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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Alexander Sternberg writes, in a thoughtful and informative post:
"In any case, and more importantly, never before in the history of
Iraq has such a high
amount of the country's public wealth been dedicated solely to
humanitarian goods and
services. Before the events of 1990-91 most of Iraq's public wealth was
non-humanitarian and non-productive endeavors, most notably the military
security organizations. Before the events of 1990-91, LESS THEN 25% of
public wealth was dedicated to non-military or non-security services.
resources are being earned than even before the events of 1990-91"
This sounds like it could be true, although I cannot confirm the figures. However, assuming it is true, we still have to account for the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Iraq. Therefore, we have to look at the economic effects of sanctions on things like investment, employment and incomes. Alexander states that "never before in the history of Iraq has such a high amount of the country's public wealth been dedicated solely to humanitarian goods and services."
This kind of claim sits uneasily with the fact that ordinary Iraqis are, as Alexander himself admits, "suffering inordinately".(I detect here an element of that naivete Alexander attributes to anti-sanctions campaigners). The supposed humanitarian program allowed under sanctions is obviously not working and the evidence from the UN indicts the program itself, rather than Saddam. (Notwithstanding his numerous crimes in other areas). Economies are complex and cannot effectively be run on a humanitarian basis by a bureaucracy like the UN, however well intentioned.