UPDATE: Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project, June, 2004
WATER PROJECT UPDATE: Falluja
the bad news coming out of Iraq---human rights abuses, torture, fighting, chaos
and the rest---let me relate to you one small piece of good news.
Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project will continue its mission of
rebuilding water treatment plants and saving countless lives by bringing clean
household water to many Iraqis who have been deprived of water by war,
sanctions, invasion, looting and chaos.
1991 Gulf War US forces deliberately targeted Iraq’s civilian infrastructure,
damaging much of the country’s water treatment capabilities.
Iraq’s water treatment systems deteriorated further in the course of
twelve long years of United Nations sanctions.
During this period, UNICEF estimated that 5000 Iraqi children under the
age of five died each month due to sanctions.
Water-borne diseases were by far the biggest killer.
invasion, looting and chaos have also taken their toll on Iraq’s water
treatment network. Despite
the billions of dollars pouring into Iraq for rebuilding the country’s
infrastructure, treatment capabilities have not even returned to pre-invasion
diseases remain the major killer of children in Iraq.
for Peace rebuilt six water treatment plants supplying 100,000 Iraqis with clean
water before the March 2003 US invasion.
Now, thanks to the invasion, the looting, the disorder, and over a year
of sustained guerilla warfare, all six of these plants are once again in need of
a tall order, but we will start with the Hai al-Risala plant in Falluja, which
we rebuilt just months before the invasion.
Yes, Falluja, where angry Iraqi citizens recently killed four armed US
of their bodies was hung from a bridge over the Euphrates, within sight of our
water plant. In
retaliation for these killings, the US launched its infamous assault upon the
city, bringing down the public services with it.
As this is written, much of the city has been without running water for
personally visited Falluja three times, most recently in June 2003, two months
after US troops opened fire on a peaceful demonstration killing thirteen Iraqi
people were asking nothing more than for the soldiers to leave a local school,
so that their children could continue their education.
In spite of this, Fallujans were extremely hospitable to us.
methods are different from those of the US government.
We came to Iraq in peace, to build ties of friendship with the Iraqi
people. None of
us carried weapons, nor hired mercenary security guards, nor coveted Iraq’s
oil, nor sought to grow wealthy on government contracts.
Certainly none of us stand accused of human rights abuses, murder,
torture, rape, or willful humiliation of the Iraqi people.
We came in opposition to America’s Iraq policy, to try to undo at least
a small piece of the harm caused by our government.
rebuilt our six water treatment plants for less than $200,000.
We feel that our $200,000 did more for the people of Iraq than whole
billions lavished on war profiteering corporations.
With the money our government has squandered, we could have repaired
every water treatment plant in Iraq, several times over.
of rebuilding Hai al-Risala comes in around $30,000.
We are well on the way to that goal, but still a few thousand short, not
to mention the five other IWP sponsored water plants.
As long as this project can attract notice for its stark contrast to the
self-serving purposes of Big US Government and Big Business in Iraq, we want to
keep going. And
we hope that, as in the past, people will continue to find room in their hearts
and their checkbooks for Veterans for Peace and the Iraq Water Project.
Sager, IWP Coordinator