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Reproduced below: *Hysterical pro-sanctions piece from today's Observer. Sane, measured reponses should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org within the next couple of days. *also, pro-sanctions letter in the Guardian from William Shawcross (author of 'The Quality of Mercy'). Letters to email@example.com Best wishes, Gabriel ************************************** Silence the bleating Left Irish leftists, through their anti-Americanism, offer succour to tyrants everywhere 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 intelligentsia. 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 world. 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 Guardian 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 effective. William Shawcross London -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.