NY Times ad: sanctions as weapons of mass destruction


Jan Slakov

Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 21:20:41 +0000
From: Paul Swann <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: End Iraq Sanctions NYT Signature Ad

Forwarded message - reply to:  <•••@••.•••>

Sender:       "AGITPROP_NEWS,
              A digest of political news for artists and activists"
From:         Anthony Arnove <•••@••.•••>
Subject:      End Iraq Sanctions NYT Signature Ad

Please sign on, distribute, post, announce:

Available at http://www.endiraqsanctions.com

Advisory Board

Noam Chomsky

Howard Zinn
Boston University

Edward W. Said
Columbia University

Robert Jensen
University of Texas at Austin

William Keach
Brown University

Ad Coordinator:
Sharon Smith

February 3, 1999

Dear Friend,

A growing chorus of people, in this country and around the world, are
demanding an end to the murderous sanctions against Iraq, which are a
direct result of U.S. government policy. The sanctions have taken a
staggering toll among Iraqi civilians-especially the sick, the elderly and,
above all, children under the age of 5.

Here in the U.S., the mainstream media is finally giving some attention to
the deadly effects of the sanctions. But much more is needed. Most people
in this country have little or no knowledge of the human suffering that is
being inflicted by our government, in our name.

We have initiated a campaign to place a full-page signature ad in the New
York Times. We believe that such an ad can play an important part in giving
voice to the growing opposition to the sanctions against the Iraqi people.

The purpose of this letter is to ask you to sign on to the signature ad,
which will appear in the New York Times within the next six weeks. We also
ask that, if at all possible, you enclose a contibution to help finance it.
As you may imagine, the ad will cost a great deal of money-$34,000. But it
will allow us to reach the widest possible audience with the facts about
the sanctions.

We have enclosed the text of the ad as it will appear. Please fill out the
form below and return it to us in the enclosed envelope at your earliest
convenience. We are certain that you share our sense of urgency to place
this ad as quickly as possible.

If you add your name, we will contact you to let you know when to look for
the signature ad.


 _____  Yes, add my name to the New York Times signature ad:

Mailing Address_________________________________________________

_____  I want to help finance the ad. Enclosed is a check for:

$50_____        $100_____       $500_____       $1,000_____     Other______

Please make checks payable to the New York Times and mail to:

End the Sanctions Against Iraq Signature Ad Campaign
P.O. Box 16085
Chicago IL 60616
v 773-665-8695
f 773-665-9651
e •••@••.•••

*Organizations are listed for identification purposes only.

Sanctions ARE Weapons of Mass Destruction

We the undersigned call upon the United States government to end all
sanctions against the people of Iraq.

        At the end of 1998, the United States once again rained bombs on
the people of Iraq. But even when the bombs stop falling, the U.S. war
against the people of Iraq continues-through the United Nations harsh
sanctions on Iraq, which are the direct result of U.S. policy.
        This month, U.S. policy will kill 4,500 Iraqi children under the
age of 5, according to United Nations studies, just as it did last month
and the month before that all the way back to 1991. Since the end of the
Gulf War, more than a million Iraqis have died as a direct result of the UN
sanctions on Iraq.
To oppose the sanctions is not equivalent to supporting the regime of
Saddam Hussein. To oppose the sanctions is to support the Iraqi people.
Saddam Hussein is a murderous dictator, who promotes those who are loyal to
him and kills all those who voice opposition to his regime. But throughout
the 1980s, when it suited U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East, the
U.S. government was more than willing to ignore Saddam Hussein's brutality.
In fact, U.S. and European companies provided Iraq with materials used to
produce Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction." Moreover, the
sanctions have not affected the lifestyle of Saddam Hussein or his inner
circle. Food and medicine are available for those who can afford it. The
sanctions hurt only the Iraqi people.
        The sanctions are weapons of mass destruction. When a UN
inspections team visited Iraq to survey the damage from the Gulf War in
March 1991, it concluded that the bombing has reduced Iraq to a
"pre-industrial age." The team said at that time that if the sanctions were
not lifted, the country faced "immediate catastrophe."  Yet the sanctions
have continued for the last seven years, preventing Iraq from obtaining the
hard currency to buy basic food stuffs and medicines-or to rebuild its
infrastructure. The oil-for-food deal that allows Iraq to sell $5.2 billion
of its oil every six months has had only marginal effects. The United
Nations takes one-third of all oil revenues for war reparations and its own
expenses. The oil-for-food program does not generate enough money to feed
adequately a population of 22 million. Raising the ceiling would not help.
The refineries were bombed during the war and need to be rebuilt-even now,
Iraq is unable to produce all the oil it is allowed to. In October, Denis
Halliday, the UN coordinator for humanitarian aid to Iraq, resigned in
protest, arguing that the sanctions "are starving to death 6,000 Iraqi
infants every month, ignoring the human rights of ordinary Iraqis and
turning a whole generation against the West."
        The sanctions also prevent Iraq from importing many basic
necessities. Most pesticides and fertilizer are banned because of their
potential military use. Raw sewage is pumped continuously into water that
people end up drinking because Iraq's water treatment plants were blown up
by US bombs in 1991-and most have never been repaired. Yet chlorine is
banned under the sanctions because it also could be of military use.
Typhoid, dysentery and cholera have reached epidemic proportions. Farid
Zarif, deputy director of the UN humanitarian aid program in Baghdad,
argued recently, "We are told that pencils are forbidden because carbon
could be extracted from them that might be used to coat airplanes and make
them invisible to radar. I am not a military expert, but I find it very
disturbing that because of this objection, we cannot give pencils to Iraqi
        For the past several years, individuals and groups have been
delivering medicine and other supplies to Iraq in defiance of the U.S.
blockade. Now, members of one of those groups, Chicago-based Voices in the
Wilderness, have been threatened with massive fines by the federal
government for "exportation of donated goods, including medical supplies
and toys, to Iraq absent specific prior authorization." Our government is
harassing a peace group that takes medicine and toys to dying children: we
owe these courageous activists our support.
        This is not foreign policy-it is state-sanctioned mass murder. The
Iraqi people are suffering because of the actions of both the Iraqi and
U.S. governments, but our moral responsibility lies here in the United
States. If we remain silent, we are condoning a genocide that is being
perpetrated in the name of peace in the Middle East, a mass slaughter that
is being perpetrated in our name.

Anthony Arnove
South End Press
7 Brookline Street #1
Cambridge MA 02139-4146
v 617-547-4002
f 617-547-1333