Minute of Support

for the

AFSC Campaign of Conscience for the Iraqi People

Middlebury Friends Meeting



The objective of the Campaign of Conscience for the Iraqi people, sponsored by American Friends Service Committee and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, is to awaken and enlighten the soul of the American people and to encourage us to call for a lifting of the nonmilitary sanctions against the people of Iraq.

Because of our concern for all humanity, and our belief that love and compassion are the highest laws of life, Middlebury Friends Meeting endorses the principles of this Campaign.

Because lack of potable water has caused widespread health problems in ten years of sanctions, we support the Campaign in their plan to install four gas chlorinators to provide essential clean water. We understand that AFSC and FOR applied to the U.S. Treasury Department for a license to ship this equipment, but after a long wait decided to deliver the chlorinators to Iraq, risking the possibility of penalties for civil disobedience.

Though we have reached the tenth anniversary of the Gulf War, the humanitarian crisis in Iraq has not ended. The continuing sanctions are contributing to massive poverty, unemployment, widespread disease and malnutrition. Their purported aims to destabilize the regime of Saddam Hussein and to insure through inspections the dismantling of his war making capacities have not been accomplished.

Though sanctions, in other circumstances, have seemed a useful alternative to armed conflict, in the case of Iraq they are now creating far more harm than good. We believe it is time to abandon punishment of Iraq's civilian population as an instrument of US foreign policy. Blind adherence to these policies now prevents a rethinking of our relationship to Iraq and obscures paths to seeking other solutions.

In spite of growing international pressure, our government continues to block efforts in the UN Security Council to modify significantly or to lift the sanctions which are non-military in name only. For the Iraqi people they are tantamount to siege. On the one hand, the civilian population is oppressed by an abusive dictator, who not only has abandoned their most basic needs, but also maintains a luxurious lifestyle, on the other, they are deprived by economic sanctions which have prevented them from repairing their war-damaged infrastructure and starved their medical and educational facilities. They are therefore left by themselves to struggle with the post-war effects of poisoned water and residual radiation and to die from malnutrition and diseases, which include a variety of cancers caused by radiation.

Providing the means to purify water for drinking and agriculture is a simple step of enormous good. To this end we publicly support the AFSC and FOR in their efforts to reach across political barriers and bring care to a suffering people.

We also call upon our Congressional delegation to introduce measures to bring the sanctions against Iraq to an end.