Is Iraq A Threat to the United States?
by Lawrence McGuire
As we all know, the government of the United States is mobilizing thousands of soldiers and the hardware (aircraft carriers, bombers, tanks, helicopters etc.) of war near the border of Iraq, in preparation for an invasion of that country.
George Bush has declared many times that Iraq, under its leader Saddam Hussein, is a threat to the United States, and this is the main reason he has given for his war plans.
Is it true? Is Iraq a threat to the people of the United States?
I’ll begin with a few facts gathered at the CIA World Fact page:
Iraq is, in area, population, and Gross National Product, a much smaller country than the United States.
The area of the United States is 9,629,091 sq km. The are of Iraq is 437,072 sq km. This means that the United States is 22 times larger than Iraq.
The population of the United States is 280,562,489. The population of Iraq is 24,001,816. The United States has 11.7 times more people than Iraq.
The GDP of the United States is $10,082,000,000,000 ($10.82 trillion). The GDP of Iraq is $59,000,000,000 ($59 billion). The GDP of the United States is 174 times bigger than the GDP of Iraq.
Another indicator of a country’s strength is military capability, including weapons of mass destruction. The most powerful weapon of mass destruction is a nuclear bomb. By most estimates the United States has around 10,000 nuclear bombs. Iraq, according to the weapon’s inspectors, has zero nuclear weapons.
The United States is the only country in world history to have used nuclear weapons: two were dropped against Japan in 1945 and killed over 100,000 civilians. The United States has also used spent nuclear fuel, depleted uranium, against Iraq, Serbia, and Afghanistan. One result of exposure to depleted uranium is birth defects. A scientist involved in the study of depleted uranium said this:
"Unborn children of the region [are] being asked to pay the highest price, the integrity of their DNA." - Ross B. Mirkarimi, The Arms Control Research Centre, from his report: ‘The Environmental and Human Health Impacts of the Gulf Region with Special Reference to Iraq.’ May 1992
''Before the Gulf War, women would ask when their babies arrived, ‘Is it male or female?’'' Hassan said as she flipped through pictures of newborns with deformities. ''Now they ask, ‘Is the baby normal?’'' Boston Globe, Sunday January 26, 2003
According to the Los Angeles Times of January 25, 2003, the Bush administration is considering the use of nuclear weapons against Iraq.
Chemical and biological weapons are also usually designated as weapons of mass destruction. The United States used biological weapons in Vietnam, notably napalm and Agent Orange. Iraq used chemical weapons in its war against Iran, and against the Kurds in Northern Iraq. At the time, since Iraq was a close ally, the United States not only did not condemn this atrocity but, according to the New York Times, actually helped Saddam Hussein. In fact, according to a U.S. Senate investigation the capability for making the weapons came from the United States. Current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Saddam Hussein in open support in the early 80’s. In fact, Iraq received more weapons from the U.S. subsequent to his use of chemical weapons.
The United States destroyed much of the civilian infrastructure of Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. Over a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians were killed because of the war: Philadelphia Inquirer, January 2003Philadelphia: “…158,000 Iraqi men, women and children died during and shortly after the Persian Gulf war.”
Since then hundreds of thousands have died because of U.S. imposed sanctions:
“While estimates vary, many independent authorities assert that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children under five have died since 1990, in part as a result of the sanctions and the effects of the Gulf War. An August 1999 Unicef report found that the under-five mortality rate in Iraq has more than doubled since the imposition of sanctions.” Sanctions: Myth & Reality
The United States has bombed Iraq repeatedly since the end of the Gulf War, killing many civilians. The United States patrols two ‘no-fly zones’ (which is illegal under international law), in violation of Iraqi airspace.
How many Iraqi civilians will suffer casualties in the early stages of a United States invasion? According to a recent United Nations study, as many as 500,000.
In my opinion, all the above evidence proves that Iraq is not a threat to the United States. In fact, it seems to me that the United States is a deadly threat to the people of Iraq.
Many people within the United States and most people around the world apparently agree with me. Iraq’s neighbors do not feel threatened by Iraq. According to the Wall Street Journal, 80-90% of people in Turkey, Iraq’s neighbor, NATO member, and the closest ally to the United States in the region, DO NOT support the war. So, if the people in Turkey are not afraid of Iraq and Saddam Hussein, why does President Bush claim that the United States is under any threat?
On January 18 hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated against the war in Washingon, DC, San Francisco, and across much of the United States. Almost 50 U.S. cities have passed resolutions against the war.
Some questions to ask yourself:
All over the world people link the military build-up and the threat of war to the fact that the second largest supplies of oil in the world are in Iraq. Why doesn’t the U.S. media focus on this question?
Over three thousand people from more than 50 different countries died in the terrorist atrocities of 9/11/01. There deaths received thousands of hours of media coverage (and deservedly so, in my opinion). Yet, how many hours of media coverage have the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. imposed economic sanctions received in the U.S. media?
Why hasn’t the media talked about the number of civilian deaths which occurred in the Gulf War of 1991?
Why isn’t the media talking about the civilian deaths which will occur if war resumes now?
Why doesn’t the media talk about the number of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen who died after the Gulf War, or are now disabled, because of ‘Gulf War Syndrome’:
“As of May 2002, the Gulf War casualties include 8306 veterans dead and 159705 veterans injured or ill as a consequence of wartime service to our nation. The official May 2002 Department of Veteran Affairs report classifies 168011 individuals as "disabled veterans". That reflects a staggering casualty rate of 29.3% for combat related duties between 1990 and 1991.” Doctor Doug Rokke, quoting U.S. government figures.
I’m asking anyone who receives this message to do something against this war. Anything. Forward this letter. Write your Congressional representative. Talk to a friend. Attend a vigil. Help organize a demonstration.
My favorite anti-war organization is United For Peace, but there are many more around.
Some good websites for alternative sources of information:
I’ll end with a quote by Dennis Halliday, the former head of the U.N.'s humanitarian program in Iraq, from an interview with Salon.com:
“The five permanent members of the Security Council produce and sell something like 85 percent of the military weaponry in the world today. And they're the very countries that supposedly are in charge of international peace and security. That's quite a ludicrous situation we've got here.”