News Release

Thirty Years of Bombing Iraq

AP reports this morning: “U.S. forces: Rockets hit airbase in Iraq hosting U.S. troops.” This follows a U.S. government strike from Iraq into Syria last week. Last year NBC reported:”Iraq asks U.S. to make plans to withdraw forces.”

KATHY KELLY, kathy.vcnv@gmail.com, @voiceinwild
A long-time peace activist, who has frequently been in war zones and prison, Kelly just wrote the piece “Blood for Oil: Amid the ongoing horror, it’s important to find ways to atone for war crimes — including reparations,” originally published by The Progressive.

Pope Francis is scheduled to make the first papal visit to Iraq from March 5 to 8.

Kelly writes: “Thirty years ago, when the United States launched Operation Desert Storm against Iraq, I was a member of the Gulf Peace Team. We were 73 people from fifteen different countries, aged 22 to 76, living in a tent camp close to Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia, along the road to Mecca. …

“Iraqi authorities told us we must pack up, readying for a morning departure to Baghdad. Not all of us could agree on how to respond. Adhering to basic principles, twelve peace team members resolved to sit in a circle, holding signs saying ‘We choose to stay.’ …

“Another evacuation was happening as Iraqi forces, many of them young conscripts, hungry, disheveled and unarmed, poured out of Kuwait along a major highway, later called ‘the Highway of Death.’ …

“Shortly after viewing photos of gruesome carnage caused by the ground and air attacks, President George H.W. Bush called for a cessation of hostilities on February 27th, 1991. An official cease fire was signed on March 4. …

“Noam Chomsky notes that there were diplomatic alternatives to the bloodletting and destruction visited upon Iraq by Operation Desert Storm. Iraqi diplomats had submitted an alternative plan which was suppressed in the mainstream media and flatly rejected by the U.S. …

“After the ‘success’ of Operation Desert Storm, the bombing war turned into an economic war, which lasted through 2003. As early as 1995, United Nations documents clarified that the economic war, waged through continued imposition of U.N. economic sanctions against Iraq, was far more brutal than even the worst of the 1991 aerial and ground war attacks. …”