Ramsey Clark Appeals to UN to Stop Iraq War

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

People's Campaign


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

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 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