Global Health Alert: If War Makes You Sick, Do Something About It!

Summary

- Should hundreds of thousands of people die just because they have the misfortune of living in an oil-rich country ruled by a brutal dictator?
- Does your government care about these people? Does it listen to those who do care?
- You can make your government hear you by transferring the cost of their bloodthirsty aggression to those to whom they listen: CEOs and shareholders.
- Send a message to your government via your employers by taking a sick day on Friday the 21st March.

Are You Sick?

Do you feel nausea in the pit of your stomache every time you hear the news on television or radio? Does a glimpse of the headlines produce a debilitating weakness and sense of despair and hopelessness?

These are serious and genuine symptoms that indicate that there is something very wrong with the state of the world. But they are trivial compared to the suffering of the people of Iraq over the past twelve years.

Desert Storm: A Deliberate, Premeditated Health Crisis

Over two hundred thousand people died in "Operation Desert Storm" and it's immediate aftermath. Since then, hundreds of thousands more have died as a result of the ongoing war. Malnutrition is epidemic, and Iraqis are over five times more likely to suffer from cancer and leukaemia since the US military's use of depleted uranium weaponry. Shipment of medicines are blocked by sanctions, so treatable illnesses
go untreated.

During Desert Storm, the US military deliberately targeted water purification plants, and the UN sanctions since have prevented the rebuilding of these facilities. Diarrhoeal diseases are a prime killer of children in Iraq; one in ten children do not live to see their fifth birthday.

The Desert Storm "coalition" also attacked air-raid shelters, food warehouses, flour-milling and grain storage facilities, and factories. Bridges, factories, and urban areas around maketplaces were attacked during the day rather than at night, thereby maximising the amount of civilian casualties.

The Next Wave of Biological Terrorism

According to a secret UN document prepared late last year, another major US attack on Iraq would leave half a million requiring immediate medical assistance, and "the outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions."

"It is estimated that the nutritional status of some 3.03 million persons countrywide will be dire and they will require therapeutic feeding. This consists of 2.03 million severely and moderately malnourished children under five and one million pregnant and lactating women."

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees expects close to a million refugees.

Already the invading forces massed in the Gulf region are close to outnumbering the entire Iraqi army, never mind the overwhelming technical superiority of the aggressors' weaponry. However this is largely irrelevant, as the US has little intention of engaging the Iraqi army, preferring to attack defenseless urban areas.

The US government's "Shock and Awe" battle plan will see up to 400 cruise missiles launched in the first 24 hours - more than in the entire 40 days of Desert Storm, with another 400 the following day. These will be targeted not at Iraq's military, but at the Iraqi population and the
infrastructure that is currently barely keeping them alive. "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," CBS news quoted one Pentagon official as saying.

"You [...] take the city down. By that I mean you get rid of their
power, water. In 2,3,4,5 days they are physically, emotionally and
psychologically exhausted," Harlan Ullman of the US National Defense
University, one of the principal architects of the plan told CBS. "So
that you have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons
at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes."

"We want them to quit. We want them not to fight."

As in Desert Storm, US casulaties will be minimised by targeting Iraqui
civilians. Of the more than 200,000 people killed in early 1991, less
than 400 were coalition soldiers, and a large proportion of these were
deaths through "friendly fire". This time it will be an attack of much
greater ferocity on a much weaker nation.

Sick-in Friday 21st March

"There may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and
world public opinion." - New York Times

Nowhere in the world does public opinion favour an unprovoked attack on
Iraq, yet there are countries whose governments follow the US
administration on it's murderous path. As millions across the world who
attended rallies for peace will testify, these governments refuse to
listen to their own people. Any one of these governments could
seriously constrain the ability of the US government to commit mass
slaughter by simply withdrawing support for the US plans.

The same governments who are willing accomplices to war crimes and
insist that it is the business of a democratic govenment to vigorously
oppose the wishes of its own people are well known for bailing out
failed corporations at the drop of a hat, for closing down public
services while subsidising private companies with public money, for
"reforming" their economies to favour the rich at the expense of the
poor.

It is clear that one CEO speaks louder than a thousand citizens. If we
want to avert a catastrophe in Iraq, we must ensure that war hurts not
only the people of Iraq, or the conscience of the world, but the bank
balance of business.

All we have to do is to call in sick on Friday the 21st of March. This
small gesture will show our employers that we are serious, and you can
be sure that our employers will pass that message onto our government.

When you wake up on the morning of March 21st, consider the plight of
the people of Iraq. What can an Iraqi parent say to their child when
asked about the future? That within weeks they and their entire family
will very likely be dead? That they may be reduced to mincemeat by
American cluster bombs, or incinerated alive in an air raid shelter? Or
that they may survive the initial blitzkreig only to be mowed down in
the "turkey shoot" as ground forces march across the country? Or that
perhaps they will die a slow and agonising death amongst the rubble of
their city and the corpses of their neighbours as the food runs out and
disease spreads?

Think of these things and ask yourself: Does this make me feel too sick
to go to work today?

References

Human Rights Watch
Needless Deaths in The Gulf War
http://www.hrw.org/reports/1991/gulfwar/
The Bombing of Iraqi Cities
http://staging.hrw.org/reports/1991/IRAQ291.htm

Allies Deliberately Poisoned Iraq Public Water Supply In Gulf War
Published on Sunday, September 17, 2000 in the Sunday Herald (Scotland)
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/091700-01.htm

UN Confidential Document: Likely Humanitarian Scenarios
http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210.html

Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq.
Issued by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
(IPPNW), recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, and produced by
Medact, the organization's United Kingdom affiliate.
http://www.ippnw.org/CollateralDamage.pdf

CBS News: Iraq Faces Massive U.S. Missile Barrage
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/24/eveningnews/main537928.shtml