Arab-Americans Demand an End to the Killing in Iraq

Arab-Americans Demand an End to the Killing in Iraq
Washington D.C., August 18 — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee (ADC) is demanding an end to U.S. policies which are leading to increasing numbers of civilian deaths in Iraq. Violent deaths caused by the almost daily bombing attacks only compound the slower, more quiet but even more deadly effects of the sanctions which have decimated the
country. 19 Iraqis were killed yesterday in American and British bomb attacks on
Iraq. In the worst incident civilian areas of Jassan, 125 miles south-east of Baghdad, were attacked leaving 11 family members dead, including four children and four women, and several houses destroyed. Rescuers and residents are searching for an Iraqi baby from the same family trapped under the rubble of a house. This attack and the resulting civilian casualties have been largely ignored by the American media, which seems to have accepted the routinization of the attacks against Iraq. Yesterday’s carnage brings the total number of Iraqis killed this year in American and British bombing raids to 134. Since December, Britain and the United States have fired no less than 1,100 missiles on Iraq, with pilots flying “two-thirds as many missions as NATO pilots flew over Yugoslavia in 78 days of around-the-clock war there,” according to the New York Times.
The extent of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq has been clarified more than ever by recent reports from Amnesty International, Dr Richard Garfield of the School of Public Health at Columbia University, the International Committee of the Red Cross and UNICEF. These reports confirm that the sanctions have had a devastating effect on the civilian population of Iraq, and have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. The government and some media in the United States have used the UNICEF report to suggest that the Iraqi government is responsible for these deaths since there has been somewhat less devastation in northern Iraq where the Iraqi government has less
control. UNICEF Director Carol Bellamy has said that she believes the difference in mortality rates is the result of several factors: the north has been receiving humanitarian assistance for longer than central and southern areas; agriculture in the north is somewhat better; and evading sanctions is a little bit easier in the north. The UNICEF report, properly understood, indicates nothing that would shift the responsibility for the effects of sanctions away from those that initiated and maintain them and towards the Iraqi government. Responsibility for the deaths of civilians, especially children, clearly lies with those who cause them through withholding food and medicine and dropping bombs. The tragic consequences of these policies, which are supposed to be directed at the Iraqi government not the Iraqi people, urgently demand that the US government rethink its entire approach towards Iraq.

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