Iraq: Evidence, Directions and Kids

jacdon at jacdon at
Fri Dec 20 12:26:21 MST 2002

The following 3 short pieces about Iraq are from the email Mid-Hudson
Activist Newsletter, published in New Paltz, N.Y., by the Mid-Hudson
National People's Campaign, via jacdon at


Think back to early October, when the House and Senate were debating
the  resolution granting President Bush the authority to attack Iraq.
Do you remember when top administration officials were claiming that
Iraq not only possessed weapons of mass destruction but identified some
specific sites where biological weapons and other prohibited military
goods were allegedly being produced and where long-range missiles were
being tested?  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld even produced
satellite photographs as evidence.

Well, according to former UN chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter, now a
whistle-blower par excellence,  such "evidence" does not seem to exist.
One of the first tasks the new weapons inspectors accomplished upon
returning to Iraq recently was to scrutinize those particular sites.
"They inspected every one of those sites and did not find a thing,"
Ritter told an audience at Michigan's Oakland University Dec. 2.  "It's
not as though the Iraqis cleaned them up.  The inspectors say nothing
has been going on in these facilities for four years" --  since the U.S.
withdrew the inspectors as a prelude to a major bombing campaign.  If
Rumsfeld truly has information about where Iraq is hiding weapons,
Ritter continued, "why wasn't he sharing this information with the
inspectors on the ground?"


George Bush may launch his war against Iraq within months, but the great
majority of Americans 18-24 years old -- the age of those who will do
the fighting -- cannot locate this Middle Eastern country on a map.
According to the National Geographic 2002 Global Geographic Literacy
Survey, released in late November, only 15% of this age group
successfully identified Iraq on a map.  Only 17% located Afghanistan, a
country invaded and occupied by the U.S. for over a year.  We suspect
the great majority of GIs deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan have even less
comprehension of the real reasons they were sent to war than they have
of geography, but this was not one of the survey questions.   Out of
nine countries polled, Sweden scored the highest in geographic literacy,
Mexico lowest, and the U.S. was next to lowest.  Why should America's
youth be taught to find Iraq on the map when all they have to do is
follow the generals to get there?


White House propagandists seek to convey the impression that the
population of Iraq consists of but one person, Saddam Hussein, and that
only he will be harmed by a new war.  Iraq, however, consists of 23
million people -- and a great many of them who have survived the
sanctions are extremely  young.

These are the Iraqis who will suffer the most from George Bush's planned
invasion. Indeed, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has just reported, a
war will devastate the children of Iraq.

The agency noted that important improvements in child nutrition have
become evident in recent years, due to a change in sanctions regulations
that allow Baghdad to sell oil to purchase food, medicine and
humanitarian supplies.

Even so, according to a Nov. 22 statement by Carel de Rooy, director of
UNICEF's Iraq branch, "there are close to one million children under the
age of five suffering from chronic malnutrition."  A new war, he said,
"could seriously affect the distribution of food, leaving children at
risk of severe malnutrition."  In addition, he continued, a new war
would harm Iraqi families (and thus children) more than the 1991
conflict because they are much poorer now and have fewer resources after
intense U.S. bombings destroyed much of the country's civil

De Rooy said the nutritional improvements, for which he credited the
Iraqi government, are reducing the country's high rate of childhood
mortality.  Over a million children have died as a consequence of the
severe sanctions initiated by the U.S. following the 1991 war.  Now the
pain is finally easing  -- just in time for Bush's new war.

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