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pro-sanctions pieces

Reproduced below:

*Hysterical pro-sanctions piece from today's Observer. Sane, measured
reponses should be e-mailed to within the next couple
of days.
*also, pro-sanctions letter in the Guardian from William Shawcross (author
of 'The Quality of Mercy'). Letters to

Best wishes,



Silence the bleating Left

Irish leftists, through their anti-Americanism, offer succour to tyrants

Henry McDonald
Sunday September 23, 2001
The Observer

Samir Al-Khalil's Republic of Fear should have been compulsory reading last
weekend for both panellists and audience on RTE's Questions and Answers.
Al-Khalil's macabre portrait of modern Iraq, with its purges, tortures, mass
killings, institutionalised rape and ethnic cleansing, might just have
stripped away the scales of Third Worldism blighting the sight of some of
the more vociferous audience members last Monday night.
The dissident's account of life and death under Saddam Hussein's
dictatorship is a necessary countertext to those reports from the Western
Left that constantly blame the United States and/or the United Nations for
the present plight of the Iraqi people.

When former American diplomat George Dempsey raised the slaughter in New
York, Washington and Pennsylvania, a vocal section of the audience launched
a volley of abuse over alleged genocide in Iraq. One bearded man actually
accused the UN of killing 5,000 Iraqi children by imposing sanctions on
vital medicines and food. The hidden agenda of this highly contestable piece
of classic Irish what-aboutery was that somehow the Americans had it coming
to them. The allegation is, of course, absurd.

The truth is the Ba'athist regime squanders the revenue the West allows it
to earn from oil reserves and withholds medical and food aid from its own
people in a cynical game of propaganda. And if you think the idea of the
Ba'ath tyranny letting its own children die to undermine the case for
Western sanctions is outlandish, think again.

As Al-Khalil points out consistently in his brave book, Saddam and his
cronies will to go any lengths - be it launching a criminally wasteful war
with Iran, gassing the Kurds, invading Kuwait or drowning the Shia Marsh
Arabs - in order to stay in power. Dark stratagems are deployed and every
enemy within can be invented, so that the Ba'ath maintains its totalitarian
grip on every Iraqi man, woman and child.

The venom spat from the floor towards Mr Dempsey, who, like most Americans,
was still mourning the loss of so many of his compatriots, represented the
dark side of Irish neutrality. In the 1940s, that dark side manifested
itself in IRA collusion with Nazi Germany. It is a malaise that afflicts
both Right and Left, in the latter case resulting in the squalid spectacle
of Irish socialists and progressives sucking up to a cabal of Third World
dictators and tyrants just because they wrap themselves up in the threadbare
cloak of 'anti-imperialism'.

Today, what used to be old fashioned Anglophobia is now a visceral
unthinking hatred against all things American and, by association, Israel, a
state the Left has never forgiven for being on the winning side in the Cold
War. Thankfully, judging by the thousands who turned up at the US embassy in
Ballsbridge and the Consulate in Belfast's Queens Street, the great mass of
Irish people do not share the prejudices of Ireland's leftist

None of this is to excuse a gung-ho American militaristic response that will
undoubtedly lead to the death of more innocents; or, for that matter, is it
an exculpation of the US government's hypocritical support for other
dictatorships (Saudi Arabia comes to mind here) around the world. The only
long-term solution to the nihilistic terror of Islamic fundamentalism is the
promotion and growth of parliamentary democracy across the Moslem and Arab

Nor should opposing the Irish Left's detestation of Israel - the only
democracy in the Middle East - preclude support for a Palestinian homeland
and justice for the Palestinian people. Moreover, the positive side to Irish
neutrality, our promotion of diplomatic settlements, our proud UN
peacekeeping traditions, must be maintained.

'Since I finished writing Republic of Fear, the chamber of horrors that is
Saddam Hussein's Iraq has mushroomed into something that not even the most
morbid imagination could have foreseen,' wrote Al-Khalil just before the
Gulf War.

Arguably, only one such state today can match that 'chamber of horrors' in
terms of internal repression and ruthlessness - Afghanistan under the
Taliban. Over the next few weeks as the West prepares to strike back, the
same cretinous anti-American, anti-sanctions lobby, Saddam's useful idiots,
will be howling once more. Those voices who put the responsibility for the
Iraqi citizen's misery on the West's door rather than where it should lie,
at the feet of the Ba'ath clique, are the ones who are also the most
strident in opposing any US action against the perpetrators of America's
bloody Tuesday.

Like the IRA in the Second World War who supported Hitler, the Irish Left
through its sullen paranoiac anti-Americanism will soon find itself today
objectively siding with theocratic fascists who throw acid in women's faces
just because they want to go to work or be educated.

Saddam and sanctions

Saturday September 22, 2001

Martin Amis states (G2, September 18) that Americans "are hated and hated
intelligibly. How many of them know ... that their government has destroyed
at least 5% of the Iraqi population?" If Mr Amis is referring to the effect
of sanctions, it is untrue.

Sanctions were imposed after the Gulf war not by the US but by the UN
security council. They are intended to compel Saddam to abide by successive
resolutions and abandon his ambition to build weapons of mass destruction.
Sanctions have certainly failed to achieve that; indeed Saddam has
deliberately evaded them and he expelled the UN's weapons' inspectors in
1998. They believed that Iraq still held huge stocks of material with which
to make biological and nerve gas weapons.

Sanctions have indeed caused far more suffering to ordinary Iraqis than to
Saddam and his elite. But it is specious to blame America for this. It is
wholly the fault of the Iraqi dictatorship. If it had abandoned its illegal
and terrifying weapons programme, sanctions would have ended.

Failing that, the regime could have made proper use of the UN oil-for-food
programme set up to allow the import of food and medicines for children and
other vulnerable people. The Iraqi government has never taken full advantage
of these funds - it spends money on its own elite and prefers to be able to
blame dying children on the west and on America in particular. It is
frightening that such literally murderous propaganda appears to be so

William Shawcross

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