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Anti-Sanctions Editorials

Following is a collection of anti-sanctions editorials appearing over the
past 2-weeks, including:
* Two from Haroon Siddiqui, the editorial page editor emeritus of the
Toronto Star.
  - Both are included for completeness, though the earlier piece has
appeared in CASI
  - CASI's "young Rowat" is mentioned rather prominently in Siddiqui's
thought-provoking piece, "Alternatives to sanctions ..."
  - Siddiqui's courage should be recognized, as his view contradicts the
institutional viewpoint of his paper
* "Dialogue: A New Interventionism? Evil Empire" By Edward S. Herman in "In
These Times"
* "This is not a campaign issue?" by Sean Gonsalves (nice piece from a
smaller paper)
* "Dr. Albright's dosage of sanctions doesn't really work" by Richard Foster
in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
  - Foster's courageous commentary also contradicts the institutional stance
of his paper
* "UN play-acting on Iraq" from the Khaleej Times
* Letters to the NYTimes and Washington Post
  - The French Embassy complains about recent coverage.
* "Try explaining to an Iraqi mother why her child is dead" by Charlie Reese
of the Orlando Sentinel
  - Warning: Reese, like Pat Buchanan, comes with some "ideological baggage"
... but this piece strikes an all too-rare note of outraged humanitarianism 
* "Baldwin must lead on Iraq" from Madison, Wisconsin's 'Capital Times'
  - Madison is Wisconsin's state capital; good example of an international
issue being raised in the regional press
* "St. Louis visitor to Iraq says children are dying" in the St. Louis

Several of these links were posted ealier by Peter Griffith (thanks Peter!)
- and my apologies if I've missed other posts.   There's some fine writing
here, and the sentiments are very encouraging.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

Alternatives to sanctions on Iraq 

The suffering and death caused by the sanctions are of a scale that place
Iraq in a category with the gravest humanitarian disasters of the 20th
century. Sanctions are an act of war and injustice on innocent children,
women and men. The deaths resulting from sanctions are no less immoral than
those resulting from a bullet or a bomb.
- Inter-Church Action, a coalition of Canadian churches 

We are punishing the children of Iraq because we can't control Saddam
Hussein. Sanctions have become a new form of warfare. 
- Denis Halliday, former U.N. humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq, who quit in

It's time for a new approach to Iraq. We cannot turn a deaf ear to the
suffering of Iraqis or a blind eye to the moral obtuseness of current U.S.
- National Conference of Catholic Bishops, U.S.A. 

THERE'S A GROWING chorus of churches, non-governmental organizations, peace
activists and citizen groups in Canada and the United States against the
sanctions that have killed more than 1 million Iraqis and are destroying a
6,000-year-old civilization. 

Yet America and its apologists, including Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy,
are adamant that maintaining the economic embargo is the only way to get at
Saddam Hussein. Their hardline stance was recently reconfirmed, with some
concessions, by the Security Council. 

How to break the deadlock? 

Russia, China and France, which abstained from the council resolution,
argued for suspension of non-military sanctions, once Saddam allows
resumption of international arms inspections. 

Others want the embargo lifted right away, regardless of what he does.
``Even honourable causes cannot be defended by dishonourable means,'' in the
words of the American Catholic bishops. 

Four Canadians - dismayed with Axworthy - have given a great deal of thought
to delinking the military and humanitarian objectives in Iraq: 

Bob Odeh: Former chief of the U.N. multidisciplinary observer unit in Iraq.
That's the group implementing the oil-for-food program. Odeh is senior
adviser to the Canadian International Development Agency in Hull and was
seconded to the Iraq job in 1998-99. 

He suggests a Libya-like solution - the world abandons sanctions but America
keeps them. And its kowtowers - Britain? Canada? - would be free to show
solidarity with Washington. 

Then let corporations invest freely in the Iraqi infrastucture. Let Iraq
pump as much oil as it wants. Let it import whatever it needs , but not a
single bullet. Use the existing U.N. inspection teams to block all military
hardware and software. But if Saddam ever seems ready to attack a neighbour,
go in guns blazing. 

Dave Hildebrand: Inter-Church Action for Development, Relief and Justice,
Toronto. Maintain military sanctions ``until international human rights
organizations have documented an end to major human rights abuses in Iraq.''

Lift the other sanctions but keep them on Saddam and his coterie through
``precise instruments of pressure'' - freezing of assets, restrictions on
travel, banishment from international bodies and other measures (see below).

Samuel Porteous: Director of business intelligence, Kroll Associates Canada.
A former Canadian spy, he advocates targeted sanctions against dictators and
associates. And Kroll has helped identify the assets, among others, Baby Doc
Duvalier, former Haitian dictator (net worth $300 million). 
It estimated in 1992 that Saddam had access to $10 billion to $15 billion to
buy the loyalty of the military and the ruling clique. The slush fund was
set up in 1972 by the Ba'th Party, diverting 5 per cent of state revenues.
Saddam controls it through family members and cronies who keep phony
companies abroad. 

This ``cunning little system'' can be targeted, Porteous believes, by
putting pressure on the Swiss and several smaller off-shore financial
havens. While Porteous has a business conflict, his suggestion that
resources be allocated to update Saddam's finances makes eminent sense. It
will be a lot cheaper than, say, the American-British bombing going on since
December, 1998. 

Colin Rowat: Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. This
Torontonian studying at Cambridge helped gather 15,000 signatures on a
petition against the Tony Blair government. He is very well-informed and
maintains a rich Web site ( 
In calling for limiting sanctions to military items, he adds a useful
proviso: Tighten export controls in Security Council countries, the
principal weapons dealers. Noting Blair's reluctance, he adds acidly: ``We
are willing to allow Iraqi children to die to keep weapons out of Saddam's
hands but not to tighten up our export controls.'' 

The final word also goes to young Rowat: ``The Iraqi population needs to be
removed from the firing line.'' 

Haroon Siddiqui is The Star's editorial page editor emeritus. His column
appears Thursday and Sunday. His e-mail address is

We share blame in Iraqis' suffering 

AS HARD as he may try, Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy cannot pass himself
off as an angel of mercy for the people of Iraq, who have been dying a slow
death under the decade-long economic sanctions he wholeheartedly supports. 

He is portraying a new United Nations initiative as an innovative compromise
between the twin goals of ending the suffering of ordinary Iraqis and
controlling Saddam Hussein's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. It is
not. It merely repackages a rotten America-led policy. 

A new Security Council resolution, for which Axworthy takes some credit,
promises to ease sanctions in return for the resumption of international
inspections of Saddam's arsenal, and lift them upon the destruction of the

This is the same rut we have been in since the Gulf War, give or take a few

By tying humanitarian relief to military goals, we will continue to hold
millions of innocent Iraqis hostage to Saddam's non-compliance. 

For he will continue to cheat. The new U.N. inspection team will not be able
to confirm that the last vial of his chemical and biological poison has been
destroyed. America will pronounce itself not fully satisfied. Iraqi
civilians will continue to die. 

The only difference will be that America and its chief apologists - British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, and now Axworthy - can pretend that they, too,
like the rest of the world, and an increasing number of Americans and
Canadians, care for the plight of the Iraqis. 

Axworthy and company are shedding crocodile tears. 

They have been full partners in what 48 members of the U.S. Congress have
just decried, in a letter to President Bill Clinton, as ``the most
comprehensive economic embargo imposed in modern history.'' 

Thousands of Canadians and about half a million Americans have signed
petitions against this morally bankrupt policy that has reduced a highly
developed society to ruins; left millions destitute; killed hundreds of
thousands of malnourished people, especially children; and deprived a whole
nation of the most basic necessities, from milk to clean water to

It is a policy that has also failed in its declared aims:

Cleanse Iraq of weapons of mass destruction that supposedly endanger
Saddam's neighbours but have, in fact, been used only on his own people. 
Topple him. Rather than weakening him, sanctions have strengthened his
stranglehold on Iraqis more preoccupied with survival. 
Yet Security Council Resolution 1284 is offering more of the same, despite
claims to the contrary. 

Axworthy says it ``provides for the immediate and unconditional refinement
of the sanctions regime, by allowing for an expansion of the number and
types of products Iraq can import. The cap on Iraqi oil production has also
been lifted.'' 

Such soothing noises date back to the very first embargo resolution right
after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait - Number 661, dated Aug. 6, 1990. It
exempted ``payments exclusively for strictly medical or humanitarian
purposes and . . . foodstuffs.'' 

That turned out to be ``a matter of political packaging rather than
humanitarian intent,'' in the words of Ulrich Gottstein of Germany, European
vice-president of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, International
Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear and all War. 

The exemption did not alleviate Iraqi suffering. That prompted another
resolution - No. 706, Aug. 15, 1991 - permitting the once-only sale of $1.6
billion (U.S.) of Iraqi oil for purchases of food and medicine. The money
went into an escrow account, with United Nations expenses and compensation
to Kuwait getting first dibs, and the leftovers, in that case only $500
million, going for its announced purpose - a pattern that was to be repeated
in later years. 

When that measure proved inadequate in stanching the bleeding of the Iraqi
nation or stemming the tide of worldwide anger, the Council came up with the
oil-for-food program - Resolution No. 986, passed in December , 1996. It
allowed for the sale of $2 billion worth of oil every six months. Gottstein:
``Only 35 per cent could be used to buy food and medicines for a population
of about 18 million, about $6 per person per month.'' 

That necessitated another gesture - Resolution No. 1153, dated June 3, 1998
- increasing oil sales to $5.25 billion every six months. But by this time,
Iraqi infrastructure was so dilapidated it could pump only $3.3 billion

Lifting the cap on oil sales now is not likely to bring any quick relief to
the suffering millions, notwithstanding Axworthy's soothing noises. 

Also, his claim that ``full compliance by the Iraqi regime would trigger an
automatic lifting of sanctions'' is not new either. A similar promise was
made right after the Gulf War - Resolution 687, dated April 3, 1991. It said
that once ``Iraq has completed all actions contemplated . . . the
prohibition against import of commodities and products originating in Iraq
and the prohibitions against financial transactions related thereto . . .
shall have no further force or effect.'' 

Meanwhile, Axworthy has remained, by and large, silent on the ongoing
bombing of Iraq since December, 1998 in retaliation for minor Iraqi
violations of the two no-fly zones set up after the Gulf War. American and
British planes have flown more than 15,000 sorties, killing an indeterminate
number of civilians along the way. 

As evil as Saddam is, we cannot go on pretending that it is he alone who is
inflicting misery and death on his people. 

Haroon Siddiqui is The Star's editorial page editor emeritus. His column
appears Sundays and Thursdays. His e-mail address is
Dialogue: A New Interventionism?  
Evil Empire 

By Edward S. Herman 

Whereas even Samuel Huntington, the conservative Harvard political
scientist, has lashed out at the "rogue superpower" bullying and
unilateralism of recent U.S. policy, and most leftists consider this country
to be a major human rights violator, David Moberg sees the United States,
despite its "checkered record," as the agent to spread human rights (see "A
New Interventionism," February 7). He claims that human rights have become
"a principle in international affairs," presumably guiding policy (not as a
cover for selective intervention), and he urges the left to take a more
positive position to help the United States "do more for global human

Moberg says, "The United States, as the most powerful nation, has a
responsibility to create a more uniform and accountable system, not to abuse
its power." This is on an intellectual par with saying, "The lion, as king
of the jungle, should be nicer to antelopes." Both statements suffer from
the same failing: They make moral appeals that fly in the face of the nature
of the actor, the forces that affect its behavior and the actual record.
Moberg must be aware that the United States supported Suharto in Indonesia
for 33 years, and that the basis for this--the favorable investment climate
he provided to transnationals and his political alignment with the
West--completely overwhelmed consideration of his human rights record. This
priority system has been operative for many decades, and numerous studies
have shown that U.S. aid has been inversely correlated with support of
unions and a positive human rights performance, precisely because
governments like Suharto's serve the primary U.S. values. 

This hasn't changed for the better under the new interventionism. The new
U.S. aggressiveness following the ending of any Soviet "containment" has
been built on a distinctly business base, which is why the Clinton gang
referred to Suharto in 1995 as "our kind of guy." Moberg seems unaware that
human rights violations in Chechnya, Mexico, Yugoslavia and elsewhere may be
related to the chaos produced by U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism (including IMF
and World Bank lending policies). The new U.S. interventionism complements
and uses the new chaos to achieve ends that have nothing to do with human
rights and commonly exacerbates violations.  

Moberg offers no evidence that human rights is now a guiding principle in
state policy. He may have been fooled by Clinton and Blair's allegedly
"humanitarian" war in the Balkans. But the attack on Yugoslavia was not
aimed to help human rights and indeed had a severe negative human rights
impact (see Noam Chomsky's The New Military Humanism, excerpted in the
September 19 issue of In These Times). And these are the same two leaders
who have continued to supply arms to Turkey and who, when Indonesia decided
to oppose the electoral route to freedom in East Timor by force, didn't lift
a finger to prevent major human rights abuses by their client state. 

Moberg also is extremely kind toward the U.S. use of sanctions. There has
been a serious health toll in Cuba from sanctions, but Moberg focuses mainly
on the fact that they were based on hostility to Castro, not human rights
values. Writing in Foreign Affairs (May-June 1999), John and Karl Mueller
contend that "sanctions of mass destruction" have "caused the death of more
people in Iraq than have been slain by all so-called weapons of mass
destruction [nuclear, chemical, biological] throughout all history." Moberg,
by contrast, says that "while sanctions against Iraq and Serbia are losing
whatever legitimacy they had, ordinary people suffer without much hope of
long-term gain." With both countries, the United States and Britain have
made entire populations hostages: using anti-civilian bombing in clear
violation of international law in Serbia and with a catastrophic civilian
death toll in Iraq. But Moberg finds no human rights violations in U.S.
policy, only ineffectiveness. He calls for policy adjustments, not war
crimes trials for the responsible thugs. 

Progressives must recognize that in the existing political economy
interventionism is almost always harmful to the target population and should
be opposed and its roots and ill effects exposed. While it is reasonable to
use the establishment's human rights rhetoric to press for actions that may
mitigate damage and even be positively helpful, the idea that
interventionism can be reformed into a positive human rights program is
untenable. In a long-term perspective, what is needed is a movement that
will change the structure of power that yields a persistently ugly result. 

Edward S. Herman is an economist and media analyst. His latest book is The
Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader (Peter Lang). 

This is not a campaign issue?
February 1, 2000

Thanks to the State Department and our "adversarial" free press, even those
who consider themselves well informed about foreign policy have tremendous
gaps in their knowledge when it comes to our policy in Iraq.

You may have heard the numbers, which have been confirmed by the most
reputable medical journals in the world: More than 500,000 Iraqi children
(plus a million adult Iraqi civilians) have died as a direct result of the
sanctions that we imposed 10 years ago on that formerly prosperous nation.

Let's try to look at this in human terms, which is difficult for many
Americans because Iraqis, as a rule, are not portrayed as human beings, even
in a "bleeding-heart" media.

It's mentally lazy to solely blame Saddam, who (no rational person disputes)
is a nasty dictator. (Although, his human rights transgressions don't come
close to the atrocities committed by some of our foreign fiends - I mean,
friends). But Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel's sagely advice comes to mind:
"We're not all guilty. But we are all responsible."

Some readers might object: "Hey, sanctions are better than Once you cut
through the propaganda, a question arises: Is it our policy to simply punish
any "rogue" nation that even thinks about challenging American dominance of
Middle East oil reserves?

The explicit purpose of the sanctions is to severely harm the civilian
population in order to "persuade" the "duped" to oust Saddam. Never mind the
moral repugnance of such coercive policy objectives, the intellectual
bankruptcy of the policy is that, in this case, the sanctions cannot
possibly reach their own intended purpose.

If Iraqi civilians are forced to eke out a hand-to-mouth existence day to
day, how in the hell are they supposed to kick a dictator out of power?!
What political genius came up with that genocidal idea?

Now, genocide is a much-abused term in our world where talk-radio (il)logic
reigns, but that's exactly what Dennis Halliday called it. Halliday was a
senior United Nations official, who resigned last year in protest of the
stupid and cruel policy.

Some people think the Iraqi people would have the medicine and food they
need if only Saddam would stop spending it on palaces and what-not. Not only
is this an embarrassingly misinformed view, it's also like blaming President
Clinton alone for the increasing number of homeless people in America even
though there's a federal budget surplus.

As U.N. humanitarian coordinator Hans Van Sponeck points out, the U.N. - not
the Iraqi government - controls the money from the oil-for-food program. The
U.N. distributes the food and medicine purchased with that money in northern
Iraq and carefully monitors the distribution of these basic survival goods
throughout the rest of the nation.

A major reason that limited medical supplies are often not being delivered
is because there's an extreme shortage of delivery trucks and personnel.

"You have heard, I'm sure, a lot about the overstocking of medicine. When
you get from someone a monocausal explanation then you should start getting
suspicious. It is not - I repeat, it is not - a premeditated act of
withholding medicine. It's much more complex than that," Van Sponeck told a
group of Seattle doctors who have gone to Iraq several times to study the
situation and openly violate the sanctions, bringing medicine and toys to
Iraqi children.

(According to U.S. law, you can get a 12-year jail sentence and a million
dollar fine for bringing toys and medicine to Iraqi children.)

"If you earn a $1.50 a month in a warehouse that has medicine, will you work
14 hours a day? I doubt it. You can't even afford to be there eight hours a
day because you have to somehow make some other money in order to get at
least enough to get into your kitty to finance the needs of your household,"
he explained to members of the Washington Physicians for Social

Also banned from Iraq are medical textbooks and other educational material.
"De-professionalization....It is frightening....People who are well trained
have no chance to work with their full capacity in the area of their
training....You have what I would call knowledge depletion. Right now we are
setting the stage for depriving another (Iraqi) generation of opportunity to
become responsible national and international citizens of tomorrow. That may
be the most serious aspect of it all, apart from the nutritional deficiency,
apart from the health problems, apart from the inadequacy of the
food....It's intellectual genocide," Van Sponeck said. There's that word

And this isn't even a campaign issue in the land of the free?
Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and syndicated columinist.
He can be reached via email: 


Dr. Albright's dosage of sanctions doesn't really work
By Richard Foster
of the Journal Sentinel

It's not every day that a secretary of state writes - or has any reason to
write - an article for a learned scientific journal. But Madeleine K.
Albright's name appears under an article in a recent issue of "Annals of
Internal Medicine," published twice a month by the American College of
Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine.

Standing alongside offerings with such high-domed titles as "Prevalence of
and Risk Factors for Hepatic Steatosis in Northern Italy," Albright offers a
vigorous but unconvincing defense of economic sanctions, notably those
directed at Iraq and Cuba. Elsewhere in the magazine appear articles
critical of these embargoes.

Why is a medical journal publishing articles about economic sanctions,
anyhow? Aren't the editors going beyond their professional expertise when
they venture into the domain of foreign affairs?

In fact, Albright's article has a legitimate place in the pages of a medical
journal. At the busy intersection of diplomacy and public health, the
vehicles of policy-makers often collide with those of doctors. Specifically,
sanctions have a place in medical discussions (and in medical journals)
because embargoes against rogue countries often erode the health of people
who live in them.

According to Albright, "the case for continued sanctions as a means of
pressure against Saddam Hussein is overwhelming. There is no greater enemy
to public health in Iraq than he."

She makes similar remarks about Fidel Castro's Cuba: "There would be no
better route to greater prosperity and improved public health in Cuba than a
government that was accountable to its people."

In essence, Albright is saying that if the people of Iraq and Cuba are in a
pickle, it is because Hussein and Castro put them there. Blame these
dictators for the shortages, the poverty and the disease, not us. This is
buck-passing masquerading as rational analysis.

It is obvious - and thus hardly worth saying - that Iraq and Cuba would be
better off with more enlightened and humane leaders. Hussein is a
particularly detestable character because he has made the sparse goods in
his country available only to those who support him. Thus, he has
transformed the embargo into an instrument of repression, which seems to me
to be another reason to end it.

But to say, as Albright says, that Hussein and Castro are to blame for their
countries' plight is to say only part of the truth. It says nothing about
this country's role - the role of the sanctions - in the misery that Iraqis
and Cubans suffer. It ignores our complicity, however unintended, in the
misery of people who already suffer under the lash of dictatorial rule.

Albright points out that food and medicine are exempt from the sanctions
against Iraq and Cuba, but she knows very well this is a phony argument. An
embargo is intended to cripple the economy of a target country, and to the
extent that it makes people poor, it erodes their ability to buy food and
medicine, however available they may be in theory. The wealthy and powerful,
of course, can buy what they want; it's just ordinary citizens, especially
the poor, who are hit.

The shortage of medical care is much more serious in Iraq than in Cuba.
Castro is a ruthless dictator, but unlike many dictators (notably Hussein)
he has always devoted a huge share of his country's resources to basic
medical care and basic education.

The embargo of Cuba has been in place since 1961, which is a long time for
any government policy to remain intact. It has completely failed to achieve
its intended goal, which is to weaken Castro and promote democracy in Cuba.
The sanctions against Iraq were imposed in 1991, and they, too, have failed.
In fact, it is likely that Hussein is stronger now than he was when the
embargo was first imposed.

Over the years, international support for the Cuba blockade has disappeared,
so that the United States now stands virtually alone in maintaining it.
There is every indication that the same erosion will make a mockery of the
Iraqi blockade; already, support for it is weakening in the United Nations,
even in those Arab countries that would be Iraq's most immediate victims.
Increasingly, they are isolating the U.S., not its adversaries.

These embargoes are creating misery, not democracy; they are weakening the
health of ordinary people, not the iron grip of those who rule them. It's no
wonder that doctors have cause to oppose them. They are not just bad
economic policy; they are public health menaces.

Richard Foster is an editorial writer and columnist for the Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel. He can be reached at

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Jan. 23, 2000.


UN play-acting on Iraq 
THERE is an Alice-in-Wonderland air about the agreement in the UN Security
Council on Hans Blix as the head of a new inspection commission on Iraq. In
real terms, it changes little because no one expects the draconian UN
sanctions against Iraq to be lifted by the United States as long as the
Saddam Hussein regime is in power. But three permanent members of the
council made their point by rejecting the choice of UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, the old commission chairman Rolf Ekeus, because of the tainted
nature of the previous inspection regime. And rather half-heartedly the
Americans gave in to get the embarrassing item off the Security Council
agenda. In any case, the onus is now on Iraq to accept Mr Blix, whose agency
had previously been faulted for not discovering Iraq's clandestine nuclear
bomb-making efforts. Officially, Iraq has rejected the resolution creating
the new commission but the Security Council's agreement on the chief
inspector will increase pressure on it probably persuading Baghdad
reluctantly to give in.

Apart from the fact that Iraq must continue to live with a sanctions regime
with its oil earnings going into an escrow UN account and only partly used
for buying desperately-needed food and medicine, the prospects remain gloomy
for the indefinite future. Perhaps the best that can be hoped for is that
the three permanent members of the Security Council not committed to the
pauperisation of a whole nation will draw lessons from the kind of
instrument the Iraq sanctions regime has proved to be in international
diplomacy. To impose open-ended sanctions against a country by the Security
Council under the obligatory Chapter VII means the arming of each of the
five veto-wielding permanent members with the freedom to retain them in the
pursuit of its own foreign policy and geopolitical interests. The obvious
question to ask is, what purpose is served by the pauperisation and
humiliation of a country for nine long years in search of elusive bombs and
biological weapons? Unless a successor to President Bill Clinton changes US
policy in relation to Iraq, it is simply not on the cards that however
assiduous and diligent the new Iraq commission's investigations are, once it
is allowed in, Washington will agree to life sanctions short of President
Saddam's departure. 

January 22, 2000

Iraq Arms Inspections 

To the Editor: 
Re "Security Council Stalling on Iraq" (editorial, Jan. 19): Over the last
few weeks France suggested to Secretary General Kofi Annan the names of
several independent, internationally recognized disarmament experts to head
the United Nations weapons inspection team for Iraq. 

The aim is to find someone able to ensure that inspections resume. 

If this aim is to go beyond wishful thinking, the monitoring must be based
on a new and efficient system. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification
and Inspection Commission has not been set up to work like the United
Nations Special Commission, but better than Unscom -- with professionalism
and independence. That is the point of Resolution 1284. 

You suggest that France's position is dictated by commercial interests;
France's partners make no bones about actively defending their own
commercial interests the world over, Iraq included. This suggestion serves
only to divert attention from the goal shared by all Security Council
members: resuming weapons inspections in Iraq. 

Director, Press and Information Embassy of France
Washington, Jan. 19, 2000 

Tuesday, January 25, 2000; Page A18 

"Iraq's Devoted Allies" [editorial, Jan. 20] is unfair in presenting
France's position on the Iraqi question.

Working closely with its Security Council partners, France put forward a
number of proposals after UNSCOM withdrew from Iraq in December 1998 in
order to break the deadlock and bring about conditions that would let
international inspectors return. The main goal is to resume monitoring and
get the inspectors back; if this aim is to go beyond mere wishful thinking,
the monitoring must be based on a new system. The U.N. Monitoring,
Verification and Inspection Commission, or UNMOVIC, has not been set up to
work like UNSCOM but better than UNSCOM--that is, with professionalism and
independence. That is the whole point of resolution 1284. Over the past few
weeks, France suggested to the U.N. secretary general the names of several
independent, internationally recognized disarmament experts to head UNMOVIC.
The aim is to find a nominee who is able to ensure that the inspections
resume in Iraq.

This is the only solution that can strengthen the Security Council's
authority and credibility on this issue, one of France's main goals since
the outset. What has weakened the Security Council is precisely its
inability to carry out inspections in Iraq since December 1998.


Director, Press and Information Office

Embassy of France


U.N. Sanctions on Iraq

Saturday, January 29, 2000; Page A18 

The Jan. 20 editorial "Iraq's Devoted Allies" was repulsive in its lack of
coverage of the negative effects that sanctions and the U.S. bombing
campaign have had on Iraq. 

The United Nations estimates that 5,000 Iraqi children die every month as a
result of the sanctions. The air campaign has dropped more bombs on Iraq
than were dropped on Serbia during the Kosovo war. 

Moreover, the United States and Britain operate this bombing campaign
without U.N. approval. 

Isn't the United States's habitual lack of respect for international law the
true danger here? Or is it the media's acceptance of a policy that kills
5,000 children a month?


Pasadena, Calif. 


Try explaining to an Iraqi mother why her child is dead
Charley Reese

An Iraqi mother has a question for us: "Why are you killing my innocent

Well, what's your answer? Why are we killing her innocent child and the
innocent children of thousands of Iraqi families? Why are we destroying

Before we came, Iraq had one of the highest living standards in the Arab
world, with an extensive health-care system, clean and abundant drinking
water, sewage-treatment plants, electric power-generation plants, free
education for all, a network of social services and a thriving intellectual
and cultural life. Today the country is in ruins. We have wreaked more death
and desolation than the Mongol invaders.

Why? Is it because our politicians say Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, is
a bad person? But how could the 500,000 Iraqi children we've already killed
have overthrown him?

George Bush and the U.S. Army failed to overthrow him. Two separate
rebellions instigated by the Central Intelligence Agency failed to overthrow
him. Innumerable assassination attempts have not so much as put a scratch on
him. So why do we expect that killing 4,500 Iraqi children per month is
going to overthrow him?

By the bye, those numbers of dead children are United Nations numbers, not
Iraqi. All you liberals so in love with world government must surely believe
the United Nations. The question posed by the Iraqi mother was posed to a
Canadian member of parliament, Svend Robinson, who wrote an article about
his second trip to Iraq that was published by the Globe and Mail. This
mother had just been told by an Iraqi doctor that her sick baby was doomed.
They had no medicine.

Robinson points out the absurd and hypocritical restrictions the United
Nations committee places on the money Iraq is allowed to earn from selling
limited amounts of oil. These restrictions have prevented Iraq from buying
the medicines and other basics it needs. Iraq was told, for example, it
could not import cloth, which it wanted to do to provide jobs for unemployed
seamstresses sewing sheets for hospital beds. Oh, no, the cloth might be put
to military use. Children have no pencils. After all, graphite is a dual-use
commodity, and so it goes.

The fault is yours and mine. It is our government that insists on
maintaining an economic embargo nine years after the last Iraqi soldier left
Kuwait. We also continue to conduct an ongoing undeclared and
unconstitutional war by bombing northern and southern Iraq on a weekly

Not only is this policy cruel, vicious, immoral and a war crime by any
rational definition, it is also not in America's national interests. Even
the heads of Arab governments who don't like Saddam Hussein are finding it
increasingly difficult as their own people grow angrier and angrier about
the unjustified suffering being imposed on innocent Iraqi civilians.

I attribute the U.S. cruelty toward Iraq to pure malice. I do so because I
know that people in Washington are not so stupid as to believe that an
embargo that has failed for nine years is suddenly going to work. I know
that they are not so stupid as to fail to realize that the embargo in fact
strengthens Hussein politically and enriches him materially. He gets rich
because his government controls the smuggling. I know that people in
Washington do not believe that Iraq has any hidden cache of weapons that
would threaten anyone. They know full well that the only country in the
Middle East with a large store of weapons of mass destruction is Israel.

This insane policy has sewn a harvest of hatred that innocent Americans will
be reaping for the next hundred years. Unless you are willing to confront
that Iraqi mother and tell her to her face that it's necessary for her child
to die, you ought to take a stand against the embargo.

Published in The Orlando Sentinel on January 27, 2000.

Baldwin must lead on Iraq
(Madison WI)

Svend Robinson, a senior member of the Canadian Parliament with a reputation
as one of the world's most principled advocates for peace and human rights,
offers on an editorial page of The Capital Times on Tuesday a poignant
portrait of the devastation that a decade of sanctions and bombings have
caused for the people of Iraq.

Posted: Saturday, January 15, 2000 | 11:15 a.m. 

St. Louis visitor to Iraq says children are dying
By Patricia Rice 
Post-Dispatch Religion Writer

In two weeks of visiting children in Iraqi hospitals, the Rev. William
Foley, a St. Louis pediatrician and Jesuit priest, said he found little

"Of the maybe 3,000 children I saw in the hospitals, I didn't see one that I
expect to be discharged," said Foley, 53, who spent the final two weeks of
last year in Iraq. "I knew before we went to Iraq that things were grim, but
seeing it with my own eyes, I was shocked." 

All doctors and nurses can do is try to keep the Iraqi children - who are
dying at a rate of about 6,500 a month - comfortable, he said. About 44
percent of Iraq's 22 million inhabitants are under age 14. 

In the tradition of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Foley's visit to
Iraq was an act of civil disobedience. The United States prohibits its
citizens from visiting Iraq. Foley risked a maximum $1.25 million fine and
12 years in prison. 

He accompanied two other Jesuit priests and five members of a Chicago-based
ecumenical group, Voices in the Wilderness. 

At least two other St. Louisans, Mira Tanna of the American Friends Service
Committee staff, and Kwesi Dugbatey, a professor at the St. Louis University
School of Public Health, have visited Iraq in the past two years. 

The U.N. Security Council imposed an economic and arms embargo on Iraq after
that nation invaded Kuwait in 1990. Now, Iraqi children die from illnesses
that antibiotics could fix, Foley said. 

As Foley sees it, the embargo violates the civilians' human rights. Killing
the innocent breaks God's laws, he says. 

"You realize it is an extremely unjust, disproportionate punishment of the
innocent," he said this week in an interview at Jesuit Hall, adjacent to the
St. Louis University campus. During his visit to Iraq, Foley said, he
thought often about the biblical King Herod's order to slaughter innocent
children the age of the infant Jesus. 

In hospitals in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul, Foley walked from bed to bed in
the children's wards. He said he saw children dying from measles, malaria,
common infections and uncommon waterborne illnesses. Bombing has damaged
Iraqi water systems. 

"And, fuel to boil water is scarce," he said. 

Defenders of the U.N. policy say the Iraqi government is spending money on
military and internal security forces that could be used for food and
medicine. For four years, the United Nations has permitted an oil-for-food
program, which allows Iraq to export an average of 2.7 million barrels of
oil a day in exchange for food and medicine. 

Foley talked to U.N. experts and Iraqi religious and medical leaders who
said that new money - about $65 million a day at the current price of oil -
does not seem to help medical care. Sick children have propaganda value to
the government, U.N. policy defenders say. 

The U.N. Security Council will not allow aid or foreign investment until
Iraq fulfills disarmament demands and cooperates with U.N. weapons

Food also is scarce, Foley said. Only 12 percent of Iraq's land is arable.
Bombs have damaged Iraqi agricultural irrigation systems and hampered food
transportation, he said. 

Nearly nine years after the Persian Gulf War, many Iraqi children are dying
from "the most severe" form of malnutrition - marasmus - a protein-calorie
deficiency, he said. 

The real cause of death is political, he said. 

"They die by the 20th century's last and deadliest weapon of mass
destruction: comprehensive economic sanctions," he said. 

The edges of Foley's mouth formed a frown. He looked away. His voice

"These are such beautiful children," he said. "And, of those who do survive,
many will be mentally retarded. A whole generation of children are being
affected after 10 years of social and economic embargoes." 

Foley, a Boston native, continues his medical practice in St. Louis and is
chaplain director of Boys Hope Girls Hope, a St. Louis-based, international
residential program for at-risk, academically able high school students. 

For three decades, as a doctor and priest, he has worked in Brazil,
Guatemala, Jamaica and with poor families in Camden, N.J. However, no Third
World conditions prepared him for what he witnessed in Iraq, he said. 

As he sees it, the United States is the main impetus behind the U.N.
Security Council's insistence that the boycott continue. 

In December 1998, U.S. and British air forces bombed widespread targets in
Iraq after Baghdad forced out U.N. weapons inspectors. U.S. and British
aircraft still patrol Iraqi skies to enforce no-fly zones and return fire
when they are attacked or threatened. 

"Congress has never voted on the bombing ... the embargo," he said. 

Worldwide, religious leaders have condemned the embargo. Pope John Paul II's
trip to Iraq, planned for December, was postponed when the Iraqi government
said it could not protect the pope. At the Trans World Dome in October, the
Rev. Billy Graham's concern for the Iraqi situation led him to suggest that
his son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, might go to Iraq to represent him. 

The Presbyterian Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the
Mennonites, the Quakers, the Episcopal Church in America, the National
Catholic Bishops Conference, the National Council of Churches, and virtually
all Muslim groups have called for an end to the economic - not military -
embargo of Iraq. 

On Monday, the national holiday commemorating the birthday of the Rev. Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr., and the ninth anniversary of the beginning of allied
counterattacks in the Persian Gulf War, members of the peace group Pax
Christi plan a prayer vigil at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville. Scott
personnel help coordinate the Iraqi missions and planes, said Bill Ramsey,
director of the American Friends Service Committee here. 

He was among religious leaders who blocked the entrance to Scott Air Force
Base Dec. 17, 1998 - when U.S. aircraft were bombing Iraq. Several of the
leaders were arrested. Their case has not yet gone to trial. 

The Rev. G. Simon Harak of Baltimore, who accompanied Foley to Iraq, has
chosen Martin Luther King Day to begin a monthlong fast on Capitol Hill in
Washington. Foley will celebrate a Mass, preach and show slides of his trip
on Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Francis Xavier Church, Grand and Lindell

The Pentagon reported no U.S. or British bombing in Iraq during the Muslim
holy fast month of Ramadan (Dec.8 -Jan. 8). But Foley said that he had felt
the earth shake and heard bombs.

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