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Salon.com -- the web's most visited ezine -- has too often behaved as the administration's trained parrot in its foreign policy analysis. Not so in today's report by Ian Williams, in which he says: "... But if hypocrisy were a mortal sin, then those countries that have supported U.N. sanctions against Iraq have gotten off lightly. They'd be burning in hell. ..." I've also attached salon.com's profile of Denis Halliday from last January, "Counting the Dead Children" ... Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA ---  http://www.salon.com/news/feature/1999/12/21/iraq/print.html salon.com: News Dec. 21, 1999 A new era for Iraq? Saddam Hussein must decide whether to accept the U.N.'s latest arms-inspection deal, which could end sanctions against his country. By Ian Williams Diplomats on the U.N. Security Council have spent years in diplomatic purgatory over Iraq. But if hypocrisy were a mortal sin, then those countries that have supported U.N. sanctions against Iraq have gotten off lightly. They'd be burning in hell. At noon last Friday, after a year of diplomatic trench warfare, the Security Council finally agreed on resolution 1284 on Iraqi sanctions and disarmament. It is the first significant change in U.N. policy toward Iraq, which has now suffered almost 10 years of the most crippling sanctions ever imposed on any country. The resolution calls on Baghdad to accept a new monitoring and inspection regime, in return for the suspension of economic sanctions. The sanctions have now lasted the best part of a decade, and it has been a year since U.N. arms inspectors were chased out of Iraq. As a concession to Russian and Iraqi distaste for the previous inspection commission, UNSCOM, and its head, Australian diplomat Richard Butler, the new body will be known as UNMOVIC, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection commission. Now comes the really hard part -- persuading Saddam Hussein that this is his best chance to end the sanctions that have quietly killed more of his people than an outright military assault would have done. It does not look good so far. To begin with, Russia, China, France and Malaysia abstained on the resolution, which passed by an 11-0 vote. That makes it legal, but sends a tacit message to Iraq that there is not universal enthusiasm for the measure. which could have weakened U.N. efforts to pressure Saddam Hussein. So far, Baghdad has repudiated the resolution. The resolution lifts the ceiling on oil sales as an inducement to Baghdad to cooperate. With its time-honored skill in making its citizenry pay the cost of its principles, Iraq is refusing to exceed the previous ceiling. On the other hand, Saddam Hussein's regime has turned on a dime before. If he does eat his words over the resolution, he will be in good company. Resolution 1284 does actually represent a significant but under-advertised climb-down by Washington. In the past U.S. policy, as stated for example by Madeleine Albright, was to maintain sanctions until Saddam Hussein was toppled even if Iraqi civilians suffered. In the talks on the new resolution, the United States has accepted that the purely economic sanctions will be suspended if Baghdad cooperates with the new U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. In past debates British and American diplomats have reiterated the terms of the original Gulf War cease-fire resolution about returning missing Kuwaiti prisoners and property, citing Iraqi non-compliance as a reason why sanctions could be maintained even if Iraq were to get a clean bill of health for destroying its weapons stockpiles. In this resolution, the sanctions would be suspended if Iraq simply cooperates with the inspectors. The prisoners and property issue would only apply to a final formal lifting. The new UNMOVIC would not be permitted to conduct an open-ended sifting of the sand dunes for signs of surreptitious weapon shops. It has to provide a specific work program and questions for the Iraqis to follow and answer to. For some reason, the State Department had not drawn too much attention to this aspect, and it is only since the passing of the resolution that some arms control specialists are getting upset. It is a big concession from the United States to the rest of the world which has consistently argued that Iraq had to have "light at the end of the tunnel" as an incentive to cooperate with inspectors. It also represents a tacit admission that the air strikes the United States and the British have been mounting against Iraq for the last year have failed to dent the Baghdad regime's determination in the slightest. Significantly, not even Iraq's best friends on the Security Council, Russia and China, want the military embargo lifted. It is clearly in nobody's interest to see dangerous chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the hands of someone who has used them in the past, and who would certainly use them again given half a chance. Pressure to end the economic sanctions has been building for some time. No Iraqi has been able to vote for or against Saddam Hussein, but the price of sanctions has been paid by the majority of the people who have no connection with the regime. In contrast, in Serbia, where the people voted for Milosevic during 10 years of warfare, sanctions were progressively lifted even as the casualty rate in Kosovo rose. Opponents of sanctions sometimes forget that Iraq invaded Kuwait, and should not have done so. There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein developed and in some instances used chemical and biological weapons and tried to make nuclear weapons, nor that he has waged genocidal struggles against Shi'as and Kurds. But the multiple layers of hypocrisy surrounding the main proponents of sanctions have made it difficult for them to take the moral high ground. Infant mortality rates in Iraq have soared since sanctions were imposed. When children reached adolescence, Saddam Hussein may well have sent them to die in useless bloody wars, but in their infancy they were well looked after. Iraq had one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the developing world before 1990. The pain inflicted on Iraqi civilians has been too embarrassing for every country except the United States, which is genuinely unembarrassable where Arab casualties are concerned. But there are few clean hands here. The Iraqi war machine had been built up by Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the United States in the course of the long, bloody aggressive war that Baghdad waged against neighboring Iran. During that struggle the Iraqis used chemical weapons against Iranian troops, and against Kurdish dissidents, but no one in the West seemed to care. A U.N. Commission of Inquiry set up as part of the eventual U.N.-brokered cease-fire found that Iraq had started that war, but its findings were whispered in the darkest recesses of the U.N. rather than shouted from its roof top. Most permanent members of the Security Council had actively supported Iraq and the same states were now engaged in assessing huge reparations against Baghdad. The finding could well have given Iran first dip of those if any from of equity were applied, but luckily for the West, the Iranians, in their intensely theological way, seemed more interested in a moral than a monetary vindication. Even now, the U.N. weapons inspectors have not seen fit to reveal the lists of Western companies that supplied the technology for Iraq's weapons of mass murder. Indeed one reason the Russians want sanctions lifted very quickly is so that they can get repayment of the $6 billion that Baghdad owes them for all the weaponry that the Soviets sold them. Almost as important a reason for both the Russians and the Chinese is that their oil companies have been assured of lucrative development and exploration contracts in Iraq when the sanctions are over. On the other hand, since the Russians are now doing unto to the Chechens what Saddam Hussein wants to do to the Kurds and Shi'as they are hardly in a position to give sermons on humanitarianism. Indeed, it has been alleged that in return for Russian support for the resolution, or failure to veto it, Washington has agreed to keep its lips even more sealed than previously about the Russian campaign in Chechnya to emulate the Serbs in Kosovo. The French are still on the horns of a dilemma. French oil companies Elf Aquitaine and Total are chasing similar contracts, but, as the Iraqi press warned them, French support for the resolution could cost them their chance. The French socialist government does indeed oppose the sanctions on humanitarian grounds, but, after all, there is no more compelling force than a lofty principle compounded with a healthy dose of self-interest. However, French public opposition to the new resolution was not, according to other diplomats involved in the process, replicated in the private negotiations. What we saw was daisy-chain diplomacy, in which the Chinese would follow the Russians, the French tried to pull Moscow over, and on the other side, the British would try to pull over the Americans. The lengthy chain would then be reinforced with lots of diplomatic ambiguity so that everyone could claim a victory. The French kept their oil options open with an abstention, which allowed the resolution to pass. The British are very unhappy about sanctions privately, since they are difficult to square with the moral and ethical dimension of foreign policy that Foreign Secretary Robin Cook keeps talking about. However, their main leverage with Washington is that alone among major allies, London has pushed a hard line in public. That allowed them in other cases like Libya, to produce a workable compromise that Washington and Tripoli could both accept. It remains to be seen whether the strategy will worked this time. Oddly enough, in the end, it may hinge on Saddam Hussein's assessment of American domestic politics. Can the White House genuinely lift sanctions during an election year when all candidates will be trying to be nice to Israel and nasty to its enemies, most notably Iraq? It will be a close call, one that may pit Democratic presidential hopes against the Iraqi people. salon.com | Dec. 21, 1999 ---  http://www.salon.com/news/1999/01/15newsb.html Counting the dead children Critics blast U.S. sanctions that kill Iraqi babies, but leave Saddam fat and happy. salon.com: Jan. 15, 1999 BY JEFF STEIN "Well, I'm unemployed," Denis Halliday quips. "But I am busy," he adds, and he brightens as he lists the places he's going and all the people he's talking to. None of them are American officials. Halliday, a tall, proper Irishman, is not given to self-pity, or to public expressions of sentiment of any kind. But there is an edge in his voice today. Not because he's been without a job since last August, when he resigned in protest as the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. And not because he's a pariah among American officials. It's because another 200 or so children died of malnutrition in Iraq today. And the day before. And the day before that. And tomorrow, with their stick arms and drooping heads, crying until they fall asleep and die, eyes open. Somewhere between 300,000 and a half-million Iraqi children have expired from the effects of the U.S.-led sanctions that were imposed on Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War in 1991, Halliday says. Of course, Saddam and his pals are eating just fine. He's stamped out his opposition like a cigarette, and even after the latest spasm of U.S. cruise missiles in December, the mustachioed strongman in the black beret seems plump and happy as ever. Which is dawning on the American people, who enjoy a display of military might as much as the next country -- but only so long as it works. The evidence coming in is that it didn't. And meanwhile, the news is slowly seeping out of Iraq that children are dying in huge numbers thanks to the sanctions, which have been as useless as last month's cruise missile attack in challenging Iraqi leadership. This is not something the Clinton administration, threatened with eviction by the Senate, wants to hear. Or, so far, that the American media generally want to write about. The growing chorus of boos has focused on the military and strategic failures of the Iraq campaign, the toothless bombing and the CIA's bumbling efforts to dislodge Saddam. When sanctions come up, the discussion is usually businesslike, as if the issue had merely to do with sales of farm machinery and fertilizer. It is seldom mentioned that the sanctions are killing 200 children a day -- children who bear no responsibility for Saddam's misdeeds. "A high percentage of the deaths are of infants less than 1 year old," Halliday says. "There are a number of reasons for it. The health of the Iraqi mother is, generally speaking, greatly depleted after the eight years of sanctions. They're not breast feeding, they're using formula. The formula is mixed with water that is no longer potable and extremely dangerous." As the conversation continues, Halliday's voice thickens. After a while, it takes on the steel of an Irish street fighter. He spent a year in Iraq watching children die, until last October, when he'd had enough. He emits a caustic cough, clears his throat. "You know, the coalition forces did a good job. They destroyed the sewage and water system throughout the country. So you've now got raw sewage in the water, in the street. It's a total disaster. It was tremendously effective bombing, but it's killing a lot of kids, because the water is carrying typhoid and other communicable diseases that are hard to deal with, and which kill infants very quickly." Facts like these discomfort people. It's one thing to kill civilians as collateral damage, as an unfortunate side effect of taking down a megalomaniac like Saddam. It's another thing to countenance a policy in which all the damage is collateral, none of it apparently hitting its intended target. Saddam and his cronies have brushed off the American-led sanctions like a swarm of flies over their broiled mutton. It's the children who are dying, hundreds of thousands of them, mostly infants, almost all under 5 years of age; 259,000 people in all, Halliday figures, since the embargo began in 1991. The World Health Organization and UNICEF say the figure may be much higher -- a half-million or more dead since 1991. Halliday came to Washington last week, virtually invisible as he passed through the throngs of reporters and camera crews jostling over the capital's impeachment circus. He received no coverage from the capital media, merely an interview with a television station out of Qatar, and a session on C-SPAN with the Arab-American Antidiscrimination Committee. The Washington Post published a feature piece on Halliday in December. National Public Radio has had him on "six or seven times," he says. Otherwise, his message has slipped through the radar. "The New York Times has been pretty cautious," he notes, cautiously. When Halliday quit the Iraq job last summer, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., invited him to Washington and later produced a letter to President Clinton signed by 42 congressmen that criticized the sanctions. That's as much political muscle as he could raise. "I think impeachment has derailed a lot of further work on this," Halliday said, with understatement. While Washington obsesses over impeachment, however, things move forward -- or backward, as may be the case -- in Iraq. In the wake of December's bombing, the West is faced with the worst of all alternatives -- sanctions but no inspections, says David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank. Albright thinks Iraq is closer to building a nuclear bomb now than it was in 1991. What Saddam needs is the fissionable material from Russia, he says, "which is in an economic collapse, plus they're pissed off at us," Albright says. Unemployed Russian scientists, in other words, might be in a mood to sell it. And without inspectors on the ground in Iraq, "Saddam could build a bomb and we'd never know about it. Given a choice between no inspectors or no sanctions, Albright said, "I'd choose no sanctions." Meanwhile, a food fight broke out last week among U.N. chief Kofi Annan, U.N. inspection chief Richard Butler, the White House and the CIA, over revelations that the U.S. placed spies and listening devices in Iraq under United Nations cover. Wags noted the news was as shocking as the discovery of gambling at Rick's Cafe. For the moment, however, the spy caper served only to hand Saddam a propaganda victory and a pretext for keeping the inspectors out. Large cracks have been opening in what for years has been near unanimity over Iraq strategy, however. Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., took the unprecedented step of hammering Clinton on the December bombing even as American warplanes were in the air over Baghdad. Right-wing columnist Pat Buchanan, a speechwriter for Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War, has slammed the sanctions as immoral. Friday, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., a Chicago-based group called Voices in the Wilderness will kick off a march from the Pentagon to U.N. headquarters in New York, hoping to draw attention to the punishing effect of the sanctions on ordinary Iraqis. The group has been fined $160,000 by the Treasury Department for shipping medicine and toys to Iraq. Keeping a stiff upper lip, the White House insisted it had Saddam "in a box" last week, and began comparing its strategy against Iraq to the 40-year-long Cold War policy of containment against Moscow, which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. That, however, was a political and military strategy. The West abandoned its economic embargo of Soviet Russia in the 1920s. "Washington has so successfully demonized Saddam Hussein -- and, you know, he may deserve it, I'm not questioning that -- but they've demonized the entire Iraqi population," Halliday argues. "And the American people can't identify with the Iraqis as people like themselves, with families, with kids, with gardens and cars. So they're dying? Nobody cares. When Madeleine Albright can go on '60 Minutes' and justify 5,000 [children dying] a month, which is what she did, that is quite revolting." The isolation of Iraq -- the closing of its borders and prohibitions against its students studying abroad -- may have even more insidious ramifications for the West, Halliday argues. He raises the specter of Iraq turning into another Afghanistan, a country cannibalizing itself in a religious hysteria, by closing its borders and prohibiting its students to travel to the West. Already, he says, there are signs that militant youth are pushing Saddam into more aggressive confrontations with the United States. "We are isolating an entire generation or two, we're isolating and alienating these people," Halliday says. "We're in danger of creating a sort of Taliban, and for the future that's got to be very dangerous." For the moment, though, he is most haunted by the picture of starving children. "Malnutrition leads to stunting, both physical and mental stunting, which is a frightening thought," Halliday says, "because it means we are hurting or destroying an entire generation of kids who are someday going to run this country. And believe me, that's something to think about. We think it's bad now." Halliday tolerates a journalist's quizzing him on the methodology behind his morbid numbers, and why there is a gap between his own figures and UNICEF's higher estimate. He is patient, to a point, but he grows weary. "If it's 200,000 or 500,000 really doesn't matter," he says. "It's still a criminal activity. It's illegal, it's inappropriate, it's disgusting." SALON | Jan. 15, 1999 Jeff Stein is a Salon correspondent in Washington. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi