MER - Washington - 12 Nov: Ramsey Clark was Attorney General of the United States in the Johnson Administration, and his father was a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. After resigning in protest over the Vietnam War Clark reassessed both his country and his own responsiblities and has became one of the most uniquely committed and eloquently Americans on matters of human rights and international affairs. The role of the U.N. regarding Iraq is complicated and tragic. Suffice it to say, quoting a senior U.N official who obviously prefers to remain anonymous, "sadly the U.N. has become an appendage of [the U.S] State Department on too many things." This letter was written to this month's President of the U.N. Security Council yesterday by Ramsey Clark:

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H.E. Sir John Weston
Permanent Mission of UK to the UN
885 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10017
November 11, 1998

Dear Ambassador Weston:

President Clinton has chosen the anniversary of the armistice ending World War I to further threaten Iraq with another violent assault. He charges that failure to act "would permanently damage the credibility of the U.N. Security Council to act as a force for promoting international peace." It is a phrase reminiscent of Plato's unnamed Athenian Stranger who favored "seeking peace by making war." He taunts the U.N. to act, asserting "Failure to respond [will] embolden Saddam to act recklessly." It is a threat by a weakened President thinking only of his personal political standing. U.S. contempt for U.N. authority is shown by its defiance of the recent General Assembly vote of 157 nations versus 2 nations protesting the U.S. criminal blockade of Cuba, its refusal to pay dues to the U.N. year after year and its selective defiance, and support for violations by other nations of General Assembly, Security Council and International Court of Justice resolutions and decisions.

The Security Council should immediately admonish the U.S. that it must not again attack Iraq. The Security Council is already responsible for military attacks on Iraq, albeit at the insistence of the U.S., including 110,000 aerial sorties unleashing 88,500 tons of bombs across Iraq by U.S. aircraft in January and February 1991 which destroyed 80% of Iraq's military capacity according to the Pentagon. Iraq has been further decimated by the most severe Security Council sanctions in history since August 6 (Hiroshima Day) 1990. More than a million and a half people have died in Iraq as a direct result of sanctions in history since August 6 (Hiroshima Day) 1990. More than a million and a half people have died in Iraq as a direct result of those sanctions, as U.N. agencies have reported. The great majority of the victims were infants, children, elderly and chronically ill persons. This is unquestionably a violation of the Genocide Convention.*

U.N. inspection teams over a period of seven years claim to have destroyed 90% of the remaining Iraqi missile capacity and designated military material. Iraq is not capable of a serious threat against anyone.

The notion that Iraq is a threat to the region is a false fantasy created by the U.S. to justify its vast military presence in the region, to dominate the oil resources and to contain Islam. Iraq is no threat to its neighbors as every Security Council member knows. It is barely able to survive. Turkey regularly attacks the Kurdish people and others living on northern Iraqi soil at will with U.S. support and U.N. acquiescence. There are many nations on earth that pose far greater threats of minor violence and to world peace than Iraq. As the recently published "Israel and the Bomb", Columbia University Press, again demonstrates, Israel developed and has manufactured some hundreds of nuclear bombs in violation of Security Council resolutions and international law.

Random assaults on Iraq at the whim of the United States since 1991 include scores of Tomahawk cruise missile and rocket assaults. The U.S. has used the cradle of civilization as a shooting gallery, striking such dangerous targets as the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, killing two employees, the home of Layla al Attar, the famous artist and museum director, killing her and others, and a United Nations helicopter killing all its occupants.

A new U.S. strike will target vital support systems for the population of Iraq, just as its 1991 assault targeted the infrastructure; water supply, electric power, transportation, communications, food storage, processing and distribution, fertilizer and insecticide manufacture. It is a crueler form of corporal punishment imposed on the entire population than public lashings and executions favored by former colonial powers.

The destruction of the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan on August 20, 1998 illustrates the U.S. strategy. The plant produced 50% of the pharmaceutical available in the Sudan. The cost of EL Shifa products was 20% of the international market prices. It produced 90% of the antibiotics used for malaria which is the leading cause of death there. Major international pharmaceutical companies do not produce drugs for malaria, or engage in research to address the spread of new virulent types of malaria which are reaching epidemic levels in part of Africa and Asia. A single U.S. missile attack destroyed the single most important health facility in the Sudan and will cause thousands of deaths. Everyone in the Sudan, including the entire diplomatic corps, knew of the El Shifa plant and its importance to the health of the people.

U.N. inspections in Iraq over a period of seven years have been manipulated by unproven U.S. claims time and time again. Strategically placed agents of the U.S. and British intelligence agencies in U.N. inspectors' positions have had the single purpose of continuing the sanctions by making false claims that Iraq is developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons with missiles and can complete the task in weeks, or months without inspection.

The United States spends more on arms annually, $275 billion presently, than the rest of the Security Council combined. U.S. arms expenditures are approximately 25 times the gross national product of Iraq. The U.S. has in its stockpiles more nuclear bombs, chemical and biological weapons, more aircraft, rockets and delivery systems in number and sophistication than the rest of the world combined. Included are twenty commissioned Trident II nuclear submarines any one of which could destroy Europe. It is the U.S. that ought to be inspected. The U.S. is today, far more than when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., observed it in 1967, "the greatest purveyor of violence on earth."

It is imperative to world peace, the survival of the U.N. as an organization of independent nations and to simple justice that the Security Council immediately inform the U.S. that it must not again attack Iraq, or any other country.


Ramsey Clark

* Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such. (b) Causing serious bodily, or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; Art. II, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.