Scientists Condemn US-UK March to War on Iraq

SGR Statement, 14 March 2003

Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) [1] condemns the impending attack that US and UK forces are planning on Iraq. As scientists we are particularly disturbed that the UN weapons inspectors have not been given adequate time and resources to carry out their job. Despite this they are making significant progress in identifying, and where necessary destroying, Iraqi illegal weapons.

SGR further opposes a US-UK attack on Iraq because:

  1. Without UN backing and without an imminent threat of attack by Iraq, such an attack is an aggressive act, illegal and in breach of the UN Charter.
  2. According to the UN's own report, the war is likely to cause tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries and millions of refugees. The planned attack includes use of area wide cluster munitions; the enormous and indiscriminate area destruction weapon, the MOAB (a huge 21 ton bomb similar to the "Daisy Cutter" used in Vietnam); widespread use of radioactive and poisonous depleted uranium munitions; fuel air explosives and intense aerial bombardment of urban areas; and attacks upon civilian infrastructure, including electricity supplies vitally needed for hospitals and water supplies.
  3. The ensuing war is likely to destabilise the already volatile Middle East and cause an increase in terrorist attacks against Western targets.
  4. There is no provision in any of the war plans for protecting the quasi-independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq. In fact the deal which has fallen through with the Turkish Government would have led to further suppression of the Kurds who have already suffered in Eastern Turkey.
  5. The continuing instability in Afghanistan does not bode well for post-attack Iraq. Warlords are still in control of much of the west of Afghanistan, a low-intensity civil war continues, even the progress made in the east of the country is in danger of unravelling.
  6. There are better ways to spend the billions of pounds / dollars that this war will cost:
  • providing clean water
  • cancelling Third-World debt
  • providing life-saving medicines, especially to the poor
  • peace-building activities in Palestine, Kashmir and other similar areas of conflict
  • making safe the hundreds of kilograms of nuclear weapons material held insecurely, e.g. in Russia
  • funding development and deployment of environmentally-friendly technologies

All these options would build longer term security based upon greater justice and equality.

Even if a second UN Resolution is somehow agreed, its validity and the integrity of the UN will have to be questioned because of the intense financial and political pressure applied by the US Administration to the small countries currently on the Security Council. Any such offers should be made public so that citizens can judge for themselves the probity of UN decision-making.


[1] Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) is an independent UK organisation of scientists committed to the ethical use of science and technology. See our website

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