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Guest Commentary: U.S. aggression against Iraq criminal

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Julian Kunnie
By Julian Kunnie
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday October 7, 2002

How tragic it is that today the same historical genocidal mentality that annihilated millions of indigenous people in North America and enslaved millions of Africans continues! The lies, propaganda, and deceit on the part of the Bush regime continues unabated in its vitriolic assault on the people of Iraq, ostensibly because Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. Most people are unaware that the United States provided Iraq with chemical weapons during Iraq's war with Iran, furnishing anthrax seeds and helicopters with dual-use capability, as part of a $1 billion subsidy to buy U. S. farm products. Bush and his appointees knowingly conceal that the United States itself has already used chemical weapons in Iraq. Bechtel Corporation, of which former U. S. Secretary of State George Schulz under the Reagan administration was a board member, helped Iraq set up a plant to manufacture ethylene dioxide that could be used to manufacture mustard gas. In 1991, 300 tons of depleted uranium bombs were dropped by U. S forces during the invasion of Iraq, contaminating water supplies, resulting in thousands of deformed births and diseased children and effecting hundreds of thousands of U. S troops who have come to suffer from "Gulf-War Syndrome."

What goes largely unmentioned is the fact that there are 22 million people who live in Iraq, human beings with souls and bodies like us all. It is not just one enormous maze of oil fields. Forty-four million pounds of bombs were rained down on Iraq in a four-week period in 1991, more than on any one country in human history. The consistent wave of comprehensive sanctions that prohibit even the importation of chlorine to clean drinking water by the United States and Britain has resulted in over 1.5 million dead, including 500,000 children. Chronic malnutrition grew from 18 percent in 1991 to 31 percent in 1996 for children under five, resulting in stunting. Underweight malnutrition increased from 9 percent to 26 percent, and by 1997, there were an estimated 1 million Iraqi children under five who were chronically malnourished. In 1989, the Iraqi government spent $500 million on drugs and medicines. Today the budget has been axed by 90 percent to 95 percent and the health care system lacks basic medical equipment and sanitation supplies because of virtually eliminated revenues. Decimating the youngest of any population is the first major step in any program of genocide, and is a violation of the U.N. Convention on Genocide that bars intentional elimination of a people. Never in the history of the United Nations has an agency founded to foster peace among nations and resolve international conflicts been used with such vehemence to exact such a heavy toll of suffering of civilians.

It is indeed absurd when the issue of Iraq flouting U.N. resolutions and possessing chemical and biological weapons is used as the pretext to justify U. S. military aggression, since Iraq is not the leading culprit in this regard. While Iraq has been subject to condemnation 16 times at the U.N. Security Council, Israel has been subject to such censure by the United Nations 84 times, and has contravened 67 U.N. resolutions since 1967 for war crimes, including the most recent on the withdrawal from occupied Palestinian towns. Israel possesses nuclear weapons, missiles mounted on F-16 fighter bombers, and even enabled apartheid South Africa to explode an atomic device in 1979. The United States possesses no right to make moral judgements on issues of peace in the Middle East precisely because of its perverted policy of endorsing and funding the colonization of Palestinians by Israel, while hypocritically consistently picking on Iraq as the bogeyman in the region. Nelson Mandela went to the extent of accusing the United States of engaging in racist behavior vis--vis Israel and Iraq: condemning Iraq since it is a black nation and sparing Israel such criticism because it is white.

The planned U. S. invasion of Iraq is criminal and racist, a blatant violation of international law, and a contravention of the U.N. Charter, and must be stopped immediately. No government, superpower or not, has the right to overthrow the government of another sovereign nation.

The United States must stop killing Arabs and Muslims for cheap oil consumption in the United States and for massive profits for U. S. oil conglomerates. Over $900 billion of Middle East oil proceeds are invested in the vaults of Citibank, J. P. Morgan, Chase Manhattan and other banks in the United States, Europe and Japan. The United States must break its addiction to war for the expropriation of the resources of the colored peoples of the world.

We must denounce this racist war agenda. Not only is it racist, illegal and a political machination for the upcoming elections, it is a diversion from critical domestic issues of desperately needed funding for public education, job creation, universal health care, accessible medicines for all, particularly children, and clean-up of the environment. It is estimated that Arizona's loss of tax revenues will be about $1.3 billion should a war against Iraq cost around $100 billion. Call your local congresspersons, senators and the White House, opposing the planned U. S. war against Iraq.

George W. Bush speaks of "regime change" in Baghdad. Was he popularly elected? What about a "regime change" in Washington?

UA Professor Julian Kunnie is the director of Africana studies and, most recently, the author of Is Apartheid Really Dead? Pan Africanist Working Class Cultural Critical Perspectives.'

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