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Powell: Sanctions Often Don't Affect Regimes

Copyright 2000 The Washington Post   
The Washington Post 
December 19, 2000, Tuesday, Final Edition 

LENGTH: 411 words 
HEADLINE: Powell's Change of Heart; Past Critic Now Sees Place for Iraq Sanctions 
BYLINE: John Lancaster , Washington Post Staff Writer 
Critics of the sanctions against Iraq, who have long complained about the hardships they inflict on 
ordinary Iraqi citizens, could hardly have argued their case more eloquently than retired Army Gen. 
Colin L. Powell in his 1995 autobiography, "My American Journey." 

"The problem is that sanctions are most often imposed against regimes that have only their own 
interests and the retention of power at heart," wrote Powell, who served as chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff during Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the war that followed. "And since these 
leaders are still going to have a roof over their heads, food on their table, and power in their 
hands, sanctions rarely work against them. [Iraqi President] Saddam [Hussein] was the perfect 

But Powell, named by President-elect Bush as the next secretary of state, appears to have undergone 
a change of heart. 

"We will work with our allies to re-energize the sanctions regime," Powell said Saturday during his 
joint appearance with Bush. "And I will make the case in every opportunity I get that we're not 
doing this to hurt the Iraqi people, we're doing this to protect the peoples of the region, the 
children of the region, who would be the targets of . . . [Iraqi] weapons of mass destruction if we 
didn't contain them and get rid of them." 

During the campaign, Bush and his advisers accused the Clinton administration of neglecting Iraq 
policy, citing the end of U.N. arms inspections in 1998 and the erosion of support for sanctions on 
the U.N. Security Council. Although he did not offer any specifics, Bush suggested that he would 
take a more aggressive approach to getting rid of Hussein, starting with increased support for 
Iraqi opposition groups. 

So is Powell's tougher line on sanctions a matter of conviction or convenience? 

Retired Col. Bill Smullen, Powell's spokesman, attributed the change to "a contrast of times and 
conditions." Powell's earlier criticism of sanctions, Smullen said, reflected the former chairman's 
experience during the run-up to the Gulf War, when he and other members of the Bush administration 
hoped that economic sanctions alone would force Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait. 

"We're in a different situation now," Smullen said. "His view today is that sanctions in the year 
2000 are in place, and should be, with respect to the containment of the Saddam Hussein regime from 
building and spreading weapons of mass destruction." 

LOAD-DATE: December 19, 2000

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