War Crimes Committed Against the People of Iraq

by Francis Kelly

On November 15, 1990, President George Bush declared, "Let me repeat, we have no argument with the people of Iraq. Indeed, we have only friendship for the people there." President Bush's "friendship" found a peculiar variety of expressions. In the course of his brief war against Iraq, president Bush killed thousands of civilians, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, and left the country in ruins. In a nation whose level of development was the envy of the region, the electrical system is now crippled, the sanitation system is gone, the communication system destroyed, and famine and disease claim hundreds of lives a day. Besides being offensive to any standard of civilized conduct, this campaign of systematic destruction also violated international law repeatedly by disregarding the rights of noncombatants, destroying Iraqi infrastructure, and using excessive force against Iraqi troops.

President Bush popularized the myth of a clean war against Iraq and actively misinformed the public about what his policies really involved. While he asserted that he was at war with Saddam Hussein alone and indeed that the U.S. military was utilizing technologies that would spare the civilian population, the bleak reality in the cities and towns throughout Iraq offers a painful refutation of the President's claims. President Bush said of the allied bombing raids:

This has been fantastically accurate and that's because a lot of money went into this high technology weaponry - these laser guided bombs and a lot of other things - stealth technology - many of these technologies ridiculed in the past now coming into their own and saving lives, not only American lives, Coalition lives but the lives of Iraqis.
The air war against Iraq was accurate only in so far as the bombs always hit the ground; any more stringent criteria makes the President's statement invalid. The Pentagon later conceded that only seven percent of all bombs used against Iraq were the so-called "smart bombs." These weapons hit their targets about 80 to 90 percent of the time, while their "dumb" counterparts missed their targets 75 percent of the time. In the end, 70 percent of the bombs dropped on Iraq missed their intended targets. Witnesses to the destruction said that the Coalition bombing leveled entire blocks of civilian homes....

The remainder of this document can be found in the print edition ISBN 0-944624-15-4

Also see: The Myth of Surgical Bombing in the Gulf War

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Copyright © 1992 by The Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal