Columbus, 8/24/02: Leadership of the Green Party of Ohio, meeting at the first-ever State Convention of the Party, denounced the Bush Administration policy of expanded war and violence against Iraq. The misguided Bush policy risks unnecessary loss of human life and even greater misery than has already been delivered to a long-suffering populace.

We refer to the December 19, 2001, Green Party of the United States Coordinating Committee statement regarding the war in Afghanistan, and believe this has relevance to the current situation:

Non-violence is one of the ten key values of the Green Party of the United States. To sustain non-violence in the face of terrorist acts, justice must be ensured by following and enforcing international law. By contrast, abandoning international law in favor of war leads to more violence and terrorism. Terrorism is best prevented by policies which further social and economic justice, disarmament, human rights, and humanitarian aid. Non-violent international relations are best achieved and sustained by a consistent commitment to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law.

We do not accept the Bush Administration’s assertions that Iraq poses a major military threat to this country.

The U.S. military role in the Middle East has too often served to hinder the prospects for peace or prop up undemocratic regimes. The ongoing conflict in Iraq has taken a heavy toll both on the citizens of Iraq and its neighbors and on U.S. service people who have faced undue emotional and physical hardships.

We recognize the long term damage this country has caused in Iraq through sanctions and military campaigns and we do not feel a military escalation will do anything to reduce the suffering of the Iraqi people who presently face critical shortages of food and medicine and whose access to water and sanitation U.S. warplanes deliberately destroyed in the bombing campaign of a decade ago.

We call for an immediate shift in resources to humanitarian aid and support of human rights. We note these key facts:

If pre-war trends in child mortality had continued through the 1990s, Iraq would have had 500,000 fewer deaths of children under 5 during the period from 1991 to 1998. [UNICEF August 1999] Sanctions have been a primary factor in increased child mortality & Infant mortality rates in Iraq today are among the highest in the world; [Humanitarian Report to the UN Security Council March 30, 1999]

The sanctions, which deny access to basic health care, clean water and electricity, are a systematic violation of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits the “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.” Access to potable water, relative to 1990 levels, is only 50% in urban areas and 33% in rural areas. The overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of drinking water has contributed to the rapid spread of infectious disease. [World Food Program]

In 1998, there were 104,000 Iraqi refugees and one million documented; displaced persons in Iraq. Over three million Iraqis now live abroad. In recent years, tens of thousands have fled Iraq, including many professionals, due to the deteriorating economic and political situation. [U.S. Committee for Refugees]

In conclusion, we emphasize this excerpt from the Green Party National Platform, adopted at the Denver Green Party National Convention,2000:

“Support of democracy, human rights and respect for international law should be the cornerstone of American foreign policy.”

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