"Iraq's people have suffered enough"

From: Kathleen Kelly <kkelly@igc.apc.org>

Letter to the Editor

September 2, 1997

Chicago Tribune

Your editorial, "Iraq's people have suffered enough" (September 1, 1997), observes that the UN/US sanctions against Iraq have failed and that "there must be an effort to provide the common people of Iraq with life's basic necessities."

Since March, 1996, seven delegations from our campaign have traveled to Iraq for this purpose. On September 4, a delegation of religious leaders will enter Iraq, again breaking the siege against Iraq by openly bringing medicines to hospitals there.

Each delegation has seen the suffering of the Iraqi people. They have witnessed the horrifying conditions of children dying without adequate medicines, equipment or treatment, their agony a direct result of the embargo which has destroyed Iraq's formerly progressive medical infrastructure.

The UN/US policy toward Iraq constitutes child abuse. Over 1/2 million children have died while hundreds of thousands more are permanently crippled from malnutrition and disease resulting from this siege.

It constitutes biological warfare, because when you destroy the water purification, sewage treatment, and medical care facilities of a whole nation and then deny to it the means to repair and rebuild these systems you do not need to introduce any lethal biological organisms in order to have the effect of mass death by biological disease.

The US Treasury Department warns us that by traveling to Iraq we risk 12 years in prison and a one million dollar fine. We believe our actions are not criminal. Rather, the UN/US policy constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity because it makes innocent civilians the main victims of a virtual siege enforced by military might.

Sincerely,

Kathy Kelly

Voices in the Wilderness campaign

1460 West Carmen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60640 773-784-8065