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Veterans for Peace - go to Iraq

Veterans for Peace’ is a non-profit educational and humanitarian group involving a number of Gulf War veterans, and which is opposed to sanctions on Iraq. A delegation from the group travelled to Iraq last month to help repair some of the damage his army helped cause during the Gulf War. The delegation decided to focus its efforts on water treatment plants because clean water is key to human health. "Iraqi children are dying from water-borne diseases that can be stopped with proper water treatment," said Fredy Champagne, a Vietnam veteran and co-chair of the Iraq Water Project. "We can help save lives." In a 1998 report, the United Nations Children's Fund -- UNICEF -- said water treatment plants in Iraq lack spare parts, equipment, treatment chemicals, proper maintenance and adequate, trained staff. extended power failures limit efficiency.

Keith Boylan, one of the Gulf veterans travelling with the delegation said the Iraq Water Project represents the chance for healing and reconciliation with people he once considered the enemy. "I want to be able to come back and say: We helped people while we were there,"

Veterans for Peace is one of more than 100 groups that have declared their opposition to sanctions. Champagne, said the group has raised $35,000 to help pay for repair work on the first water treatment plant. The group plans to raise $80,000 more to repair three other plants. The veterans are paying their own expenses, so that all of the money donated to the project goes into rebuilding the plants. The physical work they will perform during their ten day stay in Iraq will be largely symbolic, as they are not trained in construction and are middle-aged. They state they are there mostly to show solidarity and support for ordinary working-class people.. It is hoped the trip will inspire more Gulf War veterans to join the next Iraq Water Project delegation in 2001.

More info from - Swords to Ploughshares: or Veterans for Peace:

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From CADU News 6: Winter 2000/2001

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Page last updated: January 28, 2003