|Hearing the Voices of the Poor: Reflections on the War in Iraq
A Statement of the Community Food Security Coalition
Food Security Coalition yearns for a rapid and just end
to the war in Iraq. We grieve at the violence of the war and
the loss of life. We feel the sorrow of the war's victims and
the yearning throughout the world for peace. We see the grave
danger that the war may have terrible and lasting consequences
for international efforts to build peace, security and global
justice. Within this larger and awful context, we fear that
the conflict will set back essential efforts to build stable
and self-reliant food systems that diminish the paralyzing dread
of hunger and contribute to genuine security internationally
and in the United States.
Give Massive Humanitarian Aid to The Iraqi People
This war poses grave danger of untold civilian suffering and economic devastation in Iraq. A prolonged military campaign will cause greater disease, hunger and mortality, especially given the vulnerability of the Iraqi population. Iraq has suffered the greatest increase in child mortality in the world over the past ten years, the effect of U.N. sanctions and of Saddam's own policies. More than 16 million of Iraq's total population of 22 million rely entirely on food aid through the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, which will be disrupted by war. UNICEF estimates that more than two million Iraqi children will require therapeutic feeding. The U.S.-led coalition is preparing a massive humanitarian response, but the decision to invade without international consent and with U.N. agencies largely sidelined has fateful costs for the Iraqi people. The Community Food Security Coalition calls for massive humanitarian aid from governmental and non-governmental sources to the Iraqi population and for the rebuilding of the Iraqi nation devastated by war.
Protect Food Security in the United States
The war in Iraq will negatively impact the food security of America's poor. The costs of war, combined with proposed $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, threaten devastating cutbacks in U.S. social programs. While the White House asks Congress for $75 billion to cover immediate war expenses, on top of a military budget already exceeding $400 billion, the House Budget Committee recently unveiled a plan to cut social and health programs by $470 billion over the next eleven years, including $12 billion in food stamp cutbacks and $4 billion in child nutrition programs. The Community Food Security Coalition commits itself to support the maintenance of social safety net programs that keep all Americans free from hunger, lack of health care and economic devastation. Especially in this time of war, we rededicate ourselves to building healthy food, farms, and communities.
Cheap Oil and the Global Food System
The global food system depends on cheap oil for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and for transporting food produced thousands of miles away to out-compete food produced locally. The CFSC sees the tragedy of war in Iraq as another reason, beside the environmental and social costs of our present food system, to move to a more regional and sustainable food system that is less dependent on non-renewable energy sources, including foreign oil from the Middle East. We will renew our efforts to build this food system.
Creating Real Security
We fear that the war in Iraq will only inflame global public opinion against the United States, while contributing to the worsening social and economic conditions in the world that breed despair. True national security can never be achieved through military power alone. We call on the United States to lead the world community in the pursuit of world peace, global justice and sustainable development. These goals reflect the "Millennium Development Goals" which achieved endorsement in 2000 by the international community, including the United States, focusing on cutting extreme poverty in half, protecting human rights, the environment, and the most vulnerable populations. We see the grave danger that the war in Iraq may have terrible and lasting consequences for creating an increasingly dangerous and fragmented world, and destroy international efforts to build peace, security and global justice. The CFSC is convinced that real and lasting food security can never be achieved without economic justice and peace.
Begin the Peace
The Community Food Security Coalition calls for world leaders to listen to the voices of the poor and vulnerable people who suffer most from war in Iraq and in all nations. We declare our intention to work for peace along with people all over the world. We encourage our members to educate themselves and their constituencies about the war and its impact domestically and internationally on food security. We recommit ourselves to promoting just and sustainable regional food systems as steps toward a more peaceful world.