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Dear all, As I understand it, there is an acute psychological problem surrounding infant formula. As elsewhere in the Third World, powdered milk appears to be regarded as 'better' than breast milk. More technological, more advanced, more healthy. Removing the formula, however beneficial it might be in reality, might well be perceived by much of the population as deliberate deprivation by the government, aimed directly at the health of children. Similarly, I understand that many people in Iraq irrationally seek outside medication for any and all illnesses. This is just another psychological impact of the sanctions and the social conditions they are causing. On top of everything else, and the constant inadequacy of the food ration due to various supply problems, my sense is that this would be seen as extremely harsh by many people in Iraq. A large part of the social contract between the Iraqi government and those of its people under its jurisdiction seems currently to be negotiated via the food ration. Changes to the ration appear to be extremely highly charged political events. Whatever one thinks the government ought to do, this context ought to be borne in mind. Nothing in the above speculation addresses the issue of boiling water. When I visited a hospital last year (I believe it was in Fallujah) I asked whether the mother of a chronically malnourished child knew about boiling water, and my impression was that (a) she didn't, and (b) the doctor involved did not routinely explain such matters to patients. My impression is that, again, like many Third World societies, there was a heavy technological bias to Iraqi medicine, and that community medicine has never been a priority. This is all of a piece with the heavy technological bias of Iraqi agriculture and much of the rest of society, which left Iraq so acutely vulnerable to the power of economic sanctions. Why has such a bias in medicine not been rectified during the period of sanctions? One would need much more information than is currently available, but I would suspect a large part of the answer would be rooted in the attitudes and outlook of the Iraqi medical professions themselves. What relevance do these questions have to our struggles against sanctions? Well, the way I have always formulated the issue is that we in Britain and the US must acknowledge that our governments have the lion's share of responsibility for the civilian suffering in Iraq. There may be other factors and other agents involved, some accidental, some unconscious, some deliberate, but the overriding fact of the situation is that a state of seige has been imposed, and the most vulnerable people in Iraqi society have been ground underfoot, by a Security Council led by Britain and the US. Whether or not Iraqi society could have made, could still make, better adjustments to the circumstances we have imposed, does not remove the massive burden of responsibility we bear for our deliberate policy, which has continued unwaveringly in full knowledge of the conditions in Iraq. Best wishes, Milan Rai Voices UK -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***