This month US/UK policy will kill 4,500 children under the age of five in Iraq, according to UN studies, just as it did last month and the month before that, all the way back to 1991. Since the end of the Gulf War, hundreds of thousands - maybe more than 1 million - Iraqis have died as a result of the UN sanctions, which are a direct result of US/UK policy.
This is not foreign policy, it is sanctioned mass-murder that is nearing holocaust proportions. If we remain silent, we are condoning a mass slaughter that is being perpetrated in our name.
For several years, individuals and groups have been delivering medicine and other supplies to Iraq in defiance of the blockade. Now, members of one of those groups, Voices in the Wilderness in Chicago, have been threatened with massive fines by the US government for "exportation of donated goods, including medical supplies and toys, to Iraq [without] specific prior authorisation". The US government is harassing a peace group that takes medicine and toys to dying children; we owe these courageous activists our support.
The time has come for a call to action to people of conscience. We need an international campaign to lift the sanctions. Such a campaign is not equivalent to support for the regime of Saddam Hussein. To oppose the sanctions is to support the Iraqi people. Our moral responsibility is to counter the hypocrisy and inhumanity of our leaders. This issue must be discussed in every household and every public forum.
Department of Journalism
University of Texas