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Re: France on sanctions (fwd)

Message text written by "Alan Bates (Nemo)"

Surely the argument for liftings sanctions against the Iraqi people is a
moral one.  Namely, that it is wrong to punish the people for the crimes
commited by a dictator who rules in their name, whom they have never given
their consent to rule over them.  Furthermore, many of the western
countries (Britain and the US in particular) have done much to help Saddam
maintain his grip on power both prior to and to some extent after the Gulf
war (see the Chomsky interview on the Web site).  The people of Iraq are
being punished because we have installed a dictator who we have
subsequently found not to be to our taste.  And it is not his human rights
abuses that have caused our government offence, only his disobedience.

Of course opposing sanctions we must press upon the government any
arguments we can that will pressurize them into changing their position. 
Our goal is to save a beleagured people.  And if this includes supporting
the French proposals - so be it.  But that does not hide the fact that our
government who:
- flood favoured dictators with arms and weapons of mass destruction.
- cause instability in the middle-east with our hypocritical policies.
- oppose democracy in the middle east.
- ignore UN SC resolutions when inconvenient (the list of examples is
- act aggressively without UN authority.
- maintain stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction of our own.
has no moral right to impose policy on Iraq.  By saying that "we" cannot
walk away from the fact that Saddam might re-arm, is by implication giving
our government the right to decide what the Iraqi regime's policies should
be.  A right "we" have, in fact, assumed in the past, and have encouraged
some pretty awful policies.  In my opinion our government should support a
movement towards some form a democratic government in Iraq - something it
has always opposed.  A democratic government would perhaps be less
concerned with weapons and more with schools, hospitals and welfare etc. 
There would be less oil revenues for "our" oil companies however.  The
actual specific foreign policy towards the current Iraqi regime is a much
wider question, wider perhaps than the campaign should concern itself with
too much, other than by supporting alternative policies that would
alleviate some suffering.  The overwhelming argument is a moral one.

Tim Lever

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