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International Action Center

May 18, 1998

Dear Members of the Security Council,
 
Eighty Americans have just returned from Iraq where we delivered more than $4 million in desperately needed medicines to hospitals from Basra to Mosul. We again saw infants, children, elderly and others dying in the hospitals as a direct result of Security Council sanctions. The death rate continues to grow.

The medicines we were able to carry, while a fortune to us, is a pittance compared to the need of the whole population. While it will heal many sick, at least temporarily, and saved some lives, only an end to the sanctions can end this genocide. Iraq needs humanitarian aid, but it will never suffice. Only the removal of U.S. forced sanctions can enable Iraq to care for the health of its people, as it did before sanctions.

We traveled in defiance of your resolutions, because we do not believe the permission of powers committing genocide can be demanded of those who seek to save the lives of the victims of that genocide. If you disagree, do your duty and prosecute us.

We recognize it is our government, named "the greatest purveyor of violence on earth" by Martin Luther King, Jr., that excuse your complicity by silence and submission to U.S. coercion. History and an informed people will not treat the failure of moral courage by the Security Council kindly.

The sanctions against Iraq imposed by the Security Council of the United Nations are inflicting the cruelest genocide in history: slow death by malnutrition, polluted water, manufactured sicknesses and forced deprivation of health care and medicines that can help the sick. You are damning the United Nations by permitting its use as an instrument of genocide through your failure to resist and end these sanctions. Your failure is among the greatest tragedies in humanity's long struggle for peace and justice, because your Charter promises and end to the scourge of war while you have committed a crime against humanity worse than war, targeting and killing those that international humanitarian law protects from war.

If you have the slightest doubt that these sanctions are genocidal, then you do not believe the many reports by WHO, FAO, WFP, UNICEF, medical teams from more than a score of countries and many other agencies which have confirmed it for over seven years now. In that case, you must go to Iraq and see for yourself. You will be welcome. The dying will smile at you from their death beds and their surrounding families will plead for an end to the sanctions though they know it is too late for their child, or mother.
It is impossible for you to deny knowledge of this genocide, or the flood of reports and warnings which report it.

It is impossible for you to deny knowledge of the truth about the geopolitical strategy behind and the effects of these genocidal sanctions, followed by a strictly enforced prohibition against their future use by any nation, group of nations, or international organizations, can offer any hope for reconciliation between the poor and the powerful on earth. Every day you delay causes the serial murder of hundreds of Iraqis and you know it. You must not wait until October, or even tomorrow, but must act now to end these sanctions.

The soul searing hypocrisy of your many excuses for these sanctions will destroy all hope and faith in the possibility of charity within the United Nations if you fail to stand up now. Your pitiable efforts to justify this genocide---Saddam Hussein is evil so Iraqi children must die---Iraq has been brutalized for 7 1/2 years, because it may obtain nuclear weapons someday (ignoring countries that test and stockpile nuclear weapons, including India's recent nuclear tests), so we must commit triage against its people now---Iraq dares defy UN resolutions, as if no other country ever dared do so, so we must kill and maim its weakest people---will haunt the peoples of all Nations when the truth is known.

The failure of the Security Council to act against the United States for its flouting of the UN, from its nonpayment of the UN dues to its continuing violation of the Nuclear Test Ban and Non Proliferation treaties; against Israel for ignoring UN resolutions for decades and the creation of a nuclear bomb arsenal; against Indonesia's violent repression of its many peoples show not only the utter hypocrisy of your vicious punishment of Iraq, but you servile submission to US power.

Please act now.

Sincerely,

(Signed)
Ramsey Clark