Excerpted from a VOICES IN THE WILDERNESS sign-on appeal:
Dear President Bush,
You have demonstrated your willingness to work with faith based communities and we appreciate your overtures. We, the undersigned, write to you now because of our profound concern for Iraqi civilians, and all those in the region affected by US policies towards Iraq. We welcome the readiness you have shown to heed alternative views as you consider changes in US policy toward Iraq. We believe that a meaningful new approach toward Iraq must surely begin with an earnest expression of remorse and regret for the suffering caused by the current sanctions policy, which long ago proved to be a failure. Merely re-packaging today's sanction regime guarantees only more failure. It is not enough to simply reduce the "holds" placed on contracts for humanitarian aid in the U.N.'s committee authorized to rule on such requests coming from Iraq. Nor is it sufficient to tinker around the edges of existing U.S. policy.
| Photo at Qurnah, Iraq - the cradle
photo by Chuck Quilty, Voices in the Wilderness, Dec. 1999.
Neither of these tactics will fully address the humanitarian disaster that many Iraqis presently face.
The current policy, while imposed in the name of the United Nations, is incompatible with the spirit and wording of the UN Charter and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It is in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit the targeting of civilians during warfare. It is widely recognized that economic sanctions can be a deadly form of warfare. UNICEF reports estimate that 4,500 children under age five die every month as a result of the economic sanctions.
We are concerned about the children and young people in Iraq today, who will continue to pay a price long after the sanctions are gone because of the damage done to the social infrastructure, particularly the educational system. The sanctions have isolated and alienated the next generation of Iraqi leadership, thereby suggesting even more difficult communication in the years ahead.
If the Iraqi people are to enjoy the fundamental human rights to education, housing, health care, employment, adequate food, and culture, we must look now toward a post-sanctions commitment to facilitate large-scale investments of public and private monies desperately needed to rehabilitate Iraq’s shattered economy.
Concerning efforts by the Government of Iraq to acquire weapons of mass destruction, we recommend an embargo on weapon sales to Iraq and to its neighbors, thus averting rather than exacerbating a regional arms race.
That would bring our military sanctions framework into compliance with Article 14 of the UN Security Council Sanctions Resolution 687, which sets a regional goal of "establishing in the Middle East a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery" and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons.
[Emphasis added by us; please note that while the US has punished the population of Iraq because of their leader’s desire to have ‘weapons of mass destruction’, we actively supply such weapons to neighbor states like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.]
To view this appeal in its entirety, visit the website http://www.nonviolence.org/vitw/Sign-on%20letter.html
To sign-on to this letter, contact Voices In the Wilderness at (773) 784-8065 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.