Ramsey Clark, Peacenik
Jude Wanniski
December 12, 2001


Memo To: Rep. Henry Hyde [R-IL]
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Ramsey Clark's U.N. Letter on Iraq

You remember Ramsey Clark, Henry. He was President Lyndon Johnson's Attorney General during the build-up stages of the Vietnam War, then became an opponent of the war, and has been a peacenik ever since. Any time we see a mass anti-war demonstration in the vicinity, Ramsey is there. In recent years, I've become kind of a peacenik, arguing for more diplomacy, less force, so I have gotten on his Christmas list. Here is the e-mail he sent on Tuesday, a copy of a letter he sent that day to the ambassador and foreign minister of each member of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. As far as I can tell, there are no errors of fact in it, although lawyers might still argue over some of the legal points he makes about our treatment of Iraq for the past decade. You should read it, even though you seem to have joined the hawks and might not like it. If you hold hearings on Iraq, you might even invite him to testify. As we are now in the process of trying to decide what kind of country we are going to be as we sit astride the entire planet, we might as well hear from the most passionate peaceniks before we choose diplomacy or force.

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December 11, 2001

Dear Ambassador:

The Security Council must direct the United States that it may not attack Iraq and must cease threatening to do so. Nor can it train, aid, or finance other forces seeking the violent overthrow of the Iraqi government. Any such acts would violate the obligations of nations under the Charter of the United Nations and constitute crimes under international law.

U.S. military and economic assaults on Iraq in the past dozen years are a continuing crime against peace and humanity. They violate the Genocide Convention.

The Pentagon admits it conducted 110,000 aerial sorties against a defenseless Iraq, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs equivalent to 7.5 Hiroshima bombs in 42 days from January 17 to February 28, 1991. The bombs targeted every type of structure and facility necessary to support civilian life. Family dwellings, water and food systems and supplies, industry, commerce, business, education, religion all across Iraq were the direct object of U.S. bombs punishing a whole population.

More than 150,000 thousands defenseless people died in Iraq as a result of this military assault, which included thousands of individual war crimes. From August 6, 1990 to date, the most severe economic sanctions and forced impoverishment have deliberately inflicted hunger, malnourishment, sickness and death generously among the people of Iraq, killing and crippling infants, children, the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers, persons with chronic illnesses, and emergency medical cases first and most frequently.

More than 1.5 million people have died as a direct result of these sanctions. More than half have been children under five years of age. The sanctions, coerced from the Security Council by the U.S., have violated the Genocide Convention because they have deliberately created conditions of life intended to destroy the Iraqi population in whole, or in part, because of the nationality, race, religion and ethnic origin of its people. The sanctions have had their intended effect.

Every U.N. agency dealing with food, health and children has confirmed the human horror of the sanctions. They include the FAO, UNICEF, WFP, WHO. The most courageous and honorable of the U.N. employee's directly involved with enforcement of the sanctions and inspections under them have resigned their positions and publicly protested the sanctions and inspections policies. The food for oil program approved only in late 1996, and used thereafter primarily as a devise for delay, frustration and accusation, was initiated only when international protest against the savagery of the sanctions overwhelmed the fear in which Security Council members held the threat of U.S. reprisal if they did not support U.S. policies.

The U.S. has bombed Iraq whenever it chose to do so at any time for the past twelve years. Missiles and bombs have targeted Saddam Hussein for assassination. Many hundreds have been killed, including as an illustration of the meaning of such bombing, Leila al Attar, the internationally famous artist, museum director, wife, mother, human being. The sound of U.S. jets over Iraq is omnipresent, keeping constant the terrifying memory of the continuous aerial and missile assault of February-March 1991 which averaged an aerial sortie every 30 seconds.

In the face of these staggering crimes against Iraq, the U.S. has conducted a constant campaign of vilification in the international media it controls. While claims Saddam Hussein is the evil it seeks to destroy, its broad brush paints all of Iraq as a symbol of evil. The U.S. propaganda is racist, anti-Muslim, hate engendering and false. The U.S. has corrupted and seriously compromised the United Nations by appearing to act in its name, tragically diminishing humanities best hope for peace, dignity and decent conditions of life for all by its decade of brutish and criminal assaults on the people of Iraq. Though coerced, the Security Council is complicit in these crimes against peace and humanity, war crimes and genocide because it has at the least allowed its name and moral authority to be usurped by the United States.

The United States time and time again has acted on the advice of Plato's Athenian Stranger, who fearing the judgment of history remains anonymous by waging "...war for the sake of peace." Consider how victims of U.S. wars, surrogate and direct, since World War II have fared: Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Liberia, Cuba, Guatemala, Grenada, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Angola, Croatia, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iran, Indonesia, Afghanistan. Yet where is the promised peace?

Consider the havoc direct U.S. military violence has wreaked in the past decade on the people of Iraq, all the Republics of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia created to make peace possible in the Balkans, Nicaragua, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, North Korea, Kosovo, Afghanistan. And who will be next? The media reports daily on the candidates. Is there anything Iraq has done in the past decade which threatened peace, endangered life, or caused violence that could possibly compare with the violence and calumny the U.S. has visited on Iraq. There is no legal basis, or moral justification for a U.S. attack on Iraq, or for U.S. financing and assisting in the overthrow of its government. For the U.S. to do so is an international crime and prohibited by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Prevailing power in the U.S. and its government intends to attack Iraq when the current assault of Afghanistan has accomplished its purpose to consolidate U.S. domination over the Middle East, the Gulf region and central Asia.

Act immediately to end the shame of the Security Councils abject failure to assert the independence and sovereignty of the United Nations under its Charter and to end this scourge of war. Prohibit the United States from attacking Iraq.


Ramsey Clark