Posted by andreas from p3EE3C402.dip.t-dialin.net (126.96.36.199) on Saturday, September 21, 2002 at 4:22AM :
Ramsey Clark Letter to UN: Do Not Support Attack on Iraq
The following letter by former U.S. Attorney General
Ramsey Clark has been sent to all members of the UN
Security Council, with copies to the UN General Assembly.
September 20, 2002
Secretary General Kofi Annan
United Nations New York, NY
Dear Secretary General Annan,
George Bush will invade Iraq unless restrained by the
United Nations. Other international organizations--
including the European Union, the African Union, the OAS,
the Arab League, stalwart nations courageous enough to
speak out against superpower aggression, international
peace movements, political leadership, and public opinion
within the United States--must do their part for peace. If
the United Nations, above all, fails to oppose a U.S.
invasion of Iraq, it will forfeit its honor, integrity and
A military attack on Iraq is obviously criminal;
completely inconsistent with urgent needs of the Peoples
of the United Nations; unjustifiable on any legal or moral
ground; irrational in light of the known facts; out of
proportion to other existing threats of war and violence;
and a dangerous adventure risking continuing conflict
throughout the region and far beyond for years to come.
The most careful analysis must be made as to why the world
is subjected to such threats of violence by its only
superpower, which could so safely and importantly lead us
on the road to peace, and how the UN can avoid the human
tragedy of yet another major assault on Iraq and the
powerful stimulus for retaliatory terrorism it would
1. President George Bush Came to Office Determined to
Attack Iraq and Change its Government.
George Bush is moving apace to make his war unstoppable
and soon. Having stated last Friday that he did not
believe Iraq would accept UN inspectors, he responded to
Iraq?s prompt, unconditional acceptance by calling any
reliance on it a ?false hope? and promising to attack Iraq
alone if the UN does not act. He is obsessed with the
desire to wage war against Iraq and install his surrogates
to govern Iraq by force. Days after the most bellicose
address ever made before the United Nations--an
unprecedented assault on the Charter of the United
Nations, the rule of law and the quest for peace--the U.S.
announced it was changing its stated targets in Iraq over
the past eleven years, from retaliation for threats and
attacks on U.S. aircraft which were illegally invading
Iraq?s airspace on a daily basis. How serious could those
threats and attacks have been if no U.S. aircraft was ever
hit? Yet hundreds of people were killed in Iraq by U.S.
rockets and bombs, and not just in the so called ?no fly
zone,? but in Baghdad itself. Now the U.S. proclaims its
intentions to destroy major military facilities in Iraq in
preparation for its invasion, a clear promise of
aggression now. Every day there are threats and more
propaganda is unleashed to overcome resistance to George
Bush?s rush to war. The acceleration will continue until
the tanks roll, unless nonviolent persuasion prevails.
2. George Bush Is Leading the United States and Taking the
UN and All Nations Toward a Lawless World of Endless Wars.
George Bush in his ?War on Terrorism? has asserted his
right to attack any country, organization, or people
first, without warning in his sole discretion. He and
members of his administration have proclaimed the old
restraints that law sought to impose on aggression by
governments and repression of their people, no longer
consistent with national security. Terrorism is such a
danger, they say, that necessity compels the U.S. to
strike first to destroy the potential for terrorist acts
from abroad and to make arbitrary arrests, detentions,
interrogations, controls and treatment of people abroad
and within the U.S. Law has become the enemy of public
safety. ?Necessity is the argument of tyrants.? ?Necessity
never makes a good bargain.?
Heinrich Himmler, who instructed the Nazi Gestapo ?Shoot
first, ask questions later, and I will protect you,? is
vindicated by George Bush. Like the Germany described by
Jorge Luis Borges in Deutsches Requiem, George Bush has
now ?proffered (the world) violence and faith in the
sword,? as Nazi Germany did. And as Borges wrote, it did
not matter to faith in the sword that Germany was
defeated. ?What matters is that violence ... now rules.?
Two generations of Germans have rejected that faith. Their
perseverance in the pursuit of peace will earn the respect
of succeeding generations everywhere.
The Peoples of the United Nations are threatened with the
end of international law and protection for human rights
by George Bush?s war on terrorism and determination to
Since George Bush proclaimed his ?war on terrorism,? other
countries have claimed the right to strike first. India
and Pakistan brought the earth and their own people closer
to nuclear conflict than at any time since October 1962 as
a direct consequence of claims by the U.S. of the
unrestricted right to pursue and kill terrorists, or
attack nations protecting them, based on a unilateral
decision without consulting the United Nations, a trial,
or revealing any clear factual basis for claiming its
targets are terrorists and confined to them.
There is already a near epidemic of nations proclaiming
the right to attack other nations or intensify violations
of human rights of their own people on the basis of George
Bush?s assertions of power in the war against terrorism.
Mary Robinson, in her quietly courageous statements as her
term as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ended, has
spoken of the ?ripple effect? U.S. claims of right to
strike first and suspend fundamental human rights
protection is having.
On September 11, 2002, Colombia, whose new administration
is strongly supported by the U.S., ?claimed new authority
to arrest suspects without warrants and declare zones
under military control,? including ?[N]ew powers, which
also make it easier to wiretap phones and limit
foreigners? access to conflict zones... allow security
agents to enter your house or office without a warrant at
any time of day because they think you?re suspicious.?
These additional threats to human rights follow
Post-September 11 ?emergency? plans to set up a network of
a million informants in a nation of forty million. See,
New York Times, September 12, 2002, p. A7.
3. The United States, Not Iraq, Is the Greatest Single
Threat to the Independence and Purpose of the United
President Bush?s claim that Iraq is a threat justifying
war is false. Eighty percent of Iraq?s military capacity
was destroyed in 1991 according to the Pentagon. Ninety
percent of materials and equipment required to manufacture
weapons of mass destruction was destroyed by UN inspectors
during more than eight years of inspections. Iraq was
powerful, compared to most of its neighbors, in 1990.
Today it is weak. One infant out of four born live in Iraq
weighs less than 2 kilos, promising short lives, illness
and impaired development. In 1989, fewer than one in
twenty infants born live weighed less than two kilos. Any
threat to peace Iraq might become is remote, far less than
that of many other nations and groups and cannot justify a
violent assault. An attack on Iraq will make attacks in
retaliation against the U.S. and governments which support
its actions far more probable for years to come.
George Bush proclaims Iraq a threat to the authority of
the United Nations while U.S.-coerced UN sanctions
continue to cause the death rate of the Iraqi people to
increase. Deaths caused by sanctions have been at
genocidal levels for twelve years. Iraq can only plead
helplessly for an end to this crime against its people.
The UN role in the sanctions against Iraq compromise and
stain the UN?s integrity and honor. This makes it all the
more important for the UN now to resist this war.
Inspections were used as an excuse to continue sanctions
for eight years while thousands of Iraqi children and
elderly died each month. Iraq is the victim of criminal
sanctions that should have been lifted in 1991. For every
person killed by terrorist acts in the U.S. on 9/11, five
hundred people have died in Iraq from sanctions.
It is the U.S. that threatens not merely the authority of
the United Nations, but its independence, integrity and
hope for effectiveness. The U.S. pays UN dues if, when and
in the amount it chooses. It coerces votes of members. It
coerces choices of personnel on the Secretariat. It
rejoined UNESCO to gain temporary favor after 18 years of
opposition to its very purposes. It places spies in UN
The U.S. has renounced treaties controlling nuclear
weapons and their proliferation, voted against the
protocol enabling enforcement of the Biological Weapons
Convention, rejected the treaty banning land mines,
endeavored to prevent its creation and since to cripple
the International Criminal Court, and frustrated the
Convention on the Child and the prohibition against using
children in war. The U.S. has opposed virtually every
other international effort to control and limit war,
protect the environment, reduce poverty and protect
George Bush cites two invasions of other countries by Iraq
during the last 22 years. He ignores the many scores of
U.S. invasions and assaults on other countries in Africa,
Asia, and the Americas during the last 220 years, and the
permanent seizure of lands from Native Americans and other
nations--lands like Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico,
California, and Puerto Rico, among others, seized by force
In the same last 22 years the U.S. has invaded, or
assaulted Grenada, Nicaragua, Libya, Panama, Haiti,
Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and others
directly, while supporting assaults and invasions
elsewhere in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
It is healthy to remember that the U.S. invaded and
occupied little Grenada in 1983 after a year of threats,
killing hundreds of civilians and destroying its small
mental hospital, where many patients died. In a surprise
attack on the sleeping and defenseless cities of Tripoli
and Benghazi in April 1986, the U.S. killed hundreds of
civilians and damaged four foreign embassies. It launched
21 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the El Shifa
pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum in August 1998,
destroying the source of half the medicines available to
the people of Sudan. For years it has armed forces in
Uganda and southern Sudan fighting the government of
Sudan. The U.S. has bombed Iraq on hundreds of occasions
since the Gulf War, including this week, killing hundreds
of people without a casualty or damage to an attacking
4. Why Has George Bush Decided The U.S. Must Attack Iraq
There is no rational basis to believe Iraq is a threat
to the United States, or any other country. The reason to
attack Iraq must be found elsewhere.
As governor of Texas, George Bush presided over scores of
executions, more than any governor in the United States
since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 (after a
hiatus from 1967). He revealed the same zeal he has shown
for ?regime change? for Iraq when he oversaw the
executions of minors, women, retarded persons and aliens
whose rights under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
Relations of notification of their arrest to a foreign
mission of their nationality were violated. The Supreme
Court of the U.S. held that executions of a mentally
retarded person constitute cruel and unusual punishment in
violation of the U.S. Constitution. George Bush addresses
the United Nations with these same values and willfulness.
His motives may include to save a failing Presidency which
has converted a healthy economy and treasury surplus into
multi-trillion dollar losses; to fulfill the dream, which
will become a nightmare, of a new world order to serve
special interests in the U.S.; to settle a family grudge
against Iraq; to weaken the Arab nation, one people at a
time; to strike a Muslim nation to weaken Islam; to
protect Israel, or make its position more dominant in the
region; to secure control of Iraq?s oil to enrich U.S.
interests, further dominate oil in the region and control
oil prices. Aggression against Iraq for any of these
purposes is criminal and a violation of a great many
international conventions and laws including the General
Assembly Resolution on the Definition of Aggression of
December 14, 1974.
Prior regime changes by the U.S. brought to power among a
long list of tyrants, such leaders as the Shah of Iran,
Mobutu in the Congo, Pinochet in Chile, all replacing
democratically elected heads of government. 5. A Rational
Policy Intended to Reduce the Threat of Weapons of Mass
Destruction in The Middle East Must Include Israel.
A UN or U.S. policy of selecting enemies of the U.S. for
attack is criminal and can only heighten hatred, division,
terrorism and lead to war. The U.S. gives
Israel far more aid per capita than the total per capita
income of sub Sahara Africans from all sources.
U.S.-coerced sanctions have reduced per capita income for
the people of Iraq by 75% since 1989. Per capita income in
Israel over the past decade has been approximately 12
times the per capita income of Palestinians.
Israel increased its decades-long attacks on the
Palestinian people, using George Bush?s proclamation of
war on terrorism as an excuse, to indiscriminately destroy
cities and towns in the West Bank and Gaza and seize more
land in violation of international law and repeated
Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.
Israel has a stockpile of hundreds of nuclear warheads
derived from the United States, sophisticated rockets
capable of accurate delivery at distances of several
thousand kilometers, and contracts with the U.S. for joint
development of more sophisticated rocketry and other arms
with the U.S.
Possession of weapons of mass destruction by a single
nation in a region with a history of hostility promotes a
race for proliferation and war. The UN must act to reduce
and eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, not submit
to demands to punish areas of evil and enemies of the
superpower that possesses the majority of all such weapons
and capacity for their delivery.
Israel has violated and ignored more UN Resolutions for
forty years than any other nation. It has done so with
The violation of Security Council resolutions cannot be
the basis for a UN-approved assault on any nation, or
people, in a time of peace, or the absence of a threat of
imminent attack, but comparable efforts to enforce
Security Council resolutions must be made against all
nations who violate them.
6. The Choice Is War Or Peace.
The UN and the U.S. must seek peace, not war. An attack on
Iraq may open a Pandora?s box that will condemn the world
to decades of spreading violence. Peace is not only
possible; it is essential, considering the heights to
which science and technology have raised the human art of
planetary and self-destruction.
If George Bush is permitted to attack Iraq with or without
the approval of the UN, he will become Public Enemy Number
One--and the UN itself worse than useless, an accomplice
in the wars it was created to end. The Peoples of the
World then will have to find some way to begin again if
they hope to end the scourge of war.
This is a defining moment for the United Nations. Will it
stand strong, independent and true to its Charter,
international law and the reasons for its being, or will
it submit to the coercion of a superpower leading us
toward a lawless world and condone war against the cradle
Do not let this happen.
International Action Center
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New York, NY 10011
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