Welcome

Reflections – November 2013

Friends:Those who’ve followed these postings know that my legal battle with the federal government over a $16,000 fine (for traveling to Iraq to bring medicine without a U.S. license) has ended. The judge dismissed the government’s efforts to collect saying the government waited too long to sue. See Bert’s Case for a history of the legal issues, including our earlier suit against the government for crimes including genocide and terrorism.

In my June posting, I wrote how I’d read an article in the Pacific Standard magazine (psmag.com) called “The Iraq Sanctions Myth.” It claimed that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children “almost certainly never happened.” I responded to the author of the article, Professor Michael Spagat, in my post. Since then, he and I have corresponded by email half-a-dozen times.

In this back-and-forth, I have included Sarah Zaidi, a woman I know and we both respect for her work on the issue of sanctions. And, very recently, I spoke with Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institute about Iraq sanctions after his talk at Seattle’s Town Hall. This correspondence among the four of us lasted much of the past three months.

You can follow the continuation of this discussion in last month’s October posting.  This month I supply my letter to Kenneth Pollack regarding what’s gone on in the discussion.  I hope it may be of interest.

Dear Kenneth Pollack,

In your email back to Mike Spagat and me, you wrote that “I am NOT an expert on health and mortality issues and so have merely tried, to the best of my ability, to rely on the latest work by real experts on the subject of the impact of the Iraq sanctions.” Well, neither am I and neither is Mike Spagat, as far as I know. But relying on the “work of real experts” can be a dangerous business.

As a case in point, two months before the impending war on Iraq I said the following in Seattle in a speech (available at BertOnIraq.blogspot.com, search “January 3, 2003”) referring to U.S. policy towards Iraq:

“… this has always been about regime change. It has never been about weapons of mass destruction.”

In the weeks leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, that was a pretty strong statement. It contradicted virtually all the “real experts” who said we needed to invade Iraq because of WMDs. How did I know this? What were the psychological issues involved in my saying this. More in a bit. But I continued my speech this way:

“And we wanted to wage the Gulf War in such a way that we would get regime change without having American soldiers die. How did we do that? In the targeting of the Gulf War, the United States’ Pentagon bombing strategists* said, “We are going to bomb Iraq’s civilian infrastructure, up and down the country, taking out all the electrical generating plants, so that they have, in the end, 94% of the electricity gone that they had in 1990. (*ConcernForIraq.org/infrastructure)

“We did that. You realize that takes out water and sewage, especially in the South and Central regions which are very flat – you can’t pump water. We also hit some water and sewage targets.


“But what were the consequences of reimposing economic sanctions and having bombed the civilian infrastructure of Iraq? Three weeks after the end of the war, the United Nations told us precisely what those consequences are. It’s a document* from the New York Times, March 22nd, 1991. (*
ConcernForIraq.org/NYTimesAhtisaariWithEmphasis22Mar91.html.)

“If you read the very last paragraph, and I’ll read it to you for those of you that don’t have it, the UN told us, “It is unmistakable that the Iraqi people may soon face a further imminent catastrophe, which could include epidemic and famine, if massive life-supporting needs are not rapidly met. Time is short.”

“That’s the UN telling us what conditions were like in Iraq three weeks after the war: Epidemic and famine.

“What was our position? This is the reporter speaking of the U.S. administration’s view and position about sanctions. “The United States has argued against any premature relaxation [of the economic sanctions] in the belief that, by making life uncomfortable for the Iraqi people, it will eventually encourage them to remove President Saddam Hussein from power.”

“Have you got it? We are publicly saying that we intend to use epidemic and famine against a civilian population as tools of our foreign policy in order to get what we want – and what we want is regime change. What we want is our guy in Baghdad who’ll give us control of the oil.”

All of this is public information. None of it is hidden. Yet it is NOT what the “real experts” told us. Certainly not “this [war] has always been about regime change. It has never been about weapons of mass destruction!”

How did I know that this was always about regime change?  President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker III told us, right after the 1991 Gulf War.  On May 27, 1991, in front of a Congressional subcommittee, Secretary Baker reported: “That means we will never normalize relations with Iraq so long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. That means maintaining UN sanctions in place so long as Saddam remains in power.”

How did I know that we intended there to be severe health consequences for the civilian population? The Pentagon bombing planners told us so, in a front-page story in the Washington Post, June 23, 1991, by Barton Gellman.

 ”People say, ‘You didn’t recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage,’” said the planning officer. “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.”

 Col. John Warden III, deputy director of strategy, 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.”

 When you destroy a country’s electrical grid knowing what it will do to water and sewage, you can know that it will have a very significant impact on children’s health and child mortality in that country. You do not need to be a “real expert” to know this.

But in this case, real experts – doctors from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Oxford – did tell us:

 Abstract. … Conclusions. These results provide strong evidence that 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 that 46,900 children died between January and August 1991.


Our data demonstrate the link between the events that occurred in 1991 (war, civilian uprising, and economic embargo) and the subsequent increase in mortality. The destruction of the supply of electric power at the beginning of the war, with the subsequent disruption of the electricity-dependent water and sewage systems, was probably responsible for the reported epidemics of gastrointestinal and other infections.

War is never good for health. … During the Gulf war, it was suggested that by using high-precision weapons with strategic targets, the Allied forces were producing only limited damage to the civilian population. The results of our study contradict this claim and confirm that the casualties of war extend far beyond those caused directly by warfare.

That report was from The New England Journal of Medicine, September 1992.

The sources for all of these quotes are available at ConcernForIraq.org/infrastructure – I attach a copy of that webpage for your reference. It also contains information of the U.S. foreknowledge of where this policy would lead; it’s described in a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency memo to CENTCOM titled “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities.”

I contend that one does not need to consult “real experts” – or to decide which experts to believe – between the following choice: (A) the water-borne diseases described in The New England Journal of Medicine health survey (and subsequent opinion piece) was a major cause of excess deaths of over 5,000 Iraqi children every month following the 1991 Gulf War destruction of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure – versus – (B) the Gulf War and the following decade produced no impact at all on children’s mortality statistics; in fact, that period showed an improvement in child mortality continuing as from 1989.

I am attaching my Declaration to the U.S. federal court as it provides a great deal more detail. (I provided it to the court as background because I had been sued by the government (OFAC) for refusing to pay a fine for traveling to Iraq to bring medicine. The details of the legal aspects of that case and my last posting to Professor Spagat are all at IraqiKids.org under “Bert’s Case” and “Archives” for October article 2013.

I’d like to end with a comment about the psychological prices involved in accepting or contradicting those people considered by a country’s governing elites as “the experts.”

I felt confident enough to contradict all the “experts” regarding regime change vs. WMDs which I began this letter with. That was when I spoke to an audience of some 800 people in a local church. A number of them were friends, and even the others I didn’t know I expected would be open to hear the evidence I was presenting.

But then a month later I was invited for an hour-long radio interview on exactly the day Colin Powell gave his speech at the United Nations “proving” that Iraq had dangerous WMDs and “closing” the case for invading Iraq. I knew nothing to cause me to change my opinion on the question from what I’d said a month earlier.

But the radio host was from a right-wing station and he clearly was for the war. And here was Colin Powell, a well-respected U.S. Secretary of State. Not only were the “real experts” all unified in agreement, but our major papers too (such as the Washington Post which titled “Irrefutable” their editorial of approval).

Simply put, I was intimidated. I failed to repeat what I’d said to a more sympathetic audience. I did observe that it was clear that George W. Bush – and those in his administration wanted war. That was easy to say. But that I didn’t believe the war would be over WMDs – which everyone else was saying – I failed to say.

I failed my convictions. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way.

But now I can appreciate the psychological integrity it takes to go against the “real experts”. And having followed the tragedy of Iraq – since the U.S. invasion up to the current violence – I can also appreciate the consequences of failing to speak the truth.

You ended your email to us this way: “I will look forward to whatever either of you continue to produce on this subject so that I can continue to learn and refine my own understanding of the benefits and liabilities of sanctions.”

I, for one, am very interested to hear what you think of the evidence I’ve provided here.

Best Regards,

Bert Sacks

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:

    Bert,

    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:

    Bert,

    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:

    http://www.mcloughlinpost.com/jan1608IraqKucinichandDemDebate.html

    Look forward to reading your articles.

    Regards,

    Diane

  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,
    barbara

  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 .
    Bart

  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:

    Bert;
    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.

    Dennis

  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:

    Bert,

    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.

    Sincerely

    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.

    Sincerely,
    Bert

  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”

    Rick

    • 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

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