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Please write to the NEW STATESMAN

Hello all. Glenn from Voices UK here.

You may have seen this week's New Statesman (25 June) -- complete with
advert on page 9 for next weekend's London conference with Denis Halliday.

If you can, I would ask you to respond to a letter in the issue critical of
Mark Thomas's column on sanctions ( letter, and my own reply reproduced
below). Obviously, the more letters they get, the more likely one will get

Send replies to including your full postal
address, or to:

Letters Page, New Statesman, 7th Floor, Victoria Station House, 191 Victoria
St, London SW1E 5NE.   Fax 020 7828 1881.

Maximum published length appears to be approximately 200 words, and would
have to be in in the next couple of days in order to make next week's
publication date.

Some good replies on why "smart" sanctions aren't smart at all, and on the
morality of collectively punishing civilians would fit the bill, I think.
(See Casi site or Voices: or recent Voices
newsletter for information and sources.)

Here's the letter.

All the best,



THE POINT, Mark Thomas (18 June), is not that the critics of UN sanctions
need to acknowledge that Saddam Hussein is a bastard, but that they need to
propose what the UN and the west should do about his regime, in place of

If it is true that the Saddam regime is a murderous dictatorship which has
brought the Iraqi and other peoples of the Middle East into a series of
historic disasters, and that the existing sanctions regime has helped
further to impoverish Iraqis, then manifestly the UN needs not abandon
existing sanctions, but to replace them with new policies that will be both
more humane and more effective in defeating the Iraqi regime. If "smarter"
sanctions are not the answer, what is?

Professor, International relations and Politics
University of Sussex


Dear Sir/ Madam

Martin Shaw (letters, 25th June) frames the issue of UN sanctions on Iraq as
part of the necessity of "defeating the Iraqi regime."

Putting aside the questionable premise that this is indeed what motivates
our policymakers, Mr Shaw's view, and its Foreign Office variant of
'containment', poses serious moral and legal questions about how our
government conducts its foreign affairs.

The effects of these sanctions have not just been to "impoverish Iraqis."
Sanctions mean half a million dead children; a quarter of surviving children
left 'stunted'; rampant disease, crime, inflation and unemployment;
devastated public infrastructure; and wholesale social collapse.

Before proposing we keep this policy going but just make it a bit "smarter"
it is worth pausing to reflect on the enormity of what it means for us to
cause the death of one thousand Iraqi children every week (according to
Denis Halliday, former UN humanitarian co-ordinator). Who knows, perhaps if
we tweak this 11-year-old policy enough we can perhaps reduce the figure to
only 500 infant deaths weekly, and so allow our consciences to rest.

There are legitimate tools of international security. The punishment of an
entire population is, explicitly, not one of them.

Yours faithfully,

Glenn Bassett.

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