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LA Times calls for an end to economic sanctions!

At long last, one of the big-three U.S. newspapers has called for an end to
economic sanctions against Iraq.  The following editorial ran in the LA
Times on September 3.  And while we might wish for a stronger statement of
humanitarian concern, what follows is a significant turnaround from the
Times' earlier positions[1].  Letters of support may be sent to ).  

Now if only the Washington Post and New York Times would follow ...

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA
The Los Angeles Times
Friday, September 3, 1999 
Home Edition 
Section: Metro 
Page: B-6 

Iraq Inspections a Must 
U.S. should face its policy failure and work out a plan to revive
international monitoring.

Three goals have defined U.S. policy on Iraq since the end of the Persian
Gulf War in 1991: to contain it militarily, to deny it weapons of mass
destruction and to encourage the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Only the first
of these has been achieved. 
Despite the damage to Iraqi society by economic sanctions, despite the
destruction of more Scud missiles, chemical and biological warheads and
secret weapons facilities than were destroyed in the Gulf War, Iraq
apparently is still capable of producing unconventional weapons and
Hussein's grip on power has not slackened. It's time to consider a new

The no-fly zones patrolled by U.S. and British aircraft over northern and
southern Iraq and the almost daily attacks since last December on Iraq's air
defense sites have held Hussein's aggressive instincts in check. But in the
face of increasing Iraqi obstruction, UNSCOM, the U.N. arms monitoring
program, ceased functioning nine months ago. Meanwhile, economic sanctions
have taken a fearful toll, not on Hussein and his cosseted military and
police forces but on the Iraqi people. Hundreds of thousands of deaths,
especially of children, have been blamed on a lack of imported food and
medicine that has been only partly relieved by letting Iraq resume some oil
sales. Hussein has been unmoved by this suffering but has sought with some
success to manipulate the compassion of others. International support for
Washington's determination to hold to a tough sanctions policy has steadily

The U.N. Security Council will soon try to decide whether UNSCOM can be
revived and an effective arms monitoring program restored in Iraq. Whatever
might be agreed--and substantial differences separate the Russian, Chinese
and French positions from those of the United States and Britain--the final
word will rest with Saddam Hussein.

To try to win his agreement, the United States should offer to alter its
policy of the last eight years. If Iraq agrees to readmit U.N. inspectors
and allow on-the-ground monitoring that might again put its covert weapons
programs at risk of detection and destruction, Washington would support a
sweeping suspension of sanctions, allowing unlimited sales of Iraqi oil and
the resumption of most imports except military equipment and dual-use

There's a clear political risk to this approach. Some would denounce it as
appeasement of Hussein, who, if he accepted the deal, could be depended on
to boast that his defiance of Washington carried the day. Some Iraqis would
be impressed. So would many others in the Arab world, where official as well
as popular sympathy for Iraq has been growing.

The offset is that Iraq's programs to build weapons of mass destruction--its
greatest threat to regional security--would again be opened up to
international monitoring. For the United States, the painful fact to be
faced is that sanctions haven't achieved what it sought. While Iraq for now
is contained, the absence of U.N. arms inspectors raises concerns about its
future military potential. It's time to try a different tack by offering to
trade sanctions for intrusive weapons inspections. Washington should show
flexibility and leave the burden of rejection to Saddam Hussein. 

Copyright (c) 1999 Times Mirror Company 

[1] The following bit of history is from FAIR - a U.S. press watch
organization - at]  

"... At one point (8/18/95), the L.A. Times forthrightly acknowledged the
suffering as the whole point. A primary reason "for keeping the pressure of
sanctions on is that increasingly desperate conditions in Iraq seem
inexorably to be sapping the regime's staying power," they applauded. Two
years later, with conditions still more "desperate," the paper remained
unmoved: "The fate of the criminally misled people prompts pity," they
stated (11/21/97). "The fate of all those who are potential victims of
Hussein's terror weapons-Americans included-must take precedence...."

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