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question about oil-for-food

Tony Blair has said,

"The whole world should know that we have allowed Saddam to sell oil to
buy as much food and medicine for the Iraqi people as is necessary. He
could have fed and cared for his people but he has chosen not to."

My understanding is that this is misleading for a number of reasons:

1) Iraq is unable to produce as much oil as it is permitted to under
oil-for-food. This is because of a) low world oil prices; b) damage to oil
infrastructure caused by Allied bombing over the last eight years; and c)
sanctions which hinder the repair of oil installations.

2) It is debateable whether the oil-for-food programme does generate
sufficient cash, after UN and reparations deductions, even for adequate
food and medicine for the Iraqi people. 

3) Many medicines have been barred from import to Iraq under spurious
'dual use' regulations.

4) Food and medicine are only half the story. Essential infrastructure
such as clean water supplies, sewerage systems, electricity for
refrigeration, etc, are as important in preventing the main killer of the
sanctions regime - malnutrition. This infrastructure has been badly
damaged by Allied bombing and its repair is hampered by sanctions and the
resultant collapse of the Iraqi economy.

I would be grateful for any comments on the above points, especially
regarding their accuracy, any documentary sources which confirm or
contradict them, and any points which I have overlooked.

Has anyone else attempted a rebuttal of this specific statement by the
Prime Minister, and have you had any response from him?  

(Anne Campbell, MP for Cambridge, quotes this statement from the PM in
defending her defence of UK Government policy.)


ed genochio

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