MER FLASHBACK:(originally published 11/24 last year)
G E N O C I D E O N I R A Q :
As if 12 to 20 million Americans Had Been Killed By Sanctions Since 1990
MER - Washington - 24 November 1997:
The U.S. is at war with Iraq -- make no mistake about that. And it is brutal, nearly
genocidal war -- make no mistake about that. And it is substantially the result of the
convoluted, but real nevertheless, U.S./Israeli/Saudi alliance to control the entire
Middle East region -- make no mistake about that either.
Iraq is being collectively tortured for its defiance of American and Israeli domination
plans for the region. Even official U.N. reports document that nearly 1 million Iraqis --
mostly the young and the elderly -- have died in the past seven years as a direct result
of American policies. Other expert estimates put the number at somewhere between 1.5 and 2
million -- half under the age of 5.
When compared to the American population, this would be the equivalent of some 12 to
20+ million Americans killed since 1990!
And more bombing, destruction, misery, and collective death lie immediately ahead. And
yet, still facilitating this terrible carnage -- no matter what public relations theatrics
they use -- the Arab "client regimes" from Cairo to Amman to Riyadh continue to
allow American aircraft carriers and battle ships to pass through the Suez Canal and
American bombers of all descriptions to land at their huge desert military encampments,
preparing another round of devastation for the people of Iraq.
The following eye-witness account was published last Sunday in THE BALTIMORE SUN:
SANCTIONS HARM ORDINARY IRAQIS
Observations: "Our government doesn't want us to see the devastation our policy
has caused," says a free lance- writer who visited the country.
By George Capaccio
When you picture Iraq, what do you see? Visions of Saddam Hussein? Hidden containers of
anthrax and nerve gas? Scud missiles on the alert? Having visited Iraq last spring, this
is what I see: dignifiedMuslim women begging on Baghdad Street corners; young boys hawking
cigarettes and kerosene to help support their families; a father running with his child
into a hospital emergency room because thereare so few functioning ambulances;a middle
aged man with diabetes standing by a hospital entrance and pleading with me for insulin.
Inside the hospitals, I see blood and urine stained mattresses; brokenair conditioners
and light fixtures; dimly lighted pediatric wards; mothers tending their children day and
night; and hundreds of childrenwaiting for medicine that never comes. This is what several
years of sanctions has done to this once prosperous country. This is the pictureyou won't
see on the 6 o'clock news.
When i went to Iraq I broke the law. The United States want Americancitizens going
there. And for good reason. Our governement doesn't wantus to see the devastation our
policy has caused.
Our policy of sanctions against Iraq has claimed the lives of more than1 million Iraqis
- mostly children. I visited hospitals in Baghdad and Basra. I met Iraqi women
andchildren. They are sick and they are dying.They do not have enough foodor medicine.
They do not have hope. They are without these things because the United States has decreed
they can be sacrificed in thename of a vendetta against Saddam Hussein.
In Iraq, I saw numerous little boys and girls with signs of severe
malnutrition-distended bellies, glossy eyes, discolored hair and profound weakness. Thanks
to sanctions, the doctors, in too many cases,can do nothing but provide supportive care
while these children wither away in hospitals that are falling apart.
What could I have said to these dying children? Should I have said what the American
media are now telling us that the suffering of the Iraqi people is due to one man and his
intransigence in the face of international opposition? That whatever the price, the United
States must stop this person from manufacturing weapons of mass destruction?
The United States and the United Nations are the ones weilding theweapons of mass
destruction. These weapons are the sanctions against Iraq.
I tried to tell an american official in the U.S. Embassy in Amman,Jordan, what it was
like to cradle an Iraqi child in my arms, to caress his hair and brow, and to know this
child's quiet pain and sufferingare the fruits of U.S. policy. The official responded he
had a job to do, to clarify U.S. policy, not justify it, he said.
Over and over, the people I met asked me, "Why is your government doingthis to us?
When will it end?
It will end when our government stops punishing the people of a countryfor the policies
of its leader. It will end when we reach out to ordinary Iraqi people with fellowship and
compassion. It will end whenwe help them rebuild their country, rather than sending them
aircraft carriers and cruise missiles."
[Baltimore Sun - Sunday - Nov 23, 1997 Page 7F]
Note on author: George Capaccio is a free-lance writer and artist and educator based in
Arlington, Mass. Last march he traveled to Iraq to distribute medical supplies and to
witness for himself the effects of seven years of sanctions.