No War in Iraq
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of the Earth International strongly condemns the looming war against
Iraq and deplores the loss of human life and the disastrous environmental and
social impacts that will result from such a war.
Friends of the Earth International supports global treaties, diplomacy, and
negotiation to resolve disputes and to promote human rights, environmental
protection, and sustainable societies. The proposed first-strike war
fundamentally contradicts our approach to foreign policy.
A major motivation for the proposed war against Iraq, led by the US and the UK,
is the perceived need to safeguard access to oil in the region. FoEI believes
that the only solution to the problem of oil dependency by highly industrialized
countries like the US is an increased reliance on clean and sustainable energy
sources. Furthermore, national security would be better served by enabling
sustainable livelihoods for people everywhere rather than increasing the
nuclear and military industrial complex and provoking armed conflicts.
Friends of the Earth International is a federation of 68 non-governmental
organizations that make up the world's largest grassroots environmental
network campaigning to protect the environment and to create sustainable
The Friends of the Earth International Gulf War Task Force, headed by former
Canadian Ambassador James George, documented the tremendous
environmental destruction caused by the 1991 Gulf War:
- more than 168 million gallons of oil spilled into the Persian Gulf
- 200 miles of Saudi Arabian coastline smothered in oil, ruining all the
wetlands marshes along the shore and killing thousands of birds and aquatic
- massive uncontrolled fires from some 600 sabotaged oil wells, releasing half
a billion tons of carbon dioxide and spreading air pollution as far away as India
- devastation of desert ecosystems caused by the movement of heavy
equipment and massive lakes of oil, the world's largest oil spill onland.
Other statistics about the impact of war:
- A US-led attack on Iraq could kill between 48,000 and 260,000 civilians and
combatants in just the first three months of conflict, according to a study by
medical and public health experts. Post-war health effects could take an
additional 200,000 lives, says the International Physicians for the Prevention of
Nuclear War (IPPNW) (www.ippnw.org/CollateralDamage.html)
- The health impacts of the Gulf War of 1991 on US troops was massive, with
160,000 of the 573,000 present in the Gulf War now having been certified with
service-related medical problems, many due to exposure to chemicals,
depleted uranium, biological agents, or nerve gas. This constitutes a
frightening 28% of the total - far worse than US troops experienced in World
War II (6.6%), Korean War (5%), and the Vietnam War (9.6%). (Washington
Post, December 30, 2002). The Pentagon has denied for years that there is any
"Gulf War Syndrome" affecting soldiers' health, but the new figures reveal the
magnitude of the health impact.
- Since 1945, 84% of the people killed in war have been civilians (Grossrieder,
P. 2002. The human costs of war. Lecture at Lancaster University 13th July.
- According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 80% of
displaced people are women and children (cited by Grossreider, 2002).
- Perhaps the most significant environmental health concern regarding current
weapons technology is that of depleted uranium (DU) projectiles: According to
the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)'threat paper' on Kuwait,
50 tons of DU inhaled could cause 500,000 additional cancer deaths over
several decades based on International Committee on Radiological Protection
risk factors (Fisk, 1998).
Friends of the Earth International
Secretariat PO Box 19199, 1000 GD Amsterdam, The Netherlands
tel: 31 20 622 1369. fax: 31 20 639 2181. http://www.foei.org.