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Re: question about oil-for-food

> Blair's first sentence is untrue in the sense that relying 
> on those sources alone would not be enough. However, where 
> Blair is right is that, if Saddam Hussein used the 
> resources of his state to maximise the welfare of his 
> people rather than diverting what resources he can to the 
> elite and to military capability, then, combined with the 
> oil for food programme he *could* feed and care for 
> the Iraqi people to a great extent. A parallel here is with 
> Cuba - in spite of US sanctions, Castro has managed to 
> ensure a relatively high standard of living for his people. 
> It is important that, when our opponents have a grain of 
> truth, we should not deny it - that weakens our position.

I think the point is Saddam Hussein could feed and care for the Iraqi
people to a *greater* extent - whether this would be sufficient to restore
an acceptable standard of living is questionable. The parallel with Cuba
is misleading, as it had not prior to sanctions been subjected to two
highly-destructive wars which reduced its infrastructure to pre-modern
levels. I don't have Denis Halliday's figures to hand, but I think they
indicated that even if Iraq did use all its available resources, they
would still be woefully inadequate to restore the infrastructure -
presumably why he referred to Oil for Food as "band aid stuff". Pumping in
medicines, for example, wouldn't address the cause of so much illness and
death, ie contaminated water supplies. 

Admittedly though, knowing exactly how much is spent on the military and
the elite would be helpful.

best wishes,

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