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.
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With regard to the messages from Dr Herring and Nathaniel Hurd about the need to find an alternative to the term 'smart sanctions': The simplest way to deal with this problem of language is surely to use the term that is generally used, complete with its propaganda loading, and put inverted commas round it, as in 'international community'. Alternatively there's the longer and more neutral 'proposed reforms in the sanctions regime'. I'm not sure however that this list has yet discussed these reforms as they need to be discussed. CASI declares itself to be in favour of, or at least not opposed to, 'military sanctions' and many of us have expressed abhorrence of the Iraqi government. The essence of the new proposal as I unerstand it is to tighten the control exercised by the 'international community' over the finances of Iraq. The essence of current Iraqi policy is to maximise the flow of revenue outside the control of the 'international community'. The main objection that has been raised to 'smart sanctions' has been that Iraq needs a large influx of investment to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed in the Gulf War. Theoretically this could be done under the new proposals - if the Iraqi government were prepared to surrender its sovereignty, its control over Iraqi finances, to the 'international community' (when our government blames the Iraqi government for the suffering of the Iraqi people it is because they refused to do this at a much earlier date. It has always been the essence of the 'oil for food' proposal originally put forward in the immediate aftermath of the war). Most of us I think find that notion offensive. John Smith and the Sheffield group are able to object to it on the basis of their commitment to the principle of national sovereignty. But then we should be clear what we are arguing: that the Iraqi government should have the freedom to rebuild the infrastructure of the country as it sees fit, untrammelled by the interference of the 'international community'. We are arguing for greater freedom for the Iraqi government to do what it wihes with 'its own' revenue - and with no guarantee that it will devote itself to rebuilding the infrastructure of the country (except the immense work the same government had achieved in this respect prior to the Gulf 'War'). But where does that leave the CASI commitment to military sanctions (which would require extensive oversight of 'dual use' resources)? And where does it leave our abhorrence, and presumably distrust, of the Iraqi government? I'm not going to attempt to answer those questions here (and I'm not sure that I can do much better than to say we're as bad as Saddam Hussein, or what about Israel? What right have we to act as judges etc?). I think they're difficult and real problems which we face every time we engage in argument with our opponents. I would be very interested to know what other list members think about them. Peter Brooke -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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