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R: Sandy Berger opinion piece in today's Financial Times

Dear all,

I've just sent a letter to the Financial Times. I'm afraid it will never be
published... Anyway, here it is.

Dear Editor,

after reading Samuel Berger's article, I'm surprised to hear that he and the
US administration have turned to a socialist vision of life. Berger thinks
it's unfair that a President like Saddam Hussein spends his money and the
money of his Country to build palaces for himself and his friends, while
many children are suffering of malnutrition. That's great news+ACE- So, I expect
from now on the White House will be open to all the American homeless who
live in the streets just around the corner+ACE-

And of course, the US will teach democracy to the whole world: education
will be free to all students from the first day of school until the last day
in University and health cares will be public and free to all the citizens,
with no need to pay for expensive insurances. Ooops+ACE- But that's exactly what
happened in Iraq until the sanctions ruined every social and economic
structure of welfare and brought every Iraqi to poverty+ACE- Every Iraqi except
Saddam Hussein and his friends, who will continue to live in beautiful
palaces... like Bill Clinton and Samuel Berger.

Eri Garuti
Milan, Italy

Data: gioved+AOw- 4 maggio 2000 14.24
Oggetto: Sandy Berger opinion piece in today's Financial Times

+AD4-Sandy Berger, Clinton's assistant on national security, wrote the
+AD4-following piece in today's Financial Times.  The URL at which this can be
+AD4-found today is
+AD4-Letters to the editor can be sent to  They might
+AD4-wish to emphasise the point that Berger overlooks: that sanctions are
+AD4-designed to inflict hardship and tend to primarily hurt the economically
+AD4-and socially marginal.  Sanctions with exemptions are designed to inflict
+AD4-less hardship.
+AD4-Colin Rowat
+AD4-Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
+AD4-               fax 0870 063 5022
+AD4-393 King's College  
+AD4-Cambridge CB2 1ST             tel:  (0)468 056 984
+AD4-England                       fax:  (0)870 063 4984
+AD4-Saddam is the root of all Iraq's problems
+AD4-A change of government, not the ending of sanctions, is the way to
+AD4-alleviate the suffering of the nation, argues Samuel Berger
+AD4-Published: May 3 2000 19:38GMT +AHw- Last Updated: May 4 2000 06:53GMT
+AD4-Last year in Baghdad, in the middle of the worst drought in 50 years, word
+AD4-went out to Iraqi farmers to reduce rice planting to save water, and not
+AD4-to plant summer crops without government permission. At the same time,
+AD4-water was found to fill the man-made lakes around Saddam Hussein's palaces
+AD4-and to fill the reservoirs in his home town of Tikrit. Meanwhile, the
+AD4-Iraqi government continued its campaign to blame hunger on United Nations
+AD4-By obstructing UN relief, refusing to order nutritional supplements, even
+AD4-selling food and medicine to build palaces, Mr Saddam has aggravated his
+AD4-people's suffering and used the spectacle to seek the removal of
+AD4-sanctions. Yet ending sanctions on Iraq would not end the suffering of its
+AD4-In 1991, George Bush, then US president, proposed the oil-for-food
+AD4-programme, which allows Iraq to export oil, deposit the revenues in a UN
+AD4-escrow account, and draw from the account only for purchases of food,
+AD4-medicine and other humanitarian supplies. This is a unique sanctions
+AD4-regime: it prohibits the Iraqi leader from spending the revenues on what
+AD4-he cares about most - rebuilding his military - and limits him to spending
+AD4-it on what he cares about least -food and medicine and humanitarian
+AD4-supplies for the Iraqi people.
+AD4-Mr Saddam rejected the oil-for-food programme for five brutal years. But
+AD4-now, three years after he acquiesced, Iraqi oil exports and food imports
+AD4-are reaching pre-war levels. With oil prices rising, revenues are surging
+AD4-and Iraq has record resources for the purchase of food and medicine.
+AD4-To illustrate, in 1989, Iraq earned +ACQ-15bn from oil exports and spent +ACQ-13bn
+AD4-on its military (in 1999 dollars). This year, Iraq is projected to earn
+AD4AJA-16bn from oil-for-food exports and can spend none of those revenues on
+AD4-its military. Clearly, there are more funds available for food and
+AD4-medicine now than before the Gulf war.
+AD4-So why are the Iraqi people suffering?
+AD4-Primarily, it is because the Iraqi government imports food and medicine
+AD4-only grudgingly, and never orders as much as it can. We are now roughly
+AD4-halfway through phase seven of the oil-for-food programme. During this
+AD4-six-month period, Iraqi oil revenues are expected to reach +ACQ-8bn, and yet
+AD4-the Iraqi government has so far placed orders for only +ACQ-1.8bn of food,
+AD4-medicine and humanitarian supplies.
+AD4-The Iraqi government has never met the minimum calorie and protein targets
+AD4-set by the UN secretary-general. It has ordered only a fraction of the
+AD4-nutritional supplies needed for pregnant and nursing mothers. And the
+AD4-secretary-general recently reported that Iraq repeatedly has refused to
+AD4-operate supplementary feeding programmes the UN has been advocating for
+AD4-According to the UN, one-quarter of all the medicine that has arrived in
+AD4-Iraq since the start of the oil-for-food programme sits undistributed in
+AD4-Iraqi warehouses.  Ships enforcing the UN embargo continue to intercept
+AD4-Iraqi vessels smuggling food out of Iraq to earn money for the Iraqi
+AD4-Since the end of the Gulf war, the Iraqi leader has used his smuggling
+AD4-gains to build 48 palaces, complete with gold plated taps and man-made
+AD4-lakes and waterfalls.  Last year, on Mr Saddam's birthday, he presented
+AD4-himself with Saddamiat al Tharthar, a lakeside resort with stadiums, an
+AD4-amusement park, hospitals and new homes, at a cost of hundreds of millions
+AD4-of dollars.
+AD4-So what would happen if we lifted sanctions? There would be no improvement
+AD4-in Iraq's ability to export oil+ADs- it can export now all it wants. There
+AD4-would be no improvement in Iraq's ability to import food and medicine+ADs- it
+AD4-can import now all it needs. The difference would be that oil revenues
+AD4-would no longer go to an international food programme+ADs- they would go to
+AD4-Iraq's ruler. They would no longer be restricted to humanitarian supplies,
+AD4-they could be spent on rebuilding the military. Oil for food could quickly
+AD4-become oil for tanks. Iraqi people might well have less to eat. Iraq's
+AD4-neighbours would certainly have more to fear.
+AD4-It is hard to imagine a sensible approach to reducing suffering that gives
+AD4-the Iraqi leader more money and fewer restrictions on the use of that
+AD4-money. That is why the US has worked with others in the UN to ease Iraqi
+AD4-suffering without strengthening its leader.
+AD4-When the UN reported that the oil-for-food programme needed improvement,
+AD4-we supported the resolution that led to changes. When the UN requested
+AD4-additional spare parts for oil production, we allowed for spare parts.
+AD4-When it said export ceilings were too low, we supported lifting them
+AD4-entirely. When UN members expressed concern about the contract review
+AD4-process, we investigated, released contracts worth more than +ACQ-300m, and
+AD4-are now working to streamline the process further.
+AD4-We are doing our best to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people. Mr Saddam
+AD4-is doing his best to prolong it. Friends of the Iraqi people need to
+AD4-question Mr Saddam directly, bluntly and repeatedly.
+AD4-Why won't you let UN agencies and non-governmental organisations operate
+AD4-throughout Iraq to help evaluate and alleviate hardship?
+AD4-Why have you never ordered sufficient foodstuffs to meet the calorie and
+AD4-protein targets recommended by the UN?
+AD4-Why have you refused to ensure the timely and equitable distribution of
+AD4-all humanitarian goods, in particular medical supplies?
+AD4-Why won't you give up your pursuit of weapons of mass destruction for the
+AD4-good of your people?
+AD4-Instead of insisting the UN should end sanctions on Iraq - friends of the
+AD4-Iraqi people should insist that Mr Saddam end his restrictions on UN
+AD4-monitors, NGOs, supplementary feeding programmes, and all other
+AD4-international efforts to benefit those who have been punished by his
+AD4-Friends of the Iraqi people should recognise that there is no inherent
+AD4-conflict between feeding the innocent and freeing the Gulf region from
+AD4-fear. The best way to do both is to encourage change within Iraq - so the
+AD4-country has a government that will meet the needs of its people and its
+AD4-obligations to the world. That would do more than lift sanctions, it would
+AD4-lift up the lives of the Iraqi people.
+AD4-The writer is assistant to the US president for national security affairs.
+AD4-This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
+AD4-For removal from list, email
+AD4-Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

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For removal from list, email
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