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[This letter to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney did not receive the courtesy of a response.

It has not previously
been published.]

[Index: Canadian politics, US aggression, Iraq]
[Date: February 1991]

Gulf War 1991: Canada's Involvement

Michael Keefer

P.O. Box 140, Eden Mills, Ontario, N0B 1P0
February 26, 1991.
The Right Hon. Brian Mulroney,
Prime Minister of Canada.

Dear Mr. Mulroney,
Canada's participation in the Gulf War has effectively destroyed our reputation in
the third world as a nation which, however close its ties to one of the superpowers, could
be relied on to exercise a moderating influence at moments of crisis. We should not have
taken part in a naval blockade or in any other military activities except under a properly
constituted United Nations command. Nor should we have taken part in a war which was
launched under the fraudulent pretext that the economic sanctions against Iraq had been
ineffective. (That these sanctions were having a crippling effect upon Iraq, and would
within months have obliged the Iraqi government to order a retreat from Kuwait was
evident to informed observers—not least to Mr. Bush and his advisers, whose about-face
on the subject after October of last year was patently hypocritical.)
But my principal concern here is with more urgent matters. Now that the military
coalition arrayed against Iraq has achieved the major objective of an Iraqi withdrawal
from Kuwait, all military operations should cease at once. Mr. Bush's refusal to put an

immediate end to military operations is a clear signal—there have been many other such
signals during the past weeks and months—that the aims of the United States in this war
go far beyond those of the United Nations Security Council resolutions directed against
Further prosecution of the war against Iraq would be criminal. (I use this word in a
precise sense—that of the system of international law to which the United States appeals
when it is convenient to do so, but which it has openly flouted in its attacks upon small
nations, most recently Grenada, Nicaragua, and Panama.) Coalition air attacks have
already violated international law in several respects. Refugee convoys on the Baghdad
-Amman road have been bombed and strafed; residential areas and civilian air-raid
shelters in Iraqi cities have been bombed; and supplies of food, water, and electrical
power to civilian populations have been interrupted. The mounting evidence that Saddam
Hussein's government is guilty of war crimes against Kuwait—as previously against its
own Kurdish population and against Iran—does not excuse such acts: one war crime does
not justify another.
I therefore call upon you to order the immediate withdrawal of all Canadian air
and naval units from the Gulf region. I do not wish to see the Canadian armed forces
stained with the shame of having participated in further attacks upon a routed army and
upon the civilian population of an already shattered country.
Yours sincerely,
Michael H. Keefer