Ramsey Clark Appeals to UN to Stop Iraq War
- Subject: Ramsey Clark Appeals to UN to Stop Iraq War
- From: "Nadia Scardeoni" <n.scardeoni at libero.it>
- Date: Sun, 22 Sep 2002 22:34:25 +0200
da nadia scardeoni
The following letter by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has
been sent today to all members of the UN Security Council, with copies
to the UN General Assembly. Please circulate. -- Mid-Hudson National
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 also 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 raison d'?tre.
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 create.
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 11 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 invade Iraq.
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 Nations.
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 (4.4
pounds), promising short lives, illness and impaired development. In
1989, fewer than one in 20 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, 500
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 inspection teams.
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 health.
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 and threat.
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 plane.
4. Why Has George Bush Decided The U.S. Must Attack Iraq Now?
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
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
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 impunity.
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 of
Do not let this happen.
Sincerely, Ramsey Clark