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Below is the text of a letter I submitted to the National Post. Thanks to the Skinners and Alan Bickley for their comments and to Colin Rowat for drawing my attention to it. More needed to be said, but anything from the public longer than sound-bite length seems to have little chance of publication in the mainstream media. It's probably already too long. ******** Dear Editor There are many factual errors in Alexander Rose’s article (19 August) regarding the effects of sanctions on Iraq. He states “It all began in 1995, when … the … FAO … asserted that 567,000 children had died.”. Actually, the first study on the detrimental effects of sanctions on Iraq was conducted in 1991 by the Harvard Study Team. Subsequent studies were conducted throughout the 1990’s. The New York Times, in contradiction to Rose, reported the effects of sanctions long after many organisations had publicised their effect. Rose’s comment that anti-sanctions groups have omitted the increase in the Iraqi population out of their mortality statistics, does not make sense. UNICEF’s latest study, which was methodologically sound and accurate, concludes that approximately 500,000 Iraqi children under 5 have died as a result of sanctions. The number of dead was calculated as a function of the under 5 mortality rate of the study sample, the projected under 5 mortality rate from before sanctions and the Iraqi population size. An increase in population size, in contradiction to what Rose seems to say, would result in a greater number of child deaths. Rose points out that Iraq’s infant mortality rate (IFM) before the Gulf War (i.e. 1990) was similar to Namibia’s IFM today (approx. 56). Actually, Rose is confusing Iraq’s under 5 mortality rate with Namibia’s IFM, hardly a fair comparison and hardly the point. Iraq’s mortality rates (under 5 and infant) were declining rapidly throughout the 1980s. If they had continued to decline at the same rate, Iraq’s under 5 mortality rate would be much lower than Namibia’s IFM! Rose seems to imply that Saddam Hussein is solely to blame for the disastrous situation facing Iraq’s population. Certainly he has done his share. However, the nature of the embargo forces Iraq’s population to be dependent on their government for food and medicine imports. Without the embargo, this aspect of the Iraqi economy would not have to be completely centrally planned and Iraqi citizens could organise their own imports and distribution channels. Besides, most foreign observers in Iraq have claimed that the Iraqi government has, with some exceptions, made an honest, if not competent, effort to distribute food and medicine to the population. Where does Rose get his figure for the crude death rate? UNICEF’s study is acknowledged as the first accurate infant mortality rate statistic to come out of Iraq since the Gulf War. How then can there be any accurate mortality figures with regard to the entire population? Nathan Geffen Toronto, Canada __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Bid and sell for free at http://auctions.yahoo.com -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, 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 ***