Since the last post, American and British planes have been involved in several strikes against Iraq, including at least two that break with the standard pattern of no-fly-zone attacks. Most such attacks involve reactions to threats or perceived threats to the planes making the (illegal) overflights, but these were pre-planned attacks designed to "degrade" Iraq's air defense systems. The first, on August 10, involved 50 planes (20 attack and 30 support) attacking three different radar sites; the second was August 14.
A slow-moving, unmanned reconnaissance aircraft "Predator".
October 1998 file photo.
REUTERS/Jeffrey S. Viano-U.S. Navy
According to Stratfor, a private company composed mostly of ex-military officers that does intelligence analysis, the strategy of strikes to degrade the air defense of Iraq is simply a prelude to another Desert Fox-style bombing campaign (that involved over 400 cruise missiles, as well as conventional gravity bombs, and killed an estimated 1600 Iraqis, while damaging crucial infrastructure).
Finally, some of you may know of Georgetown University Professor Thomas Nagy's discovery last year of a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency document from the Gulf War entitled "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities," which evaluated the effects destruction of Iraq's water treatment system would have on the country, and how sanctions would continue those effects:
-- "Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline. With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations Sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease."
Professor Nagy has unearthed further documents that, he says, prove "beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War." His article in the Progressive (http://www.progressive.org/0801issue/nagy0901.html) provoked Representative Cynthia McKinney, to tell a House hearing that
"Attacking the Iraqi public drinking water supply flagrantly targets civilians and is a violation of the Geneva Convention and of the fundamental laws of civilized nations." (http://www.captimes.com/opinion/column/nichols/3953.php)
The initial reports last year of this war crime drew virtually no media attention.