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[casi-analysis] Hilary Benn's line on reconstructing Iraq after ~30 years~ - spinalert!

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Dear list

The Government spin line regarding the reconstruction of Iraq appears to be
'rebuilding Iraq after 30 years'.  I just listened to Hilary Benn being
interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme:  he refered to '30 years'
around 5-6 times:
- '30 years of hardship'
- '30 years of under-investment under Saddam Hussein'
- 30 years ago Iraq had an economy equivalent to South Korea

This line went largely unchallenged by presenter James Naughtie.  Discussing
the sufferings of the Iraqi people, he did cut in at one point to say:  'and
under sanctions'
To which Benn replied:  '.. all of those things ...'
But he didn't challenge the 30 years line at all.

Even as a non-specialist, I was shouting at my radio for Naughtie to
challenge Benn, at least by pointing out that:
- in his early years of power, Saddam brought in many of the reforms which
helped bring about Iraq's prosperity in the late 1970s

- if 30 years is the starting point for the 'bad' period, then surely
representatives of Governments like Britain should be acknowledging the
British role in supporting Saddam in the 1980s while he bled his country's
wealth during the Iran-Iraq war

Questions to the specialists on this list:
- have I also got it wrong?  and if not, how can this Government line be
corrected without being dismissed as 'looking backwards instead of "moving
- and what time line or peg would you suggest instead of 30 years?

(Also, if the effect of sanctions can be acknowledged and dismissed so
lightly by ministers, then CASI's work against sanctions is still needed -
this time ironically to stop those sanctions being airbrushed out of

Cathy Aitchison
PS: 30 years is also mentioned by Benn on the Labour Party's website:

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