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The most influential newspaper among American policymakers -- the Washington Post -- discusses Iraq in its lead editorial today (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-08/17/010l-081799-idx.html) . Others may wish to respond, as I have below. E-mails can be sent to 'firstname.lastname@example.org' or 'email@example.com'. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA --- To the Editor of the Washington Post: The Washington Post's editorial attention to humanitarian conditions in Iraq is welcome, but its reporting is selective and its assumptions are false. Given two undeniable facts (that Saddam Hussein is brutal and that conditions in UN-controlled Iraqi Kurdistan are better than in the UN-monitored, Saddam-controlled south), the Post makes an inference of causality: that Saddam has manipulated conditions, causing depradation to force an end to sanctions. Unfortunately, the full story is not this simple -- nor as comforting to the American conscience. Sanctions are simply *not* the same in the north and south. UNICEF's executive director, Ms. Carol Bellamy, explains the differences in Iraqi mortality rates as follows: the Kurdish north has been receiving humanitarian assistance for longer than the remainder of Iraq, agriculture in the north is better, and evading sanctions is easier. In addition, the north receives 22% more per capita from the Oil for Food program, and gets about 10% of all UN-controlled assistance in currency, while the rest of the country receives only commodities. The north also benefits from the aid of 34 Non-Government Organizations, while in the whole rest of the country there are only 11. The Post rightly condemns (as does the UN) Iraqi delays in ordering nutritional supplements for children. However, the UN has made equally strong condemnation of U.S./British delays in approving urgently needed humanitarian imports. The Post should join this criticism as well. The UN's current humanitarian administrator, Mr. Hans von Sponeck, says simply that 'political dialogue is taking place on the back of the Iraqi people', that 'sanctions are an experiment that must not be repeated'. The man he succeeded, Mr. Dennis Halliday, resigned as an act of conscience last fall to protest sanctions' murderous toll. Neither Von Sponeck nor Halliday has blamed Saddam's manipulations for this disaster. Speaking of disasters, the Post neglects to mention UNICEF's most staggering estimate: 500,000 additional children would have lived had the decline in childhood mortality continued under sanctions. Five Hiroshimas. A Dresden and a half. Last autumn, Representative John Conyers (D-MI) proposed to de-couple economic and military sanctions; the Iraqi economy would be freed, while stringent controls over Iraq's military would remain. This proposal is again circulating through Congress, and offers a secure alternative to the obscene misery of the present all-or-none embargo. Conyers' initiative deserves your support, and that of our policymakers. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN 55426  "The Suffering of Children", Washington Post, August 17, 1999  Reported by the Associated Press, August 12, 1999 Online at http://www.msnbc.com/news/300149.asp  Communication with Professor Richard Garfield of Coumbia University. Garfield is an epidemiologist who studies the health effects of sanctions.  Mr. Benon Sevan made this criticism, as reported in an Associated Press story by Edith Lederer, July 22, 1999: "Undersecretary-General Benon Sevan said delays in endorsing shipments of food and medical supplies and spare parts for the oil industry are undermining efforts to improve living conditions for Iraqis living under economic sanctions. ... His remarks were targeted at Britain and the United States, which have delayed scores of contracts..."  See the following Reuters' story by Dominic Evans: INTERVIEW-UN sees British concern on Iraq embargo (LONDON, July 22 (Reuters))  From interview transcript, Von Sponeck with representatives of the humanitarian group, Voices in the Wilderness.  "The Deaths He Cannot Sanction: Ex-U.N. Worker Details Harm to Iraqi Children" by Michael Powell, The Washington Post, December 17, 1998  See http://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm and http://www.unicef.org/reseval/iraq.htm Hiroshima blast estimates vary (typically 70-80,000, per Ambrose).  For further information, contact Representative Conyers' Legislative Director, Carl LeVan (voice 202-225-5126, fax 202-225-0072). -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***