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Re: Gosplan - another argument against OFF

Re: "Gosplan - another argument against OFF"

Chris Williams makes an interesting point, but it is overstated:

“...the OFF programme, with its demand that the government of Iraq orders
*everything* necessary for the functioning of the economy through one central
point, is the enforced creation of a centrally-planned economy on a grand scale
But the whole point of the OFF sanctions regime is to prevent Iraq’s economy
from recovering, whether through private capital flows or through state
planning. These sanctions are not the enforced creation of anything. They are
enforced destruction.

Chris argues that “enforc[ing the] creation of a centrally-planned economy” is a
perverse consequence of OFF, since “centrally-planned state-dominated economies
are hopelessly inefficient… Nobody - least of all the FCO [Foreign and
Commonwealth Office] … should be surprised, then, that it is not working.”
No, they won’t be surprised, since impeding Iraq’s economic recovery has been
their intention all along. They might be surprised that we might think they
might be surprised; they would certainly be relieved.

Chris finishes by saying, “I think that we ought to use the above argument on UK
and US representatives, for whom it may well have some resonance.”
Giving advice to the cynical authors of Iraq’s economic devastation about how to
improve their policy is a dead end.

What sort of dialogue is possible between the anti-sanctions, anti-war campaign
and the US and UK governments?  It is the determination of these imperialist
powers to continue exploiting, interfering in and lording over the Middle East
which is the problem, not Saddam Hussein! The US and UK governments themselves
spawned the grotesque Iraqi regime. They armed it, cosseted it, used it to
attack the Iranian revolution and the Kurdish struggle for national liberation.
Chris and other CASI members don’t need history lessons, but this immense crime,
which really has killed millions, if we include Iran-Iraq war casualties with
the victims of sanctions since 1990, is only one of many committed against the
peoples of the Middle East by the US and UK this century, crimes which have not
even been admitted, let alone atoned for.
For the sake of the argument, I’ll just chuck in one of my ‘favourite’ crimes.
Thousands of US Marines invaded Lebanon in 1958, sent there to help crush an
uprising by the majority Muslim population demanding equal citizenship with the
Maronite Christian minority (whose ascendancy within the Lebanese state and
society was part of France’s colonial legacy). The Lebanese people paid the
price, in the terrible civil wars of the 1980s, for this thwarting of democratic
revolution in 1958. Noam Chomsky has revealed that, at the time of the 1958
invasion, the US threatened to fire nuclear weapons at Iraq—their response to
the call by the Qassim government, brought to power by Iraq’s democratic
revolution that same year, for Arab armies to fight alongside their Lebanese
brothers and sisters.

When we consider what we know, we should have only one thing to say to the US
and UK governments. Get out of Iraq, get out of the Middle East. You have no
rights there.
You might think, “but the US and UK governments won’t enter into dialogue with
us on that basis!”
I would reply that, in that case, dialogue is only possible when we say things
which we should not be saying. Like, “hey, guys at the FCO, we’ve got ideas
about how to make your Iraq policy work better.”

Greetings from Sheffield

John S

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