LETTERS

Barbizon Hotel for Women

For an oral history of the Barbizon Hotel for Women, I would like to hear from anyone who resided there, worked there, or knew someone who did.

Please contact:
Ellen Abrams
P.O. Box 8, New York, NY 10025
or barbizonbook@aol.com
or (212) 663-3814



War with Iraq

On January 7, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story describing how troops were being sent out from US bases to the Gulf. For days, I was haunted by the words of one mother: "Of course, I am a little worried, but I am proud he is going to protect us."

Protect us from what? I hate it that her boy's life is being put in jeopardy.

I have studied the situation in Iraq extensively in recent months, and even went there in December to learn at first hand what is going on there. My strong conclusion is that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, is deeply impoverished by twelve years of sanctions, has not been able to recover from the US bombings of 1990-91 and 1998, is not a fundamentalist state harboring terrorists, and is no threat whatsoever to the United States.

The sanctions strategy has failed completely. The idea was that if all imports, exports and travel were blocked, under the resulting dire economic pressure, Iraqis would overthrow their own government. But the local people do not hold Saddam Hussein responsible for the sanctions. They perceive sanctions as a form of economic war waged against them by the United States, with the pallid blessing of the UN. Although Hussein has done brutal things in the past, his people, at least in the central and south regions, remember how he led them to impressive prosperity and strength in the eighties, and credit him now for negotiating the Oil for Food program, which is barely keeping them alive, and for standing strong under US pressure.

Iraqis of every sort - Muslim and Christian, Sunni and Shi'ite, man and woman - will remain loyal, they say; will fight fiercely to resist what they see as a US grab for oil profits and regional control; and if necessary, "will rebuild again and again and again."

I am an ordinary San Franciscan woman, a Quaker mother and grandmother who runs a non-profit service agency. I went to Iraq with Voices in the Wilderness, a well-respected group which has been witnessing to the brutal effects of sanctions since 1996. As a peace team, Voices is welcome in Iraq, along with many other peace groups, for Iraqis (including Saddam Hussein) believe the US-European peace movement can prevent this war from happening. What faith! We should give it everything we've got!

—Elizabeth Boardman '63



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