Document from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (1/91)
Statement by Secretary of State James Baker III (5/27/91)
Front-page article from the Washington Post (6/91)
Articles from USAF Air & Space Power Journal (Spring'95, 5/01)
Special article from the New England Journal of Medicine (9/92)
Editorial from the New England Journal of Medicine (4/97)
Press release from U.S. Rep. Hall's office (6/00)
"IRAQ WATER TREATMENT VULNERABILITIES"
U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency document of 28 key judgments, from the 2nd day of the Gulf War, available through the Department of Defense GulfLINK declassification project. For the full document, click here. For related documents, see http://progressive.org/mag_nagysanctions. Excerpts (emphasis added):
FM: DIA WASHINGTON DC
INFO: CENTAF; UK STRIKE COMMAND; MARCENT; 18 ABC; NAVCENT; SOCCENT; 7TH CORPS; ANKARA
SUBJECT: IRAQ WATER TREATMMENT VULNERABILITIES (U)
AS OF 18 JAN 91 KEY JUDGMENTS.
1. IRAO DEPENDS ON IMPORTING-SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT-AND SOME CHEMICALS TO PURIFY ITS WATER SUPPLY, MOST OF WHICH IS HEAVILY MINERALIZED AND FREQUENTLY BRACKISH TO SALINE.
2. WITH NO DOMESTIC SOURCES OF BOTH WATER TREATMENT REPLACEMENT PARTS AND SOME ESSENTIAL CHEMICALS, IRAO WILL CONTINUE ATTEMPTS TO CIRCUMVENT UNITED NATIONS SANCTIONS TO IMPORT THESE VITAL COMMODITIES.
3. FAILING TO SECURE SUPPLIES WILL RESULT IN A SHORTAGE OF PURE DRINKING WATER FOR MUCH OF THE POPULATION. THIS COULD LEAD TO INCREASED INCIDENCES, IF NOT EPIDEMICS, OF DISEASE....
28. THE ENTIRE IRAOI WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM WILL NOT COLLAPSE PRECIPITOUSLY.... FULL DEGRADATION OF THE WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM PROBABLY WILL TAKE AT LEAST ANOTHER 6 MONTHS.
on Foreign Operations of the House Appropriations Committee,
Secretary of State James Baker III
May 27, 1991
"That means we will never normalize relations with Iraq so long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. That means maintaining UN sanctions in place so long as Saddam remains in power. And that means Iraqis will not participate in post-crisis political, economic, and security arrangements until there is a change in regime." (emphasis added)
See http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/briefing/dispatch/1991/html/Dispatchv2no21.html for full transcript.
Post, June 23, 1991. Front-page article by Barton Gellman.
For the full article, see www.ConcernForIraq.org/WashPostWarDamage23Jun91.html.
(See also www.ConcernForIraq.org/NYTimesAhtisaari21Mar91.html.) Excerpts (emphasis added):
The worst civilian suffering, senior [American] officers say, has resulted not from bombs that went astray but from precision-guided weapons that hit exactly where they were aimed --- at electrical plants, oil refineries and transportation networks.
Now nearly four months after the war's end, Iraq's electrical generation has reached only 20 to 25 percent of its prewar capacity of 9,000 to 9,500 megawatts. Pentagon analysts calculate that the country has roughly the generating capacity it had in 1920 --- before reliance on refrigeration and sewage treatment became widespread.
Pentagon officials declined two written requests for a review of the 28 electrical targets and explanations of their specific military relevance.
"People say, 'You didn't recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage,'" said the planning officer. "Well, what were we trying to do with [United Nations-approved economic] sanctions --- help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of sanctions."
Col. John Warden III, deputy director of strategy, doctrine and plans for the Air Force, agreed that one purpose of destroying Iraq's electrical grid was that "you have imposed a long-term problem on the leadership that it has to deal with sometime."
"Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity," he said. "He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, 'Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity.' It gives us long-term leverage."
From the Washington Post Weekly, July 8-14, 1991, article by Barton Gellman:
[Speaking of U.S. bombing of Iraq's civilian infrastructure, Secretary of Defense] Cheney later told reporters, every Iraqi target was "perfectly legitimate," adding, "If I had to do it over again, I would do exactly the same thing."
Articles from USAF Air & Space Power Journal (1995, 2001)
"Bombing Dual-Use Targets: Legal, Ethical, and Doctrinal Perspectives" by Kenneth R. Rizer, Air & Space Power Chronicles, May 1, 2001, www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/cc/Rizer.html.
"The Enemy as a System" by Colonel John A. Warden III, USAF, published in Airpower Journal, Spring 1995, www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj95/spr95_files/warden.htm.
Air & Space Power Journal is a publication of the United States Air Force (USAF) and focuses on the operational level of war and strategy/policy issues. Air & Space Power Chronicles is a related forum with a wider focus.
Excerpt from Rizer's "Bombing of Dual-Use Targets":
"A key example of such dual-use targeting was the destruction of Iraqi electrical power facilities in Desert Storm. While crippling Iraq's military command and control capability, destruction of these facilities shut down water purification and sewage treatment plants. As a result, epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid broke out, leading to perhaps as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and a doubling of the infant mortality rate. Given such effects on non-combatants, are electrical power facilities legitimate military targets? Does airpower doctrine acknowledge, support, or condemn such indirect effects? Must air campaign planners weigh these indirect effects in their target selection process? ...
"Finally, the US Air Force has a vested interest in attacking dual-use targets so long as dual-use target destruction serves the double role of destroying legitimate military capabilities and indirectly targeting civilian morale. So long as this remains within the letter if not the spirit of the law and the JWE [Christian Just-War Ethic], the Air Force will cling to the status quo."
"Special Article: Effect of the Gulf War on Infant and Child Mortality in Iraq"
New England Journal of Medicine, September, 1992, vol. 327, pp. 931-936. By Ascherio A., Chase R., Cote T., et al. For the full article, see http://www.ConcernForIraq.org/NEJM-24sep92.html. For related articles, see http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/13/931. Excerpts (emphasis added):
Abstract. ... Conclusions. These results provide strong evidence that the Gulf war and trade sanctions caused a threefold increase in mortality among Iraqi children under five years of age. We estimate that an excess of more that 46,900 children died between January and August 1991.
The age-adjusted mortality rate from diarrhea rose from 2.1 per 1000 person-years before the onset of the war to 11.9 per 1000 person-years after the war. The age-adjusted mortality rate from injuries rose from 0.55 person-years before the war to 2.25 per 1000 person-years after the onset of the war.
Our data demonstrate the link between the events that occurred in 1991 (war, civilian uprising, and economic embargo) and the subsequent increase in mortality. The destruction of the supply of electric power at the beginning of the war, with the subsequent disruption of the electricity-dependent water and sewage systems, was probably responsible for the reported epidemics of gastrointestinal and other infections.
War is never good for health. ... During the Gulf war, it was suggested that by using high-precision weapons with strategic targets, the Allied forces were producing only limited damage to the civilian population. The results of our study contradict this claim and confirm that the casualties of war extend far beyond those caused directly by warfare.
"The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters -- Human Costs of Economic Sanctions"
New England Journal of Medicine, April 24, 1997, vol. 336(17), pp. 1248-1250. Editorial by Leon Eisenberg, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. For the full-length editorial including references, click here. Excerpt (emphasis added):
Iraq is an even more disastrous example of war against the public health. Two months after the end of the six-week war, which began on January 16, 1991, a study team from the Harvard School of Public Health visited Iraq to examine the medical consequences of sanctions imposed after the armed conflict. The destruction of the country's power plants had brought its entire system of water purification and distribution to a halt, leading to epidemics of cholera, typhoid fever, and gastroenteritis, particularly among children. Mortality rates doubled or tripled among children admitted to hospitals in Baghdad and Basra. Cases of marasmus appeared for the first time in decades. The team observed "suffering of tragic proportions.... [with children] dying of preventable diseases and starvation." Although the allied bombing had caused few civilian casualties, the destruction of the infrastructure resulted in devastating long-term effects on health.
An international group supported by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) carried out a more comprehensive study five months later by interviewing members of households selected to represent the Iraqi population. The age-adjusted relative mortality rate among children in the eight months after the war, as compared with the five years before the war, was 3.2. There were approximately 47,000 excess deaths among children under five years of age during the first eight months of 1991. The deaths resulted from infectious diseases, the decreased quality and availability of food and water, and an enfeebled medical care system hampered by the lack of drugs and supplies.
The Cuban and Iraqi instances make it abundantly clear that economic sanctions are, at their core, a war against public health. Our professional ethic demands the defense of public health. Thus, as physicians, we have a moral imperative to call for the end of sanctions. Having found the cause, we must act to remove it. Continuing to allow our reason to sleep will produce more monsters.
"Hall Urges U.S. Government to Review 'Holds' on Iraqi Civilians' Needs"
Press release from U.S. Congressional Representative Tony Hall's office, June 28, 2000, on Rep. Hall's return from Iraq. For the full press release, see http://www.house.gov/tonyhall/pr149.html. Excerpt (emphasis added):
In a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Hall said, "I share UNICEF's concerns about the profound effects of increasing deterioration of Iraq's water supply and sanitation systems on its children's health. The prime killer of children under five years of age - diarrhoeal diseases - has reached epidemic proportions and they now strike four times more often than they did in 1990."
"Holds on contracts for the water and sanitation sector are a prime reason for the increases in sickness and death," Hall wrote. Of the 18 contracts, all but one hold was placed by the U.S. Government. The contracts are for purification chemicals, chlorinators, chemical dosing pumps, water tankers, and other equipment.
learn about continuing deprivation of the civilian population
in terms of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, click here.
Updated on 12 January 2003.