by Ramsey Clark
The genocide in Iraq caused by Security Council sanctions forced by
the United States and the bombing of Iraq by U.S. aircraft and missiles
continues unabated. A nationwide survey by 50 U.S. citizens in Iraq
last month, my eleventh trip to Iraq since sanctions were imposed on
August 6, 1990, confirmed that deaths caused by sanctions increased
for the tenth consecutive year, though the rate of increase has
declined. General health conditions continue to deteriorate though
available food and medicine has increased slightly, apparently from the
cumulative effects of decade long severe shortages.
Other health concerns include increasing cancer rates, greatest among
the young, which the people of Iraq and the medical care system
believe are caused by depleted uranium from the near one million
depleted uranium shells fired into Iraq by the U.S. in the first months of
1991 and the probable use of depleted uranium ammunition since.
Among many examples of such concern we encountered was a
statement made to me by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Basra,
Monsignor Djibrael Kassab, that the small Catholic population within
his diocese has recently suffered three infant births with deformities
never seen before including the absence of facial features and eyes,
which he has reported to the Vatican.
Constant overflights with frequent aerial strikes against Iraq have
continued, averaging several attacks a week with deaths and injuries
nearly every week.
The Genocidal Effect Of Sanctions On Iraq
To January 20, 2001
Infant mortality from selected llnesses caused by the U.N. sanctions
against Iraq has increased from a monthly average of slightly less than
600 deaths in 1989 to more than 6700 in 2000, or eleven times. The
percentage of total registered births under 2.5 kgs in 1990 was 4.5%.
In 2000 it was nearly 25%, up five times. For children under five years
old the average number of reported cases of kwashiorkor, marasmus
and other malnutrition illnesses caused by protein, calorie and/or
vitamin deficiences rose from less than 8550 in 1990 to 190,000 in
2000, an increase of more than 22 times.
The sanctions must be completely removed immediately. Every day
the sanctions continue adds to the death toll of the worst genocide of
the last decade of the most violent century in human history.
The U.S., realizing that world opinion will no longer tolerate the
sanctions, is seeking to take credit for modifying them while its
purpose will be to continue to control their implementation and cause
their reinstatement for alleged violations by Iraq. Under the ruse of
arms inspections and false claims of arms violations, the U.S. has
systematically frustrated any easing of sanctions. The U.S. has
claimed and failed to prove, a long series of violations by Iraq including
false claims that Iraq was withholding food and medicine from its own
people when Iraqs model system of food distribution and rationing has
saved its people. I have repeatedly reported these U.S. deceptions to
the Security Council since the food for oil program was initiated.
Combined with the failure of the Sanctions Committee to approve
contracts by Iraq for purchases of urgently needed medicines, food and
equipment, the U.S. has succeeded in preventing the easing of
sanctions and will continue to do so if they are not completely ended.
Criminal Aerial Assaults On Iraq
The United States has bombed Iraq from aircraft and cruise missiles
with impunity since the cease fire in February 1991. In the week
before the inauguration of William J. Clinton as President of the United
States on January 20, 1993, President George Bush authorize a fierce
campaign of bombing. President Clinton continued the aerial attacks
and bombing on January 21, 1993 and throughout his eight years in
office. On occasion large numbers of cruise missiles were launched
hitting among many civilian facilities the Al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad
and the home of Iraqs most famous painter and the Director of its
Museam of Modern Art, Leyla al Attar. Out of thousands of unlawful
aerial sorties and hundreds of violent attacks on defenseless people in
Iraq, including the passengers on a U.N. helicopter, the U.S. did not
suffer a single casualty. Still the U.S. has insisted it must attack and
kill Iraqi's to protect its aircraft which had no right to fly over Iraq though
no U.S. aircraft have been hit.
U.S. aircraft joined occasionally by U.K. planes attacking targets in
Iraq are engaged in criminal violence and crimes against peace. Those
who ordered the flights and attacks and the pilots who executed the
orders committed criminal acts that have caused the deaths of
hundreds of people.
The Security Council has condoned these continuing criminal assaults
under pressure from the U.S. and tragically, has approved the
genocidal sanctions against Iraq. It has ignored other illegal attacks
by the U.S. including the surprise attacks on Tripoli and Benghazi,
Libya in April 1986 which killed hundreds of civilians and the 20 cruise
missile assault on the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum,
Sudan in August 1998 which provided half the medicine available to the
people of Sudan. Nothing could be more dangerous to world peace.
The new U.S. Administration has continued to make criminal aerial
assaults on Iraq and threatened to increase them as an alternative to
sanctions which it now suggests have failed.
The Security Council must proclaim the assaults on Iraq to be the
crime they clearly are and demand they stop.
Widespread and growing anger at the genocide sanctions and the
criminal assaults against Iraq will turn into rage, violence and war
unless they are stopped. The very first purpose of the U.N. is to
prevent this scourge of war.
Copyright © 2001 Ramsey Clark. The preceding is a letter that Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney
General, sent to the UN Security Council on February 28, 2001.