Genocide in the gulf continues

Tim Paluch

On Saturday, the world will watch as America inaugurates its next great leader, President-elect Cheney, er, I mean President-elect Powell. Sorry, what I meant to say was President-elect Dubya. Bush Lite comes to office as a uniter, someone who will “end the age of cynicism in Washington.” He is a Republican, which, as everyone knows, means he is more moral and religious than that deviant Clinton. Republicans are also the self-proclaimed party of Jesus Christ and thus all three branches of government will likely be consulting God on policy issues. Sounds pretty good. For the Iraqis this should mean an end to the Persian Gulf War. Now that Republichristians control Washington, the immoral and unjust killing of innocent Iraqis must stop, right? After all, would Jesus favor punishing a corrupt tyrant by bombing the people he governs?If you think the Persian Gulf War, or Operation Desert Genocide, was over 18 months after the first bombs fell on Baghdad in 1991, you are wrong. This immoral war wages on as we and the United Nations continue bombing Iraqi civilians. Additionally, the United Nations has kept strict sanctions on Iraq preventing supplies from entering the country. The United States has also imposed its own unilateral sanctions against Saddam that prevent food and medicine from reaching the starving children of Iraq. Despite these attempts to drive out the evil Saddam, he remains alive and in power. He also eats three square meals a day and doesn’t appear upset that the sanctions and bombings have killed more people than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. President-elect Dubya should do the moral, Republichristian thing: end the embargo, stop the bombings, and remove the man from power. Unfortunately, Republichristians are not the moral authority they claim to be and this state-sanctioned genocide masquerading as foreign policy will undoubtedly continue.According to Voices in the Wilderness, an organization dedicated to feeding the people of Iraq, it is estimated that 5,000 children a month die from starvation in Iraq as a result of these sanctions. I guess Washington’s philosophy is healthy children make nuclear weapons, so let’s not let them eat. The sanctions range from a ban on commercial flights in and out of Iraq to an oil embargo that allows Iraq to trade oil for food and medicine. These horrible efforts to cause Saddam to change his ways have failed miserably. There are not 22 million Saddam Husseins in Iraq today. There is only one. The problem with Americans is they fail to put a face on the “bad guys.” A 6-year-old Iraqi who can’t eat or get medical attention because of the United States isn’t the bad guy. We are.Baghdad was once a thriving city with elaborate roads, a strong economy and free education through college. It is now a city in ruins with a 50 percent unemployment rate. Basra, the nation’s second largest city, has an unemployment rate of 75 percent. Throughout Iraq, malnutrition is an epidemic. Doctors make between $3 and $5 per month. Schools have no books, another embargoed item. And yet, Saddam remains, unchanged in his ways just because his people are dying. In America, a person found to be disregarding the embargo and illegally feeding the children of Iraq can be sentenced to jail for 12 years and be fined up to $500,000. I wonder what Christ thinks of this? Would Jesus let innocent children starve rather than illegally feed them?Americans fail to denounce these acts because of a silent prejudice against Arabs. The convenience store clerks, taxi drivers and fundamentalist bombing-terrorists we see in Hollywood do not truly represent this proud and religious people. All over the media and throughout Washington, the Palestinians are designated the “bad guys” and the instigators of conflict.The United States abstained from the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1233 in September that condemned the “acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians,” claiming to be an “evenhanded peace broker.” Evenhanded, we are not.Madeleine Albright declared, in her defense, that the Palestinians had “placed Israel under siege.” This was not just a slip of the tongue, as she then repeated, “Those Palestinian rock-throwers have placed Israel under siege,” saying that the Israel army was only defending itself. Guns vs. rocks? Ignorance of Israeli wrongdoing comes from the prejudice of the American elite. Israel is the belligerent occupant of Palestine, not the other way around. American-made, Israeli-owned Apache gunships fired missiles at Palestinian protesters and their homes, not the other way around.Israel closed the Palestinian airport at Gaza preventing medical supplies from reaching Palestinians, not the other way around.Palestinians are not free from blame, however. I was also disturbed at the sight of Palestinians with their blood-stained hands celebrating the killing of an Israeli soldier. But this was no more heinous than the killing of an unarmed Palestinian father and son by Israeli troops, also caught on tape. Israel is the occupier, not the occupied.Not all Arabs are Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. The failure of Washington and the American public to fully recognize this is a racism that is never mentioned. Hopefully President-elect Dubya, supposedly rich in integrity and morals, will do the right thing and begin addressing these points.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill.