ADC Action Alert:
New Congressional Letter Calls for Lifting Sanctions on Iraq: Ask Your
Representative to Sign the Letter
Representatives Tom Campbell (R-CA) and John Conyers (D-MI) are
circulating a new letter to President Clinton, calling for the lifting
of economic sanctions against the Iraqi people. Released today, this is
an important new initiative which can serve as a vehicle to express the
deep concern of the anti-sanctions movement about the humanitarian
crisis in Iraq. It deserves our support and requires immediate action.
This is not the only stirring of concern about the sanctions in
Congress. The letter follows a groundbreaking trip to Iraq by five
congressional staffers at the end of the summer — the first
congressional delegation since 1991. We are in hopes that a
congressional bill encouraging U.S. trade with Iraq will be introduced
when Congress returns and opens a new session in January.
A previous letter to President Clinton calling for the de-linking of
economic from military sanctions was sent by 43 members of Congress in
the fall of 1998. Let‘s try to increase the number of signatures this
While some of us may not agree with all of the specific language of the
letter, it is important that we support the congressional voices
questioning the sanctions policy and challenging other members of
Congress to take responsibility for the effects of U.S. policy on the
people of Iraq. The full text of the letter is below.
Please contact your Representative right away. Ask him or her to sign
on to the letter. Rep. Campbell‘s office tells us that it will
circulate the letter “for at least two weeks.” There is no cut-off date
as yet, but the letter may not circulate for an extended period.
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
You can reach any congressional office through the congressional
switchboard: (202) 224-3121.
Congress is out of session, so you may want to call their local
offices. You can look up your Representative‘s email address and the
address of local offices at: www.house.gov Click on the House
Directory, then on Member Web Pages.
TEXT OF LETTER:
Dear President Clinton:
We are again writing to you to ask that you de-link economic sanctions
from the military sanctions currently in place against Iraq.
More than nine years of the most comprehensive economic embargo imposed
in modern history has failed to remove Saddam Hussein from power or even
ensured his compliance with his international obligations, while the
economy and people of Iraq continue to suffer.
Reports from UNICEF, (the United Nation’s Children’s Fund) and other
United Nations agencies operating in Iraq estimate that over one million
civilians, mostly children, have died from malnutrition and disease as
a result of the embargo. UNICEF also reports that, despite the UN’s
Oil-for-Food program, several thousand children under the age of 5 die
(“Situation Analysis of Women and Children in Iraq,” 1998, UNICEF).
Earlier this year, a special United Nations Security Council panel
reported that “the gravity of the humanitarian situation is indisputable
and cannot be overstated.” Iraq has “experienced a shift from relative
affluence to massive poverty.” Prior to sanctions, Iraq’s healthcare
was regarded as amongst the best in the Middle East. Today, children
die from epidemics of once preventable diseases. The special Security
Council panel reported “infant mortality rates are among the highest in
the world.” Meanwhile the embargo effectively prevents Iraq from
purchasing equipment and spare parts required to restore water
purification, sewage treatment, medical infrastructure, electrical,
transportation, agricultural, and industrial production systems that
were severely damaged during the 1991 Gulf War.
The U.S. Administration has argued that sanctions remain necessary to
prevent Iraq from threatening its neighbors and rebuilding its arsenal.
The goal of these sanctions, however, seems to have changed. The
original UN resolutions imposed sanctions to pressure Iraq to eliminate
weapons of mass destruction programs. Statements by U.S. officials,
Albright and Sandy Berger, however, suggest that sanctions will remain
in place until Saddam Hussein is removed, or even beyond. This policy
clearly undermines the original intention of the sanctions, around which
the international consensus against Iraq was originally based, and makes
the children and families of Iraq into virtual hostages in the political
deadlock between the U.S.
and the government of Iraq. Morally, it is wrong to hold the Iraqi
people responsible for the actions of a brutal and reckless government.
Politically, this policy deprives the Iraqi regime of any incentive to
comply with UN resolutions and international norms.
The time has come to turn a new page in our dealings with Iraq. While
we have no illusions about the brutality of Saddam Hussein, the people
of Iraq should be allowed to restore their economic system. We simply
ask you to do what is right: lift the economic sanctions. At the same
time, we support the continued embargo on military equipment and
Tom Campbell John Conyers
Member of Congress Member of Congress
ADC Action Alert: