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Unleash the dogs of punditry! Following is a rogue's gallery of recent commentary from the U.S.: **"Hussein Is Getting the Last Laugh" (LATimes 00.12.10) - Commentary by a former Deputy Executive Chairman of UNSCOM **"Saddam wins. America sleeps." - Commentary by A.M. Rosenthal, fmr. editor of the NYTimes (NYDailyNews 00.12.08) **"Iraqi intransigence: United Nations should insist on inspections" - Dallas Morning News Editorial (00.12.07) - Perhaps the most worthy of the pro-sanctions editorials. **"Outside the Box" - Wall Street Journal Editorial (00.12.05) - Particularly Rabid SoundBite: (re: policy of 'slowly taking away pieces of [Saddam's] territory') "Why such a policy would need to go slowly is beyond our ken." **"A Smoldering Fire in Baghdad" - NYTimes Editorial (00.12.04) - PRSB: "maintain and if necessary tighten sanctions" **"A Bush administration would face an old foe" - Commentary by two influential oil industry figures (Houston Chronicle 00.12.04) - PRSB: "A military deployment must start immediately." **"Containing Iraq" - Washington Post Editorial (00.11.12) - PRSB: "The only responsible policy toward this kind of warmongering dictator is containment, and the tougher the better." Some recurring themes: >> America is being abandoned by self-serving allies for the most venal of motives; >> The humanitarian situation (if it's mentioned at all) is the fault of Saddam Hussein; >> The sanctions-busting flights will open the door to smuggling weapons technology; >> Under OFF, Saddam has received a whopping 37-billion for food and medicine; >> Turning off the Iraqi oil spigot is an act of war (or, as distilled by sanctions critic Justin Raimondo: "We need the oil: now, let us seize it. We don't even need to manufacture much of a provocation.)" Much of what follows is so inaccurate and uninformed, it's difficult to take seriously. But consider: the Post, the Times, and the WSJournal are the most influential newspapers in the country. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA * Note: "War hath no fury like a noncombatant" is from C. E. Montague, writer and WWI veteran. === http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20001210/t000118097.html Sunday, December 10, 2000 Hussein Is Getting the Last Laugh By CHARLES DUELFER WASHINGTON--In light of the present trend of events regarding Iraq, one could be forgiven for asking: Who's containing whom? Virtually all the continuing multilateral actions in the United Nations Security Council have the effect of reinforcing the legitimacy of Saddam Hussein's regime. Moreover, as Iraq continues to expand its oil capacity, and its contracts grow under the U.N.' s "oil-for-food" program, some members of the Security Council have an increasing stake in keeping the Iraqi president around. This has clearly been a large part of Iraq's strategy of dividing the United States from its allies and other members of the Security Council. Meanwhile, the United States, virtually alone, spends billions of dollars to keep Hussein in check. Imagine security in the region if U.S. forces withdrew. Except for the British (and they're increasingly wobbly), the rest of the permanent members of the Security Council contribute only criticism as they compete to win favor and lucrative contracts from Iraqis. The remaining council checks on Iraq include sanctions, which are eroding, and control of Iraq's legal oil-export revenues. These funds go to an escrow account, and the U.N. must approve any expenditure by Iraq. This is the last serious U.N. constraint on Baghdad's grander military visions. The Europeans seem convinced that pragmatism and commercial interests dictate that they must work with Hussein. Much of this is rationalized by the need to reverse the harm to Iraq's civilian population that sanctions cause. The United States, they are convinced, has no choice but to remain vigilant in the region in case the Iraqi leader gets aggressive again. Hence, they can afford, and indeed profit, from being relatively open to the regime. Given Hussein's track record and undiminished ambitions, the future does not look good. His regime has an exquisite sense of the value and use of power. Toward that end, it has acquired and now retains weapons of mass destruction. The same logic drives its oil policy. Iraq's oil minister, Gen. Amir Mohammed Rashid, has said he can more than double current production capacity--up to 6 million bar rels a day--in three to four years. Iraq's goal is to supplant Saudi Arabia as the dominant force in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It is worth noting that the same Rashid had a leading role in directing the successful development of Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction programs in the 1980s. His wife, Rihab Taha, ran the biological-weapons program. The Security Council provides the resources. It now allows Iraq to spend $1.2 billion a year renovating oil infrastructure. Economies in the West demand more oil, and they grow faster with energy prices lower. Iraq knows it has a powerful lever, and it intends to make it more powerful. The question the next U.S. administration will face is: Can we accept a future with Hussein in control of weapons of mass destruction and a sizable fraction of the world energy market? Iraq already is using the power of its oil capacity by throttling back its oil exports. Some council members focus narrowly on the Iraqi weapons threat and argue that a proposed monitoring organization would limit Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. This is highly dubious. Iraq refuses to permit U.N. inspectors in the country. Why should it? The regime is doing well following a strategy of sanctions erosion. Even if it did allow inspectors in, would the Security Council suspend sanctions and give the checkbook back to Hussein? If the council did so, the first thing Hussein would do is toss out the inspectors again if they were the slightest bit intrusive or effective. The United States appears to be losing its influence on this issue. It has been addressing the Iraq problem through the Security Council with the noble objective of obtaining a multilateral, collective response. For several years, this more or less worked. However, the interests of other countries have evolved, and Iraq has successfully lured them away. What is worse, the actions of other council members are driven increasingly by the objective of containing the United States. Drawing the United States into the Security Council is an opportunity to achieve equal footing with this "hyperpower," as French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine castigated the U.S. For the United States, the Security Council can become a voyage to Lilliput where the Lilliputians are quick-witted, nimble and can tie the United States up quite handily. This is not to say that the Security Council is without merit, simply that collective action has its limits. In the case of Iraq, the incremental decisions by the council that effectively re-empower Hussein will make it inevitable that the United States enact unilateral policies and actions, one way or the other. The next U.S. administration will have to make a hard decision as to whether it considers Hussein's regime inevitable, and if not, some tough steps will be in order. - - - Charles Duelfer, a Guest Scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Is Former Deputy Executive Chairman of the U.n. Special Commission === http://www.nydailynews.com/2000-12-08/News_and_Views/Opinion/a-91495.asp Note: Mr. Rosenthal's piece was included in Peter Brooke's latest news update. New York Daily News Friday, December 08, 2000 Saddam Wins, America Sleeps by A.M. Rosenthal Americans are so mesmerized by the Bush-Gore struggle for the presidency that they are making a historic mistake. They think of it as the only important event taking place in the world. But something else is happening that will shape the next President's place in history and the destiny of all nations within range of Iraqi missiles. The presidential candidates have not discussed that; it might upset us. The reality is that Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, has won the war against the United States and most of the world. No piece of paper says so, but every country knows it. The U.S., with United Nations help, defeated Saddam in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 in 100 hours of land warfare following a few weeks of missile attacks. Nine years later, that desert victory has been overturned at Saddam's headquarters in Baghdad, at the UN's skyscraper in New York, at the State Department and White House and in countries that used to be our allies but now prefer the profitable betrayal of oil trade. Saddam is not only out of the box, but owns it. On Tuesday, he nailed America in it, tighter. When our former allies saw that the Clinton administration had neither the plans nor the ability to protect the victory it had inherited from President George Bush, zip - they were Baghdad-bound to destroy the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. when Iraq collapsed. The sanctions could have controlled Iraq's boundless military plans for future conquest and terrorism. Saddam pays off his new partners - led by Russia, China and France - in oil profits and Middle Eastern influence. He had fought to add Kuwait's oil fields to his own. After he was defeated, the Bush administration kindly left him with an army, but did get one important pledge. Saddam agreed to international inspections to make sure he was no longer on the road to the weapons he had been preparing to produce - the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons that would give him dominance over all the Mideast, most of Islam and any other part of the world within his radius. If he did not cooperate with the inspections, the agreement said, he would be subject to sanctions, chiefly preventing him from selling oil to buy anything that might have military use. As soon as he made the pledge, he just said no. He shoved international inspectors around and threw many out of the country. Still, under Richard Butler of Australia, the inspectors were getting closer to his plans and materials for weapons of mass destruction. So he ordered the inspectors out. For two years, there have been no - repeat, no - inspections at all. The U.S. and the UN have done nothing about it. None of Saddam's elite goes without a Mercedes or caviar, while children of the poor suffer from lack of decent food and medicine. The UN has allowed him $37billion to buy both. But if the conditions are not to his taste, he just refuses the money to buy food and medicine for the children and sick of Iraq. Observing the sanctions is Saddam's choice, and he prefers to have Iraqi children die rather than allow unhindered inspections - or even allow the inspectors back. In criticizing the sanctions recently, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan did not bother to point out Saddam's deliberate choice. Neither do any of the nations now frantically appeasing him, nor do they tell the world that if Saddam ever let inspectors discover and destroy the factories of his weapons of mass destruction, the sanctions would be lifted. There are other sanctions in place, like the one prohibiting civilian airplanes from flying in and out of Iraq. President Clinton just looks blank when that is violated, something that is becoming internationally chic. On Tuesday, the UN Security Council gave Saddam more leeway to raise and spend oil billions as he chooses. Soon, it will approve international air traffic to Baghdad. Saddam will be able to smuggle in weapons and technology not only by land, but aboard "civilian" planes from Russia and other U.S. "friends." The Tuesday decision, like all by the Security Council, was taken in a closed meeting. The U.S. did not use its veto power. Fake "consensus" was announced. James Cunningham, the American diplomat who has the nasty job of dealing with Iraq, said it was really "not a bad outcome." What would George W. Bush or Al Gore do about Iraq? They didn't say during the campaign. They don't say now. Could it be they don't have a clue? Saddam's power mania will bring on another war - count firmly on that. People will probably call it Gulf II. But in deference to the current winner, we really should call it Saddam II. And hope we don't have to count higher. === http://www.dallasnews.com/editorial/232143_iraqiintransig.html Thursday | December 7, 2000 Iraqi intransigence: United Nations should insist on inspections Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein wants out from under United Nations' economic sanctions, and is waging a smart divide-and-conquer strategy to erode international resolve to isolate his regime. His latest ploy was Iraq's on-again, off-again suspension of oil exports last week. He suspended the exports after demanding that buyers pay a surcharge that would have provided Iraq cash outside the special U.N. account that governs the oil-for-food program. It was a bold challenge of the post-Gulf War sanctions aimed at preventing him from rebuilding his war machine. Iraq is showing signs of backing down, possibly because Saddam Hussein was simply probing international resolve, but was not willing to precipitate a full-scale spat at this time. If the past is an indication, this will not be Mr. Hussein's last stab at ending the sanctions. With the prominent exception of an oil-for-food program that permits Iraq to sell oil to buy food and medicine for humanitarian reasons, U.N. fiat bars Iraq from trading with the rest of the world. Still, foreign policy experts say thriving black market operations and Iraqi lobbying in European capitals are undermining the sanctions. Clearly, the sanctions strategy has not brought Saddam Hussein's regime to its knees. There is extensive evidence that the Iraqi people need educational, nutritional and overseas assistance to repair Iraq's infrastructure for electricity, water and sanitation. For humanitarian reasons, the U.N. this week again extended the oil-for-food program, adding a provision that gives Iraq greater flexibility over how it will use the money. What complicates this otherwise simple humanitarian decision is that the U.N. continues to give ground without getting in return the right to inspect Iraqi installations for evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Hussein promised it, and he reneged on it. Iraq was allowed to oust weapons inspectors two years ago without a lasting consequence to the Hussein regime. The U.N.'s chief arms inspector said this week that he is hopeful that Saddam Hussein will allow inspections next year. Nonetheless, the U.N. continues to risk being outflanked by Mr. Hussein chiefly because the will to confront him on weapons issues remains in hibernation. Among U.N. Security Council members, only the United States and Great Britain are solidly behind maintaining sanctions. It would be foolish for the world to think that Iraq hasn't rebuilt at least part of its weapons program. For those reasons, the U.N. should vigorously insist that international inspectors again be allowed to monitor Iraqi installations. Also, the U.S. should take the lead in rebuilding an international coalition to press for weapons inspections and give teeth to the sanctions policy. To do otherwise would allow the Iraqi dictator to completely gut the economic sanctions and would make the world an even more dangerous place. === http://firstname.lastname@example.org?dhamre/text/wsjie/data/SB9 75965831576 595576.djm/&d2hconverter=display-d2h&NVP=&template=atlas-srch-searchrecent-n f.tmpl&form =atlas-srch-searchrecent-nf.html&from-and=AND&to-and=AND&sort=Article-Doc-Da te+desc&qan d=&bool_query=Iraq&dbname=wsjie%26named%3Ddbname%26period%3D%3A720&location= article&HI= Wall Street Journal December 5, 2000 Outside the Box It was 1998, and Iraq was "in a box." Or so argued U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as the U.N. weapons-inspection regime crumbled in the face of Iraqi intransigence. Two years on, the world is beginning to see just how hollow Mrs. Albright's remark really was. Let's see: U.N. sanctions notwithstanding, Iraq is now the third-largest oil producer in OPEC and, at 585,000 barrels a day, the sixth-largest supplier of oil to the U.S. The proceeds of these exports supposedly go to a U.N. escrow account, which in turn supposedly goes toward purchasing food and medicines for Iraqi civilians. In fact, the Iraqi regime sells much of this food and medicine on the black market, then uses the profits any way it sees fit. Iraq also exports oil on the black market, reportedly through Russian front companies and probably soon through a newly repaired Syrian pipeline. Additional revenue comes from Iraq's trade with Pakistan and Jordan, to name but two known culprits. And how does Iraq spend money? Apparently not on its needy citizens, whose suffering provides the justification for the oil-for-food program. Instead, we hear reports that Saddam has opened a Disney-like theme park meant exclusively for his supporters and their families. And that he has embarked on a massive program of prison construction. And the he has produced an estimated 610 tons of "precursor chemicals" necessary for the production of nerve agents. And that he continues to test ballistic missiles capable of delivering those agents. Indeed, the collapse of sanctions has all but been acknowledged by the U.S., the country chiefly responsible for enforcing them. Saddam Hussein International Airport is again open to commercial flights. And "civilian" Iraqi planes are now allowed to cross into the northern and southern "no-fly zones without U.S. protest. That the Iraqi regime pulled a similar stunt after the Gulf War -- when it won permission to fly helicopters in the no-fly zones and then used them bloodily to surprise a popular uprising -- seems not to have dawned on U.S. officials. Meanwhile, Iraq has become increasingly assertive in using its "oil-weapon," most recently by cutting off oil exports for a two day period. As this newspaper reported yesterday, "most experts expect Baghdad to emerge with control over another chunk of its oil revenue and with the international-sanctions regime in further disarray." So there you have Mrs. Albright's "box." For anyone who has followed Western policy toward Iraq over the last eight years, none of this should come as a surprise. The U.S. has repeatedly backed off from ultimatums to punish Iraq militarily for its violations of U.N. resolutions. When it did strike, in December of 1998, the attacks were deliberately targeted so as to cause minimum damage. Further strikes against Iraqi radar installations have had similarly negligible effects in deposing Saddam. The American position on the U.N. Security Council, through which the sanctions are enforced, has become increasingly untenable. Russia, China and France are all in favor of easing sanctions. Last month, over 100 French companies participated last month in the Baghdad International Fair. There can be little question where their interests lie. What's to be done? One might think that U.S. President Clinton would have seen the overthrow of Saddam as a worthy capstone to an otherwise legacy-less administration. But given the timid record of the last eight years that hardly seems likely now. Al Gore has promised to do better. But he too bears much of the blame for a near-decade of vacillation. Which leaves the likely next President, George W. Bush. The Republican Party platform calls for "a comprehensive plan for the removal of Saddam Hussein." And one of his top foreign-policy advisers, Robert Zoellick, has gone so far as to call for a policy of "slowly taking away pieces of [Saddam's] territory." Why such a policy would need to go slowly is beyond our ken. But at least it's aiming in the right direction. What's important now is that action be taken to reverse the slide in the Western position against Iraq. Increasingly close ties between Iraq and both Russia and China mean that high-tech military assistance might soon be in the offing. As the chances of a regional war in the Middle East grow, there could hardly be a greater foreign-policy priority for the next U.S. President. === http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/04/opinion/04MON1.html December 4, 2000 A Smoldering Fire in Baghdad Nine years after the Persian Gulf war, Saddam Hussein remains a menace to American interests in the Middle East. Seeing Gov. George W. Bush flanked recently at his ranch by two architects of the war effort, Dick Cheney and Gen. Colin Powell, was a piquant reminder that Washington has unfinished business in Iraq. One of the first tests awaiting Mr. Bush or Vice President Al Gore will be to devise a policy that keeps Mr. Hussein in check even as other nations like Russia and France press to end Iraq's isolation. Mr. Hussein continues to defy United Nations peace terms by blocking international weapons inspections. He chips away at the economic sanctions meant to keep him from rebuilding his arsenal of biological and chemical weapons and to prevent him from developing nuclear weapons. Last week he closed the tap on the 2.3 million barrels a day of oil that Baghdad exports when consuming nations rejected his demand for a 50-cent-a-barrel surcharge over U.N.-administered prices. He relented yesterday. The surcharge would have been paid directly into the Iraqi treasury, where it could have been used to pay for new weapons. With global oil supplies tight, any sustained Iraqi cutoff would further inflate prices that are already painfully high and could even create an oil shortage. For over a year, the Clinton administration has deliberately downplayed problems with Iraq. It hoped to avoid a new military showdown at a time when international unity was frayed and feared that another round of inconclusive airstrikes against Iraqi military and industrial targets might have complicated Mr. Gore's presidential campaign. Iraq used this period to try to extricate itself from international monitoring and economic pressure. When the Security Council passed a compromise resolution last December that would have offered some promise of relief from sanctions in exchange for the return of U.N. weapons inspectors, Baghdad rejected it and the resolution has never been put into effect. An increasing number of countries have resumed civilian flights into Baghdad, ignoring a U.N. ban. Iraq is preparing to use Russia's presidency of the Security Council this month to seek a further loosening of sanctions and financial controls while whittling down inspection requirements. Washington needs to deflect these new pressures and reinvigorate its own policies even before the next administration takes office. America's guiding goals should be to keep Iraq from threatening its neighbors and the flow of oil to the West by making clear that any future Iraqi aggression would be unacceptable. To this end, Washington must work with Security Council members to maintain and if necessary tighten sanctions so long as Baghdad refuses to accept inspections. America should be prepared to use airstrikes against selected targets if there is hard intelligence that these sites are being used to manufacture new unconventional weapons. Mr. Hussein badly lost the Persian Gulf war. But he has not given up on winning the peace. === http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/763277 Dec. 4, 2000, 5:55PM A Bush administration would face an old foe By MICHAEL J. ECONOMIDES and RONALD E. OLIGNEY TWO events in the past week, though seemingly unrelated on the surface, may bring us into crisis before too long. First, Iraq, the third-largest oil producer in the Middle East and an exporter of 3 percent of the world oil demand, or about 2.5 million barrels per day, halted exports in protest of the United Nations sanctions, imposed after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Meanwhile, the television was filled with images of Colin Powell, Dick Cheney and George Bush, son of the most hated figure in Iraq, preparing for a new U.S. presidential administration. Is this a coincidence? We don't think so. For some time now, there has been talk that Saddam Hussein would take some drastic action during the presidential campaign, simply to appear relevant. He had refrained from doing so till now, the thinking went, because a drastic oil price increase would have actually helped George W. Bush into the White House. The growing likelihood of a Bush administration is almost certain to provoke a vendetta on Saddam's part, renewing the Iraqi leader's rivalry with the senior Bush, through his son. Everything is personal in the Middle East, and memories are long. But there are some significant differences between 1991 and 2001. Saddam's power today, while in military terms considerably reduced, is magnified many times because the excess capacity in oil production worldwide is gone. After more than a year of mini-energy crises in the United States -- everything from heating oil in the Northeast last winter, to the emergence of $30 oil in the spring, then $2 gasoline in the Midwest, electricity brownouts in California and now soaring natural gas prices -- energy has once again entered the national and international spotlight. Israel's rift with the Palestinians only adds to the explosive psychology in the Middle East. Saddam is all too ready to tap into the reservoir of Arab animosity toward the West, and the United States is his clearest target. While Saudi Arabia is often presumed to be the counterbalancing political force to Saddam, this is not always true, and should not be expected to be the case indefinitely. More to the point, Saudi Arabia does not have the excess oil production capacity that they and wishful thinkers in the West have claimed. The emerging situation gives additional impetus to resolve the electoral fight here and to prepare for what likely will be a January with an energy emergency. What should the new president -- almost certainly George W. Bush -- do? ·First, level with the American people. We, as a nation, will continue our environmental stewardship and continue the search for alternatives. However, it also must be recognized that hydrocarbons account for 90 percent of the energy mix and that there are no credible alternatives that can play a significant role in the next decade, at least. ·Second, take credit. The current tight energy situation is not a failure of policy but a direct result of the booming U.S. economy, especially because of the voracious appetite for more energy by the new economy. (Today, 20 percent of all power generated is used by computers and is growing.) A prospective Bush administration ought to take the following actions: ·Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fully. Oil can be withdrawn from the SPR at a maximum sustained rate of 3.9 million barrels per day for a 90-day period. A rate of 2 million barrels per day could be sustained for nine months; a rate of 1 million barrels per day rate could last for a year and a half. ·A military deployment must start immediately. It is an obvious question whether Saddam's action should be interpreted by the United States as an act of war. We think the answer is obvious, but in any case, the time required to respond militarily will not afford us the luxury to wait. And the excess capacity of the remaining member-nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries today is essentially zero, so they can provide little if any relief. ·Coherent energy policy must become an immediate priority for the United States. The centerpiece that would provide real alternative and plentiful petroleum resources is emergency funding of the Department of Energy's ultra-deepwater technology road map, announced last week in Galveston. Funding this program would cost $1 billion to $2 billion over five years, but the payoff would be immense. No other area, not even Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, holds such promise for the near future. While there is a multiyear lag time for this oil to reach the market, the psychology for the world markets and Saddam Hussein would be immediate. ·In the process, and while the country is moving full throttle toward using natural gas as the premium fuel for the future, there is a need to streamline environmental and regulatory blocks to accelerate development of domestic natural gas infrastructure, for example bringing Alaskan natural gas to market and providing needed additional liquefied natural gas-accepting terminals. --- Economides and Oligney are professors at the University of Houston, advisers to Fortune 500 companies and authors of The Color Of Oil -- The History, the Money and the Politics of the World's Biggest Business. === http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64975-2000Nov11.html Containing Iraq The Washington Post Sunday, November 12, 2000; Page B06 SADDAM HUSSEIN sees an opportunity in America's political transition. Already, Arab governments are newly willing to embrace him, thanks to anti-American feeling spread by the Israeli-Palestinian violence. On top of that, Europeans are courting him for business, drawn to the lucrative opportunities created by high oil prices. The incoming U.S. administration, Saddam calculates, is going to inherit a containment policy that seems hopelessly tattered--so much so that there will be strong pressure to give it up. The United Nations sanctions have already been greatly loosened for humanitarian reasons, and they have failed for a decade to topple Saddam. Iraq's dictator therefore seems to be preparing a new "offer." Give up your failed containment policy, he may suggest, and I'll allow some arms inspections in return. The challenge for the next administration is not merely to resist that false bargain: Saddam has proved time and again that he has no intention of allowing meaningful inspections, and if he did submit to them the existing U.N. resolutions already provide for a suspension of sanctions. The real challenge is to fight hard for a containment policy--to go out and sell it to voters and allies far more vigorously than has the Clinton administration--because even a tattered version of this strategy is much better than none. Saddam and his European sympathizers--notably the French and Russians--labor mightily to foster the impression that Iraq is already open for business pretty much as usual. A trade fair in Baghdad recently drew hundreds of companies from 45 countries, most of them European. The deputy speaker of Russia's Duma has led a group of 50 parliamentarians to Baghdad; Jordan's prime minister topped him with an entourage of 100 journalists and officials. France's TotalfinaElf heads a rush by the world's oil industry--including prominent U.S. companies, which operate under the fig leaf of European partnerships--to profit from Iraq's petroleum. All of this gives propaganda points to Iraq's dictator. But it does not mean that the next administration might as well discard the U.N. sanctions as hopeless. Under the U.N. system, foreign firms can help Iraq export oil; but the oil revenues go into an offshore account to be used to purchase food, medicines and other U.N.-approved substances. Trade continues, but the money is supposed to be kept out of Saddam's hands. Inevitably, the system leaks a bit; but it is clearly better than no system. At a minimum, therefore, the next administration needs to defend the existing sanctions. But it should set its sights on toughening them where possible. The humanitarian objection that this hurts ordinary Iraqis is outweighed by the sad truth that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep portions of his population in poverty. Moreover, the critics of sanctions seem to presume that the Saddam Hussein who rules Iraq is not the same Saddam Hussein who overran Kuwait a decade ago, who advocates holy war against the United States and Israel, who has used weapons of mass destruction and would do so again. Short of removing him from power, the only responsible policy toward this kind of warmongering dictator is containment, and the tougher the better. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk