Lethal Security

Letter to the NY Times. As yet not published.

To the Editor:

In 1992 Beth Osborne Daponte, a Commerce Department demographer, calculated that in the first gulf war American and allied forces directly killed 13,000 civilians. 70,000 civilians died subsequently from war-related damage to Iraq's infrastructure, including 39,612 women and 32,195 children.

Just-War criteria and international law confine lethal force to circumstances where aggression has (or is about to) occur against whole populations. Since Iraq has not invaded the U.S., it must be shown that aggression by Iraq against the U.S. is imminent. This has not been demonstrated.

What the world sees is a government willing to inflict numerous civilian casualties based only upon the gamble that this might prevent a possible attack on the U.S. by Iraq, even without any evidence that Iraq is even planning such an attack. Is it any wonder that most of the world's people think this gamble with innocent life is egregiously immoral?

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