Sources: SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, Title: “Made in America,” Date: February 25, 1998, Author: Dennis Bernstein; I.F. MAGAZINE, Title: “Punishing Saddam or the Iraqis,” Date: March/April 1998, Author: Bill Blum; SPACE AND SECURITY NEWS, Title: “Our Continuing War Against Iraq,” Date: May 1998, Author: Most Rev. Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.)
SSU Censored Researcher: Diana Nouveaux
SSU Faculty Evaluator: John Steiner
For the past seven years, the United States has supported sanctions against Iraq that have taken the lives of more Iraqi citizens than did the war itself. The Iraqi people are being punished for their leader’s reticence to comply fully with U.S.-supported U.N. demands “to search every structure in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction.” Ironically, 1994 U.S. Senate findings uncovered evidence that U.S. firms supplied at least some of the very biological material that the U.N. inspection teams are now seeking. Although the United States defames the Iraqi government for damaging the environment and ignoring U.N. Security Council resolutions, it has itself engaged in covert wars in defiance of the World Court, and left behind a swath of ecological disasters in its continuing geopolitical crusade. Blum considers the U.S. demands both excessive and hypocritical.
A 1994 U.S. Senate panel report indicated that between 1985 and 1989, U.S. firms supplied microorganisms needed for the production of Iraq’s chemical and biological warfare. The Senate panel wrote: “It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and removed from the Iraqi biological warfare program.” Blum writes that shipments included biological agents for anthrax, botulism, and e-coli. The shipments were cleared even though it was known at the time that Iraq had already been using chemical and possibly biological warfare since the early 1980s. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles reported in 1990 that more than 207 companies from 21 western countries, including at least 18 from the United States, were contributing to the buildup of Saddam Hussein’s arsenal.
In one stunning incident in September 1989, according to Bernstein, U.S. military officials invited several Iraqi tech-nicians, along with some 400 other participants from 20 countries, to attend a crash course on how to detonate a nuclear weapon. The course was held at the Red Lion Inn in Portland, Oregon. Sponsors included several military agencies, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, and Sperry/Unisys, among others.
The sanctions imposed on Iraq are causing shortages of food, medical supplies, and medicines. Since the war ended, more than half a million children under the age of five have died. UNICEF reports that 150 children are dying every day. Moreover, countless Iraqi deaths have been caused by exposure to depleted uranium (DU) weapons left behind at the end of Desert Storm. According to Space and Security News, DU can be linked to birth defects known to be caused by radiation exposure. In the last seven years the rate of cancer among Iraqi children has increased dramati-cally. DU has a half-life of millions of years. Attempts at cleanup will be largely futile and are a low priority for a people faced with finding the basic necessities of food and medicine. Iraqi children wade daily through this poisoned “playground.”
The United States holds the position that sanctions against Iraq must continue until it can be proven that the country is unable to build biological and chemical weapons. Noam Chomsky observed in a 1990 PBS appearance that, since the 1940s, U.S. foreign policy has been one of maintaining control over the abundant energy resources in the Gulf region. Blum contends that the true purpose of the sanctions is to ultimately oust Hussein from power and lessen any threat to U.S. control of the region’s oil resources.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR DENNIS BERNSTEIN: “As of this writing, the United States and Great Britain have just concluded Operation Desert Fox, a massive four-day bombing of Iraq, unleashing more explosives on the country in 96 hours than during the entirety of the 1991 Gulf War. The timing of the high-tech missile attack was curious, to say the least. It began the day before impeachment hearings were due to commence in Washington, DC and ended on Ramadan, the Muslim high holy day.
“U.S. officials denied the assault was timed to distract attention from Clinton’s impending impeachment or to push the process into a new congress with a slimmer republican majority. Instead, they claimed the bombings were a result of a brand-new UNSCOM report compiled by chief inspector Richard Butler, which stated that Iraq failed to fully cooperate with U.N. inspectors. But the bottom line of the Butler Report was that the overwhelming majority of inspections were going forward with Iraqi cooperation and that officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency received ‘sufficient cooperation to carry out all the inspections they want.’
“So then, beyond the obvious impeachment distractions and the longstanding U.S. policy of dominating and controlling Middle Eastern oil resources, why the desperate need to bomb now? Critics and supporters of the bombing seem to agree that it was an attempt to destabilize Iraq, so America’s former good friend and ally, Saddam Hussein, could be overthrown by CIA-supported opposition forces. Defense Secretary William Cohen denied that was the U.S. objective, but stated it would certainly be a welcome outcome. The real significance of ‘Made in America’ is not only that the U.S. and its allies played a significant role in arming Iraq with weapons of mass destruction, but that those companies and politicians that were responsible for this lucrative but deadly policy were never held accountable. And there has been no attempt to take them to task.
”’ We know that, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, companies in the U.S., France, Germany, Russia, Britain, and elsewhere were providing technology and advice to the Iraqis,’ said Middle East expert, Phyliss Bennis. ‘We don’t know if that’s still going on. We don’t know the sources because UNSCOM has been forbidden from making that public. That has to change. If they were serious about disarmament, rather than serious about providing justifications for bombing, they would take up the disarmament issue in a regional context and go after the suppliers,’ said Dennis.”
UPDATE BY AUTHOR MOST REV. DR. ROBERT M. BOWMAN, LT. COL., USAF, RET.: “Few Americans are aware of the enormous human toll of our continuing war against Iraq. Five months after the publication of our article, the mainstream press reported Iraq’s ‘claims’ of dying children and soaring cancer rates. But one TV ‘expert’ after another denied that depleted uranium could have caused these effects. One said, ‘After all, it’s just what the name says—depleted.’ Another described it as just ‘the scrap metal left when you take out radioactive uranium.’
“The truth is, depleted uranium is just as radioactive as ‘natural’ uranium. All that’s gone is the U-235 isotope which gives off excess neutrons required for a fission chain reaction. The U-238 left gives off alpha particles, creating Thorium-234. This, in turn, gives off beta and gamma radiation, creating Protactinium. The chain continues through a dozen radioactive isotopes, finally producing the stable element lead. Every hunk of depleted uranium contains all these other radiation byproducts, with half-lives ranging from a few millionths of a second to a quarter of a million years. The stuff gives off every type of natural radiation, both the beta and gamma rays—which attack the body from without, even through clothing—and the alpha, which is deadly if ingested and becomes trapped inside the body. What’s more, it’s water-soluble and (unlike the plutonium in RTGs) capable of getting into the food chain. And this Chernobyl was no accident!”