Feb 18, 2002
With Bush’s State of the Union speech, in which he called Iraq, Iran and North Korea an “axis of evil,” the media has been talking about the possibility of a war against Iraq.
The U.S. is, however, already at war with Iraq. Since the Persian Gulf war in 1991, U.S. and British airplanes have maintained a low-intensity bombing campaign against Iraqi cities. And there has also been a relentless economic embargo against Iraq since 1991, bragged about by U.S. State Department officials as “the toughest, most comprehensive sanctions in history.”
The effects of the embargo have been devastating for the population of Iraq. According to the estimates of United Nations agencies, half a million children under the age of five died in Iraq between 1991 and 1998 due to malnutrition and deterioration of sanitary conditions directly caused by the embargo. The infrastructure and health care system of the country are in a state of deterioration and disrepair, causing epidemics of diseases such as malaria, which had practically disappeared before 1991. The U.N. and Red Cross say that as many as 70% of women in Iraq are suffering from anemia, and one in every three Iraqi women who die in child-bearing age (15-49 years old) die due to complications surrounding maternity. Compared to the 1980s, infant mortality in Iraq has more than doubled. Today, one in every four babies born is underweight; 60% of the population doesn’t have access to clean water; 83% of all schools are in dire need of repairs. According to the U.N., Iraq has gone “from relative affluence to massive poverty” during the last 11 years.
And now Bush seems to be proposing to open a new war front against Iraq, which obviously could only increase the devastation and heighten the suffering of the people of Iraq.
If Bush and the corporations whose interests he represents, continue to have their way, the people of Iraq stand in danger of even more suffering than they have had to endure for the past 11 years. They would not be the only victims. Workers in the U.S. also stand to lose if we agree to fight these wars. We will be the ones paying the social and economic costs of the billions of dollars wasted in these destructive wars; and we, our sons and daughters, are called upon to put our lives on the line.