spoons Please read the essay below from Charlie Clements, a public health physician just back from Iraq.

Then call the White House
comment line: (202) 456-1111

The "Bush" White House has an "opinion" line for you to call about whether you oppose or approve, of the proposed war in Iraq.

The line only accepts calls from 9 - 5 EST., Monday through Friday.
A machine will detain you for only a moment and then a pleasant live operator will thank you for saying "I oppose" or "I approve". It will only take minutes. They ask you what state you are from and then ask for your comment. Note that the weekends are closed for calls.

The president has said that he wants to know what the American people are thinking. Let him know. Time is running out.

Then please forward this to anyone who might want to make a difference.


Report from Iraq

Submitted to portside by Charlie Clements

I am a public health physician and a human rights advocate. I have just returned from a 10-day emergency mission to Iraq with other public health experts to assess the vulnerability of the civilian population to another war. I'm also a distinguished graduate of the USAF Academy and a Vietnam veteran, so I have some sense of the potential consequences of the air war we are about to unleash on Iraq as a prelude to the introduction of American troops.

The population of Iraq has been reduced to the status of refugees. Nearly 60 percent of Iraqis, or almost 14 million people, depend entirely on a government-provided food ration that, by international standards, represents the minimum for human sustenance. Unemployment is greater than 50 percent, and the majority of those who are employed make between $4 and $8 a month. (The latter figure is the salary of a
physician that works in a primary health center.)
Most families are without economic resources, having sold off their possessions over the last decade to get by.

Hospital wards are filled with severely malnourished children, and much of the population has a marginal nutritional status. While visiting a children's hospital, we were told about newly emerging diseases that had previously been controlled when pesticides were available. (Current sanctions prohibit their importation.)

Later I saw a mother who had traveled 200 km with her young daughter, who suffered from leschmaniais, or "kala azar" as it is known there. She came to the hospital because she heard it had a supply of Pentostam, the medicine needed to treat the disease. The pediatrician told her there was none. Then he turned to me and, in English, said, "It would be kinder to shoot her here rather than let her go home and die the lingering death that awaits her". Our interpreter, by instinct, translated the doctor's comments into Arabic for the mother, whose eyes instantly overflowed with tears...

The food distribution program funded by the U.N., Oil-for-Food, is the world's largest and is heavily dependent upon the transportation system, which will be one of the first targets of the war, as the U.S. will attempt to sever transport routes to prevent Iraqi troop movements and interrupt military supplies. Yet even before the transportation system is hit, U.S. aircraft will spread millions of graphite filaments in wind-dispersed munitions that will cause a complete paralysis of the nation's electrical grids. Already literally held together with bailing wire because the country has been unable to obtain spare parts due to
sanctions, the poorly functioning electrical system is essential to the public health infrastructure.

The water treatment system, too, has been a victim of sanctions. Unable to import chlorine and aluminum sulfate (alum) to purify water, Iraq has already seen a 1000% increase in the incidence of some waterborne diseases. Typhoid cases, for instance, have increased from 2,200 in 1990 to more than 27,000 in 1999. In the aftermath of an air assault, Iraqis will not have potable water in their homes, and they will not have water to flush their toilets.

The sanitation system, which frequently backs up sewage ankle deep in Baghdad neighborhoods when the ailing pumps fail, will stop working entirely in the aftermath of the air attack. There will be epidemics as water treatment and water pumping will come to a halt. Even
though it is against the Geneva Conventions to target infrastructure elements that primarily serve civilians, this prohibition did not give us pause in Gulf War I -- and, based upon current Bush administration threats, will not this time.

Pregnant women, malnourished
children, and the elderly will be the first to succumb. UNICEF estimates that 500,000 more children died in Iraq in the decade following the Gulf War than died in the previous decade. These children are part of the "collateral damage" from the last war.

How many civilians will die in the next war? That is hard to say. One estimate for the last Gulf War was that 10,000 perished, mostly during the bombing campaign that led up to the invasion. That figure will surely climb because our government has promised that a cruise missile will strike Iraq every five minutes for the first 48 hours the war. These missiles will seek out military, intelligence, and security-force targets around highly populated areas like Baghdad, Basra, and
Mosul, Iraq's largest cities, where "collateral damage" is unavoidable. Unable to meet the acute medical needs
of the country's population now, the health care system of Iraq will be overwhelmed by such an assault.

This scenario is conservative. I have not taken into account any use of weapons of mass destruction, or the possibility that the war will set loose massive civil disorder and bloodshed, as various groups within the country battle for power or revenge. I have also ignored what would happen if we became bogged down in house-to-house fighting in Baghdad, which could easily become another Mogidishu or Jenin.

There was a lot that made me angry on that trip. I have worked in war zones before and I have been with civilians as they were bombed by U.S.-supplied aircraft, but I don't think I've experienced anything on the magnitude of the catastrophe that awaits our attack in Iraq. Still, as deeply troubling as this
looming human disaster is, another issue troubles me far more. If the U.S. pursues this war without the backing of the U.N. Security Council, it will undermine a half-century of efforts by the world community to establish a foundation of humanitarian and human rights law. Such an act on our part would also violate the U.N. Charter and make a mockery of the very institution we have helped to fashion in the hopes it would help prevent crimes against humanity. Many might define the consequences of such an attack on the population of Iraq as just that.

Saddam is a monster, there is no doubt about that. He needs to be contained. Yet many former U.N. weapons
inspectors feel he has been "defanged". His neighbors do not fear him any longer. There are many Iraqis who want him removed, but not by a war. Against the short-term gain of removing Saddam, we must take into account that idea that we may well unleash forces of hatred and
resentment that will haunt us for decades to come in every corner of the world. I can just hear Osama Bin Laden saying now, "Please President Bush, attack Iraq. There's nothing better you could do to help the cause of Al Qaeda!"

Letter from Charlie Clements

Charlie Clements, a public health physician, has spent much of his professional experience dealing with issues of war, human rights, and the humanitarian needs of refugees. He is the co-founder of the International Medical Relief Fund (IMRF) and was president during the 16 years it functioned (1982-1998). From 1984-1986 he served as the Director of Human Rights Education of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). He has served on the board of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) from 1987 to the present and is currently its past president. PHR was one of the founders and leaders of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Clements represented PHR at both the signing of the Treaty to Ban Landmines in Ottawa, Canada and the next week at the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo,
Norway. He is also the founder of the International Commission on Medical Neutrality, which has focused attention on the need to extend the protections afforded military physicians and patients by the Geneva Conventions in times of war, to include both civilian health professionals and patients. Clements is the author of Witness to War published by Bantam in 1984 and subject of a 1985 Academy Award-winning documentary of the same title produced by the American Friends Service Committee. He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a distinguished alumnus of the University of Washington School of Community Medicine and Public Health. He is the director of the Bartos Institute for the Constructive Engagement of Conflict at the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico.
a 030217
jane rally_for_peace_030216 030218
ever dumbening BUSH IS SUCH A SMUG FUCK!

ever dumbening now that i've vented, i would ask you to please follow the link below and participate. [it explains about a virtual march against the war on 2/26/03.]



please pardon my use of blather for this. i trust the blather_historians will look back with understanding.

celestias_shadow the war is wrong. how can our president ignore the protests? i guess i just don't understand. millions of people take to the streets, not only in america but in britain, france, germany, romania, norway, italy, greece, belgium, israel, syria, and even australia, which is way the hell on the other side of the world. the largest protest turnout ever since vietnam. how can this possibly be ignored? we are a government created by the people and for the people, and yet our 'fearless leader' is going against what the people want. am i naive to not grasp what is right about this? i was under the impression the president didn't have total control. how dare he ignore the voices of the population? he preaches against evil dictators, and yet copies them by putting aside the wished of his citizens for the greater good of his pride. if this is how things are supposed to work, i'm moving to new zealand. 030220
night bush could ignore the protests because we are not the leaders of the free world, he is. so he really is under no obligation to listen to us. we didn't even vote him into his office. he will go on and begin a war with iraq, and we will all suffer. 030220
protesters pictures 030220
ever dumbening activism in YOUR neighborhood
unhinged people protested vietnam but it still happened. 030318
minnesota_chris that's true, protests didn't prevent Vietnam from becoming a horrible quagmire, but you can't say that public opinion had no effect on the decision to end the war. Can you?

I am irritated at ineffective protests. Like the above phone poll, which Bush will never read. Or the guy who wrote the long, anti-war diatribes, on BLATHER of all places, and in GERMAN! I mean, we all want to have an effect, but isn't there anything more effective we can do?
ever dumbening mc,

as the great wes 'scoop' nisker says, "if you don't like the new, go out and make some of your own."

get creative. do your own thing. organize or do it solo.

yesterday i had a strange idea: wrap myself in the flag, put on a gag, and bind my hands and feet, then flop down in some high-traffic area in s.f. who knows, i still might do it.
. news, that is 030318
stupid faggot hippie we should stick flowers in their guns. that'll show those evil warmongers. the war is wrong cuz killin people is bad. even in self defense--it's just plain wrong. Richard Gere told me so. and bush wasn't even elected, so it's like, ya know, WE'RE the ones living under an evil dictator. murder and rape in Iraq... whatever... in the states, they won't even legalize WEED--now that's tyranny 030318
ever dumbening yeah, you're right. your ultra-conservative, blind faith is correct. everything the media and government tell us is correct. we're stupid for questioning war, its reasons, its outcomes. pardon our stupidity, oh and our homosexuality. 030318
minnesota_chris well, the dude has a point... Saddam is really bad, and the Iraqis might just be glad that we're invading them. I still don't like it... but we'll see. 030318
x guess what. they're not glad we're coming to kill them. 030319
ever dumbening and even if he did have a point, his insinuation that the general nature of people against the war is one of "stupid faggot hippie"-ness, discredits just about any brilliance he may have aspired to. 030319
minnesota_chris I am quite sure some Iraqis will be glad when we arrive. It still doesn't make it right tho. I hear some Iranians are hoping that they are next, they are tired of being ruled by the religious zealots. I can't say they're wrong...

And we have to listen even to the morons, because they may have a point. We have to avoid intellectual arrogance. Ok, Daxle, maybe you don't...
stupid faggot hippie people who are pro-war are motivated by emotion and emotion alone. they are dogmatic and they haven't thought this whole thing through. conversely, me and my friends, who operate completely on logical arguments (unlike emotional pro-war idiots), have thought about these issues long and hard, and we've come up with the One True Answer--peace at any cost! okay, sure, saddam kills his own people--but so what? we're not allowed to change regimes! that would totally go against international etiquette. and i mean, really, who's to say that democracy is any better than tyranny? we're being insensitive and ethnocentric to assume that the iraqis would rather not be murdered and raped--maybe they're into that sort of thing. and i don't buy this whole "self defense" argument. i need to see hard evidence that a biological or chemical attack is imminent before i'd even consider authorizing (non-lethal) military force (but a light force--more like a gentle prodding). in these situations, i always ask myself, "what would gandhi do?" and you know what? gandhi would sit in the lotus position and fast. i suggest we all do that. 030319
ever dumbening we have no choice but to listen to morons, as the king of the morons is leading the way (and not listening to us, in case that wasn't apparent). 030319
minnesota_chris hehehe... daffy, is that you? Has our favorite homegrown shitraker finally come home to roost? 030319
silentbob we had a discussion tonight. pros and cons.

it wasn't inspired by emotion and emotion alone. no one raised their voice.

we just kept both contributing our opinions....

in a calm manner

we kept presenting facts and other things we think.

and the only conclusion was we both feel the way we do based on what we've read and heard from other people. take our own beliefs based on other things we've heard and find things we agree with and go from there

and it wasnt emotional

it was just healthy discussion

and theres nothing "hippie" about disagreeing with people

theres nothing "faggoty" about it.

you're just fucking wrong and you're annoying.

THAT was from emotion. not my feelings about the war.
silentbob AHHH!!!

im totally sorry, i read that completely wrong

you said PRO war people were acting out of emotion

i thought you were saying all anti war people were acting out of emotion and were faggoty ass hippies


when i saw PRO-WAR for some reason i thought "Anti-war" just cuz you were bashing them before, but


just ignore me, its all good.
pipedream two wrongs don't make a right. war for peace is a paradox that can never be reconciled.
stop the war.
minnesota_chris mr bob, he (and I'm pretty sure it's a he, as he is a jerk) was sarcastically lampooning at the liberal, (small d) democratic position... saying "Hello, I'm a stupid faggot hippie, and I believe...(these stupid ideas)" So yes, he is making fun of us... 030320
Tired of the negative views What is a matter with everyone. We are proteting people who are dying for a noble cause. My sister is in Baghbad and I would hate her to hear some of the things people are saying I support the troops and the President in the cause that helps defend YOUR right to say things that you do. And as for the doctor I know you have been there and I mean no disrespect for I to am going into the medical field but have you actually looked at the statistics of the horrible things Saddam has done mto his people. I believe even if we ended up killing tons of citicians there would still be a better profit for the living and the numbers would increase shortly with great positive effects. That is all I have to say and before people type or email me you should consider all the facts of the war not just what one man said or what you see from Clinton-News-Network. 031201
ever dumbening not feeling very positive Dear "Tired of the negative views":

I would like to point you to one of many sources of a slightly more accurate truth than what our idiotic leader wants you to believe. Please read: _Dude, Where's My Country?_ by Michael Moore. If you can honestly read that and still feel the way you feel than so be it. We are being lied to constantly about almost everything. BushCo does NOT have your, nor our troops, nor the Iraqi citizens' best interest in mind. Don't be fooled. Pre-emptive war is nothing but bad news and will only increase the numbers of people who hate us. Yes, Saddam is an idiot, and he did bad things. But our government supported him for MANY years by having U.S. companies SELL HIM THE WEAPONS AND THE CHEMICALS AND THE BIOLOGICAL AGENTS which were allegedly the reason for bombing the fuck out of their country in the first place. Were you aware of that?

Please read that book. Please oh please. Then write me with your thoughts.

Yes, our hearts go out to the young people of the U.S. millitary who are risking their lives.
No, we do not support this war. No, we do not support Bush.
e. dumb pleadin to the b. mad Help me out here, Bird, cuz I just don't have the strength to keep saying the same shit over and over and over again. And 'sides, you're much more eloquent (and _way_ more informed (though I'm workin on it)) in this arena than I. 031201
thestoryteller A word of protest at this point (2004) goes beyond reality. After all, the
Goals have been appreciated for the most part. It's just a matter of policing the country until their reality mellows out.
After all teaching children that their life given to the partisan goals of terrorists is great, is antidisestablishmentarianism or worse it means there is no care for todayís reality
what's it to you?
who go