Resolution on the Persian Gulf

Adopted at 1991 Midwinter Meeting

WHEREAS nearly half a million U.S. troops, a disproportionate number of them working class and persons of color, are now deployed in the Persian Gulf; and

WHEREAS veterans hospitals in the United States are preparing to handle at least 40,000 casualties; and

WHEREAS the enormous cost of this military adventure threatens to severely worsen the budget deficit and scuttle the long-overdue "Peace Dividend"; and

WHEREAS the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, while a clear violation of international law, does not in any way justify the massive American mobilization and deployment of offensive forces; and

WHEREAS the internationally-approved economic sanctions and regional peacemaking efforts by the Arab League have not been given a chance to work by the Bush Administration; and

WHEREAS the United States displays a "double standard" in condemning the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait while remaining silent or actually supporting Israel's invasions and occupations of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon; Syria's intervention in Lebanon; Turkey's invasion of northern Cyprus; Morocco's occupation of Western restore is an autocracy that confers full citizenship upon only 8.6 percent of its 3 million population (namely the male descendants of men residing in Kuwait in 1920) and permits the widespread abuse and exploitation of some 500,000 foreign workers; and

WHEREAS the Saudi regime which the Bush Administration ostensibly "defends" is an absolute monarchy without elections or legislature that forbids labor unions and strikes, punishes conversion to another religion by death and the public wearing of a Star of David or crucifix by whipping with sticks, bans the study of Freud and Western philosophy, prohibits women from traveling alone, driving cars, or riding bicycles, regards the testimony of one man as equal to that of two women, denies the rights to habeas corpus and legal counsel, and allows the king to remove newspaper editors; and

WHEREAS the Bush Administration and mainstream media have sought to demonize and vilify not only Saddam Hussein but also Iraqis and Arabs in general, thereby worsening anti-Arab bigotry in this country; and WHEREAS there has not yet been a full and open debate concerning U.S. goals and aims in the Persian Gulf; and

WHEREAS the American people receive information on the Gulf crisis that is largely pre-censored by Saudi and our own military authorities; and

WHEREAS the American library profession is involved in the censorship and mutilation of reading materials destined for Persian Gulf troops, thus violating its own basic canons of intellectual freedom;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association condemn the U.S. military response to the Kuwait invasion and call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from the region, including Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait and American forces from the Persian Gulf;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT demand an embargo on arms shipments to all Middle East governments and urge the settlement of the Persian Gulf, Israeli-Palestinian, Kurdish, and other regional conflicts by peaceful, diplomatic means--such as economic sanctions and international conferences--that primarily involve the United Nations and Arab League;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT call upon the President and Congress to initiate an energy policy emphasizing reduced oil usage, conservation, recycling, and development of non-nuclear, renewable power sources, as well as redirecting the massive sumes (sic) now being squandered in the Gulf to end poverty, homelessness, hunger, and illiteracy in the United States;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT condemn the anti-Arab racism fomented by both politicians and media, calling upon them to treat Arab peoples with honesty, dignity, and respect, and urging libraries to stock and publicize material originating in the Arab community itself;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT invite all American librarians to promote--through programs, displays, bibliographies, and materials selection--a genuine national debate on the Gulf crisis, interventionism, and energy policy, necessarily including "alternative" viewpoints and analyses from such sources as the American Friends Service Committee, Women Against Military Madness, National Council of Churches of Christ, Military Families Support Network, War Resisters League, New Jewish Agenda, and Arab¬-American Anti-Discrimination Committee;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT oppose the censorship and mutilation of books and magazines everywhere, including both the United States and Saudi Arabia.

SRRT Newsletter Issue 99, pp. 1-2