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This appeared in the Independent's ``Ask Tony Blair'' Special amongst questions about why he chose the name Euan for his son and what his perfect evening is. With no right of reply I now feel that things like this may not help us -- it may just give the government another platform for their propaganda. Just a thought. Anyway, I'm sending a letter to the editor -- which I attach also -- if you have time to send one too, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org including your full address and a note to say you don't want your email address published if you don't. Q: Sanctions don't harm Saddam Hussein but they do harm Iraqi children. How can you justify that? Fay Dowker, London A: There is only one person responsible for the plight of Iraqi children and that's Saddam himself. There is no need for a single Iraqi child to be denied food and medical care. The international community has drawn up the sanctions so that Saddam can use oil revenues to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian goods. This year, $16bn is available. He doesn't do this. His priority is doing what he can to look after his regime and bolster his military capability. And we should not forget that the only reason the sanctions are there in the first place is that Saddam refuses to keep his word about not developing weapons of mass destruction and continues to threaten neighbouring countries such as Kuwait. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/People/Profiles/2000-12/askblair131200.shtml Dear Editor, In response to my question about how sanctions against Iraq can be justified, Tony Blair claims that a single person, Saddam Hussein, is responsible for the suffering of Iraqi children (Review Section 13th Dec. 2000). In fact there is not a single piece of evidence for Blair's claim that Saddam Hussein has deliberately blocked any of the humanitarian efforts in Iraq. The tragic death toll in Iraq is by now quite staggering, including hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people, mainly very young children and the poor. These deaths have been caused by malnutrition and disease due to the collapse of the whole civil economy and the health, sanitation and power generating systems, in turn the result of intensive bombing by the US and Britain in 1991 followed by a decade of sanctions. A recent UN report on the humanitarian situation states that a humanitarian programme alone cannot alieviate the suffering in Iraq which is due to complete economic, social and infrastructure collapse. The conclusion of the report was that only the recovery of the Iraqi civil economy can end the suffering and that cannot occur until sanctions are lifted. So, for the sake of the children of Iraq, sanctions must be ended now. It is a matter of life and death urgency. This would be true even were Blair's claim about Saddam Hussein's culpability to be true. If we forget that there is no evidence for it, and instead suppose Saddam Hussein had ordered that the humanitarian programme be held back thus causing the hundreds of thousands of child deaths that we know of. What would we conclude? We would say that the British government, knowing that Saddam Hussein was a cruel tyrant, put him in a position where he can torture and starve his people. It is because of British and US bombing and the sanctions that the Iraqi people depend on food handouts in the first place -- if there were no sanctions, they would be providing for themselves, earning money, buying food. Suppose someone, having taken a child and beaten her up so that she cannot manage to feed herself, only allowed some known child-abuser access to food to feed her. We would hardly be sympathetic to the protestations of the perpetrator that they were not reponsible if she then starves. Yours sincerely, Fay Dowker, -- ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Fay Dowker + + Physics Department + + E-mail: email@example.com Queen Mary, University of London + + Phone: +44-(0)20-7882-5047 Mile End Road + + Fax: +44-(0)20-8981-9465 London E1 4NS, UK + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk