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Nathan Geffen has done a commendable job in pointing out some serious problems with the statistics Rose uses as the basis of his argument in the National Post article. I would like to make a few a comments related more to the 'subtext' of the Rose piece. First, even if we give Rose the benefit of the doubt, all he has managed to establish is that the level of sanctions-related mortality has been over-estimated. In no way does this demonstrate his principle argument implied by the title of the piece: "Why lifting sanctions won't help Iraqis". Rose's unquestioned assumption is that the combined punitive and containment policy against Iraq enforced by the sanctions has been successful. According to the 'Rose Index of Justifiable Mortality" the additional 75 out of 1000 deaths of children who might otherwise be alive in the absence of sanctions are an acceptable price to pay for the continuation of this policy (again, giving Rose's own figures of an increase from 56 to 131 deaths per 1,000 live births the benefit of the doubt), . I agree with Mr. Geffen that there are serious problems with Mr. Rose's use of statistics and I agree with those who argue that the increased suffering of the Iraqi people does not justify this policy of punishment and containment. But I would like to also question the assumptions underlying this policy itself. Mr. Geffen gets to the crux of the issue in his letter to the Post. Nathan Geffen wrote: > 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. Without wanting to read more into Mr. Geffen's words than he intended, I would argue that the effect of sanctions has been to prolong the dictatorship of the Baath regime in Iraq. It has done so for the reasons Mr. Geffen mentions as well as by allowing him to maintain a fortress-like atmosphere of total authoritarian control. True, Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a dictatorship before the imposition of sanctions, but the total isolation of the country has allowed him to remove even those vestiges of a civil society which had managed to survive the Baath regime until 1991. In short, I would argue that the total economic and political centralization of Iraq, which sanctions have enabled, have deprived the Iraqi people of almost all ability to force change from within. Sanctions should be lifted not only because of the suffering they cause but also because they have failed to achieve any of the goals they set out to achieve, particularly to provide sustainable security for the region. The question of the manner in which sanctions should be lifted provokes a number of additional issues. Personally, I would prefer to see it involve a number of simultaneous indictments against senior members of the Baath regime. That is, instead of isolating the Iraqi people as sanctions have done, get to the root of the problem by isolating their principle persecutors. I am new to this list and I apologize if I have reiterated points that have already been made in this discussion. Regards -- ***************************** Ben Rempel University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canada ****************************** -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 ***