The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

response to the U.S. State Department’s factsheet on Iraq

On 25 May 01, at 0:04, wrote:
> Just out of curiosity, which parts of the fact sheet do you disagree
> with and why? I'd like to learn how to counter it--if you sent your
> reply to the whole IAC list, that would be even better--the more
>consioussness raised the better!!
> peace
> -Mike Ford

alrighty then, here goes...

A Response to the U.S. State Department’s “Myths and Facts
about Iraq”

> Myth: Everything that's wrong with Iraq's economy is because of
> sanctions.  Fact: Iraq enjoyed a strong economy until Saddam Hussein
> took power and launched attacks against his neighbors--Iran in 1980
> and Kuwait in 1990—with devastating results for Iraq. It took 5
> years for Saddam to accept the oil-for-food program. Saddam also has
> failed to implement policies that would boost economic growth and
> generate job opportunities to improve the population's living
> standards.

The State Department is making three points here, and while all
three are all superficially correct – they’re not the full story. The war
with Iran did hurt Iraq’s oil production, and cause significant
infrastructural damage (especially in the South). This did hurt Iraq’s
economy, and financing that war caused Iraq to take on tens of
billions of dollars of debt (a lot of it from the U.S. and Western
Europe, we did after all *support* the war at the time). But the
economic damage caused by the war with Iran pales in comparison
to the damage caused by the combination of U.S. bombings during
Desert Storm, and 11 years of sanctions. In 1980, Iraq’s GDP was
$54 billion, or roughly $4000 per capita. In 1989 it was around $30
billion, or $2000 per capita. Last year it was roughly $6 billion, or
around $260 per capita. So the war with Iran cut the Iraqi economy
by 50%, and the sanctions have cut that remaining amount by
90%. Also, the current GDP is mostly “aid” (purchases made with
Iraqi oil through the Oil-for-Food program), rather than from a
functioning economy. So, practically speaking (in terms of the
state of industry & purchasing power), it’s even smaller.

The second point the State Department makes is that it took
Saddam five years to accept the Oil-for-Food program. Again, this is
true, but it it’s a half-truth. There’s plenty of blame for on this
point on *both* sides. In March 1991, the UN sent a team into Iraq
to assess humanitarian conditions following Desert Storm. The
Ahtisaari mission found that Iraq was in “near apocalyptic
condition,” and that the Iraqi people faced “imminent catastrophe” if
there wasn’t a massive, international intervention to rebuild
infrastructures destroyed in the war. In response to this, the
Security Council passed SCR 687, which made it possible for other
countries to sell Iraq food if they could get unanimous consent for
each sale from the Sanctions Committee first. That’s it. This was a
pretty meaningless response, especially as Iraq’s foreign assets
remained frozen, Iraq’s oil industry was destroyed, and, regardless,
Iraq was still not allowed to sell oil even if it could. It also ignored
the fact that the Ahtisaari report didn’t just call for “foodstuffs,” but
for major infrastructural repairs. In June 1991, the UN sent another
mission to Iraq, and this report – the Aga Khan report – repeated
Ahtisaari’s warning that Iraq faced “imminent catastrophe,” and
specified exactly how much money, by sector (agriculture,
electricity, water & sanitation, oil - & so on), that *at a minimum*
Iraq needed to avert a humanitarian disaster. The total figure came
to a minimum of $6.8 billion for the first year. Aga Khan suggested
– since that was more money than could possibly be made
available by the UN – that Iraq be allowed to sell that much oil to
generate the money they needed. The Security Council responded
by passing SCR 706 in September 1991, which would have
permitted Iraq to sell only $3.2 billion a year, and required that 30%
of that figure go to war reparations, and the remaining 70% be used
to pay for weapons inspections before it be made available for
“humanitarian” purchases. It also required that all of the money go
through a UN escrow account, and that all purchases be submitted
for approval to the Sanctions Committee. Iraq rejected this as an
infringement of their sovereignty, until conditions got so bad in 1996
that they were afraid the entire country would collapse.

The last point made by State is that Saddam has “failed to
implement” policies that would have improved the economy. This is
so vague that it’s difficult to answer. What policies? The Iraqi gov’t
is brutal & repressive. Furthermore, it hasn’t been as creative as,
say, Cuba in attempting to find ways to alleviate the crisis caused
by sanctions. But I’m not sure there’s *anything* that the gov’t
could have done, or be doing today, that would significantly improve
the economy. Sanctions have to be lifted first. Until then, there’s
simply no capital to do much of anything with.

> Myth:  The Iraqi people do not have an adequate supply of
> medicine because of sanctions.
> Fact:  Sanctions have never prohibited or limited the import of
> medicine. In fact, the UN has urged the Iraqi regime to order more
> basic medicines, but Baghdad has refused. Saddam has been criticized
> by the UN for intentionally hoarding medicines in warehouses in
> government-controlled Iraq instead of distributing it to civilians.

The first part is sort of true, sanctions never “prohibited” the
import of medicine (although when SCR 661 was debated back in
1990, the U.S. fought hard to try to get medicine included in the
embargo). But sanctions have limited the import of medicine in
three ways: first, sanctions have destroyed the economy, so
there’s not enough money for all the medical supplies Iraq needs;
second, medical contracts have to be submitted to the Sanctions
Committee, which causes long delays in actually getting the stuff
into the country; and third, the Committee often vetos medical
contracts because the equipment or drugs could *potentially* be
used for “weapons.”

The second part of the State Department’s “facts” is also true, the
UN has urged the Iraqi gov’t to contract more quickly. But the UN
has also urged it’s own agencies to contract more quickly for Iraq.
The fact is that as oil prices have jumped up over the last year,
more money is available for contracts, but the bureaucratic
infrastructure to deal with the increase isn’t there – in Iraq or within
the UN.

The third part is a straight-out, absolute, bald-faced lie. The *U.S.*
has accused the Iraqi gov’t of “intentionally hoarding” supplies, but
the *UN* has about made itself blue in the face telling everyone that
it isn’t true. All three directors of the Oil-for-Food program in
Iraq, including Tun Myat, the current director, have said it ain’t
true. As have the UN agencies on the scene in Iraq. Hans von
Sponeck, the former director of Oil-for-Food, even set up a highly
sophisticated tracking system to statistically demonstrate it wasn’t
true. I guess someone forgot to tell the State Department (lol).

> Myth: Sanctions prohibit humanitarian contributions to Iraq.
> Fact:  Sanctions do not prohibit humanitarian contributions,
> Saddam does. Since June 1998, Saddam has publicly refused a
> number of humanitarian contributions while claiming that his
> people are suffering.

Uh-huh. Sanctions don’t “prohibit” humanitarian contributions to
Iraq, but if you want to send something you have to apply for a
permit. This process is long & difficult. LIFE for Relief and
Development – the largest U.S.-based charity taking stuff to Iraq –
was forced to get Senator Spencer Abraham to help them, and it
still took them over a year. The Treasury Department has also
threatened to prosecute groups that haven't applied for a permit,
such as Voices in the Wilderness.

Saddam has prevented new groups from taking charity over the last
couple of years, and should be criticized for it. What Iraq has said
is that they don’t want any damn charity. They’ve complained that
the charity is an excuse people use not to lift sanctions, and
they’re a rich country and can take care of themselves if sanctions
were lifted.

> Myth:  Sanctions prohibit the import of pencils, books and
> journals, and desks for schools.
> Fact:  Basic educational supplies including pencils, books, and
> desks have never been prohibited by UN sanctions. They have been
> sent to Iraq regularly since 1991 and nearly $64 million of supplies
> for the education sector, including photocopiers, and printing and
> lab equipment, have entered Iraq under the oil-for-food program.

Right. Sanctions don’t actually “prohibit” *anything*. There is no
list of “banned” items. The way it works is that sanctions prohibit
Iraq from freely selling oil (or anything else), and prohibit anyone
from freely selling Iraq *everything*. Purchases have to go through
the UN Sanctions Committee, and if they say “no” – it don’t go in.
That $64 million over the last 11 years is just a *little* shy of the
$2 billion Iraq spent on education in just 1988-89.

> Myth:  Sanctions prohibit Non-Governmental Organizations
> from working in Iraq and the UN can run whatever programs it
> wants in country.
> Fact:  Saddam has refused to allow most NGOs into Iraq and
> sometimes impedes UN workers trying to oversee oil-for-food
> programs. In fact, Saddam launched a series of terrorist attacks
> against NGO and UN workers in northern Iraq in the early 1990s.

The Iraqi gov’t is paranoid about who comes into the country,
especially since the CIA tried to get its friendly, little
“Americares” organization in there a few years ago, but I haven’t
seen *anything* from *any* UN agency complaining about
“interference.” On the contrary, UN complaints are largely directed
at the U.S.

> Myth:  Sanctions prevent Iraqis from going on the Hajj.
> Fact:  Sanctions have never prevented Iraqis from making Hajj.
> The Security Council exempted Hajj flights from flight restrictions
> and has offered the use of oil-for-food revenue to fund private
> Iraqi Hajj travel, but Baghdad rejected the plan.

Sanctions did prevent Iraqis from flying *anywhere* (as they
grounded Iraqi airplanes, and were interpreted *everywhere* else as
prohibiting air travel to Iraq). Iraq sent a plane with Hajj pilgrims
anyway, and the U.S. didn’t shoot it down. After that, the Security
Council passed a resolution allowing Iraqis to go on Hajj if they
didn’t transport any “cargo” to or from Iraq. The offer of money from
the Oil-for-Food program isn’t quite as generous as it sounds – after
all, it is Iraq’s money in the first place. And Iraq rejected the plan
because it would require them to submit a request to the Sanctions
Committee ahead of time, thereby “agreeing” that they need U.S.
*approval* to send their own citizens on Hajj – something that
understandably galls them.

> Myth:  Sanctions prevent travel to the Muslim holy sites in
> southern Iraq.
> Fact:  Sanctions have never prohibited travel in or out of Iraq. The
> UN Sanctions Committee approved a ferry service allowing pilgrims in
> the region to travel to An Najaf and Karbala.

Again sanctions prevented all air travel to Iraq for 10 years, making
it difficult for folks to get into the country. Iraq's isolation under
sanctions has been *extreme*.

> Myth: Sanctions have crippled Iraq's ability to export oil.
> Fact: Iraq's oil exports are approaching pre-war levels. Prior to
> the Gulf War, Iraq was exporting about 2.6 million barrels per day
> of crude oil. Its current crude oil exports have averaged about 2.2
> million barrels per day in recent months, and the regime said it
> plans to increase exports to about 2.7 million barrels per day by
> yearend, which is higher than pre-war exports. In addition, Iraq is
> smuggling 2.8 million barrels of oil per month through the Persian
> Gulf.

Iraq’s oil exports are about 2/3 of what they were prior to the
sanctions, and the CIA itself estimates that Iraq has lost over $200
billion in oil sales over the last 11 years due to sanctions, so – I
mean, *please*, give us all a slight break.

> Myth: Sanctions on Iraq will never be lifted.
> Fact: Sanctions remain in place because Iraq refuses to comply
> with Security Council resolutions. The requirements for lifting
> sanctions have not changed since they were first imposed in 1991. UN
> Resolution 1284, which Iraq rejects, lays a path for the eventual
> suspension and lifting of sanctions.

These security “requirements” are vague, and U.S. actions with
UNSCOM have made it appear unlikely that we’re really all that
interested in seeing them met anyway – they seem much more to
be an excuse to maintain sanctions, rather than the other way
around. France and Russia have both, repeatedly, proposed much
more *specific* and easily verified “requirements,” which the U.S.
has consistently rejected. Regardless:

"We are not  interested in seeing a relaxation of sanctions as long
as Saddam Hussein is in power." - Secretary of State James
Baker, May 20,

"What [Saddam] has just done is to ensure that the sanctions will
be there until the end of time or as long as he lasts." - President
Clinton, November 14, 1997.

"Sanctions may stay on in perpetuity."
- U.S. Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, August 20, 1997.

"We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies
with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction,
sanctions should be lifted.” - Secretary of State Madeline Albright,
March 26, 1997.

I guess they were all just *kidding*, right? Right.

> Myth: The international community has not taken measures to
> care for the Iraqi people.
> Fact:  The UN designed the oil-for-food program in 1991 –
> unprecedented in size and scope--to provide food and medicine
> for the Iraqi people. Saddam rejected it outright for four years and
> then slow-rolled it for another year and a half. The substantial
> expansion over the years has increased provisions for Iraqis. The
> international community continues to look for ways to improve the
> program, despite Saddam's effort to undermine humanitarian efforts.

And compared to 11 years ago, 2.2 times as many babies &
toddlers are starving to death. Given that the Oil-for-Food program
is insufficient, inadequate, and is *not* charity, but paid for by
Iraqi’s own money, I’m underwhelmed by this “generosity.”

> Myth:  The oil-for-food program has failed to meet basic needs of
> the Iraqi people and it never will. Fact:  Oil-for-food has made
> significant improvements in the lives of the Iraqis and will
> continue to do so. The increase in revenue under the oil-for-food
> program from $4 billion in the first year of the program to a
> projected $20.4 billion this year means there is a tremendous amount
> of money available for humanitarian goods. The government of Iraq
> must choose to make that happen. In northern Iraq, where the UN
> controls the humanitarian relief programs, child mortality rates are
> lower than they were before the Gulf War. However, in southern and
> central Iraq, where the Iraqi Government controls the oil-for-food
> program, mortality rates have doubled.

hmm… Iraq has sold over $38 billion worth of oil since the Oil-for-
Food program was started in Dec. 1996, and has only received
$10.5 billion of that, all of it in the form of commodities. In contrast,
the Compensation Commission, set up to handle Iraq’s Security
Council mandated war reparations, has received $12 billion – in
cash. But let’s see check & see what the UN says:

“[Oil-for-Food] can only meet a small fraction of the needs of the
Iraqi people. Regardless of improvements that might be brought
about in the implementation of the current humanitarian program,
the magnitude of the humanitarian needs is such that they could
not be met within the context of the parameters set forth in SCR
986 and succeeding resolutions.” - UN Humanitarian Panel Report,
March 1999.

“[Oil-for-Food] was never meant to meet all the needs of the Iraqi
people and cannot be a substitute for normal economic activity.” -
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, March 2, 2001.

The Oil-for-Food program amounts to a handout, but paid for by
Iraqi oil. Because it’s a “handout,” it cannot & will not ever do
absolutely *anything* at all to address the massive & chronic
poverty that sanctions have caused.

For an explanation of the North-South disparity, see mid-page:

> Myth: There is a limit on the amount of food Iraq can import.
> Fact: There has never been a limit on the amount of food Iraq can
> import.

This is an outright lie. From Aug. 6, 1990 to April, 3, 1991, Iraq was
not allowed to import *any* food. From April 1991 to December
1996, Iraq was not allowed to sell any oil in order to make money
to pay for importing food. And from Dec. 1996 to Dec. 1998, there
was a “cap” or limit on the amount of oil Iraq could sell.

> Myth: Contract holds have kept a majority of goods from entering
> Iraq.
> Fact: Since the oil-for-food program was implemented in March
> 1997, the UN Sanctions Committee has approved about 90% of
> Iraqi contracts received.

Well, according to the Secretary General, that’s figure is actually
83%. But if you look at the amount of goods actually *sent* to Iraq,
holds are 35% of that total. So, no, it’s not a *majority* of goods,
but at $3.8 billion in contracts “on hold,” it sure is a hell of a lot.
And since 98% of the holds have been placed by the U.S., you
have to wonder how many of them are really for “security”
concerns. I guess everybody else in the world is just too stupid to
see the incredible threat of letting Iraqis get their hands on pencils,
textbooks, heart & lung machines, and water pumps?

> Myth: The Iraqi Government is doing all it can to make the oil-for-
> food program work. Fact: The regime is slow to order and distribute
> goods and Saddam's lack of cooperation on monitoring makes it
> difficult to ensure goods are equitably distributed to the Iraqi
> people. Baghdad has rejected UN recommendations to increase protein-
> enriched goods for malnourished children and pregnant women. The
> Iraqi Government has also rejected assistance by all but a few
> Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other outside groups.

The UN has criticized the Iraqi gov’t for refusing to target certain
programs to specific populations that are at higher risk – the Iraqis
are attempting to provide all programs for all people, and they don’t
have the resources to do it. Also, UNICEF has criticized the Iraqi
gov’t for insisting that powdered milk be part of the food ration
because UNICEF wants to encourage mothers to breast feed. The
Iraqi gov’t counters this will UNICEF data showing that most
mothers are too malnourished to generate sufficient milk. That’s it.
That’s the extent of the UN’s “criticism.” The other “points” State is
making, we’ve addressed already.

> Myth: The UN provides substandard goods under the oil-for-food
> program.
> Fact: Under oil-for-food, Saddam, not the UN, chooses what is
> purchased and from whom. Saddam's choice of suppliers is
> politically motivated. Over one-third of all contracts have gone to
> Iraq's three most vocal supporters on the Security Council. Iraq
> also continues to oppose placing mobile testing laboratories for
> humanitarian goods under oil-for-food at UN entry points that would
> insure the quality of goods delivered.

I haven’t heard anything about the “mobile laboratories,” so I don’t
know what the story is there, but the Iraqi gov’t does make
politically motivated decisions with many suppliers, and that has led
to problems with substandard goods. The fact that Iraq has no
power to do anything about quality problems has also led suppliers
to, as Hans von Sponeck put it, “take Iraq for a ride.”

> Myth:  Iraq does not have the resources to support the Iraqi
> people.
> Fact: Baghdad has significant resources available to alleviate much
> of Iraq's humanitarian suffering, but Saddam does not spend the
> money on the Iraqi people. The oil-for-food program allows Iraq to
> sell as much oil as required to meet humanitarian needs. From
> December 1999 to June 2000, Iraq earned approximately $8.3 billion
> from oil sales.

They may have “earned” $8.3 billion, but they sure didn’t see most
of it. We’ve already dealt with most of this nonsense, but the key
word the State Department is using above is “alleviate.” Is Saddam
using some resources to fund his military and inner regime?
Absolutely. Would spending all of that on the Iraqi people help
“alleviate” suffering? Yes it would. Should he do it? Yes, and if he
wasn’t a bastard he wouldn’t be Saddam. But Saddam’s money
amounts to less than a penny per person in Iraq per day. Even if he
spent all of it on the Iraqi people, it wouldn’t significantly effect
malnutrition or mortality. And, anyway – it’s irrelevant. The Iraqi
gov’t may be able to do more to “alleviate” suffering, but it’s
*sanctions* that are causing the suffering in the first place..

> Myth: There is little food available in Iraq.
> Fact:  More than 13 million metric tons of foodstuffs have arrived
> in Iraq since the first deliveries of the oil-for-food program began
> in 1997. In fact, Baghdad has been caught exporting dates, corn, and
> grain outside of Iraq while claiming the Iraqi people are starving.

Actually, it’s UNICEF that’s “claiming” the Iraqi people are starving.
But, anyway, the issue isn’t simply the availability of food, it’s
poverty. People simply don’t have the purchasing power to buy
what they need. The UN food ration supplies enough calories, but
it’s not nutritious calories – no fresh fruits or vegetables, and no
animal protein. Also, since the food ration is the *primary* “income”
for most people, they often sell part of it to pay for other household
expenses. Despite Oil-for-Food, one out of four Iraqi children remain
chronically malnourished. And while malnutrition is a serious
problem, most of the kids dying aren’t starving because they don’t
have enough food. They’re contracting waterborne diseases, and
starving to death because of severe diarrhea. As long as sanctions
keep Iraq from rebuilding its water, sanitation, and electricity
infrastructures, these kids are going to keep getting sick, and
they’re going to keep dying.

As far as “exporting food,” it isn’t the Iraqi government that’s doing
it – it’s Iraqi farmers. The reason they’re doing it is pretty simple.
Under sanctions, Iraq is not allowed *any* hard currency. Therefore
the Iraqi government cannot use it’s own money, from the sale of
it’s own oil, to pay it’s own farmers for their crops. So if the farmers
want to make money to pay their expenses they often have to
smuggle food out of the country to do it.

This whole economic model, and the problems associated with it,
bears an amazing resemblance to Colonialism, doesn’t it?

> Myth:  Iraq is in compliance with UN Security Council
> Resolutions.
> Fact:  Iraq has not complied with UN Security Council
> Resolutions that call for dismantling weapons of mass
> destruction programs, and returning Kuwaiti and other nations'
> missing persons and POWs and Kuwaiti property seized during the Gulf
> War.

According to former Chief Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, and
former two-time Biological Weapons Inspector Dr. Raymond
Zilinskas, Iraq has accounted for roughly 95% of its former nuclear
program, 90% of its former chemical weapons program, and 80-
85% of its biological weapons program. The Kuwaiti POW issue is
hard to assess, and former Oil-for-Food director Denis Halliday has
been trying to get hard info on *exactly* who might still be missing
with little success. Whether or not Iraq is in compliance with this – I
don’t know.

Regardless, it’s irrelevant. Even if Iraq had 10 billion ICBMs & each
one was topped with 10 billion nuclear warheads, all aimed at the
U.S., it wouldn’t matter. Sanctions have killed over 1,000,000
people in Iraq – mostly children. It is illegal, under both
international and U.S. law, and absolutely *immoral* to kill a million
people because their dictator could, someday, maybe, possibly,
pose a threat to somebody somewhere else. It’s not only illegal &
immoral – it’s ridiculous. If we’re so concerned about the possibility
that some innocent people could die in some future conflict, why
aren’t we equally concerned about the fact that hundreds of
thousands of innocent people *are* dying right here & now in Iraq?

> Myth:  Iraq has accounted for all Kuwaiti POWs and missing
> persons during the Gulf War.
> Fact:  Iraq has still not accounted for some 600 missing Kuwaitis.
> For over a year, the regime has refused to cooperate with the ICRC
> in this humanitarian endeavor. Baghdad also will not allow the UN
> Kuwaiti Issues Coordinator entry into Iraq to discuss POWs or the
> property Iraq stole from Kuwait.

Let’s say it’s true… basically this means that the U.S. State
Department honestly feels it’s appropriate to kill 1,000,000 Iraqi
civilians because their dictator can’t or won’t account for 600
missing person? God bless America.

> Myth:  UNSCOM inspectors behaved badly and deserved to be
> thrown out of Iraq.
> Fact:  The inspectors were not thrown out of Iraq. Iraq's
> obstructionism and refusal to cooperate with the weapons
> inspectors, who were carrying out a UN Security Council
> mandate, prevented the inspectors from fulfilling their mission and
> they had no choice but to leave.

This is a “straw-man” argument. It isn’t the anti-sanctions
movement that lies & claims that “inspectors were thrown out of
Iraq” – it’s the pro-sanctions side! Sanctions supporters at the
Washington Post & New York Times have been subject to FAIR
Media Alerts at least twice for misrepresenting this very issue.
LOL, let’s all thank the State Department for clearing this up.

As far as “behaving badly,” both the Washington Post and the
Boston Globe reported in January 1999 – one month *after* the
“Desert Fox” bombing campaign – that the U.S. had subverted
UNSCOM, placed U.S. spies among the weapons inspectors, and
used UNSCOM to spy on the Iraqi government in order to locate
bombing targets. So, basically, our justification for bombing in
December 1998 was a lie, and the Iraqi’s justification for not fully
cooperating with the weapons inspectors in 1998 was true.

> Myth:  Saddam is not more brutal than other dictators.
> Fact:  Saddam's gassing of the Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988
> was one of the largest chemical weapon attacks ever waged
> against a civilian population. Even today, Saddam continues to
> practice systematic torture, executions, forced displacement, and
> repression against the Iraqi people. The U.S. is currently seeking
> an indictment of senior regime officials for these atrocities.

Socially, Iraq isn’t as bad as, say, Chile was under Pinochet. There
isn’t the widespread fear that the gov’t will arbitrarily invade your
home & kill you. Having said that, Saddam is one of the worst of
this world’s dictators – fully as brutal as Pinochet or Suharto were.
He’s personally responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths,
massive campaigns of ethnic cleansing in both the North & the
South, and systematic human rights abuses throughout the entire
country. I would feel better, though, about the State Department’s
condemnation of these things if they had condemned them at the
time they happened, rather than helping to finance them & cover
them up back then.

> Myth:  Only ethnic minorities (not Sunnis) in Iraq are subject to
> harsh treatment by the regime. Fact:  Any group opposed to Saddam
> Hussein's regime is subject to brutal repression. The regime has
> moved against its people – be they Arab, Kurd, or Turkoman, Sunni,
> Shia, or Christian –through expulsion from their homes, razing of
> villages, arbitrary arrest, execution, and torture.

Absolutely true, sort of like what Turkey & Israel are doing right
now. And, of course, only the State Department would even *think*
that this “myth” was something *anyone* could ever use to “defend”

> Myth:  Iraq is no longer a threat to its neighbors.
> Fact:  As a result of its refusal to cooperate with the UN
> disarmament regime, Iraq maintains the capacity to produce
> missiles and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. The
> absence of UN inspectors from Iraq has afforded Saddam the
> opportunity to reconstitute his arsenal of weapons of mass
> destruction. Saddam has already launched two bloody wars; one
> against Iran in 1980 and the other against Kuwait in 1990. In the
> last couple of years, Saddam Hussein has repeatedly issued public
> threats against his neighbors, including calls for the overthrow of
> a number of regimes.

hmm.. let’s ask Colin Powell:

"That million-man army of 10 years ago is gone. [Saddam] is
sitting on a very much smaller army of perhaps 350,000 that does
not have the capacity to invade its neighbors any longer. He is
living in three concentric rings of jails that he has created for
himself in order to protect himself behind the security cordon. He
has a great deal of money available to him through our oil-for-food
program, which he refuses to use entirely for the benefit of his
people and for his children. Instead, he continues to pursue
weapons of mass destruction to threaten the people and children of
the region. …What he can't do is invade his neighbors anymore…"
- Secretary of State Colin Powell, Face the Nation, Feb. 11, 2001.

I guess maybe he forgot to inform his staff.

> Myth:  Coalition air strikes are aimed at the Iraqi people.
> Fact: The air strikes are not targeted at the Iraqi people. They are
> the direct response for self-defense of the forces that protect the
> Kurds in the north and the Shia in the south from the regime's
> civilian repression.

Questions you’ll never hear at a State Department press briefing: If
we’ve been bombing Iraq 2-3 times a week for 2 1/2 years, and they
haven’t managed to *hit* one of our planes, let alone shoot one
down, *exactly* how much danger are those planes in? And,
anyway, don’t they have the right, under international law, to shoot
at hostile planes that are flying over their own country? Finally, how
*exactly* do airstrikes help prevent “civilian repression” (especially
when it’s those repressed civilians that are getting hit by the

> Myth: Saddam's palaces are used by the Iraqi people.
> Fact:  The nearly 80 palaces and VIP residences in Iraq are
> purely for the enjoyment of Saddam, his family, and key
> supporters as a reward for their loyalty. Saddam's inner circle is
> immune from harsh living conditions facing the general population.

This is a new one on me. Ah, um, I guess I'd have to say – who
really cares? How does this have anything whatsoever to do with
sanctions or the humanitarian crisis sanctions have caused?
Maybe someone at the State Department can explain the link here,
because I sure can’t.

That’s it. That’s the whole ridiculous list.


*** Iraq Action Coalition Discussion Forum ***
*To Post a message, send it to:
*To Subscribe, send a blank message to: *To Unsubscribe, send a
message to: * To see
the List
Guidelines, go to: *Any
questions, contact the List Moderator at

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

------- End of forwarded message -------
This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]