October 14, 2001
Dear President Bush,
I am totally against your plan on launching an attack against Iraq. The psychological warfare itself is a crime against peace and violates the U.N. Charter. Your country claimed that the attack against Iraq in 1991 destroyed 80% of Iraq’s military capacity. The U.N. inspection efforts claimed to discover and dismantle 90% of Iraq's post-1991 capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction. Iraq, its people and resources are exhausted. Therefore, Iraq has no capacity to build destructive weapons; they are too weak from the 1991 attack and have no capability to make such costly weapons in just a span of 10 years. An attack by your country on Iraq to overthrow its government would be a flagrant violation of the U.N. Charter, the Nuremberg Charter and International Law.
The increase in the use of toxic weapons in both countries may happen and little analysis had been done on the nature and extent of the possible threats of these weapons. Indeed war has become increasingly technologically advanced so its impacts on the environment have become more severe and longer lasting. It is disturbing that destructive power of modern weapons is the long-lasting nature of their effects. I am terrified that the tragic event of Gulf war might happen again. Munitions such as Depleted Uranium (DU) shells used by anti-tank cannons and land mines have long-term effects on everything that comes into contact with them. The poisonous and radioactive uranium is most dangerous when inhaled into the body, where it will release radiation during the life of the person who inhaled it.
According to Robert Fisk of the Independent newspaper in London, there is evidence that the depleted uranium residue left in Iraq is responsible for a large increase in stillbirths, children born with defects, childhood leukemia and other cancers in southern Iraq near Basra, where most of these shells were fired. Many U.S. veterans groups also say that DU residues contributed to the condition called "Gulf War Syndrome". The Gulf War produced similar negative environmental impacts through the targeting of oil tankers and oil production facilities. According to the 1993 Marine Pollution Bulletin, 6-8 million barrels of crude oil was spilled from sunken vessels (including Iraqi tankers) and from oil transfer facilities such as the Kuwaiti Mina Al-Ahmadi Sea Island terminal and Iraqi Mina Al Bakr loading terminal between January 19-28, 1991. Iraq's decision to deliberately destroy Kuwaiti oil production facilities resulted in an approximate 5-6 million barrels per day of oil being engulfed in flames. Tons of gaseous pollutants such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide (the primary element in acid rain) were released into the atmosphere, causing black, greasy rains to fall in Saudi Arabia and Iran and black snow in Kashmir (1,500+ miles away). Such ecological disasters have an immediate impact not only to human but also on the flora and fauna of affected areas. These devastating experiences of the past Gulf war should not be repeated again to avoid further destruction of the environment.
The environmental repercussions of preparing for war include: indirect impacts made through the diversion of resources from ecological protection to military spending, and through the pollution caused by arms production; and direct impacts through weapons testing and military training. Military toxic waste poses an enormous threat to public health and the environment. Vast amounts of toxic pollution left from the production, storage, and testing of chemical, biological, nuclear, and conventional weapons contaminate millions of acres. The unparalleled destruction created in a short time span by toxic munitions; unexploded weapons; the physical and biological effects of damage to soil and landscape; and the human suffering resulting from the disruption of social systems turn today's war zones into ecological disaster areas. Fortunately, we have yet to deal with the long-term effects of large-scale nuclear, chemical, or biological warfare. Despite the bleak outlook, there are hopes that in the future the environmental consequences of war will be taken into account.
The September 11 attack to your country had been a horrible experience. Everyone saw the tragic event that happened to your country. With this, you’ve experience to be a victim of terrorist attacks. You’ve experience the casualties of war. You’ve experience the sorrow of losing of your loved ones and the business you made. The atrocities that you are planning against Iraq are duplications of what the terrorists had made to your country. The war between your country and Iraq is no ordinary war, as it may seem. It is a nuclear war! A war that will further destroy the planet we are currently living in. I encourage your country to settle the conflict against Iraq. Let the United Nations do their tasks since it is made to promote peace among neighboring nations. Since your country and Iraq are members of the United Nations, it is your task to abide to the International laws and agreements that are made. This is not a battle of who is really powerful. We all deserve no terror and therefore we should begin peace among ourselves.
Mae Kristine Joy L. Clarino
Student, University of the Philippines
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002