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> > "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." Two points on Blair's quote: Iraq has not been able to produce and sell oil freely to buy food and medicine as is necessary (don't forget that a large portion of the oil money goes to UNSCOM and Kuwait - who paid the coalition for the Gulf War. How have they managed to make stick the phrase 'oil for food'? Goebbals was an amateur.). The responsibility is totally ours if it is our actions that are devastating a country and killing children. We have chosen these sanctions as a means of pursuing our political and military objectives for the region - whatever the cost it seems. > 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. This argument of 'could do better' is totally falacious. It applies to everybody and everything. How many elderly people die of hypothermia in the UK every winter and what do we spend on cruise missiles? The Iraqi distribution of resources has been praised by the UN. Be careful of the stories which focus on Saddam Hussein and everything he does wrong (or so they say). The crucial question is: do Iraq's sales of oil generate enough income (after massive deductions) to adequately feed and care for the people of Iraq? A second question is to try and clarify what is meant by 'care for'. The sanctions regime fails terribly on both points. > 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. The differences are too great for this to be a useful parallel: Iraq has had its infrastructure seriously damaged and the opportunity for repair denied it (an initial Gulf War aim of the US was to destroy the power, water and sewage infrastructure of Iraq so as to deliberately hit the civilian population - surely a war crime?). The north of Iraq has been partitioned off. The US have closed all borders and patrol all shipping and have stopped all flights in and out. Internet, banking, phones etc are all halted. Iraqis cannot leave the country etc... Iraq is trying futilely to defend itself from attack. I would say that Cuba is relatively backward but that wealth has been well shared out with the poorest quite well cared for. Incidentally it was said that in Iraq, pre Gulf War, wealth was quite well distributed with the poorest quite well looked after (apart from the nomads etc). Socialist with religion apparently. > It is important that, when our opponents have a grain of > truth, we should not deny it - that weakens our position. Agreed but in this case Blair's argument is disengenuous. Mark Parkinson -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html