Reflections – October 2015

Friends: See my November post for the end of my legal battles on Iraq. Those legal battles have now gone away, and I have never paid a penny of the $10,000 fine nor of the $6000+ in penalties.

A short while ago, I contacted Dahr Jamail, a friend and fine, brave journalist who has covered the Iraq war – unembedded! – since 2003. I proposed that he cover the war from its beginning in 1991 (the war we Americans call the first Gulf War). Dahr wrote an account from 1991 to 2003 and posted it on Truthout. I’ve pasted the story below.


One Man’s Mission: Justice for Iraq

Friday, 09 October 2015 10:06By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

Iraqis cross a busy border checkpoint between Kurdish- and Islamic State-controlled territory in Maktab Khalid, just west of Kirkuk, Iraq, Sept. 17, 2014. (Andrea Bruce / The New York Times)Iraqis cross a busy border checkpoint between Kurdish- and Islamic State-controlled territory in Maktab Khalid, just west of Kirkuk, Iraq, September 17, 2014. (Andrea Bruce / The New York Times)

While in Boston in 1994, full-time peace activist Bert Sacks made a decision that changed his life forever.

He decided to seek out a study produced by a group called the Harvard Study Team, which had reported to The Washington Post that the deliberate destruction of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure by the US military, along with the US-led economic sanctions against that country, were likely to cause 170,000 Iraqi children to die.

Sacks refuses to ignore what is happening.

Unfortunately, that estimate would turn out to be far, far too low, as President Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, infamously boasted on national television when she said the price of 500,000 dead Iraqi children was “worth it.” Albright went on to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

“Since that time 21 years ago, I could not leave this issue alone,” Sacks, a kind, soft-spoken 72-year old activist from Seattle, told Truthout.

He went on to make nine trips into Iraq, the first one in 1996, as part of a Voices in the Wilderness delegation and in an effort to “educate myself and my fellow Americans about the disastrous effect of this policy on Iraqis.”

For his efforts, in 2002, he was fined $10,000 by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for the heinous crime of bringing $40,000 worth of medicine to sick and dying Iraqi children in Basra, Iraq, during his second trip there in1997.

He refused to pay the fine. He then sued the OFAC over the fact that it fined him, but lost the case.

In turn, the OFAC sued him for the fine, plus another $6,000 in interest and penalties.

Most people in the United States have chosen to ignore the catastrophic situation the US government has caused in both Iraq and the greater Middle East. One could easily argue that both the catastrophe that is today’s Iraq as well as the bloodbath in Syria stemmed from the US wars against Iraq, which began in 1991 and continue to this day.

Sacks refuses to ignore what is happening. He is a one-man movement, seeking justice, and continues to look for ways he can help the people of Iraq – and nothing the US government has thrown at him thus far has slowed him down.

“Making Life Uncomfortable for the Iraqi People”

Sacks was horrified by the 1991 Gulf War, but even more taken aback by the ensuing US-led sanctions.

“On March 22, 1991, I read a New York Times front-page story covering the UN report by Martti Ahtisaari on the devastating, ‘near-apocalyptic conditions’ in Iraq after the Gulf War,” he explained.

The report read: “famine and epidemic [were imminent] if massive life-supporting needs are not rapidly met. The long summer … is weeks away. Time is short.”

The UN report recommended an immediate survey of civilian damage caused by the US bombing of Iraq and an immediate cessation of the sanctions in order to prevent “imminent catastrophe.”

Sacks told Truthout that one particular sentence of that article “has stayed with me for nearly 25 years.”

“What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of sanctions.”

It says, “Ever since the trade embargo was imposed on Aug. 6, after the invasion of Kuwait, the United States has argued against any premature relaxation in the belief that by making life uncomfortable for the Iraqi people it will eventually encourage them to remove President Saddam Hussein from power.”

“Even today it’s hard for me to read this article without a deep feeling of shame, that my country would do such a thing,” Sacks has written. “That there would not be a major uprising of citizens over what was such an unequivocal war crime against the most vulnerable part of the Iraqi population, the children.”

“This is the practice of total war as followed in World War II,” Sacks said. “No civilians are exempt from the war, not the elderly, not women, not even little babies.”

It is all well documented to this day: how the US government deliberately targeted the civilian infrastructure of Iraq with bombing runs, then forbade the importing of critical components to rebuild water treatment facilities, electrical grids and hospitals, and forbade the import of medicine, as well as things as basic as food and pencils.

The US Defense Intelligence Agency published a 1991 document (available here) with the subject line, “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities.”

The document notes that Iraq was dependent upon the importation of equipment and chemicals needed to purify its water supply, and went on to add:

Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease … The entire Iraqi water treatment system will not collapse precipitously … full degradation of the water treatment system probably will take at least another 6 months.

The drumbeat of assaults carried out directly against the Iraqi people continued in the aftermath of the 1991 bombing campaign. On May 27, 1991, then-Secretary of State James Baker infamously stated, “… [W]e will never normalize relations with Iraq so long as Saddam Hussein remains in power.” The statement effectively served as a death sentence to well over 1 million Iraqis, who died as a result of the sanctions between 1991 and 2003.

Less than a month later, on June 23, 1991, a Washington Post article titled “Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq – Officials Acknowledge Strategy Went Beyond Purely Military Targets” was published.

The article quoted senior US military officers admitting that the worst civilian suffering resulted not from bombs that went astray, but instead from “precision-guided weapons that hit exactly where they were aimed – at electrical plants, oil refineries and transportation networks.”

Pentagon analysts calculated that in 1991, Iraq had roughly the same electrical generating capacity it had in 1920, when things like sewage treatment and refrigeration were rare.

A military planning officer is quoted in the article, saying: “People say, ‘You didn’t recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage. Well, what were we trying to do with [United Nations-approved economic] sanctions – help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of sanctions.” [emphasis added]

Col. John Warden III, deputy director of strategy for the US doctrine and plans for the Air Force, agreed that one purpose of destroying Iraq’s electrical grid was that “you have imposed a long-term problem on the leadership that it has to deal with sometime.”

“Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity,” he said. “He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, ‘Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity.’ It gives us long-term leverage.”

The strategy of using civilian deaths and suffering as “leverage” against a dictator was not only endorsed by members of the US military. In July 1991, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney said that every bombing target in Iraq – including civilian infrastructure – was “perfectly legitimate,” and added, “If I had to do it over again, I would do exactly the same thing.”

Given that Cheney went on to become one of the leading hawks promoting the 2003 war against Iraq, which led to at least 1 million Iraqi deaths and counting, he clearly remained true to his word.

Iraqi Children

Sacks’ concern about the impacts of US policy on Iraqi children continued to grow.

His trips into Iraq continued, as did his research findings about how the US military knowingly and deliberately destroyed targets that would cause the death and suffering of Iraqis, including children and babies.

A US Air Force publication, in 1995, cited Iraq as an example of “dual-use targeting.” Mentioning airstrikes against Iraqi electrical power facilities during the 1991 war, the report stated, “As a result, epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid broke out, leading to perhaps as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and a doubling of the infant mortality rate.”

The same report went on to question whether Air Force doctrine supported or condemned these actions, but went on to conclude:

The US Air Force has a vested interest in attacking dual-use targets so long as dual-use target destruction serves the double role of destroying legitimate military capabilities and indirectly targeting civilian morale. So long as this remains within the letter if not the spirit of the law and the JWE [Christian Just-War Ethic], the Air Force will cling to the status quo.

Sacks was long since aware of a 1992 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled, “Special Article: Effect of the Gulf War on Infant and Child Mortality in Iraq,” which concluded, “The Gulf war and trade sanctions caused a threefold increase in mortality among Iraqi children under five years of age. We estimate that an excess of more than 46,900 children died between January and August 1991.”

The report also showed that the researchers’ data demonstrated a direct link between the 1991 war and sanctions to the subsequent increase in deaths, in addition to the reported epidemics of gastrointestinal and other infections – the exact diseases mentioned in the US Air Force publication.

But that was just the beginning of the sanctions and suffering. As Albright mentioned, at least half a million Iraqi children would go on to be killed by US policy, and at least that number of adults were killed by malnutrition, diseases and other health issues related to the destruction of infrastructure and sanctions.

In 1997, a New England Journal of Medicine report zeroed in on the human costs of the sanctions against Iraq. It mentioned the findings of the 1992 study, and went on to add that Iraqis were experiencing “suffering of tragic proportions … [with children] dying of preventable diseases and starvation.”

“To this day, there are still only a few rotating hours of electricity a day for most Iraqis.”

As late as 2000, US Rep. Tony Hall visited Iraq and was shocked by what he found. In a letter to Secretary of State Albright, Hall said, “I share UNICEF’s concerns about the profound effects of increasing deterioration of Iraq’s water supply and sanitation systems on its children’s health. The prime killer of children under five years of age – diarrhoeal diseases – has reached epidemic proportions and they now strike four times more often than they did in 1990.”

All but one of the contracts for supplies Iraq needed were placed on hold by the US government. The contracts were for purification chemicals, chlorinators, chemical dosing pumps, water tankers and other related equipment. Of this, Hall added, “Holds on contracts for the water and sanitation sector are a prime reason for the increases in sickness and death.”

Sacks told Truthout that he thinks about what happened – and continues to happen – daily.

“Whenever there’s a power outage here in Seattle, and people complain about not having electricity for a few hours or days, I think of my first visit to a family in Baghdad in 1996. It was four months before they had any electricity and any water from the tap, after the US Air Force had destroyed nearly all of Iraq’s generating capacity,” he said. “To this day, there are still only a few rotating hours of electricity a day for most Iraqis, and nothing approaching the prewar 9,000 to 9,500 megawatt capacity Iraq had in 1990.”

Sacks reiterated his amazement at the statements made by the Pentagon bombing planners who made it clear that the consequences of taking out Iraq’s electricity were not unexpected, but were actually anticipated – and even desired.

“That meant no sewage processing for the 6 million people in Baghdad,” he said. “And consequently no safe drinking water for the residents of Baghdad and everyone downstream who got their water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.”

Still Seeking Justice

Sacks stood as the sole defendant in the federal court case of The United States of America v. Bertram Sacks.

He took, in his own words from his testimony, this stance: “I contended that I couldn’t pay the fine, because that would be giving money to an organization [the United States] that had committed an act of terrorism.”

The judge dismissed the lawsuit.

That left the 2010 OFAC suit against Sacks, aimed at collecting the $10,000 fine, which he’d publicly refused to pay.

“I’ll continue to do whatever seems practical to raise Americans’ understanding of the horrendous mess we’ve made in Iraq.”

“I wanted to take advantage of this second chance in court to raise the issue that US policy using the suffering and deaths of Iraqis, especially the most innocent and vulnerable, children under 5, to overthrow Saddam Hussein, came to constitute terrorism according to our own US legal code,” Sacks explained. “Unfortunately, the judge denied me this chance by dismissing the government’s case against me because the statute of limitations had run out.”

Despite what Sacks saw as a setback, the suit prompted him to start his blog, IraqiKids.org, “to share with interested parties what I’d learned, and continued to learn, over the five years since then, including related issues,” he said.

He is pleased that his research and statements regarding what he sees as war crimes, and even terrorism, remain a matter of federal district court and public records due to his case.

And Sacks is far from finished.

“I’ll continue to do whatever seems practical to raise Americans’ understanding of the horrendous mess we’ve made in Iraq and beyond, including what we’re doing to our own country,” he said.

As Sacks sees it, the real work now is clear: “to continue to study nonviolence – deep nonviolence, not just ‘don’t throw rocks’ – and to learn to understand, internalize and apply it to Iraq issues, as well as to the many conflict situations we face today.”

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.


Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.



79 Responses to Welcome

  1. Sara Cloud says:

    Hello Bert,.
    Just wanted to make sure you know about the book recently published by Harvard University Press–Invisible War, The United States and the Iraq Sanctions. Perhaps your story is in it, it sounds pretty comprehensive.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Hi Sara — Thanks for pointing out Professor Joy Gordon’s fine book. I’ve mentioned it on our References page — also on the Blog page I quote from her recent article about sanctions from the Madison Capitol paper. She has consistently written about sanctions with great clarity over many years.

  2. Abdi says:

    Dear Bert, thank you for your integrity and for the work you have done for peace for so many years.

  3. Maryam Borghey says:

    Dear Bert: Thank you for being the voice of sanity in an insane world.

  4. K. Parker says:

    Dear Bert: Rock on !! As one of my favorite YouTube economic forcasters says “Last decade was the decade from sin. This will be the decade from Hell.” Integrity is the road less travelled, but you will be able to look at that Man in the Glass. As we roll into our grim future, let us hope that you are joined by millions on that road, because surely now the bill for our country’s policy sins is coming due. Satyagraha.

  5. David Schiess says:

    Hi, Thanks for what you are doing. How can we start a movement to end this Terrorism of the world by the United States Gov.?

    • Bert Sacks says:

      David — I’m sorry to be so late (a whole month) in replying to your key question. The plan is to devote my March 11th posting to the question of What can we do? and How can we do it as effectively as possible? I believe it is only nonviolence — and the concomitant commitment to truth — that holds the power we need. In the meantime, encourage people to sign-up for a once-a-month mailing and spread the word. All of this will require sharing our collective wisdom and compassion.

  6. Qwerty says:

    I want to THANK YOU for being a true HUMANITARIAN in our Dark Times. Please keep up your good work, and keep reminding us of our conscience!

  7. Maryrose Asher says:

    Bert, you always have led by example. Thank you for being a “beacon of light” in what seems to be a world of darkness.

    • Felicity Arbuthnot says:

      I second Maryrose Asher’s comment, it could not have been put better. Thank you Bert for indeed lighting the darkness.

      Please also at some point do credit in your wonderful writings, to Madeleine Albright (12th May 1996 – it is etched in one of the fragments of my broken heart) “We have heard that over half a million children have died, more than died in Hiroshima, is the price worth it?” (To – illegally – get rid of Saddam.) Albright: “It is a hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.” She now “regrets” her comment. Not the sentiment, but that she expressed it. The comment should be engraved on her tombstone.
      Love and solidarity, Bert, f xx

      • Bert Sacks says:

        Felicity — If you look at the video at IraqiKids.org/media you’ll see that Democracy Now! gave me a chance to “address” Madeleine Albright. It made me glad that I’d looked at her memoir and could speak to the issue of what she and James Baker were doing.

  8. Wendy John says:

    I’ve seen you and heard you speak many times at Seattle events and want you to know you are someone who walks the talk. Your courage and conviction are inspiring.

  9. Larry Kerschner says:

    Bert – Thanks for this site. You remain one of my heroes. Peace.

  10. Ellen Murphy says:


    Congratulations on your new web site. Bellingham is already spreading the word. We remain in solidarity with you and your case, and in gratitude for your determination and courage in active nonviolence.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Ellen, and all the good folks in Bellingham. Spreading the word would be a great help to start this project off on a strong footing. I hope others reading this will help in this same way.

  11. Bernie Meyer says:


    I remember when you made the trip and events following. It’s a long road. I’ll pass the word. Keep moving.

    Peace, Bernie

    PS. My trips to India has opened to me the like realities to the adivasis and villagers in India. Genecidal.

  12. David Heywood says:

    Thank you, Bert, for all the time you spend doing these good things toward peace and justice.

  13. Beth Alderman says:

    So glad that you got the medical care you needed. I know you have paid for your beliefs with your body, in the best tradition of kenosis…are you sure you’re not a Christian :)?

  14. Gordy says:

    We should add your story to the Blowback series by Chalmers Johnson. Yet another reason why “they” don’t like US.

  15. Hello Bert,

    I appreciated what you did then and what you are doing now. I have just shared this page on Facebook (over 600 FB friends), changing the title to, ‘Fined for saving the lives of Iraqi kids.’ Also shared the link on my website, too.

    I included mention of your story in an early effort, back when I got fed up and started my website in 2008:


    Look forward to reading your articles.



  16. Dear Bert,
    Your blog is so well documented and so much needed. As always, your work is thorough, important and timely. I hope you give Voices Education Project permission to republish your pieces each month and direct our membership back to your site. We must spread the word.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      O, Yes, Marilyn. Of course Voices Education Project may have permission to use anything — especially my monthly articles — that’s on the website. And I thank you back for all of your fine work with Voices!

  17. Jan Bush says:

    Thank you for simply being on this earth. Now it’s clear to me why you’re my hero!

  18. Fran Korten says:

    Bert–I so appreciate your unwaving courage in speaking the truth

  19. alex jimenez says:

    Let the truth prevail and those who speak the truth be blessed… Bert Sachs, you are blessed! You have chosen to take on the powerful dark forcess that are inflicting crimes against our very own humaninty and you should know you are not alone… We are with you and urge you to continue writting. Looking forward to reading more of your outstanding work… Education is the solution to all our problems… Alex

  20. Bill Bichsel says:

    Bert,Thank you for your compassion and for being a faithful servant to the Iraqi kids. Bix

  21. Thank for the invitation Bert. Your continued effort to open the eyes of the American people on the tragic number of deaths and the horrible suffering “our impose sanctions” have had on the poor people of Iraq, especially the women and children, is very inspiring. You have many friends who respect and honor you for your since of justice, your kindness and love of your fellow human beings. It is high time we help you by telling everyone we know your courageous story and of how proud we are to know you as a wonderful example of person who loves his neighbor as himself.

  22. Linda says:

    Dear Bert,
    You truly are satyagraha personified. You are so right, “Nonviolence is the only way”.
    This website is a brilliant idea!! I will help spread the word

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Linda. On my 3rd emailing (3/11/11) I will try to deal with satyagraha — on the deepest level that I can, since that’s where I believe the real strength of truth-force comes from.

  23. Barbara says:

    Dear Bert,

    Thank you for not giving up on us!

    Ever grateful to you,

  24. Farah Muhsen says:

    Dear Bert,

    On behalf of all Iraqis that have lived under and suffered severely from the imposed sanctions on nour country Iraq, I want to thank you and greet your bravery for speaking up the truth about what actually the sanctions were and how of a political tool it was to pressure the change of a regime on the expense of the millions of children, men and women in Iraq. My father have died as a consequence of the imposed sanctions, and my health conditions declined for the same reason during those years. I never thought nor imagined that there will be a time when our voices would be heard, but with your effort I have faith that my story and the stories of millions of Iraqis will hopefully reach the hearts and minds of the American people. Shukran.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Farah — I am deeply moved by your comment. As I wrote to a friend who has also traveled with me to Iraq, your expression of thanks makes that long 12-hour ride from Amman to Baghdad seem even more worthwhile. I reply to your thanks with my own back to you: Shukran Jezeelan.

  25. Weldon says:

    Thanks so much Bert for your tireless commitment to peacebuilding in the formidable face of endless warmaking! You are a prophet and an inspiration. I thank God for your peaceful presence and friendship.

  26. Sunil A says:

    Thank you, Bert, for this amazing compilation of damning evidence. Thank you for clinging to the truth. Now your message will spread even further. –Your old roomate

    • admin says:

      Sunil, thanks for your kind words. And yes, I think the evidence is damning. But if you think this is damning, search for “Joy Gordon” and then “Robert Fisk” on our site’s Home page. They have written so much, so well, and so damning that it really is a wonder their work is so little known (here, at least). Always good to see you, as at the WPSR dinner.

  27. jill allison says:

    thank you for standing strong against injustice. The forces (corporations) of the rich and powerful have lost any humanity they might have had in some past times. These are dark times.

    I believe there is currently an unspoken movement to decimate the population by attacking the health and well being of the average person on this planet. The poisoning of our environment has caused untold dis-ease cancer anxiety suicide mass murder-that most of us refuse to talk about but too many are now falling for this to be ignored much longer. I only wish I had your courage so that I might stand strong and be a voice for reason.

    thank you again for your integrity and strength

  28. J.B. Gerald says:

    Appreciation and respect.
    I’ve posted a referral to your site and case, amid a note
    on application of the Convention on Genocide, at Night’s Lantern: http://www.nightslantern.ca/2011bulletin.htm#jan15 .

  29. Tim Chavez says:

    Thank you for your sacrifice by helping the citizens of Iraq. I feel humbled by your actions. Peace.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Tim. But I have to say that I don’t see what I’ve done as a sacrifice. Working on this issue has been, overall, very positive in my life. I’ll try to write more about this in my March posting. Best Wishes, Bert

  30. Patrick Leahey says:

    Thank you for your work. Sometimes, it seems like the world is such a dark place. It is good to see some light. It seems like we can do nothing, then someone like you come along.

  31. Dana Visalli says:

    We remember you fondly and your two visits and presentations in Twisp. Thank you,
    as ever, the for good, humane work you do. Dana

  32. If the definition of the word HUMANITY still has its meaning, it’s because of people like You.
    I cannot say thank you enough for your being here.

  33. rewinn says:

    Thanks and good luck.
    I’ve tweeted, blogged at http://rewinn.blogspot.com/2011/01/fined-for-helping-iraq-children-wtf.html and will pass on via Facebook.

    I guess one lesson here is that even “liberal” administrations are just fine with killing children who they are ostensibly liberating, just so long as you don’t offend the sovereign privileges.

    (You know who this case reminds me of? Don Seigelmann -( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Siegelman ) – another guy who should be free of government persecution but the “liberal” Obama Administration continues to persue. Maybe you could play tag-team some time!

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Randy, for all your posting, tweeting, and in general spreading the word. I’m happy to tell you that this site has received comments from Sweden, Germany, and the UK, along with comments from a lot of supportive people in this country. It’s very heartening.

  34. Brittany says:

    It was nice meeting you today on the bus. Thank you for all the great resources. I’m looking forward to reading the Alfie Kohn book you suggested.

    I read your article and it’s very inspiring. :)

  35. John DuBois says:

    Thanks for your courage and sense of responsibility.

  36. David Berrian says:

    Dear Bert,
    So what support can we offer you? Any gift that you might request or that we might offer is, of course, is a gift to all of us. We are all enriched by sustaining your courage and compassion. All of us must walk in your footsteps when we turn away from cooperating with state terrorism.
    So many federal, state, and international laws prohibit our support of terrorism. The Patriot Act makes it a crime to provide even financial support to acts of terror (possible confiscation of property, $1,000,000 fine, and life in prison). Yet how many of us still pay federal taxes that allow our policies of terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran to continue?
    I have such gratitude for your on-going leadership and moral clarity.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Dear David — Thank you for your expression of support. On March 11, 2011, I’ll send out my general thoughts about where we are and what we can most skillfully do to make a positive difference. In the meantime, I think the most helpful thing which folks could do is to spread the word about IraqiKids.org. It seems that no one else is raising the issue of our legal definition of international terrorism with regard to U.S. foreign policies. (Instead, rather like in Orwell’s 1984, people are simply throwing the word around like a smear without regard to its specific meaning. The destruction of language must be opposed to hold on to the rule of law.)

  37. Jonathan Betz-Zall says:

    Thanks, Bert, for keeping the faith on this issue. Governments are supposed to be servants of the people but it’s clear that even this one, which pretends to be ruled by law, will stop at nothing to achieve its political ends. Good for you for standing up and speaking the truth.

  38. Dennis Lane says:

    Thank you for helping us to become more aware of the impact that terrorism has on the innocents. Everyone’s heart is with you.


  39. Hi Bert! Good to hear from you. We met in Baghdad, I think 2002. Keep up the good work!!! Wage peace, -Yusha

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, Yusha. We all need to try to wage peace … actually, as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, to become peace. (That’s a great book of his — “Being Peace” — which I was told about 20 years ago, and which has been a positive influence on my life.)

  40. Randall Mullins says:

    Thank you, thank you Bert for keeping the hope for more truth alive after these many years about the genocidal US-UN Sanctions against the people of Iraq. You continue to be a channel of light for me with your durable and beautiful blend of compassion, truth-telling and justice.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Dear Randall — I’m sure you’ll remember your accompanying me on the first delegation I led to Iraq … and the skill with which you conceived of our action in the Ameriya bomb shelter which gathered much media attention (NYT, CBS Nightly News, others). So you have a significant part in my history — and I’m grateful for that.

  41. Rosemary LeVasseur says:

    I am very impressed with both the content and layout of your website Bert. Recent events in Egypt have proven once again that non-violence is very effective. I look forward to supporting you through the trial. Thanks for your dedication to the people of Iraq.

    • admin says:

      Thank you, Rosemary. I am just now working on my February posting, which I’ll end with some comments about nonviolence — in anticipation of my March column.

  42. Betty Enright says:

    Bert…It was by chance that I came across one of your interviews today. I am in awe of the work you do. You have given me much to think about.. I look forward to your monthly articles. ……Thankyou! …….Betty

    • admin says:

      Betty, I’m very glad that you found the interview useful (or at least interesting). A good way to follow is to sign up for a once-a-month mailing. Sounds like maybe you have. Bert

  43. Janette Brown says:

    Glad to see this site. I plan to be at the trial in September. Will you update here with any date or time changes?

  44. Janette Brown says:

    PS Found the trial update in the Timeline!

    Mark’s & my interest and great respect, Bert.

  45. Evan A. Sugden says:

    Bravo, Bert! Your effort to expose the atrocities of the U.S. against Iraqi civilians is a brave and selfless effort. But I am also applauding your recognition of the untold reality of the 9/11 tragedy, an even more difficult thing to accept, and your connecting it with so much of the adversity that we have experienced in the past decade. Contrary to Obama’s admonition that we should not look backward, this country is starving for justice, and you can’t have it without looking behind. We absolutely must expose the truth and let justice take its course. Thank you for being part of the effort, we are much stronger with you on board.

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Evan, thank you very much! I am grateful for your words of support. I’ve been pleased that there has only been one ‘negative’ response to me — and a very respectful one at that! — where the writer would have none of the possibility that WTC 7 did not come down by fire, but was a case of controlled demolition. I think we all have an obligation to be thoughtful and conscientious before we express our opinions … but then to speak the truth as best we can determine it, even if it falls outside the pale of our mainstream media.

  46. Bert, you are a true American hero. When you see and read about the injustice and corruption of so many institutions including our government all around us in our country it makes you want to start fighting like our founders did. Yet, you hold the course using good sense, let’s keep beating drums and wake up enough people that a mass movement of our people will eventually make the changes and help rebuild a country we can be proud of. I only wish we could clone you ten million times.
    My best,
    J. Glenn Evans

    • Bert Sacks says:

      J. Glenn, I think that you exaggerate. But rather than argue, I’d like to say that I think a “secret” to persisting in difficult situations is to hold on to an image of how I would like people to respond in such circumstances … and then try to practice acting that way. In other words, to use what comes “down the pike” as a challenge to be the kind of person I would like others to be. Whether I succeed or not, the act of trying is itself a useful act. That’s because I don’t have to berate others for not acting a certain way — or even myself if I fail but am willing to keep trying. Hardly a secret!

  47. Thank you for being a good example to us, Bert. It’s an honor to work with you.

  48. Sarah Baluchestani says:

    Hello, my name is Sarah
    I’m an Iranian living in Canada. I’m working with some friends to help the lives of my friends and family members living in a refugee camp called camp Ashraf in Iraq. The Iraqi government wants to close down the camp by the end of the year and this will lead to a serious massacre. There are 1000 women living in the camp.
    We are holding a rally on December 12 in DC to protest this. We wanted to invite you to join us an be the voice of these refugees who have escaped the Iranian tyranny and are now facing another threat.
    Sarah Baluchestani

  49. Janette says:

    YES! Here’s to your steadiness and persistent dedication to what’s true. It has prevailed; and I trust it will continue to.

  50. Suleiman Shahin says:


    You are a very brave and conscientious man. While the world stood silent, you decided you could not. You braved the powers at the top and went the 7,000 miles carrying aid to the helpless people of Iraq.

    The best part of this is the example you set for the rest of us.


    Suleiman Shahin

  51. Bert Sacks says:

    Dear Suleiman,

    Thank you for your exceptionally kind words. Indeed we are all examples to each other, and if I have been a positive example in some small way, that gives me much pleasure.


  52. Rick McDowell says:

    Hi Bert,

    Congratulations on the dismissal of the government’s case against you. Tragic you did not have your day in court. Criminal that not a single US government official has been held accountable for the massive loss of Iraqi lives during the endless years of sanctions – for crimes against humanity.

    It’s been a long time since we traveled together to Iraq in 1996. We remember hospital wards filled with dying children and the heroic efforts of the doctors to save their lives. After so many years of sanctions, war and occupation, the lives of the vast majority of Iraq’s children and families remain imperiled. The Iraqi people deserve better.

    Stay “Great”


    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thanks Rick. It seems like lifetimes ago that I joined you on my first trip to Iraq. That was a very important moment in my life, and of the start of my efforts — that you and I and Voices in the Wilderness and others were making — to draw attention to what our country had been doing to the people of Iraq. I wish I could say that things are better now, or that we have really understood what has come out of our violent policies towards Iraq. But we can only keep working, and keep transforming ourselves in the direction of deep nonviolence.

  53. John Keegan says:

    Bert, it was a pleasure to meet you recently at the showing of “The Law in These Parts,” at the Seattle International Film Festival. Given your interest in worldwide justice, it was no surprise to see you at a film which attempts to reveal the “rules” of occupation under which the Palestinians live. Your campaign for the IraqiKids is inspiring. I didn’t know anything about this episode until meeting you.

    John Keegan

    • Bert Sacks says:

      Thank you, John. It was a pleasure — and fun! — to visit with you and your wife before and after the SIFF showing of “The Law in These Parts.” I’d be happy if our conversation has been helpful. Unfortunately in general our media does not do a very good job in explaining conflicts, especially those involving Israel and those we are involved in. Best, Bert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *