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Unfortunately I don't keep as "on top of" things as I know some of you do, so I'm looking for a bit of help on replying to this nonsense. Thanks very much in advance. > >As I see it, opposition to sanctions against Saddam's regime is presented >here, and generally elsewhere on the 'hard' left, as an article of faith, >without supporting evidence and logical argumentation. I am afraid that the >language of morality employed here by Andrew simply fits into this pattern. > >For my own part, I am no expert on Iraq. There are parts of the world >(Africa) where I have lived for some time, and have studied for an even >longer time, but in the case of Iraq, I have no knowledge beyond what a >generally well-read person will gather from the news media. That is why I >have posed the difficulties I have with this 'article of faith' approach in >terms of questions. It is not inconceivable to me that my skepticism toward >the anti-sanctions movement might even be overcome if someone could answer >these questions in a compelling way. But what I find is that these questions >are generally not addressed (Jim Chapin and Bob Roman being the main >exceptions, but then they don't assume this article of faith stance to begin >with); instead a position of 'moral turpitude' is imputed to those who raise >questions about the anti-sanctions movement. > >Once again, I think that these are some basic questions that must be answered: > >(1) How is this use of sanctions different from the use of sanctions in >South Africa, which we all supported? Of course, the ANC and the resistance >in South Africa supported the sanctions, despite the effect they had on poor, >black South Africans, because they believed -- correctly, we can say in >retrospect -- that sanctions would hasten the end of apartheid. I have yet to >see evidence that the Iraqi equivalent of the ANC and the South African >resistance is opposed to sanctions. All I see is invocations of "ordinary" >Iraqis, with evidence of their views little more than television interviews >given under the watchful eyes of Saddam's secret police, in just the same way >that the apartheid government invoked "ordinary" South Africans against >sanctions. I would be happy to see something more convincing. > >(2) In the absence of compelling evidence, I have difficulty with accepting >the premise that it is entirely sanctions which is causing what human >hardship now exists in Iraq. I point simply to the recent refusal of Saddam >to renew the UN agreement which would allow him to exchange a certain amount >of oil for food and medicine. How much of the suffering which is going on is >a result of deliberate policy choices by Saddam as part of a stratagem to end >the sanctions so that he can rebuild the army and weapons of destruction? How >much of it is a result of deliberate policy choices of Saddam to punish the >Shia of the south and the Kurds of the north? > >(3) What is the alternative policy to sanctions? Surely no one thinks that >diplomacy and persuasion is going to make the slightest difference to Saddam. >Surely no one thinks that the resistance to Saddam is anywhere near >overthrowing him. Sanctions seem far more preferable to me than military >intervention, and I see that as almost inevitable if Saddam rebuilds his >nuclear capability and his biological and chemical capability. I do not find >a 'do nothing' policy (i.e., no policy at all) very compelling. > >Principled politics involves the articulation of morality and feasibility in >political strategy. The invocation of morality absent any effective political >strategy is the guarantee of irrelevance and marginality. What is the power >of the prophet when no one listens? > >Leo Casey >United Federation of Teachers >260 Park Avenue South >New York, New York 10010 (212-598-6869) > >Power concedes nothing without a demand. >It never has, and it never will. >If there is no struggle, there is no progress. >Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation are men who >want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and >lightening. They want the ocean without the roar of its waters. >-- Frederick Douglass -- -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi