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DECEMBER 18, 1998   11:08 AM
CONTACT: Peace Action
Gordon Clark, Executive Director
Peace, Religious and American-Arab Groups Call for National Day of Mourning and Protest This Saturday; Growing International Opposition Endangers Nuclear Accords
WASHINGTON - December 18 - Peace Action, the nation's largest peace and disarmament organization, joined other national peace, religious and American-Arab groups in calling for a national day of mourning and protest this Saturday, December 19, in response to the continued U.S. bombing of Iraq. Memorial services will be held in dozens of cities for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed during the eight year policy of bombings and economic sanctions of that country.

In addition to Peace Action, the call was issued by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Pax Christi USA, War Resisters League and International Action Center.

"The eight year policy of bombings and strangling economic sanctions has brought nothing but death and destruction for the Iraqi people," said Gordon S. Clark, Executive Director. "Their names and voices are completely absent from any U.S. debate on this issue, and we intend to honor them as a protest to the ongoing U.S. rain of death over Iraq."

"This current bombing, which is an outrageous violation of international law, will not advance any world interest with regard to Saddam Hussein, weapons inspections, or regional security," he added. "The only thing we know for sure is that it will kill hundreds or thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who are already victims of Saddam Hussein's brutal rule."

Meanwhile, growing international opposition - especially from members of the United Nations Security Council - is beginning to erode other U.S. relationships. In particular, Russia, which has withdrawn its ambassador from the U.S. and England in protest, has also threatened to cancel its pending ratification of the Start II nuclear arms reduction treaty.

"How ironic that President Clinton's misguided and blundering attempt to contain Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction might actually scuttle a treaty to reduce real weapons of mass destruction," noted Mr. Clark. "Is the world a safer place when Russia withdraws from international efforts to control and reduce its nuclear arsenal? Did no one in the Clinton Administration stop to consider these possible consequences before they started bombing?"

The group noted that other than Russia, four of the five remaining declared nuclear powers (China, France, India and Pakistan) have either disassociated themselves from the U.S. bombing raid or strongly condemned it.


Peace Action is the nation's largest grassroots peace and justice organization. Founded in 1957 as SANE, and later SANE/FREEZE, it currently has over 50,000 members in 100 local chapters and 27 state affiliates across the country.



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