President George H W Bush and
the First Iraq War (1991)
excerpted from the book
Lying for Empire
How to Commit War Crimes With
A Straight Face
by David Model
Common Courage Press, 2005, paper
George H. W. Bush discovered a way to go back in time. You take
a modern, industrialized country with a modern infrastructure
and drop 88,500 tons of explosives on it and, presto, you have
bombed it back into the pre-industrialized age.
From about 1968 to 1991, Iraq enjoyed considerable economic progress
with electricity and water available to the entire country. Since
1982 the government built 18 new hospitals some of which were
renowned in the Middle East. Health care was virtually free and
education was universal and free through college. Food was both
inexpensive and abundant. People without land were offered low-interest
loans on the condition that the land became productive within
five years. Malnutrition was non-existent. A strong infrastructure
of highways, dams, hydroelectric power, flood control, irrigation
systems, and an efficient telephone system contributed to the
growing strength of the economy.
Iraq was at the forefront of the Arab
world in its treatment of women. In 1969, the government created
the General Federation of Iraqi Women to campaign on behalf of
women's rights. By 1983, the Federation launched a four-year plan
to encourage women to seek employment.
Overshadowing these advances was the rule
of Saddam Hussein who assumed the presidency in 1979 and maintained
his rule through one of the most oppressive internal security
apparatuses in the world.
Added to the hardships imposed by Saddam
Hussein, George H. W. Bush bombed the country resulting in a loss
of electricity and clean water, factories in ruins and many homes
a mass of rubble. The economy was virtually annihilated. Over
100,000 people were killed in a period of several months. Iraq
was again in ruins. After several months of primarily U.S. bombing,
one of the most advanced nations in the Middle East was virtually
reduced to rubble.
The United States used Kuwait as the spark to ignite the Iraqi
tinderbox. f Capitalizing on all of the disputes between Iraq
and Kuwait, U.S. leaders encouraged Kuwait to continue the above
policies in order to provoke Iraq into an invasion in which the
Americans would claim to be neutral. In fact, as discussed below,
they planned to use the invasion as a pretext to declare war on
Iraq. The war on Iraq would bring Iraq and its oil into the American
Saddam Hussein was not prepared to invade
Kuwait without either the approval or indifference of the United
States. Saddam Hussein met with the American ambassador to Iraq,
April Glaspie on July 25, 1990, to seek out the U. S. position
on an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The following is part of the transcript
of the conversation:
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie-I have direct
instruction from President Bush to improve our relations with
Iraq. We have considerable sympathy for your quest for higher
oil prices, the immediate cause of your confrontation with Kuwait.
As you know, I lived here for years and admire your extraordinary
efforts to rebuild your country. We can see that you have employed
massive numbers of troops in the south. Normally that would be
none of our business but when this happens in the context of your
threats against Kuwait, then it would be reasonable for us to
be concerned. For this reason, I have received instructions to
ask you, in the spirit of friendship, not confrontation-regarding
your intentions. Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait's
Saddam Hussein-As you know, for years
I have made every effort to reach a settlement in our dispute
with Kuwait. There is to be a meeting in two days. I am prepared
to give negotiations this one more brief chance. But if we are
unable to find a solution, then it would be natural that Iraq
will not accept death.
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie-What solutions
would be acceptable?
Saddam Hussein-(A list of conditions).
What is the United States opinion on this?
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie-We have no opinion
on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait.
Secretary of State James Baker has directed me to emphasize the
instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait
issue is not associated with America. (http://www.whatreallyhappened.
The Invisible Babies Snatched from Incubators
The stage was set for the inevitable war
against Iraq. Iraq had invaded ( Kuwait, Saudi Arabia had agreed
to become the staging ground, and Saddam Hussein had been depicted
as the Middle Eastern equivalent of Hitler who posed a threat
to the region. To win the support of the American people, Washington
hired a number of public relations firms to educate the American
people about the necessity of declaring war against Iraq. Kuwait
funded an estimated 20 public relations firms, lobby groups, and
law firms including the Rendon Group (public relations) for a
retainer of $100,000, Neill & Co. (lobbyists) for $50,000
per month, and Hill & Knowlton (the world's largest public
relations firm at the time) which served as mastermind for the
Kuwaiti campaign. Craig Fuller who ran the Washington office of
Hill & Knowlton was one of President Bush's closest friends
and advisors. Some of their activities included arranging media
interviews for visiting Kuwaitis, setting up days of observance
such as National Free Kuwait Day, organizing public rallies, releasing
hostage letters to the media, distributing news releases and information
kits, contacting politicians at all levels, and producing dozens
of video news releases which were distributed to the media.
Hill & Knowlton invented a horror
story to evoke a strong emotional response to strengthen public
support for a war against Iraq. On October 10 the Congressional
Human Rights Caucus on Capitol Hill held a hearing on Iraqi human
rights violations. Although the hearing bore a resemblance to
a congressional proceeding, the ad hoc Human Rights Caucus was,
in fact, nothing more than an association of politicians. The
caucus was chaired by Democrat Tom Lantos and Republican John
Porter who were also cochairs of the Congressional Human Rights
Foundation whose offices were located in Hill & Knowlton's
Washington office and were rent-free. John R. MacArthur, in Second
Front, observed that:
On October 10, the congressional Human
Rights Caucus provided the first formal opportunity for Amnesty
[International]-and Hill & Knowlton present their evidence
against Iraq on Capitol Hill. Conveniently for the Washington
war party and its burgeoning Saddam-is-Hitler industry, the caucus
provided the appropriately informal setting in which to spread
hysteria. The Human Rights Caucus is not a committee of Congress
and therefore it is unencumbered by the legal accoutrements that
would make a witness hesitate before he or she lied.
The emotionally-charged horror story came
from a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah who supposedly could
not reveal her last name for fear of putting friends and family
still in Kuwait at risk. She tearfully recounted that she had
witnessed Iraqi soldiers taking babies from incubators and leaving
them on the cold floor to die. She also provided written testimony,
which was packaged in media kits prepared by Citizens for a Free
The story was repeated frequently by President
Bush who claimed that 312 babies had suffered the same fate. It
was also repeated on television, radio and at the Security Council.
According to the Center for Media and Democracy in How PR Sold
the War in the Persian Gulf
Public opinion was deeply divided on Bush's
Gulf policy. As late as December 1990, a New York Times/CBS News
poll indicated that 48 percent of the American people wanted Bush
to wait before taking any action if Iraq failed to withdraw from
Kuwait by Bush's January 15 deadline. On January 12, the US Senate
voted by a narrow, five-point margin to support the Bush administration
in a declaration of war. Given the narrowness of the vote, the
babies-thrown-from-incubators story may have turned the tide in
The real horror story was not about babies
and incubators but about how the U.S. government used a lie to
sell a war in which over 100,000 people died. Hill & Knowlton
had omitted a minor detail about the identity of the 15-year-old
Kuwaiti volunteer, namely that she was, in fact, the daughter
of Saud Nasir al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States.
They also failed to mention that she had been coached by Hill
& Knowlton before her appearance in front of the Caucus.
After the war, human rights investigators
and reporters completely discredited the story. John Martin, an
ABC news reporter, traveled to Kuwait and on March, 15 1991, and
interviewed Dr. Mohammed Matar, director of Kuwait's health-care
system and his wife Dr. Fayeza Youseff, chief of obstetrics at
the maternity hospital. They both denied any knowledge of babies
being snatched from incubators. Martin also visited al-Addan hospital
where Nayirah had claimed that she witnessed the removal of 15
babies from incubators. Dr. Fahima Khafaji, a pediatrician at
the hospital, refuted the stories of Nayirah.
Amnesty International, a highly respected
international human rights group, had lent support to the story
in a report on human rights abuses in Kuwait. In its press release,
Amnesty promoted the story as fact. It cited two unidentified
doctors and Nayirah's testimony to the Caucus. The Bush administration
should have been given credit for duping an organization which
prides itself on its scrupulous research. One month later, Amnesty
discovered the truth and issued a retraction on April 1991.
In Second Front, John R. MacArthur quotes
John Chancellor of ABC when he wrote that:
"The conflict brought with it a baggage
train of myth and misconception, exaggeration and hyperbole...
Accounts of lraqi atrocities were accepted without question. There
was the tale of premature babies thrown out of incubators in a
L Kuwait hospital and left to die. It never happened..."
On January 15, New York time or January 16, Iraqi time B-52s were
flying towards their targets in Iraq and cruise missiles were
fired from ships in the Indian Ocean to unleash a reign of horror
on the Iraqi people. The euphemism "collateral damage"
refers to the destruction to civilians and civilian targets during
a bombing raid. Its sinister purpose is to use a relatively innocuous
expression to describe the killing of innocent people. In the
bombing of Iraq, the whole country became collateral damage. Iraqi
military forces were absolutely incapable of defending Iraq against
bombers that drop their bombs from 40,000 feet or cruise missiles
which were fired from ships anchored 20 miles out at sea. The
result of American (and other coalition members') bombing cannot
even be described as a victory but more accurately as the perpetration
of unconscionable carnage. Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General
of the United States under President Kennedy and president Johnson
produced a documentary based on his findings during a week of
traveling through Iraq during the bombing. After viewing this
documentary, I can only describe the bombing as one of the more
horrid evil deeds of modern history. In Killing Hope, William
Blum refers to the observations of a UN inspection team that:
declared that the allied bombardment had had a "near apocalyptic
impact" on Iraq and had transformed the country into a "pre-industrial
age nation," which "had been until January a rather
highly urbanized and mechanized society."
To create the illusion that the conflict
in Iraq was really a battle, the United States greatly exaggerated
the current strength of the Iraqi military. The Pentagon described
the Iraqi armed forces as a dangerous threat but according to
Major General Matti Peled, a retired Israeli Major General:
The Iraqi Army was not an unknown quantity.
After 8 years of war in Iran it was very clear that it was not
a threatening army, it was not a first-class fighting force. But
the United States spread throughout the world the legend about
the invincibility of the Iraqi Army, knowing full well that it
was not true. But this gave the U.S. a justification for conducting
what it called "strategic bombardment" of the entire
area of Iraq, demolishing their entire civilian infrastructure.
(Ramsey Clark, The Fire This Time)
During the bombing Iraq did not mount
a single attack. Its air force was not capable of defending Iraqi
cities and Iraqi commanders considered any attempt to do so as
suicidal. Even the anti-aircraft fire lighting the sky over Baghdad
created the impression of a real defence but Iraqi ground-to-air
defences were incapable of reaching bombers at 40,000 feet. Even
the Soviet SA-6 surface-to-air missiles were ineffective. Not
one of the B-52 bombers was lost in combat.
The bombing campaign continued for 42
days dropping over 80 million pounds of explosives. In the first
days of the campaign, the bombing destroyed the Iraqi ground forces
access to military supplies, reinforcements, food, water, and
medical supplies. Communications systems were very severely damaged
and so were tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and other mechanized
equipment. With these losses the Iraqi forces were effectively
defenceless. The United States used weapons such as fuel-air explosives,
napalm and cluster bombs that are defined as illegal in international
law. Estimates of the number of soldiers killed ranged from 100,000
to 200,000 and the injured were left wherever they were hit because
Iraq did not possess field hospitals and American bombers destroyed
at least five military hospitals.
Bombing of Iraqi cities served no military
purpose but was designed to destroy the civilian infrastructure.
War games in July 1990 in South Carolina trained pilots to bomb
civilian targets and Pentagon statements about plans to bomb civilian
targets in August and September 1990 are evidence that these targets
were set well in advance of January 15, 1991.
Critical elements of the civilian infrastructure
were destroyed including communication systems, oil refineries,
electric generators, water treatment facilities, dams, and transportation
centres. Over 90 percent of Iraq's electrical capacity was destroyed
in the first days of the bombing.
One of the most diabolical decisions in
the campaign was to destroy Iraq's water supply, resulting in
the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children long after
the war was over. The capacity of Iraq to produce food was severely
limited by the attacks on agriculture, food processing, food storage
and the food distribution system. Half of Iraq's agricultural
output depended on irrigation systems which were also targeted.
The industrial sector suffered heavy damage.
Three date processing plants, a baby formula factory, a vegetable
oil factory, a sugar refinery, a textile mill, five engineering
plants, four car assembly plants, three chlorine plants, 16 petrochemical
plants, the country's largest meat storage facility, grain silos,
a tractor assembly plant, a fertilizer plant were all bombed.
Bombing the chlorine plant was a devastating setback to the country's
ability to provide clean water to its citizens. The United States
claimed that the baby milk factory was a chemical plant. (In the
early 1990s, one of my students who was born in Iraq told me that
her grandfather had built it to produce baby formula.) As well,
Ramsey Clark, in his documentary, inspected the site after it
was bombed and was unable to discover any evidence that the plant
was producing chemical weapons but he did discover a large quantity
of packages containing milk formula.
Important non-military targets such as
28 civilian hospitals, 52 community health centres, 25 mosques,
and 676 schools were bombed. Clearly all these targets were not
bombed accidentally particularly given the accuracy of the American
bombs and missiles.
Densely populated cities were bombed daily,
killing thousands of civilians. Basra, Iraq's second largest city
with a population of 800,000, was bombed repeatedly. One of the
targets in Basra was a bridge which the Americans attempted to
destroy twice, each time bombing surrounding neighborhoods. The
people of Basra were so apprehensive about another attempt that
they contemplated blowing it up themselves.
One of the worst horror stories of the
war was the bombing of the Amariyah bomb shelter in Baghdad where
1500 civilians, mostly women and children, were seeking refuge
from the bombing. One bomb penetrated the shelter's roof and opened
up a hole through which the second more powerful bomb entered
the shelter and exploded, incinerating most of the people in the
shelter. After the first bomb struck, a number of people survived
screaming for up to four minutes as they tried to escape.
As well, civilian highway traffic was
targeted and vehicles such as buses and cars were bombed on a
regular basis. Among the victims were truckers transporting humanitarian
shipments. Press Secretary Fitzwater reported on February 13,
The loss of civilian lives in time of
war is a truly tragic consequence. It saddens everyone to know
that innocent people may have died in the course of military conflict.
America treats human life as our most precious value. That is
why that even during this military conflict in which the lives
of our service men and women are at risk, we will not target civilian
facilities. We will continue to hit only military targets. The
bunker that was attacked last night was a military target... (President
When there was nothing more to bomb, the
American military launched a ground war that was superfluous but,
nevertheless, brutal. On February 21-22, 1991, the Soviet Union
secured an agreement from Iraq in which they offered to withdraw
completely from Kuwait the day after a ceasefire of all military
operations went into effect. The agreement included specific timetables
and monitoring. George Bush refused to offer a ceasefire although
he did promise that retreating Iraqi soldiers would not be attacked.
Iraqi forces began to withdraw from Kuwait
on February 25, 1991.
Coalition forces ended their campaign
on February 27. On March 3, Iraq accepted the terms of the preliminary
One of the more disturbing aspects of
the campaign was the slaughter of Iraqi soldiers offering to surrender
or retreat back to Iraq. Comments by American pilots such as "turkey
shoot," "shooting fish in a barrel," "we toasted
them," "we hit the jackpot" and "basically
just sitting ducks" were a sad reflection on the state of
American culture. Mike Erlich of the Military Counseling Network
testified at the European Parliament hearings on the Gulf War
... hundreds, possibly thousands, of Iraqi
soldiers began walking toward the U.S. position unarmed, with
their hands raised in an attempt to surrender. However, the orders
for this unit were not to take any prisoners...
The commander of this unit began the firing shooting an anti-tank
missile through one of the Iraqi soldiers. This is a missile designed
to destroy tanks, but it was used against one man.
At this point, everyone in the unit began shooting. Quite simply,
it was a slaughter. (Ramsey Clark, The Fire This Time)
At the end of the war, Iraq was incapable of feeding itself, purifying
water for drinking, healing the sick or rebuilding itself. March
3, 1991 was the end of the bombing and assaults by coalition ground
troops but it was not the end of the war against Iraq. The war
continued through the imposition of sanctions, no-fly zones, and
bombing in the no-fly zones by Britain and the United States.
It was an invisible war which did not appear nightly on CNN with
expert commentators (the same applies to most of the mainstream
media) because it did not meet their criteria of newsworthiness
despite the fact that more than 3,000 children were dying every
month because of sanctions and depleted uranium shrapnel.
Genocide Disguised as Sanctions
As part of the war strategy, the United
Nations, under pressure from the United States, passed Resolution
661 (1990), which imposed a mandatory and complete embargo on
all trade with Iraq. It prohibited nations from buying or selling
any Iraqi products, medicine being the only exception. Food was
permitted "in humanitarian circumstances."
All decisions related to sanctions were
made by the Sanctions Committee of the Security Council which
was established by UN Resolution 661. The committee had one representative
from each nation on the Security Council and any member could
veto a contract without cause. Such a veto allowed the United
States to prohibit any contract without the inconvenience of an
explanation. To enforce the sanctions, the Security Council passed
Resolution 665 which authorized the creation of a U.S.-led international
The criteria the Sanctions Committee applied to food shipments
to assess whether they could be shipped to Iraq under "humanitarian
circumstances" Were inadequate to avoid a malnutrition crisis.
According to Rahul Mahajan in Full Spectrum Dominance. US. Power
in Iraq and Beyond:
Although in theory, food was exempted
from the sanctions, in practice the sanctions were a little more
than an attempt to influence Iraqi policy by starving the people.
For example, between August 6, 1990, and April 1991, Iraq was
able to import roughly 10,000 tons of grain-the equivalent of
Iraqi's daily grain requirement before the invasion of Kuwait.
At one time, the United States even blocked a contract to import
baby food from Bulgaria because, said the U.S. representative
on the Sanctions Committee, adults might eat it.
The number of children who died or who
were malnourished was unconscionable and reflected a dehumanization
of the Iraq people. One of the studies undertaken by the Harvard
International Study Group concluded that one million Iraqi children
were malnourished and 120,000 suffering from acute malnutrition.
A study of 15,000 children conducted by UNICEF concluded that
27.5 percent of children were malnourished and in another study
of 24,000 households, UNICEF estimated that 500,000 children had
died. Denis Halliday, a former Assistant Secretary General of
the United Nations and 2001 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, reports
that, "In Iraq, the UN-imposed sanctions probably killed
up to one million people. Children are dying of malnutrition and
water-borne diseases." Ramsey Clark wrote a letter in 1996
to the Security Council in which he reported that:
The United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) reports the UN sanctions on Iraq have been
responsible for the deaths of more than 560,000 children in Iraq
since 1990. Most children's deaths are from the effects of malnutrition
including marasmus [extreme weight loss] and kwashiorkor, wasting
or emaciation which has reached 12 percent of all children, stunted
growth which affects 28 percent, diarrhea, dehydration from bad
water or food which is ordinarily easily controlled and cured,
common communicable \ diseases preventable by vaccinations, and
epidemics from deteriorating sanitary conditions. There are no
deaths crueler than these. They are suffered slowly, helpiessly,
without simple remedial medication, without simple sedation to
relieve pain, without mercy.
Does torturing so many children through
starvation make the world a safer place? Paradoxically, at least
one top American official, Madeleine Albright, U. S. Ambassador
to the UN, believed it made sense, as demonstrated by her response
to a question by Lesley Stahl on the U.N. sanctions, aired on
60 minutes May 12,1996:
Q. We have heard that a half million children
have died. I mean L that's more than died in Hiroshima. And, you
know, is the price worth it?
A. I think this a very hard choice, but
the price-we think the price is worth it.
President Clinton interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:
Amy Goodman: President Clinton, UN figures
show that up to 5,000 children a month die in Iraq because of
the sanctions against Iraq.
President Clinton: That's not true. And
that's not what they show... If any child is without food or medicine
or a roof over his or her head in Iraq, it's because he [Saddam
Hussein] is claiming the sanctions are doing it and sticking it
to his own children. We have worked like crazy to make sure that
the embargo only applies to his ability to reconstitute his weapon
"Dual use" goods are those that can be used for either
military or civilian purposes. The U.S. and Great Britain decided
to interpret "dual use" goods in the widest possible
sense stretching the meaning to absurd extremes. Examples of "dual
use" goods that were banned include:
* Vaccines to treat infant hepatitis,
tetanus, and diphtheria because vaccines contained live cultures
which could be transformed into a fatal strain despite the objections
of biological weapons experts who maintained that it was not possible.
* Incubators were banned.
* Cardiac equipment was prohibited.
* Contracts related to electrical power
generation were blocked by the U. S.
* The U.S. approved insulin but not syringes
* Blood bags without catheters were approved
* A sewage treatment plant without the
generator was approved.
* Pencils for school children were banned.
* Chlorine to treat water was banned.
The shortage of clean water was one of
the most widespread and critical humanitarian crises after the
1991 bombing. Bombing and sanctions were responsible for the destruction
of the mechanisms for providing purified Water by destroying the
water-treatment plants and making it impossible to repair them.
The destruction of power utilities made it impossible to boil
water and the sanctions made it impossible to repair them. Chlorine
was prohibited by the sanctions making it impossible to purify
Poor sanitation combined with a lack of
pure water was a recipe for a whole host of diseases. Most garbage
trucks were inoperable because of the bombing and the prohibition
of spare parts; as a result garbage was dumped onto the streets.
Sewage pipes were also damaged by the bombing, allowing raw sewage
to percolate to the surface and flood commercial and residential
areas. Poor sanitation and impure water resulted in high levels
of cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and diarrhea.
The lack of pure water and an effective
sanitation system combined with malnourishment and radiation from
depleted uranium ordnance created an extensive medical crisis.
Sanctions robbed Iraqi hospitals of the medicine, equipment, and
medical supplies needed to cope with the many diseases plaguing
the people of Iraq. Medical shortages included ordinary medications,
cancer and leukemia drugs, insulin, anesthetics, and antibiotics.
The lack of medical equipment included radiology equipment, laboratory
equipment, defibrillation and ECG machines, dialysis machines,
X-ray equipment, incubators, oxygen tanks, and sterilization equipment.
Patients were dying from easily curable diseases and many were
dying in extreme pain due to the lack of painkillers such as morphine.
Babies suffering from dehydration withered away.
Ramsey Clark, in a letter to the members
of the Security Council on March 1, 1996, summed up the tragedy
of sanctions as follows:
One issue between Iraq and the United
Nations exceeds all others in importance. That issue is the Security
Council sanctions imposed against Iraq at the insistence of the
United States. The whole world knows, and history will permanently
record, the fact that those savage sanctions have cruelly killed
more than one million people in Iraq these last five years, injured
millions more, and damaged the population and society for generations
to come. Is this the legacy the United Nations wishes to support
by failing to completely end the sanctions now?
President Bush lied on many occasions to achieve America's foreign
and military objectives in the Middle East. He lied about his
real intention in the Persian Gulf which was to lure Iraq into
a war for the purpose of crippling a major Middle Eastern power
with the second largest oil reserves in the world.
In evaluating the extent to which President Bush and other American
leaders committed war crimes, it would be useful to examine the
results of a War Crimes Tribunal organized by Ramsey Clark and
the International Action Center. The Commission of Inquiry for
the International War Crimes Tribunal, the outgrowth of the Coalition
to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East, formed by a group
of American activists during the war. Nineteen criminal charges
were laid against President Bush and other members of his administration.
The purpose of the commission was to conduct exhaustive research
into all the facts related to the charges. It traveled around
the world to hold hearings and called on expert witnesses to provide
evidence about the war. Tribunal members reviewed the testimony
of the hearings, documents from UN agencies, documents of governments,
and materials from private organizations and institutions.
The International War Crimes Tribunal
first met on February 27, 1992 to consider the evidence and to
determine the guilt or innocence of those charged with 19 crimes.
The 22 judges on the War Crimes Tribunal represented 18 nations
and were from diverse backgrounds. The judges included:
* Lord Tony Gifford, Britain. Human rights
* Deborah Jackson, U.S. First vice president
of the American Association of Jurists.
* Michael Ratner, U.S. Attorney and former
director of the Center for Constitutional rights, past president
of the National Lawyers Guild.
* P.S. Poti, India, former Chief Justice
of the Gujarat High Court. In 1989 elected president of the All-India
* Aisha Nyerere, Tanzania, Resident Magistrate
of the High Court in Arusha, Tanzania.
* Dr. Haluk Gerger, Turkey, Founding member
of the Turkish Human Rights Association and professor of political
Some of the nineteen charges documented
against George Bush, James Baker, Cohn Powell, Dick Cheney, and
others were that:
The United States engaged in a pattern
of conduct beginning in or before 1989 intended to lead Iraq into
provocations justifying U.S. military action against Iraq and
permanent U.S. military domination of the Gulf.
* President Bush ordered the destruction
of facilities essential to civilian life and economic productivity
* The United States intentionally bombed
and destroyed civilian life, commercial and business districts,
schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas,
historical sites, private vehicles and civilian government offices.
* The United States deliberately bombed
indiscriminately throughout Iraq.
* The United States used prohibited weapons
capable of mass destruction and inflicted indiscriminate death
and unnecessary suffering against both military and civilian targets.
Following are the findings of the War
The Members of the International War Crimes
Tribunal finds each of the named accused guilty on the basis of
the evidence against them and that each of the nineteen separate
crimes alleged in the Initial attached hereto, has been established
to have been committed beyond a reasonable doubt.
Although the War Crimes Tribunal did not
have legitimacy as an international court, it did define the crimes
committed by President Bush and the aforementioned members of
his administration who did violate the UN Charter, Geneva Conventions,
and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
The Bush administration violated the following
clauses in the Geneva Convention:
1. Convention III, Part 1, Article 3,
Clause 1-Persons taking no part in the hostilities, including
members of the armed forces who have laid down their arms ...
To this end the following acts shall remain prohibited:
a) violence to life and person;
b) outrages upon personal dignity.
Shooting soldiers from aircraft, shooting
soldiers in retreat in the back, or shooting prisoners who surrender
all violate the above. As well, Protocol I, Chapter III, Article
51 states that:
4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited.
Indiscriminate attacks are:
a) those which are not directed at specific military objectives;
b) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects
of which cannot be directed at specific military objectives.
Bombing the civilian targets mentioned
earlier violated 4a. Using napalm, cluster bombs, depleted uranium
weapons, and fuel-air explosives Violated 4b. These weapons are
not designed to hit specific targets and are clearly incapable
of discriminating between military and civilian objects.
Bush's war on Iraq violates the United
The Bush administration also violated the Convention on the Prevention
r and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. According to Article
In the present Convention, genocide means
any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in
whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group
(a) killing members of the group;
(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated
to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
The United States bombing and ground offensive
killed up to 125,000 Iraqis. The approximately one million people
who died between the two wars on Iraq due to depleted uranium,
unsafe water, and lack of medical equipment and medication are
also victims of the U.S. war on Iraq. American bombing and refusal
to allow the Iraqis to repair infrastructure clearly "inflicted
conditions of life calculated to bring about its [the Iraqi people's]
physical destruction in whole or in part."
The so-called war against Iraq was, in
fact, an act of mass murder and a massive destruction of property.
It was a criminal act on an international level and therefore,
a crime against humanity. On February 12, 1991, Ramsey Clark wrote
a letter to President Bush and UN Secretary General Perez de Cuellar
describing the bombing as:
... the clearest violation of international
law and norms for armed conflict... It is uncivilized, brutal,
and racist by any moral standard... The use of highly sophisticated
military technology with mass destructive capacity by rich nations
against an essentially defenseless civilian population of a poor
nation is one of the great tragedies of our time. (Ramsey Clark,
The Fire this Time)