Opposing war in Southwest Asia

Opposing war in Southwest Asia

THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION, Affirms its historic mission of promoting the public health; and

Acknowledges the catastrophic levels of disease, injury and death caused by modern warfare and economic sanctions (1-5);

Additionally condemns the staggering levels of death and human suffering brought about by attacks impacting civilians such as the attacks in New York and Washington, DC on September nth, 2001; and

Specifically condemns intentional killing of civilians as a crime against humanity;

Reaffirms its opposition to wars motivated by economic objectives, such as dominance over regions rich in petroleum reserves, as stated in Policy Statement 9923 (6); and

Considers that economic conflicts on this scale are not in the interests of ordinary civilians or the soldiers of the countries concerned, rather that these economic conflicts serve the needs of energy corporations interested in exploiting resources in the region of conflict (7);

Notes the strategic position of Afghanistan as it relates to important oil pipeline routes:

“Afghanistan’s significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas export pipelines through Afghanistan, which was under serious consideration in the mid-1990s. The idea has since been undermined by Afghanistan’s instability.” (8)

And the huge oil reserves in Iraq (9); and

Notes the dismal health status indicators of Afghan people, including an average life expectancy of 46 years, an infant mortality rate of 165 per 1000 live births, and an under-5 mortality rate of 257 per 1000 live births, and their need for humanitarian aid (5).

Reflects on the intense alienation of other potential friends and allies throughout the world, especially Muslims, brought about by military action against Afghanistan; and

Expresses concerns about the expansion of military action in other oil rich countries, notably Iraq, which is becoming the object of renewed military interest (10-11);

Further notes that the reordering of US budgetary priorities for war will result in dramatic cuts in a number of urgently needed domestic programs, especially those for low-income families (12); therefore

1. Endorses in strongest terms the efforts of international organizations to bring the perpetrators of all terror attacks to justice; and

2. Declares its opposition to military actions against Afghanistan

and other nations as an undertaking that runs counter to the health and well-being of our populations; and

3. Urges the development of counter-terrorist measures based on humanitarianism such as building of schools and hospitals, and economic aid with the intention of reducing new recruitment (5) to terrorist groups; and

4. Calls on Congress and the President to authorize new programs that dramatically increase training and deployment of public health personnel in less developed countries, including federal grants for tuition and other educational expenses, replacing aggressive military actions with humanitarian assistance, offered in a manner consistent with local culture and beliefs.

Copyright Journal of Public Health Policy 2002

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