11 Families Call for Alternatives to Iraq War
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Jan 12 (Reuters) - Four relatives of U.S. victims of the Sept. 11 attacks ended
a peace mission to Baghdad on Sunday with a call on world leaders to use some
imagination to find ways to avoid war in the Iraq crisis.
"The Iraqi people have used
great imagination to make do with what very little they have these days,"
Colleen Kelly, a New York nurse who lost a brother on Sept. 11, 2001, told
reporters at the end of a
six-day trip to a country
crippled by 12 years of U.N. sanctions.
"We'd like to call upon
governments around the world to also use their imagination," Kelly said.
Her group visited hospitals, universities and schools in Baghdad and the city of
Basra in the far south.
Washington is massing troops in
the Gulf ahead of a possible invasion unless Iraq gives up chemical, biological
and nuclear weapons that Baghdad says it does not have.
The sanctions, imposed after
Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, have impoverished the oil-rich country which
says hundreds of thousands of children have died because of lack of medicines.
The Bush administration has said
it seeks "regime change" in Iraq, under 23-years rule of President
Saddam Hussein who Washington thinks could put doomsday weapons in the hands of
anti-U.S. Islamic groups.
"You can make changes
without war and that's what we're challenging our leaders to do," said
Kathleen Tinley, a student whose uncle died when suspected Islamic militants
slammed hijacked aircraft into the
World Trade Center towers in New
The women are members of the
anti-war Peaceful Tomorrows group set up by families of September 11 victims.
Baghdad has seen a stream of
solidarity groups visit in recent weeks and has promised that some activists
will act as "human shields" against a U.S. attack.
"Personally, I will
stay," said Bret Eartheart, a construction worker from Indiana who is a
member of an international anti-war group called the Iraq Peace Team.
"There are a lot of options
and for me war is not the best of them," he said.
© Copyright Reuters 2002.
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