "[h]uman survival depends on finding ways to negotiate and cooperate rather than continuing conflict through violence." The WRL "affirms that all war is a crime against humanity. We therefore are determined not to support any kind of war, international or civil, and to strive nonviolently for the removal of all causes of war." Among other strategies, the WRL provides many educational resources including "U.S. Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2003 - Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes" (also as a 2-page PDF file), and a Peace Calendar with 52 True Stories of Nonviolent Successes: "In telling this world's stories, our media, our historians, our generals, and our politicians gravitate toward war. It is the rest of humanity that gravitates toward peace, and it is our stories that this calendar tells."
The Federation of American Scientists website furnishes a wealth of information much of which centers in a nexus named the Military Analysis Network (see also its immensely useful Site Index). The Council for a Livable World also provides many detailed references on U.S. Military Spending.
As seemingly insurmountable and intimidating may be the fear that "there's nothing I can do" about the great transformational events occurring now in the world, encouragement to act comes from knowing there are people who care, people who people stand up and speak out for what is right and true. Nelson Mandela's words on September 10th speaks directly to what needs to be said and addressed, clearly and without obfuscation.
"If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace. Because what [America] is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries. That is the message they are sending to the world.
"That must be condemned in the strongest terms. And you will notice that France, Germany Russia, China are against this decision. It is clearly a decision that is motivated by George W. Bush's desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America. . . .
". . . Scott Ritter, a former United Nations arms inspector who is in Baghdad, has said that there is no evidence whatsoever of [development of weapons of] mass destruction [by Iraq]. Neither Bush nor [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair has provided any evidence that such weapons exist. But what we know is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody talks about that. Why should there be one standard for one country, especially because it is black, and another one for another country, Israel, that is white." 
Representative Ron Paul has just read into the Congressional Record 36 Questions That Won't Be Asked About Iraq in anticipation of hearings on the pending contrived war with Iraq. It is heartening to see that the widespread paralysis a year ago of people in both in and out of Congress -- who did not challenge the Bush II subversion of constitutional liberties as well as respect for domestic and international law -- are recommitting themselves to the principles that this nation-state, in all its imperfections, was founded upon.
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