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Re: The sanctions: a crime against humanity but not genocidal?

I've been hesitant to engage in this debate but one of statements in
M's most recent posting on it (21/11/99), namely that:

> The 'Gulf war' is a good example of a mismatched war.  Estimated 150,000
> Iraqi soldiers killed. 

reminded me of a previous posting to this list (archived at  In this, I reported
that Freedman and Karsh's book seemed to me to provide a more sensitive
assessment of deaths resulting from the Gulf War.  While you can read that
posting for further details, the figures that they report are the result
of a year's analysis (the 150,000 figures seem to be quickly conjured up
during the war) and are considerably lower.

As an aside, throughout this debate on the use of the word "genocide",
I've wondered how productive this is.  As none of us, to my knowledge, are
currently in the position of charging members of our governments, our
debate is not refining a legal argument.

Instead, we seem to be wondering whether we can use this in public
discourse.  My own sense is that, however right or wrong its use, an
ability to call what is happening in Iraq "genocide" may not strengthen
our case publicly.  Indeed, if the debate that we see here is at all
reflective of what members of the public, less concerned about the
situation there than we are, might think, my suspicion is that the use of
the word "genocide" may primarily be divisive.

Could I ask individuals interested in responding to these remarks to reply
DIRECTLY to me rather than to the whole list?  I'm concerned that this
thread may be of decreasing interest to members.


Colin Rowat

Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq

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