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Post 9/11 reviews of excess death estimates for Iraq

In the aftermath of 9/11, several publications have revisited excess death estimates due to 
sanctions in Iraq.  A sample appears below.  None of the following has appeared in the mainstream, 
and two of the articles are so dismal as to discredit not only their authors, but by extension, the 
publications in which they appear.

By the way, the best critical analysis probably remains Amatzia Baram's from spring 2000, "THE 
available at <>.  

The post 9/11 crop (below) isn't in Baram's class: Slate's recap is straightforward and accurate, 
but brief and strangely placed.  And as for the remainder, you'll have to read to believe ...

[1] Slate - "Are 1 Million Children Dying in Iraq?" 
Previously posted by Nathaniel Hurd, this straghtforward accounting appeared in Slate's "Explainer" 
column (which, I suppose, is better than no mention at all).  

[2] Reason - "The Politics of Dead Children: Have sanctions against Iraq murdered millions?" by 
Matt Welch

Note the straw man in the title.  Mr. Welch appears to be won over in the end ("It seems awfully 
hard not to conclude that the embargo on Iraq has been ineffective ... and that it has, at the 
least, contributed to more than 100,000 deaths since 1990."). However, Mr. Welch's path to this 
conclusion is indescribable.

His most impassioned complaint is that he dislikes the politics of many of the anti-sanctions 
messengers.  He has little bile left for the policies themselves.  Mr. Welch gets only some of the 
numbers right, and often misunderstands their derivation.  He writes for 'Online Journalism 
Review', but doesn't think it odd that Albright's infamous interview passed unnoticed, nor that 
mainstream media coverage of UNICEF's survey didn't report their excess death estimate.

Yet Welch's piece does not scrape barrel's bottom.  That honor goes to ...

[3] Middle East Review of Intl. Affairs "SANCTIONS ON IRAQ: A VALID ANTI-AMERICAN GRIEVANCE?" by 
Michael Rubin

Mr. Rubin's piece wears the trappings of a scholarly work (it appears in a 'journal' and has 
75-count'em-footnotes), but overall this has the skunky aftertaste of middle-brow Holocaust denial.

If Mr. Rubin means to pick a fight over a number, he should at least get the number right.  He says 
"In 1999, UNICEF released a glossy, detailed report that again concluded that sanctions had 
contributed to the deaths of one million Iraqis."  UNICEF, of course, said no such thing.

Rubin further claims the report isn't to be trusted because data were obtained with the cooperation 
of the Iraqi government.  (Next time, presumably, the UN should send in a Covert Ops team to canvas 
the country.)  Rubin even infers sinister intent from Kuwait's absence from the frontpiece map in 
UNICEF's report.  (Saddam's tentacles extend even into the Adobe Acrobat graphics production 
department of the UN, apparently.)

I'd call Michael Rubin the 'David Irving of sanctions revisionists', but Rubin writes at a time 
when people are still dying.  


Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA
(note new email: info@uncoverIraq)

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