October 5, 1998
President Bill Clinton
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to urge you to support steps to help alleviate the suffering of vulnerable sectors of the Iraqi civilian population, especially children, who have been gravely affected by economic sanctions imposed on that country in the wake of the Gulf War….
|Made possible by your
Northern Iraq, April 30 1999.
Printed in the Sep 99 New Internationalist
According to studies by UN agencies, child mortality rates have risen five fold due to malnutrition and disease since the sanctions were imposed seven years ago. UNICEF estimate the sanctions may have been the indirect cause of over 500,000 deaths of children under the age of five. UNICEF also reports that "the food rationing system provides less than 60% of the required daily calorie intake, the water and sanitation system are in a state of collapse, and there is a critical shortage of life-saving drugs." These grim circumstances may lead to the devastation of an entire generation of Iraqi children who will be left with permanent disabilities caused by malnutrition….
To significantly improve the humanitarian situation in Iraq it is imperative that the US take several steps, both within the Security Council and with regard to our own regulations. We urge you to take the following actions:
· Expeditiously approve contracts presented to the Sanctions Committee for spare parts for Iraqi's oil industry to improve industry efficiency and generate increased revenues for humanitarian assistance.
· Support improvements in monitoring and oversight mechanisms for the movement and delivery of relief supplies to civilians.
· Streamline Treasury Department procedures to permit private U.S. charities and religious leaders to deliver humanitarian aid lawfully and expeditiously….
Senator Paul D. Wellstone
Senator Spencer Abraham
Sen. Wellstone thanked us for our letter, and we in turn thank Sen. Wellstone for his letter! Neither Wisconsin senator has responded as Sen. Wellstone has.
But we should keep asking! Write to your Congresspeople about this! The letters really do make a difference! Or else call them, or e-mail them, or write to your newspaper, or all of the above! The lives of an entire nation are at stake.