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end of the war




Silent Victims: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Persian Gulf War



I have had nothing but...

I have had nothing but bad luck with my car, lately. In only one and a half weeks, I have had three flat tires! We got stranded somewhere between Austin and El Paso, Texas, so we had to backtrack to the nearest town to look for a new tire. Not only did we find a tire, Stephen pulled me aside to show me a little surprise he discovered. It was the world's largest statue of a roadrunner We ran over and I quickly climbed it. I felt like we didn't need the car at all, and could just ride this to the next town.

In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Kuwait is a small country that has lots of oil. Iraq wanted Kuwait to be a part of its country. The U.S. got involved because they did not want Iraq to control the oil, and neither did the other countries that asked for our help. As a result, we fought the Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1991. First we dropped bombs all over Iraq for weeks on end. Then we sent in ground troops. There was hardly any fighting at this point, because the Iraqi troops were starving and tired, and they were very afraid of their leader, Saddam Hussein. We won the battle.

You might think the war ended here, but the dying had only just begun. When the war with Iraq began, the U.S. enforced trade sanctions against Iraq. This means that we would not allow any one to trade with Iraq. Iraq could not buy any weapons or gadgets to use for fighting. However, they could not buy any food or medicine either. The people who really lost out from this were the regular people in Iraq.

Sludge anyone? Iraqi drinking water contains raw untreated sewage and water-borne diseases. Yummy!

Even today, years after the fighting is over, the trade sanctions still exist and people have no food or medicine. During the war, we bombed Iraqi water supplies, and other important things that people need to survive. The U.S. continues to bomb Iraq in places in order to protect people in the north and south of the country. Because of this, Iraqi people still don't have clean water to drink or food to eat. The trade sanctions are still in effect, so they can't fix anything broken during the bombing. The sanctions block things like vaccines for diseases and Sony Playstations. The U.S. says the Playstations could be used to make weapons, but that sounds silly to me.

According to the U.N., the death rate for children in Iraq has doubled under sanctions

Children are dying in Iraq, everyday. They are children just like you. They would like to laugh and play games. They would like to have parties and eat ice cream. But there is no time to play, because they always look for food. There are no games to play, because they are always afraid of what will happen.

I know it may still seem very far away to you. Yet, when thousands of children who weren't even alive during the Gulf War are now being killed by trade sanctions, how can we sit by and do nothing? It is not fair to punish the people of a country for the actions of their leader. This is one issue I feel like I must take a stand against and hope that you will too. How many more innocent people must die before our government feels the same way?


Please email me at: neda@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Stephanie - America the bully? Corruption in Latin America
Jennifer - So what is NAFTA all about anyway?