|(This CNN photo of the bombing of Baghdad was taken by a CNN photographer in Dec 1998.)|
|The caption reads,
WARS ARE POOR CHISELS FOR CARVING OUT
WE MUST PURSUE PEACEFUL ENDS THROUGH
-Martin Luther King Jr.
SUPPOSE I told you that hundreds of thousands of innocent children were dying a slow, painful and unnecessary death in a place that used to be called the Garden of Eden.
And suppose I went on to say that a powerful government implemented this policy that has led to the deaths of these innocent children.
I don’t think many would disagree with me if I referred to such a government policy as cruel, amoral, unjust and evil, implemented by people not concerned with freedom and justice for all.
Reasonable people wouldn’t spend much time arguing about this analysis - unless I was talking about the foreign policy of the United States of America.
In Southern Iraq - a stretch of land that was once part of the Garden of Eden - there are thousands upon thousands of children dying of malnutrition and easily treatable diseases such as cholera because of what our leaders have done over there.
How did Eden turn into a huge graveyard? In a war for oil-power, American bombers destroyed Iraq’s electrical plants and water-treatment facilities in order to give us “long-term leverage,” as U.S. war strategist Col. John Warden admitted on a PBS program.
It’s true that America is a great and relatively free country; probably the free-est nation on earth. Nevertheless, America is also the home of policy-makers who are carrying out one of this century’s major atrocities.
UNICEF and every major human rights agency in the world has been trying to inform the American public that the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by us, under the auspices of the United Nations, is the major reason 500,000 Iraqi children have died. If you include other Iraqi civilians who have died in the wake of the sanctions the number reaches over one million! - an estimate the U.S. State Department doesn’t refute (I called them and asked).
Why don’t we know all about this? Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, pastor of St. Leo’s Church in Detroit, Michigan has an answer. “There is no public awareness of what is happening and that’s because our government doesn’t want the public to be aware. And the press is following right along,” the soft-spoken Catholic Bishop told me last week.
He ought to know. He’s been to Iraq several times since the Persian Gulf War and has seen the destruction first hand, visiting hospitals, churches and homes.
Why is he trying to bring attention to the situation in Iraq? “My conviction about all of this is that Saddam is not the point. The point is our economic embargo. It’s an indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction,” he said.