The Acts of the Democracies
Year : 1991
10 Items Selected
The war is reported in the Western media in terms of the military technology. Words like smart bombs and surgical precision are used to sanitise the conflict. Civilian casualties are referred to as collateral damage.
In actual fact, only 7% of the bombs were "smart". In all, 90,000 metric tonnes of bombs are dropped. This is equivalent to 7 Hiroshimas. 70% of the bombs miss their targets and fall on residential areas.
One bomb hits the Al-Amiriya bunker in Baghdad where between 300 and 400 people (mainly women and children) are incinerated. The video footage is not shown in the West until later.
Many of the bombs used are tipped with depleted Uranium (DU). This is a radioactive and chemically toxic metal. After exploding the metal is pulverised; the dust can be blown for 40km and inhaled. On exposure, it can cause lung cancer, bone cancer, kidney disease, and genetic defects in babies (like fused fingers or absence of a brain). Many Iraqi civilians and American soldiers are exposed. A report by the UK Atomic Energy Authority estimates that there is enough DU in Iraq and Kuwait to cause 500,000 deaths from cancer.
The effects of Depleted Uranium on children.
USA and UK forces routinely use this material which is known to cause cancers and genetic defects.
Two nuclear reactors are bombed less than a month after the United Nations had passed a resolution prohibiting military attacks on nuclear facilities. General Colin Powell confirms that: "the two operating reactors they had are both gone, they're down, they're finished".
Over 100km of trenches are buldozed (mainly at night) by USA ground forces, burying many soldiers alive, including the wounded. Colonel Anthony Moreno admits: "For all I know we could have killed thousands". Five military hospitals are bombed.
At the end of the war, retreating Iraqi conscripts (mainly from the Kurdish north of the country) and groups of foreign workers fleeing Kuwait, are attacked by massive USA air power. Rockets, napalm and cluster bombs are used in what is described by the pilots as a turkey shoot (a USA term meaning an unopposed slaughter).
|The "Turkey Shoot".|
At the end of the war, retreating Iraqi conscripts (mainly from the Kurdish north of the country) and groups of foreign workers fleeing Kuwait, were attacked by massive USA air power. Rockets, napalm and cluster bombs were used in what is described by the pilots as a "turkey shoot". This is a USA term meaning an unopposed slaughter.
During this conflict, more than 200,000 civilians are killed and 1,800,000 are made homeless. The Western media concentrate on the 9 UK and 148 USA soldiers killed. When asked about Iraqi casualties Powell replies: "It's really not a number I'm terribly interested in".
After the war, the unelected government of Kuwait is returned to power.
The Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, is left in power. The USA sells military hardware worth $100,000 million to neighbouring countries. 90% of all the arms sales are to unelected governments.
The United Nations authorises sanctions on Iraq; these were to be lifted once programs to develop weapons of mass destruction were ended. The USA makes it known that the sanctions would remain as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power even though these will drastically affect civilians.
After the conflict ends the USA newspaper, New York Times, admits that Iraq had become powerful "with American acquiescence and sometimes its help" and mentions $ 5,500 million worth of crops and livestock, some underwritten by the USA tax payer, that was sold to Iraq by the USA between 1982 and 1989.
In 1997 the USA admits that over 100,000 American soldiers have been exposed to sarin gas during the conflict when Iraqi installations were bombed. Symptoms include neurological problems, chronic fatigue, skin problems, scarred lungs, memory loss, muscle and joint pain, headaches, personality changes, and passing out. The USA authorities are slow to admit to the problems and there are suggestions that an anti-nerve gas vaccine may have caused some of the problems.
Serbs begin ethnic cleansing of Croats. In Vukovar over 200 unarmed men are taken from the town hospital and killed. Over 600 people are still listed as missing.
Croatia ethnically cleanses Serbs. Both states attempt to split Bosnia between them. Thousands of Muslims are killed after the United Nations withdraws leaving them to their fate.
In the Constitution of the Turkish republic, the following phrase is mentioned thirty-three times:
"Anybody who opposes the indivisibility of the Turkish Republic with its nation and its country, will be deprived of their basic human rights and freedoms."
The Kurds, a large minority in the south-east of the country who are referred to as Mountain Turks. A law banning the speaking of Kurdish on the streets is repealed; however, it remains illegal to speak Kurdish in court, in official settings, or at public meetings, and many cultural prohibitions remain in effect.
The USA had funded the opponents of Aristide.
Gareth Evans, the Australian foreign minister supports Indonesia by describing the killings as "an aberration, not an act of state policy". The UK government and media describe the killings as an "incident" and go on to declare that it was "wrong to suggest that the widespread abuses of human rights persist in East Timor."
Bishop Carlos Belo, co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, describes the massacre:
"This was no incident; it was a real massacre. It was well prepared. It was a deliberate operation to teach us a lesson... After the first massacre there were more killings [of the wounded]. Some of the killings happened near my house. When I visited the hospital... on the day of the first massacre... there were hundreds of wounded. When I came back the next day there were only 90. Witnesses have told me that the killing of the wounded began at 8 0'clock that night, and that most deaths occurred between two and three in the morning... when the lights suddenly went out in the city. And now we have the problem of justice because the families are still waiting for the bodies of their children. And we don't know where they are buried."
"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
The memo forms part of an article in the UK magazine, The Economist (8 February) titled "Let Them Eat Pollution".
Other quotes from Summers include:
In 1999, Summers would be appointed as USA Undersecretary for the Treasury for International Affairs.