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Below is the official transcript for the 3 May 2000 PBS "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" "debate" between Hans von Sponeck and Patrick Clawson. Clawson is the Research Director for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington, D.C., "think-tank" that has had some very powerful policy-makers (e.g., former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, then-UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, former Undersecretary of Commerce Stuart Eizenstat, and former Defense Secretary Les Aspin) contribute to various Institute articles and reports. The Institute has a stellar mainstream reputation and its staff and fellows reguarly get drafted for Congressional testimony and media duty. However, please keep in mind that the Institute has always had strong links with, and might fairly be described as a front operation for, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC launched a still-standing action campaign to maintain sanctions on Iraq and is the primary force behind the Rep. Crowley-Sweeny Letter that calls for sanctions to be kept in place. Patrick Clawson has made sanctions maintainence a pet issue of his. Despite his consistently inconsistent arguments and factual errors and lapses, Clawson has become one of the standard pro-sanctions commentators of choice for both print and television. Moreover, between 1995 and 1999 he testified before Congress on the issue of Iraq over 7 times. For a typical Clawson stump speech see the transcript below, or, read his 27 February 2000 Washington Post article which you can access, expectedly, by going to the AIPAC Web-site's "AIPAC Action Alert: Maintain Sanctions on Iraq." With regards, Nathaniel Hurd Boston, USA http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june00/iraq_5-3.html U.S. and U.N. sanctions against Iraq Two Iraqi experts debate the value and effectiveness of sanctions against Iraq. GWEN IFILL: We are joined by one of those officials who appeared on Capitol Hill today. Hans von Sponeck, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq from October, 1998, until this past March, when he resigned in protest and also by Patrick Clawson, director of research at the Washington institute for Near East Policy. Mr. Von Sponeck, are you the second humanitarian chief to quit in the last two careers. Why did you leave? HANS VON SPONECK, Former UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Iraq: Well, I would say because of an increased awareness that nine years of sanctions hadn't met their objectives. An oil-for-food program that was inadequate at best. And in December of last year, the creation of a new resolution, a new road map for Iraq that I don't believe will lead to any easing of the ongoing human tragedy in this country. GWEN IFILL: When you say that the sanctions, the goals of the sanctions were not met, what do you mean by that? And who's to blame? HANS VON SPONECK: The sanctions were introduced to bring about changes in Iraq, and nine years of sanctions have seen a regime, a government remain in the saddle but off the saddle when 23 went 23 million Iraqis. So one can argue and say that the methods that were put in place didn't reach their objectives. GWEN IFILL: Mr. Clawson, how about that? Are the sanctions that were put in place doing what they were intended to do? PATRICK CLAWSON, Washington Institute for Near East Policy: Yes. The sanctions were designed to keep Saddam militarily weak, to contain Saddam because there wasn't a consensus in the international community about the need to replace Saddam, which is what the United States Government would prefer to see happen. There's only an agreement to keep him contained, and that's a long, slow process. And the sanctions were designed to keep him weak while alleviating the humanitarian problems faced by the Iraqi people. GWEN IFILL: What evidence do you have that Saddam is actually really weak? You heard Jamie Rubin talking about the building of great palaces, you heard of other ways that Saddam at the very least is still in power. PATRICK CLAWSON: It's been a long time since Saddam has militarily threatened his neighbors, and indeed, Saddam's hold on his own country is weaker than it's been for a long time. This guy faces regularly bombings in Baghdad by the opposition, a lot of activity that he wants to keep out of our press. Effective sanctions vs. humanitarian needs GWEN IFILL: Let's assume for a moment that the sanctions are working, as Mr. Clawson says they are. Let's look at the flip side of it: From your touring of the countryside of Iraq, what are the effects that you've seen of the sanctions? HANS VON SPONECK: Well, I would say, as an overall conclusion, one can see that here is a society that is really in shreds, that has no more optimism to move on and fend for itself. You have, wherever you go, you have conversations that show that people have given up. And the physical side of the needs are not met, let alone the non-material sides of life, particularly in the area of education. GWEN IFILL: Was the original goal of these sanctions in part to weaken Saddam to the point that, not only militarily, but that so he would no longer be in power? And if so, is that goal any closer to being accomplished? PATRICK CLAWSON: The US would have been delighted if there had been a program, an international program to replace Saddam's regime, but that in fact was not the international consensus, the sanctions were designed only to contain Saddam and the US then had its own program to try to encourage a regime change. And I would entirely agree with Mr. Von Sponeck that the Iraqi people have lost a lot of hope, and that's not surprising, given what a brutal dictator Saddam is. GWEN IFILL: And that was worth it? PATRICK CLAWSON: Let's face it, in the ten-year period before the sanctions were imposed, the Iraqi people had lost hope because Saddam had taken their country with a terrible war in Iran, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had been killed. And under Saddam, for 20 years that he's been in power, Iraqi income has been dropping and their material situation has been getting worse and worse. GWEN IFILL: So are you suggesting that the kinds of things that Mr. Von Sponeck has seen in the countryside of Iraq, the unintended effects perhaps of the sanctions, are just the casualty of warfare? PATRICK CLAWSON: Oh, I would say that, if the sanctions weren't in place, the situation would be worse in Iraq because Saddam would spend money on arms and on arms industry. His priority is spending on the military, not on humanitarian goods. And if there weren't UN controls which force Saddam to spend money on humanitarian goods, I think he would be using that money for nefarious purposes instead. GWEN IFILL: Mr. Von Sponeck? HANS VON SPONECK: Analogy to a shooting team. If you are a member of a shooting team and you shoot at targets and you miss the target time and again, then I guess you will be replaced in that team. And I think the target has been consistently missed with sanctions. GWEN IFILL: The target being... HANS VON SPONECK: The target being to try and bring about changes in the regime, bring about a new political reality in Iraq that hasn't happened. Can we really continue, then, to argue for the maintenance of a policy that hasn't brought about change? Shouldn't we try and give another approach a chance by removing economic, if not military sanctions and introduce a system that would allow us to monitor what comes into the country and what happens in the country -- that is possible. GWEN IFILL: The oil-for-food plan that you administered was supposed to be part... It was supposed to be targeted at relieving some of the hardships of sanctions and giving Iraq some of the resources it needed to provide food and medicine for its population. But you quit, saying that wasn't working, it wasn't enough. HANS VON SPONECK: No, no. I think it would be unfair to give the impression that the oil-for-food program was useless. It has given a lot of important items to Iraq. But it's not adequate. The cloth that you can buy to cover the body Iraq with the money that you have is much, much too little. I don't know whether the audience is aware that every year at the moment, there is on average, only $252 per person available to meet the physical needs alone, let alone the other needs in education and in socialization of the youth, the young people. There's nothing. There's very little. Saddam's regime and the global community GWEN IFILL: Not only that, but the sanctions seem to also be kind of porous. There's arms smuggling that happens along the border, there are illegal oil sales going on. So how do you quantify, especially since the inspectors are no longer there? How do you quantify that the goal of reducing weapons of mass destruction or military presence, how do you quantify that that's been met? PATRICK CLAWSON: You made some very good points about the smuggling, which is that hundreds of millions of dollars that are earned by Saddam and he spends not a penny of it on humanitarian needs. The only money which is used to meet the Iraqis' humanitarian needs comes from this food-for-oil program from the United Nations, which by they way now is going to be much, much larger than the smaller figure that been used in the past. The UN lifted all restrictions on the size of the program last December. And the best way that we can tell how much Saddam has been able to divert into his weapons of mass destruction programs is, unfortunately, pretty imprecise at the moment because we don't have those inspectors on the ground. But from what we can tell, what Saddam has done is to rebuild his capacity to make weapons of mass destruction but not yet make them because he fears retaliation from American military forces if he were in fact ever to use those weapons of mass destruction. And that shows how military deterrence is going to have to be part of this mix, as well. GWEN IFILL: Is the problem Saddam, or is the problem the United Nations? HANS VON SPONECK: I think the problem is much more complex than categorizing it either into a problem of the regime or the problem of the United Nations. I think both sides have to recognize each other again. The term this morning on Capitol Hill that was used was to "dedemonize Saddam Hussein and bring Iraq back into the comity of nations, sit with Iraq and around the table and try to argue things out." We are at the moment in a terrible deadlock and that political deadlock is squarely at the expense of the civilian population that has nothing to do with that conflict. GWEN IFILL: How do you break that deadlock? HANS VON SPONECK: By simply moving away from a policy where you put your head into the sand when the Iraqis appear. The Iraqis must be taken into account, we must sit around the table with them, we must talk to them and maybe then we get into a position where we can take a better measurement of their intentions than we can at the moment. GWEN IFILL: You're saying lift the sanctions entirely in order to have conversation, rather than having conversations aimed at lifting the sanctions? HANS VON SPONECK: No. Lift the sanctions, introduce the monitoring system, and do it consistently. Don't allow... It is correct, there's a lot of illegal income because of the export of diesel oil illegally across the border. But to quote the ambassador of France to the Security Council said recently and all that with the full connivance of the Security Council. It's known what is happening in the North. It's condoned. It's not condoned in the South because there is a different political situation and reality. In the North, it's done because it's in exchange for allowing US aircraft to fly into northern Iraq and to satisfy the demands by Turkey that argue as a result of sanctions, they have lost until now $30 billion worth of trade. So it's a very pragmatic and in a way also dishonest approach in dealing with the situation in Iraq. GWEN IFILL: Would that work? PATRICK CLAWSON: No, in a word. Dealing with Saddam Hussein has not worked for the Iranians, whom he invaded, it did not work for the Kuwaitis who tried to buy him off. It would not work for us. Saddam has a track record. He has track record of dropping chemical weapons on his own people. This is a man who's been guilty of genocide. To expect him to look out for the best interests of Iraqis is like expecting Pol Pot to look out for the best interests of Cambodians. I agree with Ambassador Von Sponeck. We have to talk to the Iraqis, we have to talk to the Iraqi opposition and we have to talk to them about how to get rid of Saddam. And the more we can do to step up our pressure on this guy and if we could get an international consensus for more vigorous actions, that's going to help the Iraqis a whole lot more. GWEN IFILL: Mr. Clawson, Mr. Von Sponeck, thank you both very much. ----------------------------------------------- FREE! 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