Our Peace Vigil at Shannon today was a windy affair but Spring was in the air, so the joys of the season should have been evident. However Shannonwatch and other NGO research has revealed that war related deaths of children in the Middle East since the 1991 First Gulf War may have amounted to up to one million children dead. Since we in Ireland have been partly complicit in these deaths as a result of US military use of Shannon Airport we had started a project to try and put names on as many of these children who have died as possible. To us and of course to their families these children's deaths are not just "collateral damage".
The same cannot be said of the US authorities. US General Franks stated in Baghdad in 2003 that "we don't do body counts". And when CBS '60 Minutes' journalist Lesley Stahl asked former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright the following about US sanctions against Iraq, “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?” Albright responded "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."
Well we don't agree with Madeleine Albright or General Franks. We believe that the lives of all these children were very important, and that they must not be forgotten. We have already compiled almost 1,000 children's names. Today we began the process of recording some of these on white ribbons and attaching the ribbons to the perimeter fence at Shannon Airport. We also asked the Gardaí who were present to begin doing their duty, and investigate and inspect all US military aircraft being refueled at Shannon airport so as to end Irish complicity in this dreadful toll of children killed.