Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Here are some very important facts to be considered as the world watches the US embark on bombing a country (that has NOT attacked them), compiled by Ireland’s Labor party spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Michael D. Higgins TD. You can read the entire report here.

The war about to be launched will, according to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, have a catastrophic impact on the civilian population of Iraq – 46% of whose population of 22 million people are under the age of 15. This is a population weakened by twelve years of sanctions, which has left approximately 70% of the population dependent for food on the Oil for Food Programme. One child in four under the age of five is malnourished. Three persons out of four in Iraq live in cities. Baghdad alone has a population of between 4.5 million and 5 million people. In 1991 90,000 tons of explosives were dropped on Iraq. Fifty to seventy per cent missed their target. What is planned for Baghdad now is more than this assault over six weeks. Described as “shock and awe” by the military authorities, these actions are a moral outrage in their regarding of civilian life as dispensable.

The Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and children at times of war would rule out the conduct of war in the conditions described above. For example, it is illegal to damage infrastructure required for “the protection and sustenance of children”.

In this war a United Nations document predicts 100,000 immediate casualties, 400,000 indirect, one million pregnant or lactating women will be at risk as well as two million children. In 1991 50,000 children (alone) died from malnutrition and infectious diseases related to contaminated water.

A response to "Shock and Awe" from Pakistan.

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