excerpted from the book
A report on United States
War Crimes against Iraq
by Ramsey Clarke and others
Report to the Commission
of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal
Maisonneuve Press, 1992
Facts are blunt things, easy to cite and substantiate. This is
a study based on a factual analysis of unfolding events. But facts
are a thin reed when there are great material interests at stake.
The oil-rich Gulf region is the largest
concentration of natural wealth on the planet today. Yet it is
a looted region of wrenching poverty. Facts or defenseless humans
seem to matter little in the struggle over who dominates and controls
this essential resource.
Seventy-five years ago in the midst of
World War I those who opposed the war, claiming that it was a
struggle to re-divide and carve up the world markets, had far
fewer facts to prove their point. In the heat of a war that cost
20 million lives, the very charge was treated as treason. Today,
any high school history book will describe World War I as a war
of the great imperial powers for control of world markets. This
is no longer even an issue of historical debate.
To the millions who were drafted to fight
and die in a supposed struggle for democracy and self-determination
the fact that French and British politicians found time to meet
secretly and carve up the Arabian Peninsula was unknown. The secret
Sykes-Picot Treaty of 1916 laid the basis for the present war
in the Gulf. A similar re-division of resources is the real issue
today. The open bribery of members of the United Nations Security
Council by U.S. President George Bush and the public price tag
set on the amount of the war costs Japan or Germany would have
to bear leave little doubt to the secret treaties on the allocation
of oil resources in the new re-division.
It is the victors who write the history
of every war. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the U.S. media
today. The Pentagon is acutely aware of how it packaged the Gulf
War, in preparation for other wars. The war against Iraq is presented
as a heroic, patriotic mobilization that had enormous support
both in the U.S. and world-wide. It is described as a high-tech
war with few U.S. casualties, a war fought with smart bombs and
In reality the U.S. war against Iraq was
a war in which an incredible amount of information was hidden
and distorted. It will take a long struggle and the distance of
many years before the most explosive information sees the light
of day. The aim of this book is to expose and substantiate as
much as possible of what has been suppressed. But what makes this
book unique among the many books now being published on the Gulf
War is that this study puts what is well-known and acknowledged
about the destruction of Iraq into the context of the very treaties
and conventions that the U.S. government has sworn to uphold,
yet so flagrantly violated. These international treaties clearly
define crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Even in the heat and hatred of war, some tactics have been considered
so heinous, particularly attacks on defenseless civilian populations,
that almost all countries have signed agreements pledging not
to use such measures.
"War crime" is an inflammatory
charge; the very term itself is loaded. Yet in less than one week
of U.S. bombardment of Iraq, Baghdad, a city of three million
people, had no running water, no sanitation and no electricity;
food processing, storage and distribution facilities were destroyed;
the city bridges were bombed and the telephone network destroyed.
This was not a hidden dimension of the war. The U.S. bombing of
Iraq, up to 3,000 sorties a day, was extensively covered. The
destruction of the infrastructure of Iraq was well publicized
in all the major media. However none of the coverage in the western
media mentioned that a large number of these attacks were direct
violations of international law and are considered war crimes.
The bombing was always described as legitimate.
In the many hundreds of hours of extensive
news coverage and commentary on the war, the provisions of the
Nuremberg, Hague and Geneva Conventions on war were never even
discussed in the context of U.S. bombing targets.
Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions,
1977, on the conduct of war states quite explicitly: "It
is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects
indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such
as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs,
crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and
irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for
their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse
Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians,
to cause them to move away or for any other motive." This
Protocol stipulates that civilian populations must be protected
against the dangers arising from military operations and that
civilian populations must not be the object of attack. The U.S.
and every one of its major allies against Iraq are signatories
to this document and other well known conventions described in
The U.S. enforced blockade of Iraq and
the international sanctions which continue to this day are also
an explicit violation of Article 54 of the Geneva Conventions-"starvation
of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited."
The graphic and detailed eyewitness testimony
to the devastation documented in this work shows the painful human
dimension to the casualty figures so carelessly estimated, depending
on who is doing the counting, of between 100,000 to 250,000 Iraqi
deaths. The United Nations Security Council-the international
body that through open and publicly revealed U.S. bribery' authorized
the war-sent its own investigating commission to Iraq to measure
the destruction at the end of the war. The UN Mission, headed
by Under Secretary General Martti Ahtisaari and comprising representatives
of various UN Agencies, visited Iraq from March 10 to 17, 1991.
Their report alone is damning evidence of war crimes committed
against the civilian population.
To quote, "It should be said at once
that nothing we had seen or read had quite prepared us for the
particular form of devastation which has now befallen the country.
The recent conflict has wrought near-apocalyptic results upon
the infrastructure of what had been until January 1991, a highly
urbanized and mechanized society. Now most means of modem life
have been destroyed or rendered tenuous. Iraq has, for some time
to come, been relegated to a pre-industrial age, but with all
the disabilities of post-industrial dependency on an intensive
use of energy and technology".
Equally well publicized but also robbed
of its moral context are other blatant violations of these international
conventions. The crimes include the bombing of an air raid shelter,
the use of certain types of prohibited weapons such as napalm
and the killing of defenseless soldiers such as the systematic
bombing of tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians fleeing
Kuwait City. These are not facts which are in dispute; there are
hundreds of photos published in newspapers around the world which
document this conduct. But all too often it is only presented
as a grisly by-product of war.
"War is hell," was Defense Department
spokesman Pete Williams' comment confirming that huge U.S. Army
earth movers had buried alive up to 8,000 Iraqi soldiers. By Army
accounts they were in trenches and desperately trying to surrender
and incapable of mounting any resistance. This revelation, recently
reported-as these lines were written-by Patrick Sloyan in the
New York Newsday [September 12, 1991], demonstrates yet another
violation of international conventions on combat. The resulting
mass graves violate even the responsibility of the commanding
officer to attempt to provide an accounting for the dead among
enemy soldiers. The Pentagon has refused even to notify the Red
Cross about the location of these mass graves.
The most serious charges are the Crimes
Against Peace. The Nuremberg Charter, which is the law under which
the Nazis were tried by the same allies who made war on Iraq,
clearly defines the charge of planning, preparation and initiation
of a war of aggression. This is the real indictment of the U.S.
George Bush, J. Danforth Quayle, James
Baker, Richard Cheney, William Webster, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf
and Others to be named
Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, Crimes
Against Humanity and Other Criminal Acts and High Crimes in Violation
of the Charter of the United Nations, International Law, the Constitution
of the United States and Laws made in Pursuance Thereof.
These charges have been prepared prior
to the first hearing of the Commission of Inquiry by its staff.
They are based on direct and circumstantial evidence from public
and private documents; official statements and admissions by the
persons charged and others; eyewitness accounts; Commission investigations
and witness interviews in Iraq, the Middle East and elsewhere
during and after the bombing; photographs and video tape; expert
analyses; commentary and interviews; media coverage, published
reports and accounts gathered between December 1990 and May 1991.
Commission of Inquiry hearings will be held in key cities where
evidence is available supporting, expanding, adding, contradicting,
disproving or explaining these, or similar charges against the
accused and others of whatever nationality. When evidence sufficient
to sustain convictions of the accused or others is obtained and
after demanding the production of documents from the U.S. government,
and others, and requesting testimony from the accused, offering
them a full opportunity to present any defense personally, or
by counsel, the evidence will be presented to an International
War Crimes Tribunal. The Tribunal will consider the evidence gathered,
seek and examine whatever additional evidence it chooses and render
its judgment on the charges, the evidence, and the law.
Since World War I, the United Kingdom,
France, and the United States have dominated the Arabian Peninsula
and Gulf region and its oil resources. This has been accomplished
by military conquest and coercion, economic control and exploitation,
and through surrogate governments and their military forces. Thus,
from 1953 to 1979 in the post World War II era, control over the
region was exercised primarily through U.S. influence and control
over the Gulf sheikdoms of Saudi Arabia and through the Shah of
Iran. From 1953 to 1979 the Shah of Iran acted as a Pentagon/CIA
surrogate to police the region. After the fall of the Shah and
the seizure of U.S. Embassy hostages in Teheran, the U.S. provided
military aid and assistance to Iraq, as did the USSR, Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait and most of the Emirates, in its war with Iran. U.S. policy
during that tragic eight year war, 1980 - 1988, is probably best
summed up by the phrase, "we hope they kill each other."
Throughout the seventy-five year period
from Britain's invasion of Iraq early in World War I to the destruction
of Iraq in 1991 by U.S. air power, the United States and the United
Kingdom demonstrated no concern for democratic values, human rights,
social justice, or political and cultural integrity in the region,
nor for stopping military aggression there. The U.S. supported
the Shah of Iran for 25 years, selling him more than $20 billion
of advanced military equipment between 1972 and 1978 alone. Throughout
this period the Shah and his brutal secret police called SAVAK
had one of the worst human rights records in the world. Then in
the 1980s, the U.S. supported Iraq in its wrongful aggression
against Iran, ignoring Iraq's own poor human rights record.
When the Iraqi government nationalized
the Iraqi Petroleum Company in 1972, the Nixon Administration
embarked on a campaign to destabilize the Iraqi government. It
was in the 1970s that the U.S. first armed and then abandoned
the Kurdish people, costing tens of thousands of Kurdish lives.
The U.S. manipulated the Kurds through CIA and other agencies
to attack Iraq, intending to harass Iraq while maintaining Iranian
supremacy at the cost of Kurdish lives without intending any benefit
to the Kurdish people or an autonomous Kurdistan.
The U.S. with close oil and other economic
ties to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait has fully supported both governments
despite the total absence of democratic institutions, their pervasive
human rights violations and the infliction of cruel, inhuman and
degrading punishments such as stoning to death for adultery and
amputation of a hand for property offenses.
The U.S., sometimes alone among nations,
supported Israel when it defied scores of UN resolutions concerning
Palestinian rights, when it invaded Lebanon in a war which took
tens of thousands of lives, and during its continuing occupation
of southern Lebanon, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza.
The United States itself engaged in recent
aggressions in violation of international law by invading Grenada
in 1983, bombing Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya in 1986, financing
the contra in Nicaragua, UNITA in southern Africa and supporting
military dictatorships in Liberia, Chile, E1 Salvador, Guatemala,
the Philippines, and many other places.
The U.S. invasion of Panama in December
1989 involved the same and additional violations of international
law that apply to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The U.S. invasion
took between 1,000 and 4,000 Panamanian lives. The United States
government is still covering up the death toll. U.S. aggression
caused massive property destruction throughout Panama. According
to U.S. and international human rights organization estimates,
Kuwait's casualties from Iraq's invasion and the ensuing months
of occupation were in the "hundreds"-between 300 and
600.4 Reports from Kuwait list 628 Palestinians killed by Kuwaiti
death squads since the Sabah royal family regained control over
The United States changed its military
plans for protecting its control over oil and other interests
in the Arabian Peninsula in the late 1980s when it became clear
that economic problems in the USSR were debilitating its military
capacity and Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan. Thereafter,
direct military domination within the region became the U.S. strategy.
With the decline in U.S. oil production
through 1989, experts predicted U.S. oil imports from the Gulf
would rise from 10% that year to 25% by the year 2000. Japanese
and European dependency is much greater.
1. 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
In 1989, General Colin Powell, Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Norman Schwarzkopf,
Commander in Chief of the Central Command, completely revised
U.S. military operations and plans for the Persian Gulf to prepare
to intervene in a regional conflict against Iraq. The CIA assisted
and directed Kuwait in its actions. At the time, Kuwait was violating
OPEC oil production agreements, extracting excessive amounts of
oil from pools shared with Iraq and demanding repayment of loans
it made to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. Kuwait broke off negotiations
with Iraq over these disputes. The U.S. intended to provoke Iraq
into actions against Kuwait that would justify U.S. intervention.
In 1989, CIA Director William Webster
testified before the Congress about the alarming increase in U.S.
importation of Gulf oil, citing U.S. rise in use from 5% in 1973
to 10% in 1989 and predicting 25% of all U.S. oil consumption
would come from the region by 2000. In early 1990, General Schwarzkopf
informed the Senate Armed Services Committee of the new military
strategy in the Gulf designed to protect U.S. access to and control
over Gulf oil in the event of regional conflicts.
In July 1990, General Schwarzkopf and
his staff ran elaborate, computerized war games pitting about
100,000 U.S. troops against Iraqi armored divisions.
The U.S. showed no opposition to Iraq's
increasing threats against Kuwait. U.S. companies sought major
contracts in Iraq. The Congress approved agricultural loan subsidies
to Iraq of hundreds of millions of dollars to benefit U.S. farmers.
However, loans for food deliveries of rice, corn, wheat and other
essentials bought almost exclusively from the U.S. were cut off
in the spring of 1990 to cause shortages. Arms were sold to Iraq
by U.S. manufacturers. When Saddam Hussein requested U.S. Ambassador
April Glaspie to explain State Department testimony in Congress
about Iraq's threats against Kuwait, she assured him the U.S.
considered the dispute a regional concern, and it would not intervene.
By these acts, the U.S. intended to lead Iraq into a provocation
On August 2, 1990, Iraq occupied Kuwait
without significant resistance.
On August 3, 1990, without any evidence
of a threat to Saudi Arabia, and King Fahd believed Iraq had no
intention of invading his country, President Bush vowed to defend
Saudi Arabia. He sent Secretary Cheney, General Powell, and General
Schwarzkopf almost immediately to Saudi Arabia where on August
6, General Schwarzkopf told King Fahd the U.S. thought Saddam
Hussein could attack Saudi Arabia in as little as 48 hours. The
efforts toward an Arab solution of the crisis were destroyed.
Iraq never attacked Saudi Arabia and waited over five months while
the U.S. slowly built a force of more than 500,000 soldiers and
began the systematic destruction by aircraft and missiles of Iraq
and its military, both defenseless against U.S. and coalition
technology. In October 1990, General Powell referred to the new
military plan developed in 1989. After the war, General Schwarzkopf
referred to eighteen months of planning for the campaign.
The U.S. retains troops in Iraq as of
May 1991 and throughout the region and has announced its intention
to maintain a permanent military presence.
This course of conduct constitutes a crime
2. President Bush from August 2, 1990,
intended and acted to prevent any interference with his plan to
destroy Iraq economically and militarily.
Without consultation or communication
with Congress, President Bush ordered 40,000 U.S. military personnel
to advance the U.S. buildup in Saudi Arabia in the first week
of August 1990. He exacted a request from Saudi Arabia for U.S.
military assistance and on August 8, 1990, assured the world his
acts were "wholly defensive." He waited until after
the November 1990 elections to announce his earlier order sending
more than 200,000 additional military personnel, clearly an assault
force, again without advising Congress. As late as January 9,
1991, he insisted he had the constitutional authority to attack
Iraq without Congressional approval.
While concealing his intention, President
Bush continued the military build up of U.S. forces unabated from
August into January 1991, intending to attack and destroy Iraq.
He pressed the military to expedite preparation and to commence
the assault before military considerations were optimum. When
Air Force Chief of Staff General Michael J. Dugan mentioned plans
to destroy the Iraqi civilian economy to the press on September
16, 1990, he was removed from office.
President Bush coerced the United Nations
Security Council into an unprecedented series of resolutions,
finally securing authority for any nation in its absolute discretion
by all necessary means to enforce the resolutions. To secure votes
the U.S. paid multi-billion dollar bribes, offered arms for regional
wars, threatened and carried out economic retaliation, forgave
multi-billion dollar loans (including a $7 billion loan to Egypt
for arms), offered diplomatic relations despite human rights violations
and in other ways corruptly exacted votes, creating the appearance
of near universal international approval of U.S. policies toward
Iraq. A country which opposed the U.S., as Yemen did, lost millions
of dollars in aid, as promised, the costliest vote it ever cast.
President Bush consistently rejected and
ridiculed Iraq's efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution, beginning
with Iraq's August 12, 1990, proposal, largely ignored, and ending
with its mid-February 1991 peace offer which he called a "cruel
hoax." For his part, President Bush consistently insisted
there would be no negotiation, no compromise, no face saving,
no reward for aggression. Simultaneously, he accused Saddam Hussein
of rejecting diplomatic solutions.
President Bush led a sophisticated campaign
to demonize Saddam Hussein, calling him a Hitler, repeatedly citing
reports-which he knew were false-of the murder of hundreds of
incubator babies, accusing Iraq of using chemical weapons on his
own people and on the Iranians knowing U.S. intelligence believed
the reports untrue.
After subverting every effort hr peace,
President Bush began the destruction of Iraq answering his own
question, "Why not wait? world could wait no longer."
The course of conduct constitutes a crime
3. President Bush ordered the destruction
of facilities essential to civilian life and economic productivity
Systematic aerial and missile bombardment
of Iraq was ordered to begin at 6:30 p.m. EST January 16, 1991,
eighteen and one-half hours after the deadline set on the insistence
of President Bush, in order to be reported on television evening
news in the U.S. The bombing continued for forty-two days. It
met no resistance from Iraqi aircraft and no effective anti-aircraft
or anti-missile ground fire. Iraq was defenseless.
The United States reports it flew 110,000
air sorties against Iraq, dropping 88,000 tons of bombs, nearly
seven times the equivalent of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
93% of the bombs were free falling bombs, most dropped from higher
than 30,000 feet. Of the remaining 7% of the bombs with electronically
guided systems, more than 25% missed their targets, nearly all
caused damage primarily beyond any identifiable target. Most of
the targets were civilian facilities.
The intention and effort of the bombing
of civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy
Iraq's infrastructure leaving it in a preindustrial condition.
Iraq's civilian population was dependent on industrial capacities.
The U.S. assault left Iraq in a near apocalyptic condition as
reported by the first United Nations observers after the war.
Among the facilities targeted and destroyed were:
* electric power generation, relay and
* water treatment, pumping and distribution systems and reservoirs;
* telephone and radio exchanges, relay stations, towers and transmission
* food processing, storage and distribution facilities and markets,
infant milk formula and beverage plants, animal vaccination facilities
and irrigation sites;
* railroad transportation facilities, bus depots, bridges, highway
overpasses, highways, highway repair stations, trains, buses and
other public transportation vehicles, commercial and private vehicles;
* oil wells and pumps, pipelines, refineries, oil storage tanks,
gasoline filling stations and fuel delivery tank cars and trucks,
and kerosene storage tanks;
* sewage treatment and disposal systems; factories engaged in
civilian production, e.g., textile and automobile assembly; and
* historical markers and ancient sites.
As a direct, intentional and foreseeable
result of this destruction, tens of thousands of people have died
from dehydration, dysentery and diseases caused by impure water,
inability to obtain effective medical assistance and debilitation
from hunger, shock, cold and stress. More will die until potable
water, sanitary living conditions, adequate food supplies and
other necessities are provided. There is a high risk of epidemics
of cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and other diseases as well as starvation
and malnutrition through the summer of 1991 and until food supplies
are adequate and essential services are restored.
Only the United States could have carried
out this destruction of Iraq, and the war was conducted almost
exclusively by the United States. This conduct violated the UN
Charter, the Hague and Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Charter,
and the laws of armed conflict.
4. 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 destruction of civilian facilities
left the entire civilian population without heat, cooking fuel,
refrigeration, potable water, telephones, power for radio or TV
reception, public transportation and fuel for private automobiles.
It also limited food supplies, closed schools, created massive
unemployment, severely limited economic activity and caused hospitals
and medical services to shut down. In addition, residential areas
of every major city and most towns and villages were targeted
and destroyed. Isolated Bedouin camps were attacked by U.S. aircraft.
In addition to deaths and injuries, the aerial assault destroyed
10 - 20,000 homes, apartments and other dwellings. Commercial
centers with shops, retail stores, offices, hotels, restaurants
and other public accommodations were targeted and thousands were
destroyed. Scores of schools, hospitals, mosques and churches
were damaged or destroyed. Thousands of civilian vehicles on highways,
roads and parked on streets and in garages were targeted and destroyed.
These included public buses, private vans and mini-buses, trucks,
tractor trailers, lorries, taxi cabs and private cars. The purpose
of this bombing was to terrorize the entire country, kill people,
destroy property, prevent movement, demoralize the people and
force the overthrow of the government.
As a result of the bombing of facilities
essential to civilian life, residential and other civilian buildings
and areas, at least 125,000 men, women and children were killed.
The Red Crescent Society of Jordan estimated 113,000 civilian
dead, 60% children, the week before the end of the war.
The conduct violated the UN Charter, the
Hague and Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Charter, and the laws
of armed conflict.
5. The United States intentionally bombed
indiscriminately throughout Iraq.
In aerial attacks, including strafing,
over cities, towns, the countryside and highways, U.S. aircraft
bombed and strafed indiscriminately. In every city and town bombs
fell by chance far from any conceivable target, whether a civilian
facility, military installation or military target. In the countryside
random attacks were made on travelers, villagers, even Bedouins.
The purpose of the attacks was to destroy life, property and terrorize
the civilian population. On the highways, civilian vehicles including
public buses, taxicabs and passenger cars were bombed and strafed
at random to frighten civilians from flight, from seeking food
or medical care, finding relatives or other uses of highways.
The effect was summary execution and corporal punishment indiscriminately
of men, women and children, young and old, rich and poor, all
nationalities including the large immigrant populations, even
Americans, all ethnic groups, including many Kurds and Assyrians,
all religions including Shia and Sunni Moslems, Chaldeans and
other Christians, and Jews. U.S. deliberate indifference to civilian
and military casualties in Iraq, or their nature, is exemplified
by General Colin Powell's response to a press inquiry about the
number dead from the air and ground campaigns: "It's really
not a number I'm terribly interested in."
The conduct violates Protocol I Additional,
Article 51.4 to the Geneva Conventions of 1977.
6. The United States intentionally bombed
and destroyed Iraqi military personnel, used excessive force,
killed soldiers seeking to surrender and in disorganized individual
flight, often unarmed and far from any combat zones and randomly
and wantonly killed Iraqi soldiers and destroyed materiel after
the cease fire.
In the first hours of the aerial and missile
bombardment, the United States destroyed most military communications
and began the systematic killing of soldiers who were incapable
of defense or escape and the destruction of military equipment.
Over a period of forty-two days, U.S. bombing killed tens of thousands
of defenseless soldiers, cut off most of their food, water and
other supplies and left them in desperate and helpless disarray.
Without significant risk to its own personnel, the U.S. led in
the killing of at least 100,000 Iraqi soldiers at a cost of 148
U.S. combat casualties, according to the U.S. government. When
it was determined that the civilian economy and the military were
sufficiently destroyed, the U.S. ground forces moved into Kuwait
and Iraq attacking disoriented, disorganized, fleeing Iraqi forces
wherever they could be found, killing thousands more and destroying
any equipment found. The slaughter continued after the cease fire.
For example, on March 2, 1991, U.S. 24th Division
Forces engaged in a four-hour assault
against Iraqis just west of Basra. More than 750 vehicles were
destroyed, thousands were killed without U.S. casualties. A U.S.
commander said, "We really waxed them." It was called
a '`Turkey Shoot." One Apache helicopter crew member yelled
"Say hello to Allah" as he launched a laser-guided Hellfire
The intention was not to remove Iraq's
presence from Kuwait. It was to destroy Iraq. In the process there
was great destruction of property in Kuwait. The disproportion
in death and destruction inflicted on a defenseless enemy exceeded
1,000 to one.
General Thomas Kelly commented on February
23, 1991, that by the time the ground war begins "there won't
be many of them left." General Norman Schwarzkopf placed
Iraqi military casualties at over 100,000. The intention was to
destroy all military facilities and equipment wherever located
and to so decimate the military age male population that Iraq
could not raise a substantial force for half a generation.
The conduct violated the Charter of the
United Nations, the Hague and Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg
Charter, and the laws of armed conflict.
7. The United States used prohibited weapons
capable of mass destruction and inflicting indiscriminate death
and unnecessary suffering against both military and civilian targets.
Among the known illegal weapons and illegal
uses of weapons employed by the United States are the following:
* fuel air explosives capable of widespread
incineration and death;
* cluster and anti-personnel fragmentation
* "superbombs," 2.5 ton devices,
intended for assassination of government leaders.
Fuel air explosives were used against
troops-in-place, civilian areas, oil fields and fleeing civilians
and soldiers on two stretches of highway between Kuwait and Iraq.
Included in fuel air weapons used was the BLU-82, a 15,000-pound
device capable of incinerating everything within hundreds of yards.
One seven mile stretch called the "Highway
of Death" was littered with hundreds of vehicles and thousands
of dead. All were fleeing to Iraq for their lives. Thousands were
civilians of all ages, including Kuwaitis, Iraqis, Palestinians,
Jordanians and other nationalities. Another 60-mile stretch of
road to the east was strewn with the remnants of tanks, armored
cars, trucks, ambulances and thousands of bodies following an
attack on convoys on the night of February 25, 1991. The press
reported that no survivors are known or likely. One flatbed truck
contained nine bodies, their hair and clothes were burned off,
skin incinerated by heat so intense it melted the windshield onto
Napalm was used against civilians, military
personnel and to start fires. Oil well fires in both Iraq and
Kuwait were intentionally started by U.S. aircraft dropping napalm
and other heat intensive devices.
Cluster and anti-personnel fragmentation
bombs were used in Basra and other cities, and towns, against
the convoys described above and against military units. The CBU75
carries 1,800 bomblets called Sadeyes. One type of Sadeyes can
explode before hitting the ground, on impact, or be timed to explode
at different times after impact. Each bomblet contains 600 razor
sharp steel fragments lethal up to 40 feet. The 1,800 bomblets
from one CBU-75 can cover an area equal to 157 football fields
with deadly shrapnel.
"Superbombs" were dropped on
hardened shelters, at least two in the last days of the assault,
with the intention of assassinating President Saddam Hussein.
One was misdirected. It was not the first time the Pentagon targeted
a head of state. In April 1986, the U.S. attempted to assassinate
Col. Muammar Qaddafi by laser directed bombs in its attack on
Illegal weapons killed thousands of civilians
The conduct violated the Hague and Geneva
Conventions, the Nuremberg Charter and the laws of armed conflict.
8. The United States intentionally attacked
installations in Iraq containing dangerous substances and forces.
Despite the fact that Iraq used no nuclear
or chemical weapons and in the face of UN resolutions limiting
the authorized means of removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait, the
U.S. intentionally bombed alleged nuclear sites, chemical plants,
dams and other dangerous forces. The U.S. knew such attacks could
cause the release of dangerous forces from such installations
and consequent severe losses among the civilian population. While
some civilians were killed in such attacks, there are no reported
cases of consequent severe losses presumably because lethal nuclear
materials and dangerous chemical and biological warfare substances
were not present at the sites bombed.
The conduct violates Protocol I Additional,
Article 56, to the Geneva Convention, 1977.
9. President Bush ordered U.S. forces
to invade Panama, resulting in the deaths of 1,000 to 4,000 Panatnanians
and the destruction of thousands of private dwellings, public
buildings, and commercial structures.
On December 20, 1989, President Bush ordered
a military assault on Panama USiDg aircraft, artillery, helicopter
gunships and experimenting with new weapons, including the Stealth
bomber. The attack was a surprise assault targeting civilian and
non-combatant government structures. In the E1 Chorillo district
of Panama City alone, hundreds of civilians were killed and between
15,000 and 30,000 made homeless. U.S. soldiers buried dead Panamanians
in mass graves, often without identification. The head of state,
Manuel Noriega, who was systematically demonized by the U.S. government
and press, ultimately surrendered to U.S. forces and was brought
to Miami, Florida, on extra-territorial U.S. criminal charges.
The U.S. invasion of Panama violated all
the international laws Iraq violated when it invaded Kuwait and
more. Many more Panamanians were killed by U.S. forces than Iraq
President Bush violated the Charter of
the United Nations, the Hague and Geneva Conventions, committed
crimes against peace, war crimes and violated the U.S. Constitution
and numerous U.S. criminal statutes in ordering and directing
the assault on Panama.
10. President Bush obstructed justice
and corrupted United Nations functions as a means of securing
power to commit crimes against peace and war crimes.
President Bush caused the United Nations
to completely bypass Chapter VI provisions of its Charter for
the Pacific Settlement of Disputes. This was done in order to
obtain Security Council resolutions authorizing the use of all
necessary means, in the absolute discretion of any nation, to
fulfill UN resolutions directed against Iraq and which were used
to destroy Iraq. To obtain Security Council votes, the U.S. corruptly
paid member nations billions of dollars, provided them arms to
conduct regional wars, forgave billions in debts, withdrew opposition
to a World Bank loan, agreed to diplomatic relations despite human
rights violations and threatened economic and political reprisals.
A nation which voted against the United States, Yemen, was immediately
punished by the loss of millions of dollars in aid. The U.S. paid
the UN $187 million to reduce the amount of dues it owed to the
UN to avoid criticism of its coercive activities. The United Nations,
created to end the scourge of war, became an instrument of war
and condoned war crimes.
The conduct violates the Charter of the
United Nations and the Constitution and laws of the United States.
11. President Bush usurped the Constitutional
power of Congress as a means of securing power to commit crimes
against peace, war crimes, and other high crimes.
President Bush intentionally usurped Congressional
power, ignored its authority, and failed and refused to consult
with the Congress. He deliberately misled, deceived, concealed
and made false representations to the Congress to prevent its
free deliberation and informed exercise of legislature power.
President Bush individually ordered a naval blockade against Iraq,
itself an act of war. He switched U.S. forces from a wholly defensive
position and capability to an offensive capacity for aggression
against Iraq without consultation with and contrary to assurances
given to the Congress. He secured legislation approving enforcement
of UN resolutions vesting absolute discretion in any nation, providing
no guidelines and requiring no reporting to the UN, knowing he
intended to destroy the armed forces and civilian economy of Iraq.
Those acts were undertaken to enable him to commit crimes against
peace and war crimes
The conduct violates the Constitution
and laws of the United States, all committed to engage in the
other impeachable offenses set forth in this Complaint.
12. The United States waged war on the
Pollution from the detonation of 88,000
tons of bombs, innumerable missiles, rockets, artillery and small
arms with the combustion and fires they caused and by 110,000
air sorties at a rate of nearly two per minute for six weeks has
caused enormous injury to life and the ecology. Attacks by U.S.
aircraft caused much if not all of the worst oil spills in the
Gulf. Aircraft and helicopters dropping napalm and hel-air explosives
on oil wells, storage tanks and refineries caused oil fires throughout
Iraq and many, if not most, of the oil well fires in Iraq and
Kuwait. The intentional destruction of municipal water systems,
waste material treatment and sewage disposal systems constitutes
a direct and continuing assault on life and health throughout
The conduct violated the UN Charter, the
Hague and Geneva Conventions, the laws of armed conflict and constituted
war crimes and crimes against humanity.
13. President Bush encouraged and aided
Shiite Muslims and Kurds to rebel against the government of Iraq
causing fratricidal violence, emigration, exposure, hunger and
sickness and thousands of deaths. After the rebellion failed,
the U.S. invaded and occupied parts of Iraq without authority
in order to increase division and hostility within Iraq.
Without authority from the Congress or
the UN, President Bush continued his imperious military actions
after the cease fire. He encouraged and aided rebellion against
Iraq, failed to protect the warring parties encouraged migration
of whole populations, placing them in jeopardy from the elements,
hunger, and disease. After much suffering and many deaths, President
Bush then without authority used U.S. military forces to distribute
at and near the Turkish border, ignoring the often greater suffering
among refugees in Iran. He then arbitrarily set up bantustan-like
settlements for Kurds in Iraq and demanded Iraq pay for U.S. costs.
When Kurds chose to return to their homes in Iraq, he moved U.S.
troops further into northern Iraq against the will of the government
and without authority.
The conduct violated the Charter of the
United Nations, international law, the Constitution and laws of
the United States, and the laws of Iraq.
14. President Bush intentionally deprived
the Iraqi people of essential medicines, potable water, food,
and other necessities.
A major component of the assault on Iraq
was the systematic deprivation of essential human needs and services.
To break the will of the people, destroy their economic capability,
reduce their numbers and weaken their health, the United States:
* imposed and enforced embargoes preventing
the shipment of needed medicines, water purifiers, infant milk
formula, food and other supplies;
* individually, without congressional
authority, ordered a U.S. naval blockade of Iraq, an act of war,
to deprive the Iraqi people of needed supplies;
* froze funds of Iraq and forced other
nations to do so, depriving Iraq of the ability to purchase needed
medicines, food and other supplies;
* controlled information about the urgent
need for such supplies to prevent sickness, death and threatened
epidemic, endangering the whole society;
* prevented international organizations,
governments and relief agencies from providing needed supplies
and obtaining information concerning needs;
* failed to assist or meet urgent needs
of huge refugee populations including Egyptians, Indians, Pakistanis,
Yemenis, Sudanese, Jordanians, Palestinians, Sri Lankans, Filipinos,
and interfered with efforts of others to do so;
* consistently diverted attention from
health and epidemic threats within Iraq caused by the U.S. even
after advertising the plight of Kurdish people on the Turkish
* deliberately bombed the electrical grids
causing the closure of hospitals and laboratories, loss of medicine
and essential fluids and blood; and
* deliberately bombed food storage, fertilizer,
and seed storage facilities. As a result of these acts, thousands
of people died, many more suffered illness and permanent injury.
As a single illustration, Iraq consumed infant milk formula at
a rate of 2,500 tons per month during the first seven months of
l990. From November 1, l990, to February 7, l991, Iraq was able
to import only 17 tons. Its own productive capacity was destroyed.
Many Iraqis believed that President Bush intended that their infants
die because he targeted their food supply. The Red Crescent Society
of Iraq estimated 3,000 infant deaths as of February 7, 1991,
resulting from infant milk formula and infant medication shortages.
This conduct violates the Hague and Geneva
Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other
covenants and constitutes a crime against humanity.
15. The United States continued its assault
on Iraq after the cease fire, invading and occupying areas at
The United States has acted with dictatorial
authority over Iraq and its external relations since the end of
the military conflict. It has shot and killed Iraqi military personnel,
destroyed aircraft and materiel at will occupied vast areas of
Iraq in the north and south and consistently threatened use of
force against Iraq.
This conduct violates the sovereignty
of a nation, exceeds authority in UN resolutions, is unauthorized
by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and constitutes
16. The United States has violated and
condoned violations of human rights, civil liberties and the U.S.
Bill of Rights in the United States, in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and
elsewhere to achieve its purpose of military domination.
Among the many violations committed or
condoned by the U.S government are the following:
* illegal surveillance, arrest, interrogation
and harassment of Arab-American, Iraqi-American, and U.S. resident
* illegal detention, interrogation and
treatment of Iraqi prisoners of war;
* aiding and condoning Kuwaiti summary
executions, assaults, torture and illegal detention of Palestinians
and other residents in Kuwait after the U.S. occupation; and
* unwarranted, discriminatory, and excessive
prosecution and punishment of U.S. military personnel who refused
to serve in the Gulf, sought conscientious objector status or
protested U.S. policies.
Persons were killed, assaulted, tortured,
illegally detained and prosecuted, harassed and humiliated as
a result of these policies.
The conduct violates the Charter of the
United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
Hague and Geneva Conventions and the Constitution and laws of
the United States.
17. The United States, having destroyed
Iraq's economic base, demands reparations which will permanently
impoverish Iraq and threaten its people with famine and epidemic.
Having destroyed lives, property and essential
civilian facilities in Iraq which the U.S. concedes will require
$50 billion to replace [estimated at $200 billion by Iraq], killed
at least 125,000 people by bombing and many thousands more by
sickness and hunger, the U.S. now seeks to control Iraq economically
even as its people face famine and epidemic. Damages, including
casualties in Iraq, systematically inflicted by the U.S. exceed
all damages, casualties and costs of all other parties to the
conflict combined many times over. Reparations under these conditions
are an exaction of tribute for the conqueror from a desperately
needy country. The United States seeks to force Iraq to pay for
damage to Kuwait largely caused by the U.S. and even to pay U.S.
costs for its violations of Iraqi sovereignty in occupying northern
Iraq to further manipulate the Kurdish population there. Such
reparations are a neocolonial means of expropriating Iraq's oil,
natural resources, and human labor.
The conduct violates the Charter of the
United Nations and the Constitution and laws of the United States.
18. President Bush systematically manipulated,
controlled, directed, misinformed and restricted press and media
coverage to obtain constant support in the media for his military
and political goals.
The Bush Administration achieved a five-month-long
commercial for militarism and individual weapons systems. The
American people were seduced into the celebration of a slaughter
by controlled propaganda demonizing Iraq, assuring the world no
harm would come to Iraqi civilians, deliberately spreading false
stories of atrocities including chemical warfare threats, deaths
of incubator babies and threats to the entire region by a new
The press received virtually all its information
from or by permission of the Pentagon. Efforts were made to prevent
any adverse information or opposition views from being heard.
CNN's limited presence in Baghdad was described as Iraqi propaganda.
Independent observers, eyewitnesses' photos, and video tapes with
information about the effects of the U.S. bombing were excluded
from the media. Television network ownership, advertizers, newspaper
ownership, elite columnists and commentators intimidated and instructed
reporters and selected interviewees. They formed a near-single
voice of praise for U.S. militarism, often exceeding the Pentagon
The American people and their democratic
institutions were deprived of information essential to sound judgment
and were regimented, despite profound concern, to support a major
neocolonial intervention and war of aggression. The principal
purpose of the First Amendment to the United States was to assure
the press and the people the right to criticize their government
with impunity. This purpose has been effectively destroyed in
relation to U.S. military aggression since the press was denied
access to assaults on Grenada, Libya, Panama and, now on a much
greater scale, against Iraq.
This conduct violates the First Amendment
to the Constitution of the United States and is part of a pattern
of conduct intended to create support for conduct constituting
crimes against peace and war crimes.
19. The United States has by force secured
a permanent military presence in the Gulf, the control of its
oil resources and geopolitical domination of the Arabian Peninsula
and Gulf region.
The U.S. has committed the acts described
in this complaint to create a permanent U.S. military presence
in the Persian Gulf, to dominate its oil resources until depleted
and to maintain geopolitical domination over the region.
The conduct violates the Charter of the
United Nations, international law, and the Constitution and laws
of the United States.
Scope of the Inquiry
The Commission of Inquiry will focus on
U.S. criminal conduct because of its destruction of Iraq, killing
at least 125,000 persons directly by its bombing while proclaiming
its own combat losses as 148, because it destroyed the economic
base of Iraq and because its acts are still inflicting consequential
deaths that may reach hundreds of thousands. the Commission of
Inquiry will seek and accept evidence of criminal acts by any
person or government, related to the Gulf conflict, because it
believes international law must be applied uniformly. It believes
that "victors' justice" is not law, but the extension
of war by force of the prevailing party. The U.S. Senate, European
Community foreign ministers, and the western press, even former
Nuremberg prosecutors, have overwhelmingly called for war crimes
trials for Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi leadership alone. Even
Mrs. Barbara Bush has said she would like to see Saddam Hussein
hanged, albeit without mentioning a trial. Comprehensive efforts
to gather and evaluate evidence, objectively judge all the conduct
that constitutes crimes against peace and war crimes and to present
these facts for judgment to the court of world opinion requires
that at least one major effort focus on the United States. The
Commission of Inquiry believes its focus on U.S. criminal acts
is important, proper, and the only way to bring the whole truth,
a balanced perspective and impartiality in application of legal
process to this great human tragedy.
Ramsey Clark May 9, 1991
Crimes - report on United States War Crimes against Iraq