THE advocates of an attack on Iraq never see the effect of their action on ordinary lives – the blood on their hands.
Waves of B52 bombers will be used in the attack on Iraq. In Vietnam this resulted in more than 1 million people being killed in the 1960s invasion. The effects of Agent Orange, a lethal herbicide and which the cliche mongers now call a weapon of mass destruction, was sprayed over almost half of South Vietnam, resulting in terribly deformed children.
Today as the poison continues to move through water and soil and food, children continue to be born without palates and chins and scrotums or are still born. Many have leukaemia.
We never see these children on the TV news, the pictures are too hideous. This is the true face of war. Will we be shown it by satellite when Iraq is attacked? I doubt it.
In Iraq there are children similarly deformed, a phenomenon unheard of prior to the Gulf War in 1991. More than 300 tonnes of depleted uranium, a potent carcinogen, were fired by allied aircraft and tanks. In a country where dust carries everything, swirling through markets and playgrounds, children are especially vulnerable.
Let us be clear what an attack will do to our fellow human beings in a country already stricken by an embargo, aimed not at Saddam Hussein, but at the civilian population.
Recently the Pentagon announced matter of factly that it intended to shatter Iraq, ‘physically, emotionally and psychologically’ by raining down on its people 800 cruise missiles in two days. This strategy is known as shock and awe, producing an effect similar to the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes.
What will this ‘Hiroshima effect’ actually do to a population of whom almost half are children under the age of 14? The answer is to be found in a World Health Organisation estimate which says that ‘as many as 500,000 people would require treatment as a result of direct and indirect injuries’. A functioning primary health care system would be destroyed and clean water denied to 39 per cent of the population. The report concludes, ‘there is likely to be an outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions’.
This utter disregard for the Iraqi people is frightening.
DAVID M. LANGBRIDGE