The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Disinformation in today's Times

Dear Diaa el Radwa Hadid and All

Please be advised that the following paragraph does not stand up:

>UNICEF reports these sanctions have directly caused the deaths of
>1.5 million people, including 500,000 children.  A conservative
>estimates, according to Professor Richard Garfield, a specialist on
>the health effects of sanctions.  Between 2,690 and 5,357 children
>die every month.

1) UNICEF says that 500,000 children under five have died who would not have
died if child mortality rates had continued to decline rather than
increasing in the 1990s. To my knowledge, they have not offered any
estimates for adult mortality. Therefore 1,500,000 as a total cannot come
from UNICEF.

2) UNICEF have not (and will not, is my guess) offer an explanation of the
causes of the excess mortality. However, given that the time period includes
the 1991 Gulf War and the civil uprisings that followed it, a considerable
proportion of the excess deaths may be attributed to (a) the fighting, and
(b) the conditions of life during the fighting not immediately attributable
to, or exacerbating the effects of, sanctions, it is clear that one cannot
simple 'read off' the 500,000 excess child deaths as due to sanctions.

(There is a third effect of the fighting also: (c) damage caused by fighting
which has exacerbated the effects of sanctions. This is of critical
importance, but does not affect the immorality of sanctions, as they have
been continued deliberately despite knowledge of the condition of Iraqi
society caused by the bombardment and civil strife.)

The only explanation of the causes of the excess deaths given by UNICEF
seems to be the reiteration by the agency of the judgement of the
humanitarian panel earlier this year, to the effect that 'Even if not all
suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions,
the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of
the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of

3) Richard Garfield has never endorsed a 1,500,000 total cumulative death
toll from sanctions. He has however endorsed the 500,000 UNICEF estimate.

4) However, Garfield has not, to our knowledge, described the UNICEF
estimate as 'conservative'. He has made the following comment to Drew Hamre
(posted on the CASI list 16 August).

>In phone conversation, Dr. Garfield said that the
>UNICEF survey[1] was methodologically sound and
>that its results (based upon the first large-scale field
>data collected since 1991) made his purposefully
>conservative analysis of historical mortality data[2]
>'look extremely conservative.'

5) It would be helpful if you could cite the references for your monthly
child mortality rates, and the periods to which they refer.

I hope this is useful. I think the UNICEF estimate is an incredibly
important contribution to the debate about sanctions, and to the
anti-sanctions campaign. However, it will begin to lose its value if it is
misused in ways that are easily demonstrated by those who continue to
support sanctions.

My best wishes,

Milan Rai

Sign the National Petition Against Sanctions On Iraq

voices in the wilderness uk
12 Trinity Road, London N2 8JJ
phone/fax: 00 44 (0)181 444 1605

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To be removed/added, email, NOT
the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list
*** Archived at ***

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]