A Statement By The Peace Caucus In Official Relations With The American Public Health Association: Opposition To The Initiation And Continuation Of The War On Iraq sign now

A Statement By The Peace Caucus In Official Relations With The American Public Health Association:
Opposition To The Initiation And Continuation Of The War On Iraq
By The United States

NOVEMBER 30, 2005

As public health workers we wish to state our strong opposition to the initiation and continuation of the war on Iraq by the United States. We support the policy statements approved by the American Public Health Association (APHA) Governing Council opposing the war (1)(2). Our opposition to the war includes opposition to the presence of a military recruiting booth in the Exhibit Area of the 2005 APHA Annual Meeting. This opposition to the war and to recruitment of military forces for service in it in no way diminishes our support for the welfare and safety of the U.S. troops in Iraq nor does it lessen our desire for their earliest possible withdrawal and safe return to the United States.

Two credible reports with different methodology released since November 2004 have indicated that the U.S.-led military conflict in Iraq since March 2003 has resulted in the estimated deaths of approximately 27,000 -31,000 (3), and 100,000 (4) Iraqi civilians, with untold (and deliberately uncounted) numbers of Iraqi civilians wounded, and with well-documented human rights violations against Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-controlled facilities.

The military conflict since 2003 has resulted in the extensive destruction of Iraqi society and public health infrastructure, with widespread environmental damage, including the still-unaccounted for dispersal of depleted uranium (DU) in many populated areas of Iraq (5).

The continued U.S. military occupation of Iraq, and reported Pentagon plans to establish enduring bases in Iraq (6), has provoked widespread opposition among broad sectors of Iraqi society, engendering continued support for a growing insurgency, estimated in early 2005 at 40,000 active paramilitary insurgents with a base of at least 160,000 supporters (7). The continued U.S. military occupation has undermined U.S. national security by providing fertile ground for the recruitment of global terrorist forces, by building increased hostility to the U.S. throughout the world, and by damaging U.S. relations with longstanding friends.

The military conflict has already resulted in the deaths of approximately 2,100 U.S. and allied soldiers (8), as well as hundreds of forces serving as private contractors hired by Foreign Military Firms (FMFs) (6). Overall the conflict has resulted in over 15,000 reported injuries to U.S. and allied forces, many of them very serious and debilitating, with likely consequential long-term serious disability and need for rehabilitation services (9).

The military conflict has already resulted in a total estimated $200 billion in supplemental appropriations beyond the annual approximately $425 billion U.S. military budget (10) and the fiscal costs of the continued military conflict in Iraq, occurring in the context of large and rising domestic U.S. budget deficits, have already led to proposed slashing of programs necessary to the public health needs of the American people, including the care of U.S. veterans suffering from the consequences of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as previous wars. The current and anticipated future expanded fiscal costs of the military conflict in Iraq represent resources that could better be used to address current and future global public and environmental health needs, (11) including developing alternative and sustainable energy sources that could address the looming crisis of global climate change while reducing the risks of terrorism.

We, the undersigned, who are members of the APHA, urge that APHA

Call on the U.S. government to immediately develop and announce a timeline, with clear deadline dates of phased military withdrawal, whereby all U.S. and allied foreign forces would be removed from Iraq as soon as possible, with commensurate selected deployment of replacement international peacekeeping troops under the command of the United Nations in areas of potential significant risk for inter-ethnic conflict or civil war; and,

Call on the U.S. government to halt plans to establish enduring military bases in Iraq; and,

Call on the U.S. government to support a United Nations-led process to oversee the continued efforts to develop an Iraqi constitution that respects the rights and interests of all domestic ethnic and political groupings, generally based on established UN principles of international human and economic rights; and,

Call on the U.S. government to abide by international standards of human rights, the Geneva Conventions, and the U.S. Constitution, by immediately and unequivocally ending such practices as the imprisonment of persons arbitrarily defined as enemy combatants without access to lawyers, habeas corpus petitions or judicial review; the use of torture in interrogations, including the outsourcing of torture by so-called rendition of prisoners to other nations known for their systematic employment of such abuses in interrogation; the establishment of secret prisons; and to end domestic violations of the civil rights and privacy of our own citizenry through National Security Letters and other extra-constitutional provisions of the Patriot Act; and,

Call on the U.S. government to guarantee the security of, and priority for, the reconstruction of vital health care infrastructure in Iraq and to ensure safe access to this infrastructure by the Iraqi people, while also guaranteeing that adequate resources are provided for the care and rehabilitation of injured U.S. military personnel and their families; and,

Call on the U.S. government, NATO nations, and regional Mideast allies to provide needed funds for aforementioned reconstruction and security assistance, to be disbursed by UN agencies and Iraqi-acceptable NGOs, with adequate funds to specifically include monies transferred from U.S. companies, private contractors and NGOs currently operating in, and to be withdrawn from Iraq; and,

Call on the U.S. government and allied forces in Iraq to immediately allow United Nations agencies such as the UN Environmental Program to begin to characterize the extent of environmental contamination in Iraq caused by the military conflict, including that caused by DU, and to assist, with adequate funding, in efforts to protect Iraqi civilians and all soldiers involved in the conflict from the consequences of any established or potential environmental exposures; and,

Call on the U.S. government to use the funds saved by the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq to meet the needs of the victims of disasters such as Katrina and its aftermath, and of the earthquakes in Pakistan and India, and to meet other public health needs, including the rebuilding of the public health infrastructure of the United States.

Victor W. Sidel, MD
H. Jack Geiger, MD, MS Hyg
Robert Gould, MD
Patrice Sutton, MPH
Barry Levy, MD, MPH
Ann Hirschman RN-C, FNP
Joy Marshall, MD
Lawrence Egbert, MD
Timothy Holtz, MD, MPH
Michael McCally, MD, PhD
Peter Orris, MD, MPH
Lawrence H. Kushi, ScD
Catherine Thomasson, MD
Robert Musil, PhD, MPH
Gwen DuBois, MD
Michael Silverstein, MD
Rosalind (Bobbie) Singer, MPH

******************************************

The Statement of the Peace Caucus in official relations with the APHA represents the views of members of APHA who have signed the Statement. Except where referenced in the document, the Statement does not represent official policy of APHA.

Sources:
1. APHA Policy Statement 2002-11 Opposing War in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. http://www.apha.org/legislative/policy/policysearch/index.cfm?fuseaction=view&id=287
2. APHA Policy Statement 9923 Opposing War in the Middle East. http://www.apha.org/legislative/policy/policysearch/index.cfm?fuseaction=view&id=194
3. Iraq Body Count http://www.iraqbodycount.net Accessed November 26, 2005.
4. Roberts L, Lafta R, Garfield R, Khudhairi J, Burnham G. Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey The Lancet - Vol. 364, Issue 9448, 20 November 2004, Pages 1857-1864.
5. See, for example, articles from the Seattle Post-Intelligence
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/133581_du04.html ; the BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/2860759.stm ; and the International Security Network http://www.isn.ch/news/sw/details_print.cfm?id=7393 .
6. Singer PW, Outsourcing War. Foreign Affairs. March/April 2005
7. Times of London, Jan 4, 2005.
8. Names of the Dead. New York Times, November 26, 2005; http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf Accessed November 26, 2005.
9. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf Accessed November 26, 2005.
10. Budget figures: FY06 Defense Budget at $419.2 bn, + $6bn for DOE nuclear weapons, Council for Livable World, April 2005. Three supplemental appropriations for Iraq war ($30bn + $75bn +$82bn). Many more details can be found at www.clw.org in the Military Spending section of the website.
11. One Month Later, Death Toll in Asian Quake Surpasses 87,000. (AP) New York Times, November 8, 2005; Rohde D. Winter's Cold and Disease Are Raising Quake's Toll. New York Times, November 1, 2005; Dao J. Louisiana Sees Faded Urgency in Relief Effort. New York Times, November 22, 2005.


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Kristin MaldonadoBy:
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The American Public Health Association

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