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chicago tribune opposes sanctions

Hi all,

Has anyone seen this yet?


Chicago Tribune Calls for Ending to Sanctions on Iraq

In today’s issue, the Chicago Tribune joins the Orange County Register
in becoming the second major American newspaper to formally call for the
lifting of the genocidal sanctions against Iraq.  The article can be
viewed online at:


Would the average American support killing innocent civilians to punish
a despicable dictator?

Hardly. Yet that, in starkest terms, has been probably the most notable
result of nine years of economic sanctions against Iraq for its deadly
invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The Bush and Clinton administrations supported United Nations-imposed
sanctions as a way to punish and undermine Iraqi strongman Saddam
Hussein, to cut off his resources and keep him from reconstituting his
armed forces or building weapons of mass destruction with which to
threaten neighbors.

However, by UN estimates, more than 1 million Iraqi civilians, most of
them children, have died since the Persian Gulf War as the direct or
indirect result of the sanctions. This while Saddam remains entrenched.
It's time for a change.

The Clinton administration insists the sanctions can be lifted only when
Iraq complies with UN disarmament resolutions. It blames Saddam for
Iraq's misery, arguing he has obstructed full implementation of the UN
oil-for-food deal designed to relieve his people's suffering. Indeed,
only this week the State Department released a report accusing Iraq of
exporting food, even though its people are malnourished.

In effect, the administration says, Saddam is cynically starving Iraqis
in order to fuel international opposition to the sanctions and get them
lifted without having to comply with UN arms mandates.

None of which, unfortunately, is surprising. Saddam's inhumanity towards
his own people is well documented. But the fact remains that the
sanctions are not working as they were intended and are producing
enormous, unconscionable suffering among people who are powerless to
throw off their leader.

Apart from the morality, the sanctions have become diplomatically
costly. Arab nations see them as anti-Muslim at best, genocidal at
worst. France, China and Russia oppose them, leaving the U.S. and
Britain alone on the UN Security Council pushing the policy.

There have been indications in recent days that the U.S. and Britain may
be open to change. Along with France, China and Russia, they are working
on a deal to ease sanctions if Iraq agrees to new UN weapons
inspections. It's not clear, however, why anyone supposes that Saddam
would go along with such a deal.

The administration fears, not unreasonably, that lifting sanctions would
give Saddam access to new resources he could use to rearm. Maybe so, but
nobody supposes he ever fully disarmed anyway.

A better approach would be to lift the economic sanctions against Iraq
and tighten instead the arms embargo. Additionally, the U.S. should make
clear that if he ever attacks a neighbor--or makes a serious threat to
do so--this country will retaliate massively.

It may not be possible for outsiders to ease his people's suffering by
ousting Saddam, but we ought not be adding to it either. The interest of
the U.S. and the international community is to contain Saddam, to keep
him from attacking or threatening his neighbors. Our policy ought to be
crafted to achieve those ends, not to inflict suffering

Letters to the editor of the Chicago Tribune can be sent online using
the form at <

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