A CALL TO LIFT ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ
Henry B. Gonzalez, (TX-20)
Representatives - June 24, 1991)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Gonzalez], is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Speaker, today I have introduced a resolution, House Resolution 180, that expresses a sense of the House that the economic embargo of Iraq should be lifted.
Hundreds of thousands of young children are dying, and we are doing nothing. Hundreds of thousands have died. They have not been reported, but if I could show some of the films that were taken by the cameras during the action, it would show our helicopter cannons shooting, cutting in half fleeing Iraqi soldiers. Over 100,000 of those died, most of them while they were running away.
It is still not precisely known how many civilians, but the estimates that have reached us from European sources indicate that they approximate that many. So the war is supposed to be over, and yet we have thousands of our soldiers there. At this point hundreds of thousands of young children are dying. The United Nations, the International Red Cross, the Physicians for Human Rights, a Harvard study team, and Catholic Relief Services have all documented the fact that unless the economic sanctions imposed against Iraq are lifted immediately, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians will die in the next few months.
Is this our great military success? Is this what we sent hundreds of thousands of our troops halfway around the world to accomplish? Is the death of 60,000 Iraqi children under age 5 since the supposed end of the war a tremendous victory?
The most cynical part of this tragedy is that it is going on right now, and the U.S. Government is doing nothing about it, not even acknowledging that it happened, which has been censorship at its worst except that finally today, on the front page of the New York Times we have this story.
Mr. Speaker, I include that article for the Record at this point.
The article, dated June 24, 1991, referred as follows:
Disease Spirals in Iraq as Embargo Takes Its Toll
Baghdad, Iraq, June 23--The 11-month-old international embargo on trade with Iraq is threatening the country with severe malnutrition and spiraling disease, American and other Western doctors inspecting hospitals this month say.
Some senior officials of relief agencies here have begun to criticize the prolonged trade sanctions because of their devastating effect on the general population and the burden they place on humanitarian organizations.
Thousands of Kurdish refugees returning to their homes from Iranian and Turkish border areas have found an economy besieged by accelerating inflation because of the embargo. Many of those Kurds are wearily bringing their malnourished and sick children to hospitals, saying they cannot afford the black-market prices for infant formula and high-protein foods.
THOUSANDS WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
In southern Iraq, where the forces of President Saddam Hussein crushed a Shiite Muslim rebellion at the end of the Persian Gulf war, ten of thousands of people are still without running water or electricity. Stagnant ponds of sewage and heaps of garbage are a common sight in their neighborhoods, and the surge in prices has made their plight even more desperate.
It is not clear whether an end to sanctions, including a decision to let Baghdad generate oil revenue, would immediately or dramatically improve the lot of ordinary Iraqis, given uncertainties like inflation and the Government's spending priorities.
But recent investigations suggest that trade sanctions are hurting the Iraqi people far more than is perceived in Washington, where President Bush has sought to maintain the embargo to force Mr. Hussein from power.
An examination of the public health system of Iraq, including visits by this reporter and a New York physician, Joseph Thomas, to 15 major hospitals across the country over the last week, indicated that an earlier epidemic of cholera is now under control.
But other infectious diseases, including typhoid, hepatitis, meningitis and
gastroenteritis, have surged to what Western doctors and relief officials call epidemic levels. The course of those diseases in a population struggling to recover from a devastating war is complicated by the Iraqis' generally poor health and nutrition, experts say.
The Government-subsidized rations of flour, rice and sugar that had previously sustained many Iraqis have been drastically cut back, and open-market prices for food have leaped more than tenfold. The only Iraqis spared from deprivation appear to be the country's political leadership and the wealthiest members of the merchant and professional class, who are drawing down their savings.
Although the United Nations lifted its embargo on humanitarian shipments of food to Iraq on March 22, Iraqi officials say that the embargo on foreign financial transactions, the freezing of assets and the ban on Iraqi sales of crude oil have made it extremely hard to import all but a small amount of food and special medicine. Oil is Iraq's principal source of income.
RETURNING REFUGEES ARE SUFFERING ANEW
Last month, a Harvard University medical team surveyed Iraqi hospitals and concluded that the mortality rate of Iraqi children under 5 years old could double this year because of disease compounded by malnutrition.
In March, more than two million Kurdish and Shiite refugees fled after their unsuccessful rebellions in the north and south. The West responded with a delayed but vigorous effort to save them from starvation, exposure and disease. The Bush Administration then sought to coax those refugees to return to their homes in Iraq, where the pressure of trade sanctions and inflation has led to new suffering.
Observations by doctors and relief officials during visits to hospitals across the country seem to bear out Iraqi Health Ministry figures showing a 25 percent increase in the admission of patients suffering from gastroenteritis in the last two months. Iraqi hospital workers say that figure significantly understates the rise in intestinal infections, since many cases do not reach hospitals.
Health Ministry figures also confirm what many Iraqi doctors reported in interviews--that more patients are dying from infectious diarrheal disease, largely because of their weakened state. While death from such infections was rare in 1990, the death rate for patients suffering from those diseases in the last two months has been about 32 per 1,000 cases admitted to hospitals. More than 17,000 people suffering from infectious diarrheal diseases were admitted to hospitals in April and May, ministry data indicate.
AFTER THE BOMBING, SEWAGE EVERYWHERE
The death rate in reported typhoid cases has jumped this year from statistical insignificance to 60 to 80 deaths per 1,000, according to Health Ministry figures.
The allied bombing attack on Iraq's national electric power grid severely disabled the country's water-purification and sewage pumping and treatment system. The system's failure caused raw waste to fill city streets and flow untreated into the rivers where millions of Iraqis turned for drinking water during the war. Poor sanitation ignited an epidemic of cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis and other water-borne diarrheal diseases.
Dominique Dufour, the head of a 90-member team sent here by the International Committee of the Red Cross, said, `I am absolutely sure that no Pentagon planner calculated the impact bombing the electrical plants would have on pure drinking water supplies for weeks to come, and the snow-ball effect of this on public health.'
Health Ministry officials allowed a reporter and Dr. Thomas, who was born in Iraq to make impromptu visits to hospitals throughout the country. Dr. Thomas, who has previously operated a medical supply company in Iraq, is trying to organize a private group of doctors who would donate equipment and medical services to Iraq.
Iraqi officials also allowed Westerners to visit Baghdad's main hospital for infectious diseases for the first time since the war. Some physicians in the United States suspected that Iraq was `hiding' cholera cases at that hospital in April and May. But during a visit, the staff of the severely rundown hospital readily acknowledged that they had treated many suspected cholera cases, as well as typhoid meningitis and hemorrhagic fever.
`I think they were just embarrassed by the place,' said Dr. Michael Viola, a professor of medicine and microbiology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who also visited Iraq to study the war's effects on public health. `It's a disgrace. They ought to close it.'
FEW RELIABLE DATA, BUT PLENTY OF PROOF
Dr. Viola, along with two other physicians from New York who represent a group called Medicine for Peace, said that although no reliable statistics are available from Western organizations, a severe epidemic of several diseases is in progress and is being aggravated by malnutrition.
`You don't need statistics,' he said. `It's everywhere.'
The national supply of pure water is in a precarious state. Most Iraqi cities are pumping one-tenth of the chlorinated water they were a year ago, and Government stocks of chlorine have dwindled to a 30-day supply in Mosul and Erbil, two major northern cities.
Patched-up generating plants are struggling to meet the demand for electricity as average daytime temperatures rise above 100 degrees. Blackouts of 12 hours or more a day have been common in the last two weeks.
A reporter traveling through dozens of pediatric- and infectious-disease wards across the country saw more than 100 cases of marasmus, or progressive emaciation from advanced malnutrition. Typical symptoms are a
gaunt skeletal look and distended stomach. There were also many obvious cases of kwashiorkor, an advanced form of protein deficiency in toddlers that is seldom seen outside drought-stricken areas of Africa.
HOSPITALS REJECT THE MALNOURISHED
Under Iraqi Government policy, advanced malnutrition alone does not entitle one to admission to a hospital; a patient must also have contracted a disease or developed other complications before admission is allowed.
`If we admitted all the marasmus cases, the hospitals would be full in one day,' said Dr. Amera Ali, a physician at Ibn Baladi Hospital in Baghdad.
A severe shortage of infant formula has put the price of that basic nourishment beyond the means of many poor families. The price of one can of powdered infant formula has skyrocketed from about $1 to nearly $50. Poor families are allowed three cans per month from Government stocks at the lower, subsidized price, but the minimum nutritional need of an infant is 10 cans per month, doctors said.
A reporter saw dozens of mothers diluting infant formula to half strength to stretch out their precious supplies. Even in hospitals, most patients are receiving only half the normal ration of food because of cutbacks by the Health Ministry in hospital food budgets. Food rations of doctors and nurses have also been halved.
In Washington, Bush Administration officials have recently questioned whether Mr. Hussein is funneling any of Iraq's scarce hard-currency resources to the health sector. In interviews, the officials suggested that Mr. Hussein was effectively allowing relief organizations to assume the public-health burden in Iraq, even though such aid is inadequate.
But Western relief officials and Iraqi medical officials here indicated that the Government has allocated hard currency to imports of some medicines and infant formula that are not being provided by the relief agencies.
SEVERE INTERRUPTIONS OF KIDNEY DIALYSIS
This month, all Iraqis are being issued new medical cards that forbid them to take their health problems directly to the hospital system. Each Iraqi is assigned to a district health center where primary care will be dispensed, with only serious cases
referred to the hospitals.
In hospital wards, doctors said they had been unable to supply adequate amounts of insulin to patients with diabetes. Medication for hypertension is unavailable in many cities. Kidney patients are going without drugs to fight rejection of the organs after transplants, and there have been serious interruptions of dialysis treatment.
A nephrologist in Mosul said that 28 of the 50 patients who were being treated in northern Iraq's only kidney dialysis program died during the gulf war or shortly after it ended because of a lack of transportation, electrical power or clean water for the delicate machinery. Physicians said that women with breast cancer and other cancer patients were going without adequate medication and treatment.
A senior relief agency official confirmed that the priority in humanitarian shipments of medicine had been antibiotics, which were urgently needed to fight outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and other infectious diseases.
AN AFRICAN FAMINE WOULD SIPHON AID
`We are not in the chronic-disease business,' the relief official said. `We cannot become the pharmacists for 18 million people. We take the Africa approach--vaccination, basic antibiotics, and feeding.'
One senior relief official said the cost of relief efforts in Iraq could exceed $500 million by next year.
`And who will that be paid by?' he said. `Not by Iraq, but by the taxpayers of the United States and Western Europe.'
Within Iraq's medical establishment, there is a powerful current of resentment against the Bush Administration for seeking to topple Mr. Hussein by inflicting pain on the Iraqi population. Citizens have little hope of changing the Government in a police state protected by layers of security forces.
`Last year Bush made a speech at the United Nations about the children of the world, but look what he is doing to Iraqi children,' the Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Shawki Murqos, said. `Nobody here will forget that.'
This misery is a direct result of the so-called allies or United States-led imposition of U.N. sanctions against Iraq and the massive destruction of Iraq's infrastructure by United States-led allied bombing, and still we do nothing. The United States must act now to lift these economic sanctions to save thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, especially children, by death from starvation and disease.
On May 30, 1991, I called on the President, via a letter, to initiate an immediate and massive international effort to establish a fund to provide food and medical relief for this dire situation resulting from the imposition of an international embargo on Iraq. I have as yet to have any substantive response. As a matter of fact, I must report that I am deeply troubled by the fact that President Bush, who on a personal basis is a very wonderful person, very admirable, very kind, and very outgoing and gregarious in his own way, but has followed the same principle as his predecessor, President Reagan.
President Reagan was the first President that did not reply to a Congressman's letter. Even Richard Nixon would. But not President Reagan. Instead you get a reply from some unknown apparatchik somewhere, probably in the White House, saying that they acknowledge receipt of the letter and that is it. So that I have no idea of what it is that we in the United States must wait before our level of consciousness is penetrated at this shocking situation that we have foremost been responsible for.
We cannot escape this. Fate, destiny cannot be escaped. It is the result of actions in which we are exalting in victory celebrations that now have lasted over 2 1/2 times the length of the entire war. In fact, the President has asked the United Nations to continue to reinforce the sanctions which are killing the children of Iraq.
Now, we are speaking of children, babies, under age 5, dying at the rate of 500 to 1,000 a day. We cannot wait on the President until he is embarrassed into taking humanitarian action.
I think today's New York Times front page centerpiece showing this baby with the familiar swollen abdomen, like we have seen these pictures of the Africans and the other very unfortunate countries where we have had these terrible situations in which, in effect, whether we like it or not, we are perpetrating genocide.
The plight of the Kurds was ignored until the overwhelming compassion of the American people, but not until after the European press, particularly, and the French, who had physicians that had volunteered and had flown over and worked with the Kurds, compelled some action. But the whole story is not being told, as there are still thousands of innocent people starving and in dire need of medical attention in Iraq due to the failure of the United States and its allies--so-called allies--to bring about some action.
It took many deaths, the threat of many more before the administration acted on behalf of the Kurds. How many Iraqi women, children, elderly people will have to die before our leadership takes basic humanitarian action on their behalf as well? Are the Iraqi babies any less innocent than the Kurds, any less deserving of life?
A Harvard University study team just completed the first comprehensive survey of public health in postwar Iraq, and they project that at least 17,000 Iraqi children under 5 years of age will die in this coming year from the delayed effects of the Persian Gulf crisis--or war--whatever one wants to call it. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of children who have already died in Iraq in recent months. Widespread and severe malnutrition exists in Iraq. Cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis are epidemic throughout this country.
There is a breakdown in the medical care system with acute shortages of medicine, equipment, and staff, water purification, sewage-disposal plants, and electrical power. All of these are in a state of incapacitation.
The war has contributed directly to this crisis. It is a consequence of the war. The destruction of Iraq's electrical infrastructure has made it almost impossible to treat sewage or purify water which means waterborne diseases flourish, and hospitals cannot treat crucial diseases.
At this point I wish to place in the Record a copy of the letter that I mailed to the President on May 30 of this year.
May 30, 1991.
Hon. George W. Bush,
President, United States of America, The White House, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. President: I am outraged over the current situation in Iraq, and I write to demand immediate action by your Administration. You called upon our allies for contributions to help pay for our war effort--you called on them to fund death and destruction. I demand that you call immediately on our allies, and our own resources, to pay for food and medical relief for all those who continue to suffer from the effects of the war--to fund life.
The bankrupt nature of your Administration's policy in the Middle East is becoming more and more evident, as the massive starvation, widespread unrest, and disintegration of the so-called Arab unity--witness the recent withdrawal of Egypt from the coalition forces--are further exacerbating the instability worsened by the Persian Gulf War. Further, the situation in Kuwait with extended martial law makes is clear that this war had nothing to do with democracy, with justice, or with freeing the oppressed, and it had everything to do with greed--spelled o-i-l. There is a worldwide revulsion of the United States' actions of agreed in the Middle East, as many innocents have suffered and died, and are suffering and dying still.
Mr. President, do not wait until you are embarrassed into taking humanitarian action, as you were in the tragic situation of the Kurds. The plight of the Kurds was ignored by your Administration until the overwhelming compassion of the American public compelled action. But the whole story is not being told, as there are still thousands of innocent people starving and in dire need of medical attention in Iraq due to U.S. and allied actions. It took many deaths and the threat of many more before your Administration acted on behalf of the Kurds; how many Iraqi women, children, and elderly people will have to die before this Administration takes basic humanitarian action on their behalf as well? A Harvard University study team just completed the first comprehensive survey of public health in post-war Iraq, and they project that at least 170,000 Iraqi children under five years of age will die in the coming year from the delayed effects of the Persian Gulf Crisis.
This is in addition to the tens of thousands of children who have already died in Iraq in recent months. Widespread and severe malnutrition exists in Iraq; cholera, typhoid, and gastroenteritis are epidemic throughout Iraq, there is a breakdown in the medical care system with acute shortages of medicines, equipment, and staff; and water purification, sewage disposal plants, and electrical power plants have been incapacitated. The Harvard report states, `There is a link in Iraq between electrical power and public health. Without electricity, water cannot be purified, sewage cannot be treated, water-borne diseases flourish, and hospitals cannot treat curable illness.'
The economic embargo levied against Iraq has thwarted the availability of the most basic food stuffs and medicine to the general population. Iraq has historically been dependent on the importation of food, and before the embargo three quarters of the total calcoric intake in Iraq was imported. Moreover, 96% of Iraqi revenue to pay for imports, namely food and medicine, was derived from the exportation of oil.
The embargo enacted by United Nations Resolution 661 and strengthened by U.N. Resolution 666 has not only made food and medicine more scarce, it has led to an inflationary spiral that has priced many Iraqis completely out of the food market. The embargo has also led to the scarcity of all medicines throughout the country. The situation has only been exacerbated by the massive destruction of the entire nation's infrastructure by U.S. bombing. The destruction of the water and electrical systems means that ever greater numbers of Iraqis, especially children, will continue to die as disease spreads throughout the summer. Without the revenue from the exportation of oil, Iraq will not be able to meet the basic needs of its own population.
Therefore, an immediate and massive international effort is required to establish a fund and with it provide food and medical relief to this dire situation resultant from the imposition of an international embargo of Iraq. The most fundamental effect of the war has been the deaths of children. The most fundamental responsibility we have is to prevent more children from dying when we and our allies have the ability to help.
Henry B. Gonzalez,
Member of Congress.
Mr. Speaker, the economic embargo levied against Iraq has, I repeat, thwarted the availability of the most basic foodstuffs and medicines to the general population. Iraq's historical dependence on the importation of food has made its people especially vulnerable to sanctions. Before the embargo, three-quarters of the total caloric intake in Iraq was because of imported food. Moreover, 96 percent of Iraq's revenue to pay for imports, namely, food and medicine, was derived from the exportation of oil.
The combined effect of the destruction of the U.S.-led war and the embargo is a tragedy that will only increase in exponential proportions. Therefore, the United States must act now to lift the economic embargo of Iraq.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent and millions of lives were disrupted to supposedly come to the aid of Kuwait when it suffered the aggression of Saddam Hussein. It is a stomach-turning irony that we can come to the aid of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis who must live under the rule of Saddam every day without spending one red cent, yet, we refuse to do so.
The sanctions against Iraq must be lifted to save tens of thousands of lives. If we do not, the blood of these Iraqi children will be on our consciences and hands.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort to save the children of Iraq.
I am also placing in the Record at the point four articles that, again, appeared in yesterday's Washington Post.
Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq
The strategic bombing of Iraq, described in wartime briefings as a campaign against Baghdad's offensive military capabilities, now appears to have been broader in its purposes and selection of targets.
Amid mounting evidence of Iraq's ruined infrastructure and the painful consequences for ordinary Iraqis, Pentagon officials more readily acknowledge the severe impact of the 43-day air bombardment on Iraq's economic future and civilian population. Their explanations these days of the bombing's goals and methods suggest that the allies, relying on traditional concepts of strategic warfare, sought to achieve some of their military objectives in the Persian Gulf War by disabling Iraqi society at large.
Though many details remain classified, interviews with those involved in the targeting disclose three main contrasts with the administration's earlier portrayal of a campaign aimed solely at Iraq's armed forces and their lines of supply and command.
Some targets, especially late in the war, were bombed primarily to create postwar leverage over Iraq, not to influence the course of the conflict itself. Planners now say their intent was to destroy or damage valuable facilities that Baghdad could not repair without foreign assistance.
Many of the targets in Iraq's Mesopotamian heartland, the list of which grew from about 400 to more than 700 in the course of the war, were chosen only secondarily to contribute to the military defeat of Baghdad's occupation army in Kuwait. Military planners hoped the bombing would amplify the economic and psychological impact of international sanctions on Iraqi society, and thereby compel President Saddam Hussein to withdraw Iraqi forces from Kuwait without a ground war. They also hoped to incite Iraqi citizens to rise against the Iraqi leader.
Because of these goals, damage to civilian structures and interests, invariably described by briefers during the war as `collateral' and unintended, was sometimes neither. The Air Force and Navy `fraggers' who prepared the daily air-tasking orders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, took great care to avoid dropping explosives directly on civilians--and were almost certainly more successful than in any previous war--but they deliberately did great harm to Iraq's ability to support itself as an industrial society.
The worst civilian suffering, senior officers say, has resulted not from bombs that went astray but from precision-guided weapons that hit exactly where they were aimed--at electrical plants, oil refineries and transportation networks. Each of these targets was acknowledged during the war, but all the purposes and consequences of their destruction were not divulged.
Among the justifications offered now, particularly by the Air Force in recent briefings, is that Iraqi civilians were not blameless for Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. `The definition of innocents gets to be a little bit unclear,' said a senior Air Force officer, noting that many Iraqis supported the invasion of Kuwait. `They do live there, and ultimately the people have some control over what goes on in their country.'
`When they discuss warfare, a lot of folks tend to think of force on force, soldier A against soldier B,' said another officer who played a central role in the air campaign but declined to be named. Strategic bombing, by contrast, strikes against `all those things that allow a nation to sustain itself.'
For the Air Force, the gulf war finally demonstrated what proponents of air power had argued since Gen. Billy Mitchell published `Winged Defense' in 1925: that airplanes could defeat an enemy by soaring over his defensive perimeter and striking directly at his economic and military core.
For critics, this was the war that showed why the indirect effects of bombing must be planned as discriminately as the direct ones. The bombardment may have been precise, they argue, but the results have been felt throughout Iraqi society, and the bombing ultimately may have done as much to harm civilians as soldiers.
Pentagon officials say that military lawyers were present in the air campaign's `Black Hole' planning cell in Riyadh and emphasize that bombing followed international conventions of war. Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney, at a recent breakfast with reporters, said every Iraqi target was `perfectly legitmate' and added `If I had to do it over again, I would do exactly the same thing.'
A growing debate on the air campaign is challenging Cheney's argument on two fronts.
Some critics, including a Harvard public health team and the environmental group Greenpeace, have questioned the morality of the bombing by pointing to its ripple effects on noncombatants.
The Harvard team, for example, reported last month that the lack of electrical power, fuel and key transportation links in Iraq now has led to acute malnutrition and `epidemic' levels of cholera and typhoid. In an estimate not substantively disputed by the Pentagon, the team projected that `at least 170,000 children under five years of age will die in the coming year from the delayed effects' of the bombing.
Military officials assert that allied aircraft passed up legitimate targets when the costs to Iraqi civilians or their society would be too high, declining for instance to strike an Iraqi MiG-21 parked outside an ancient mosque. Using the same rationale, the critics argue that the allies should not have bombed electrical plants that powered hospitals and water treatment plants.
`I think this war challenges us to ask ourselves whether or not the lethality of conventional weapons in modern urban, integrated societies isn't such that . . . what is `legitimate' is inhumane,' said William M. Arkin, one of the authors of the Greenpeace report.
A second line of criticism, put forth by some outside analysts of air power and prevalent in not-for-quotation interviews with Army officers, questions the relevance of some forms of `strategic' bombing to a campaign in which the enemy will not have time to regenerate military strength.
Historians Robert A. Pape Jr. and Caroline Ciemke, noting that the U.S. Central Command planned for only 30 days of bombing, say the vital targets were existing stocks of supply and the system of distribution. A campaign to incapacitate an entire society, they say, may be inappropriate in the context of a short war against a small nation in which the populace is not free to alter its leadership.
`If you're refighting World War I or II, where literally years of combat are required to defeat your adversary, then destroying industrial infrastructure makes some sense,' Pape said. `When you destroy the industrial infrastructure, the effects on the opponent's military power don't show up for quite a while. What shows up immediately is losses to the civilian sector, because that's what states sacrifice first.'
Among the remaining questions about the air strategy is the extent of the administration's top civilians' participation in planning the bombardment. President Bush stressed during the war that he left most of the fighting decisions to the military.
Cheney, for his part, rejects any talk of second thoughts on the bombing.
`There shouldn't be any doubt in anybody's mind that modern warfare is destructive, that we had a significant impact on Iraqi society that we wished we had not had to do,' he said. Once war begins, he added, `while you still want to be as discriminating as possible in terms of avoiding civilian casualties, your number one obligation is to accomplish your mission and to do it at the lowest possible cost in terms of American lives. My own personal view is that there are a large number of Americans who came home from the war . . . who would not have come home at all if we had not hit the strategic targets and hit them hard.'
Preliminary planning for the bombing campaign began before Iraq even invaded Kuwait last Aug. 2. A war game last July at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, based on a notional `Southwest Asia contingency' with Iraq as the aggressor, identified 27 strategic targets in Iraq, according to a senior intelligence official, Revisions by analysts beginning five days after the invasion built the lists to 57 and then 87 strategic targets, not including the Iraqi forces in Kuwait.
By the time the gulf war started on Jan. 17, according to sources with access to the target list, slightly more than 400 sites had been targeted in Iraq. They were heavily concentrated in a swath running northwest to southeast between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
With the benefit of additional intelligence gathered during the war and additional bombing capacity--the number of B-52 bombers was increased twice and the number of F-117A `stealth' fighters grew to 42--the list expanded to more than 700 targets. They were divided into 12 sets: leadership; command, control and communications; air defense; airfields; nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; railroads and bridges; Scud missiles; conventional military production and storage facilities; oil; electricity; naval ports; and Republican Guard forces.
Most of those target sets were not controversial. Recent questions have centered on two categories: electrical and oil facilities.
Of the 700 or so identified targets, 28 were `key nodes' of electrical power generation, according to Air Force sources. The allies flew 215 sorties against the electrical plants, using unguided bombs, Tomahawk cruise missiles and laser-guided GBU-10 bombs.
Between the sixth and seventh days of the air war, the Iraqis shut down what remained of their national power grid. `Not an electron was flowing,' said one target planner.
At least nine of the allied attacks targeted transformers or switching yards, each of which U.S. analysts estimated would take about a year to repair--with Western assistance. In some cases, however, the bombs targeted main generator halls, with an estimated five-year repair time. The Harvard team, which visited most of Iraq's 20 generating plants, said that 17 were damaged or destroyed in allied bombing. Of the 17, 11 were judged total losses.
Now nearly four months after the war's end, Iraq's electrical generation has reached only 20 to 25 percent of its prewar capacity of 9,000 to 9,500 megawatts. Pentagon analysts calculate that the country has roughly the generating capacity it had in 1920--before reliance on refrigeration and sewage treatment became widespread.
`The reason you take out electricity is because modern societies depend on it so heavily and therefore modern militaries depend on it so heavily,' said an officer involved in planning the air campaign. `It's a leveraged target set.'
The `leverage' of electricity, from a military point of view, is that it is both indispensable and impossible to stockpile. Destroying the source removes the supply immediately, and portable backup generators are neither powerful nor reliable enough to compensate.
Attacks on some electrical facilities, officers said, reinforced other strategic goals such as weakening air defenses and communications between Baghdad and its field army.
But two weeks into the air campaign, Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded allied forces during the gulf war, said `we never had any intention of destroying 100 percent of all the Iraqi electrical power' because such a course would cause civilians to `suffer unduly.'
Pentagon officials declined two written requests for a review of the 28 electrical targets and explanations of their specific military relevance.
`People say, `You didn't recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage,' said the planning officer. `Well, what were we trying to do with [United Nations-approved economic] sanctions--help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of the sanctions.'
Col. John A. Warden III, deputy director of strategy, doctrine and plans for the Air Force, agreed that one purpose of destroying Iraq's electrical grid was that `you have imposed a long-term problem on the leadership that it has to deal with sometime.'
`Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity,' he said. `He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, `Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity.' It gives us long-term leverage.'
Said another Air Force planner: `Big picture, we wanted to let people know, `Get rid of this guy and we'll be more than happy to assist in rebuilding. We're not going to tolerate Saddam Hussein or his regime. Fix that, and we'll fix your electricity.'
Lt. Gen. Charles A. Horner, who had overall command of the air campaign, said in an interview that a `side benefit' was the psychological effect on ordinary Iraqi citizens of having their lights go out.
Attacks on Iraqi oil facilities resulted in a similar combination of military and civilian effects.
Air Force sources said the allies dropped about 1,200 tons of explosives in 518 sorties against 28 oil targets. The intent, they said, was `the complete cessation of refining' without damaging most crude oil production.
Warden, the Air Force strategist, said the lack of refined petroleum deprived Iraq's military of nearly `all motive power' by the end of the war. He acknowledged it had identical effects on civilian society.
Among the targets were: major storage tanks; the gas/oil separators through which crude oil must pass on its way to refineries; the distilling towers and catalytic crackers at the heart of modern refineries; and the critical K2 pipeline junction near Beiji that connects northern oil fields, an export pipeline to Turkey and a reversible north-south pipeline inside Iraq.
Of Iraq's three large modern refineries, the 71,000 barrel-a-day Daura facility outside Baghdad and the 140,000 barrel-a-day Basra plant were badly damaged early in the war, according to a forthcoming report by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. But James Placke, the report's author, said in an interview that the 300,000 barrel-a-day refinery at Beiji in northern Iraq--far from the war's main theater of operations--was not bombed until the final days of the air campaign.
Horner, the three-star general who was ultimately responsible for the air campaign, said the bombing's restraint was evidenced by the decision not to destroy crude oil production, `the fundamental strength of that society.' Even so, he said, the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians was `terrifying and certainly saddening.'
`To say it's the fault of the United States for fighting and winning a war, that's ludicrous,' he said. `War's the problem. It's not how we fought it or didn't fight it. I think war's the disaster.'
From the Washington Post, June 23, 1991
Iraqi Death Toll Remains Clouded--Baghdad Promises Figures
Baghdad, Iraq, June 22--In the early hours of Jan. 17, when Operation Desert Storm broke over Baghdad's sky, pandemonium also broke out in Saddam Central Teaching Hospital. According to hospital director Qassim Ismail, panicked mothers grabbed their infants and children from incubators and intravenous drips and fled to the basement.
`Most mothers left their hospital beds in a panic way,' Dr. Ismail recalled in an interview. `You know, they were afraid. They took their babies from incubators, from the drips, to the basement, which is a great mistake. We couldn't stop them. It was very cold. We lost so many premature [babies].' Pressed for numbers, Ismail said `about 45' babies died `in the first eight hours.' Two children brought in that night with head injuries both died, Ismail said.
After that first night, mothers fled the hospital out of fear. `We couldn't stop them from leaving, . . . even the critically ill,' he added.
The first night's chaos--and the resulting confusion about casualties--illustrates one of the enduring mysteries of the Persian Gulf War. Nearly four months after the war ended, there still is uncertainty about how many Iraqis died during the fighting and in the brief internal revolts that followed.
The Iraqi death toll is a mystery that neither Washington nor Baghdad has seemed eager to solve.
The Pentagon has estimated that 100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in the war, but has issued no estimate of Iraqi civilian deaths. A preliminary estimate by Iraqi officials was that 7,000 civilians died during the air campaign. Iraqi opposition groups' estimates of fatalities during the month-long fighting between Shiite Muslim rebels and government forces in southern Iraq after the war ranged from 30,000 to 100,000. Thousands more died in the suppression of a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq.
Although there are few statistics and little hard information to go on, some foreign observers here and Iraqi specialists abroad have come to some tentative conclusions about the death toll:
The revolts by Shiite Muslims in the south and by Kurds in the north may have resulted in more military and civilian deaths than the allied air and ground war against Iraqi forces known as Operation Desert Storm, these sources suggest. And most agree that the largest number of casualties were in the south, where fighting between Iraqi troops and the rebels were bloodiest.
There are suspicions that Iraqi military deaths in Operation Desert Storm were much lower than the U.S. estimate. These suspicions rest on several factors.
First, the lists of identified Iraqi bodies buried on the battlefield, presented to the Iraqi government by U.S. and British military officials, contained only 458 names. And a list of burial sites in the Kuwaiti and Iraqi deserts that hold unidentified Iraqi remains named only a few locations.
One observer, who asked not be identified, said he takes this to mean that either six weeks of air attacks did not kill a large number of Iraqi soldiers, or that the Iraqis--under relentless bombing--were able to transport home thousands of bodies. The exact number of Iraqi war dead, he said, `may turn into an American secret' if indeed very few were killed.
Second, although civilian hospitals in Baghdad had been readied to receive an overflow of military casualties from the Iraqi military medical system during the war, an overflow did not materialize until mid-March, according to one source. This was when Iraqi troops were violently suppressing the Shiite rebellion in the south.
[In late March, U.S. military officials announced that American forces had buried 444 Iraqi soldiers at 55 sites on the battlefield. They would not say how many Iraqis were buried by British or Saudi forces, including Saudi `burial teams' operating under U.S. and allied command, staff writer R. Jeffrey Smith reported.
[Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams said Friday that the number of Iraqis buried by American forces has risen to 577.
[Five major burial sites were used by the Saudis, according to the Pentagon's announcement in March. Saudi officials, like the Americans, supplied such details as grid coordinates, number of bodies, and as much personal data as possible to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which forwarded it to the Iraqi government.
[The estimate of 100,000 Iraqi soldiers killed during Desert Storm was announced May 22 by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The DIA said, however, that the `error factor' in this estimate was 50 percent or higher, meaning that fewer than 50,000 or more than 150,000 may have been slain.]
Measuring the death toll's impact on Iraqi society is also difficult, partly because of the constraints Iraqis feel in speaking to foreigners. Accustomed to the secrecy of their government, Iraqi residents of this capital city appear to accept the missing casualty figures as something they can do little about.
Morever, many Iraqis seem more preoccupied with a daily battle to survive in the face of rising food prices and shortages as the economic embargo on their country continues to squeeze supplies.
The deaths `certainly affected them very much,' said one foreign observer here. `But now they are suffering more from other things. Prices are crazy. I don't know how people can live here.'
A reporter's attempt to gather information on war-related deaths yields few certainties or facts, though it offers some revealing glimpses of the emotional events in recent months here.
Qusay Khayat, 43, a renal specialist trained in England, is director of Baghdad's Yarmouk Medical Office, which includes two large teaching hospitals.
On Jan. 17, Khayat said, `I left the hospital about 12:30 a.m. I went home. I was exhausted and tired from preparing for the war. I had no appetite. My daughter said, `Why don't you sit with us?' I said `No, I will go to bed because I'm expecting an early wakeup tonight.'
`At 2:30 a.m., again my daughter came and said, `Daddy, wake up. The war had started.' So I went outside the house. Really the war had started. I saw anti-aircraft missiles and I heard them. All the sky was full of missiles and you didn't know which [ones were] coming down and which were going up.'
Khayat said his hospital, some of whose staff members walked to work, received between 120 and 130 wounded civilians that first night, mostly women and children. He said he was not allowed to say how many Iraqis died at his hospital during the six-week air war.
`I lived in this room during the war. My bed was there,' he said, pointing to a corner. `And nearly every day, with every air raid, this whole hospital was shaking and every time I was saying, `The hospital will fall down.' It's an old one.'
The first deputy minister at the Ministry of Health, Shawqui Sabri Murqus, said `thousands and thousands' of civilians died in hospitals during the war months. But he declined to give the exact figure, saying he expects it to be released soon.
`I hope in a few days we can announce [the civilian death toll]. I think we will do [so]. You know, the actual number should be a correct one, based on correct data. . . . We will announce that for sure.'
But Murqus, like most Iraqi officials, portrayed the rebellions that followed Desert Storm as a continuation of a foreign attack on his country. The uprisings, he said, were the `third page of the aggression.' Given this, it is not clear whether the civilian death figures will distinguish between Desert Storm and the uprisings.
Amariya: Where One Raid Killed 300 Iraqis
Baghdad, Iraq, June 22--The thick, windowless walls of the Amariya air raid shelter bake in the hot, dusty wind of Baghdad's summer, and the squat building sits silent and brooding as a tomb in a neighborhood of mourners.
Here, on Feb. 13, more than 300 Iraqis were killed, most of them instantly incinerated, when U.S. bombers struck what U.S. officials maintain was a military command post. Many Iraqis, particularly those who lost relatives, angrily disagree, saying they believe the Americans knew it held civilians and struck anyway.
`If you talk all the days, it is not enough to express our feelings about this problem,' said 17-year-old Ahmed Diaya, who was burned on his back but survived the explosion. His sister, Shayma, 18, died. Diaya and his mother say they don't believe the American version.
By Iraqi standards, Amariya is a middle-class neighborhood populated mostly by civil servants. The shelter is a rock of a building. Externally, one can only tell it has been damaged by looking closely at the roof.
Around it, scores of homes are decked with black bunting that lists the family members who died. One house is locked shut, all its occupants perished in the bombing. On one street, 50 people were killed. One man who lost his whole family is said to have committed suicide.
One foreigner who asked not to be identified said he was awake from a previous air raid when the shelter attack occurred at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 13. The blast, he said, `was seismic. It didn't produce a flash, [as other explosions normally did]. My bed shook . . . . moments later, I heard the second bomb.'
Unlike other air attacks, he said, this one drew no sirens or antiaircraft fire, leading him to suspect that radar-evading Stealth planes were used.
Ahmed Joodi, 17, lost his parents, a niece and three sisters in the bombing. He said the shelter `wasn't open' to the public the first two nights of the U.S. air campaign. But another Baghdad resident said several Iraqis told him the shelter had been used by civilians since the beginning of the air war.
After two days of the air war, Joodi's family fled Baghdad for the countryside, and only returned about two weeks later when his father called him back, Joodi said, adding `life in Baghdad was normal.' Find the shelter open, they stayed there just to be sure, even though homes in the neighborhood were not being targeted by the Americans, he said.
Air Force Hunted Motor Home In War's `Get Saddam' Mission
Military commanders conducted a massive search during the Persian Gulf War for an American-made motor home used by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, according to U.S. military officials.
`We really went after him,' one general said of the search for Saddam's forest-green `Wanderlodge,' a type of luxury vehicle favored by celebrities such as country singer Johnny Cash and movie star Tom Cruise.
What the military called an intense `Get Saddam' operation is at odds with statements by President Bush and his top aides that the United States was really after Iraq's military leadership--not Saddam, the individual. But the wily, often baffling Iraqi leader escaped death at least twice while a top-priority target for missiles and warplanes hunting for the $350,000 motor home Saddam used as a mobile command center.
In the opening hours of the war on Jan. 17, Tomahawk cruise missiles and F-117A `stealth' fighter-bombers destroyed command bunkers Saddam was using in Baghdad. American hopes soared when he failed to appear in public for three days.
`Close, but no cigar,' said one Pentagon planner of the bunker strikes.
After most command bunkers were destroyed, U.S. Air Force planes were divided into hunter-killer teams and patrolled areas likely to be traveled by Saddam's mobile command center. According to one Air Force officer, the search at one point rivaled allied efforts to destroy Scud missiles sites in Iraq.
While the search for the Wanderlodge failed, Saddam had a brush with death midway in the war, according to military officials. Two F-16 Falcon pilots on a routine patrol unwittingly strafed his motorcade between Baghdad and Basra, Iraq. `It was at night and we had spotted a 50-vehicle convoy,' a senior U.S. officer said.
The fighter strafed the front and rear of the motorcade but Saddam's vehicle was in the middle and went undamaged.
The luxury bus was identified by U.S. intelligence before the war from a photograph of Saddam being briefed inside cramped quarters. The Baghdad government, which released the photo Jan 11, identified the location as an underground operations room in southern Iraq. But the Fort Valley, Ga., builders of the motor home identified the room as the stripped-down interior of a Wanderlodge. The company sold nine of the vehicles to Iraq during the 1980s.
Eventually, two Wanderlodges used by Iraqi generals were destroyed by U.S. troops during the ground war.
I am also submitting the Talk of the Town article from the New Yorker, in the week before last edition, and I am going to quote significantly from it, because it was a very insightful article, very brief, but very incisive.
Three months after United States Marines liberated Kuwait City, the victors of Operation Desert Sortm are still being honored across the country. By July 4th, which President Bush has declared a special day to honor the troops, the ceremonies will have lasted twice as long as the hostlities. During these months, the war has become domesticated; Desert Storm seems now to have had less to do with Kuwait or Iraq than with America's resurgence--how Americans `kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all,'--
And that is a quote from President Bush's speech--
and learned to pull together once again. Meanwhile, the real aftermath of the war--its effects on Iraq and Kuwait and parts of the Middle East--has steadily receded from our view. On the day when judges in Kuwait City sentenced a young Iraqi man to fifteen years in prison for wearing a Saddam Hussein T-shirt, Hollywood was congratulating the victorious American troops and parading an M-1 Abrams tank and a Patriot missile alongside Roseanne Barr and Jimmy Stewart.
The war--or, rather, the victory--gained the Prsident enormous popularity, and for most of the country the entire event has become an occasion for patriotic good feeling. Desert Storm has been reduced to a single, simple plot line, acted out by a few stock characters: the mad dictator, the resolute President, the heroic soldiers, the grateful citizenry. Details--the former intimate relations between the United States and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
And I brought that out in several expositions on the financing through the United States banking system of millions of dollars for Iraq's war capacity. It is really a schizophrenic history of our country's comportment, so this man is absolutely right.
Unfortunately, the muddled world our of which the Gulf crisis spring last summer has gained little in clarity since the Marines marched into Kuwait City. United States policy in the Gulf has not fundamentally changed: its goal is to maintain at all costs `a secure and stable Gulf' (in Mr. Bush's phrase), in order to shelter the fragile, oil-producing, conservative Sunni regimes of the Arabian peninsula. That goal led President Nixon to anoint the Shah of Iran America's `policeman of the Gulf,' and, after the Shah was overthrown, it drove Presidents Reagan and Bush to support Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which they saw as a bulwark against the ideological threat posed by the Ayatollah Khomeini and by the possibility that his Shiite revolution might spread through the Gulf. That same goal subsequently led President Bush to stand politely aside while Saddam Hussein--who he had denounced as worse than Hitler--crushed the Shiite and Kurdish uprisings in his country.
Increasingly, the victory of Desert Storm seems to be leading not so must to a secure and stable Gulf as to an Americanized one. While twelve thousand American troops protect the Kurds in Saddam's Iraq, and five thousand work
to keep the Emir's Kuwait functioning, American officials have begun murmuring about establishing a new United States base in Bahrain, about a `prepositioning' of equipment in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, about regular `joint exercises' involving American troops in the Arabian desert. But many of the threats to `stability' in the Gulf hinge on the weaknesses of the rigid, undemocratic regimes there, and regular visits from the United States Marines, far from removing those threats, might well heighten them.
From the New Yorker
The Talk of the Town
NOTES AND COMMENT
Three months after United States Marines liberated Kuwait City, the victors of Operation Desert Storm are still being honored across the country. By July 4th, which President Bush has declared a special day to honor the troops, the ceremonies will have lasted twice as long as the hostilities. During these months, the war has become domesticated; Desert Storm seems now to have had less to do with Kuwait or Iraq than with America's resurgence--how Americans `kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all,' in President Bush's phrase, and learned to pull together once again. Meanwhile, the real aftermath of the war--its effects on Iraq and Kuwait and other parts of the Middle East--has steadily receded from our view. On the day when judges in Kuwait City sentenced a young Iraqi man to fifteen years in prison for wearing a Saddam Hussein T-shirt, Hollywood was congratulating the victorious American troops and parading an M-1 Abrams tank and a Patriot missile alongside Roseanne Barr and Jimmy Stewart.
The war--or, rather, the victory--gained the President enormous popularity, and for most of the country the entire event has become an occasion for patriotic good feeling. Desert Storm has been reduced to a single, simple plot line, acted out by a few stock characters: the mad dictator, the resolute President, the heroic soldiers, the grateful citizenry. Details--the former intimate relations between the United States and Saddam Hussein's, Iraq, for example--remain unexplored. Congress, which might have been expected to investigate the dubious American diplomacy that preceded Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, largely abdicated its responsibility in the face of Desert Storm's high ratings. The roots of the war--why it actually happened--now attract the interest only of specialists and spoilsports.
Unfortunately, the muddled world out of which the Gulf crisis sprang last summer has gained little in clarity since the Marines marched into Kuwait City. United States policy in the Gulf has not fundamentally changed: its goal is to maintain at all costs `a secure and stable Gulf' (in Mr. Bush's phrase), in order to shelter the fragile, oil-producing, conservative Sunni regimes of the Arabian peninsula. That goal led President Nixon to anoint the Shah of Iran America's `policeman of the Gulf,' and, after the Shah was overthrown, it drove Presidents Reagan and Bush to support Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which they saw as a bulwark against the ideological threat posed by the Ayatollah Khomeini and by the possibility that his Shiite revolution might spread through the Gulf. That same goal subsequently led President Bush to stand politely aside while Saddam Hussein--whom he had denounced as worse than Hitler--crushed the Shiite and Kurdish uprisings in his country.
On March 6th, a week after the ceasefire, the six Gulf states met in Damascus with Syria and Egypt and issued a call for `a new Arab order to boost joint Arab action.' The essence of the new order was a plan to maintain Egyptian and Syrian troops `in the Saudi territories and other Arab countries in the Gulf,' so as to `guarantee the security and peace of Arab countries in the Gulf region.' The presence of Egyptians and Syrians, it was hoped would eliminate any need for substantial American forces, with the political damage that their continued presence would entail. More important, the structure of the new Arab order--with Egypt and Syria sending troops to the Gulf, and the Gulf countries sending some of their wealth to Cairo and Damascus--might help to bridge the most dangerous fault line in the Arab world: that between the overpopulated, impoverished nations of the north and the underpopulated, oil-rich nations of the south. (Iraq, the source of the region's most recent upheaval, stands astride this fault line--as well as that between the Sunnis and the Shiites--and it's no accident that Saddam Hussein, after invading Kuwait, hoped to attract Arab sympathies by pointing to this basic inequality as his reason for doing so; he was very well aware that the fabulous wealth of the Gulf states and the greed and arrogance perceived as accompanying it engender great resentment in the rest of the Arab world.)
On May 8th, however, President Mubarak announced that he was pulling Egyptian troops out of the Gulf. The decision, Egyptian political and military officials told the Washington Post, reflected `Egypt's impatience with Saudi and Kuwaiti foot-dragging.' Now that the war was over, the Gulf states were not so eager to play host to their Arab brothers from the north, and were still less eager to pay for their presence. Besides, a Gulf diplomat was quoted in the Post as saying, `who's going to attack you if they know the United States will come and protect you?' The Gulf states, an Arab journalist said in the same story, `want blue-eyed soldiers to protect them.' The comment recalls that of a `senior Gulf official' quoted in the Wall Street Journal just before the war began. `You think I want to send my teen-aged son to die for Kuwait?' he asked, then chuckled. `We have our white slaves from America to do that.'
Increasingly, the victory of Desert Storm seems to be leading not so much to a secure and stable Gulf as to an Americanized one. While twelve thousand American troops protect the Kurds in Saddam's Iraq, and five thousand work to keep the Emir's Kuwait functioning, American officials have begun murmuring about establishing a new United States base in Bahrain, about a `prepositioning' of equipment in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, about regular `joint exercises' involving American troops in the Arabian desert. But many of the threats to `stability' in the Gulf hinge on the weaknesses of the rigid, undemocratic regimes there, and regular visits from the United States Marines, far from removing those threats, might well heighten them. And for the United States, barely a year after the end of the Cold War seemed to offer the promise of a reduced military budget and a greater attention to domestic problems, the Gulf War has brought a greater burden abroad and the strong likelihood of further entanglements in the Middle East. Beyond the parades and the celebrations of national self-renewal, this is the real legacy of Desert Storm.
And at that, I will close my reading from this very insightful article and say this, that there were some fundamental principles to American constitutional government involved in that war. They were chosen to be overlooked by the people's representatives.
I introduced two resolutions. I directed two letters to the leaders of the Congress in August, not later, but in August, because it was obvious that the President had made a quick, almost a snap-judgment decision at Camp David on August 2 and 3.
I felt that it was going to be a repeat of Panama. Where are we there?
We have General Manuel Antonio Noriega over there in Florida. It is going to be embarrassing to us all before that is over with, but more importantly: Do the American people realize the hundreds of children maimed, blinded, halt, lame that we caused by the pointless bombing of the Chorillo district? It was 100 percent black, you know, so that the 10 percent of the upper class of the Panamanians could care less.
They are the ones we have reinstalled in power. We have two-thirds of the American troops at the height of the invasion still in Panama. Do not let anybody delude Members. That is two-thirds of the top complement at the height of the invasion of American troops. We are occupying Panama and our military are governing Panama. If that is democracy, then we have made a mockery of that word.
Why? I belive for the same reason that we still have thousands of troops in Arabia, not counting those in Kuwait and in North Iraq, and not counting those on the seas. No thought was given to what do we do afterwards. As this article points out, the Middle East is far from stabilized. In fact, it has been so terribly destabilized, that even the alliance is coming apart. Egypt has withdrawn from the alliance. That was not reported until weeks after the occurrence in the American press, and only, I am sure, because the European press has been full of it.
So that when we go to war this way, where a President on his own, without consultation with the Congress and in the Congress, by the time it decides to even discuss, not pass on the constitutionality, not discuss its own laws which were passed specifically to govern in these instances, but merely either to vote loyalty to the President or not. That was the issue, the so-called great debate we had, on whether to go to war. It was not a debate on that, but it was a debate on whether we were going to support the President or not. The President had already committed the troops. He committed twice the number on November 8 that he had announced on August 2 and 3.
So the issue has escaped, and I think with grave consequences to this country. Perhaps it is like Shakespeare says, when a nation becomes arrogant and blinded to itself in its arrogance, it has its eyes sealed by the gods, and struts to its own confusion and becomes a laughing stock to the world.
Mr. Speaker, at this point I insert for the Record a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the House should act on an emergency basis to lift the economic embargo of Iraq.
H. Res. 180
Whereas reports from the United Nations, the Physicians for Human Rights, the International Red Cross, a Harvard study team, other independent organizations, and private U.S. citizens have documented the fact that unless the economic sanctions imposed against Iraq are immediately lifted and Iraq is allowed to buy and import food, medicine and equipment, especially for power generation, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians will die in the upcoming months;
Whereas a Harvard study team estimates that at least 170,000 Iraqi children under the age of five will die within the next year from the delayed effects of the war in the Persian Gulf if the imposition of the sanctions continues;
Whereas this is a conservative estimate and does not include tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians above the age of five who are expected to die from similar causes;
Whereas the Catholic Relief Service estimates that more than 100,000 Iraqi children will die from malnutrition and disease in the upcoming months due to the economic embargo and destruction of the war, and the United Nations Children's Fund estimates that 80,000 Iraqi children may die from these causes;
Whereas malnutrition has become severe and widespread in Iraq since imposition of the embargo and the war due to severe food shortages and the inflation of food prices of up to 1000%, which has effectively priced many Iraqis, especially the poor and disadvantaged, out of the food market;
Whereas cholera, typhoid, and gastroenteritis have become epidemic throughout Iraq since the war due to the critical scarcity of medicine and the inability of Iraq to process sewage and purify the water supply;
Whereas the system of medical care has broken down in Iraq, resulting in the closure of up to 50% of Iraq's medical facilities due to acute shortages of medicines, equipment, and staff;
Whereas the incapacitation of 18 of Iraq's 20 power plants during the war is a principal cause of the deterioration in public health due to the resultant inability of Iraq to process sewage, purify its water supply, and supply electricity to health facilities;
Whereas the health care crisis cannot be addressed without the reconstruction of electrical facilities that enable the purification of water and treatment of sewage;
Whereas before the economic embargo of Iraq, three quarters of the total caloric intake in Iraq was imported and, moreover, 96% of Iraqi revenue to pay for imports, namely food and medicine, was derived from the exportation of oil now prohibited under the embargo;
Whereas Iraq's historic dependence on the importation of food and medicine financed by revenue from the sale of oil has made Iraq particularly vulnerable to the deleterious effects of the sanctions;
Whereas the onset of the summer heat in Iraq will both accelerate the spread of disease and impede its treatment due to the lack of refrigeration facilities even in hospitals;
Whereas the acute shortages in food in Iraq, the inflation of up to 1000% in food prices caused by these shortages, the critical scarcity of medicine, and the essential need to reconstruct Iraq's capacity to generate electricity to enable sewage treatment and water purification, cannot be addressed or rectified without Iraq's re-entry into global commerce, at present effectively prohibited by the economic sanctions;
Whereas the immediate lifting of the sanctions would drastically reduce the number of Iraqi children who will die in the upcoming months from malnutrition and disease and would relieve the suffering of the innocent Iraqi population which is now bearing the burden of the embargo: Now therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives, That the United States should act on an emergency basis to lift the economic embargo of Iraq to save innocent Iraqi civilians, especially children, from death by disease and starvation.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Dymally). Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Gingrich] is recognized for 60 minutes.
[Mr. GINGRICH addressed the House. His remarks will appear hereafter in the Extensions of Remarks.]
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from New York [Mr. Owens] is recognized for 60 minutes.
[Mr. OWENS of New York addressed the House. His remarks will appear hereafter in the Extensions of Remarks.]
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from California [Mr. Lewis] is recognized for 60 minutes.
[Mr. LEWIS of California addressed the House. His remarks will appear hereafter in the Extensions of Remarks.]
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