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Re: [casi] Media Lens Debate On Iraq Continued


none of what you've said seems to stem from care for the suffering iraqi

i'll respond point by point:

>No, no, no. Sorry - this brings the west back to a new colonialism. It is
>illegal to invade and seek to overthrow the leader of a sovereign State
>(whatever one may feel about that State's sovereign.) What arrogance.

i suppose it is ok to help a dictator remain in power? it is ok to help
saddam hussein remain the dictator (not leader) of Iraq even though the
iraqi people were on the brink of overthrowing him in 1991 until america
interfered and lifted the no fly zone ban on helicopters? come on, thats
complete hipocracy and double standards. who are we trying to protect and
save? the iraqi people or saddam hussein?

>do we go next? well, up to 82 countries, according to George W.
>I seem to remember that the Gulf War was to eject Iraq from Kuwait >because
>Iraq had invaded. Now the west plans to invade Iraq, put in another
>compliant pal (see the Central and South American model for most recent
>historic precedents) take over the oil, divide the country into three,
> >cause
>further untold bloodshed and mayhem in the region.

is this just blind anti-americanism or are we talking about the iraqi
people? what i keep saying is that we should not fudge all options to remove
saddam hussein together. we should object to any plans to attack the iraqi
people, we should object to any plans to divide the country (btw - the US
and the iraqi people have never even talked about doing this, quite the
contrary - again a mixing of what is being said). as for the central and
south american models, even though this is untrue as what would be put in
would be a puppet government similar to other gulf states, this option is
still better for the iraqi people than saddam hussein - less of a police
state, less random torturing and killings, less fear, less death and on top
of all of this, you won't have sanctions - so less starvation. anyway,
taking the oil away from who? only saddam hussein's regime has been
benefiting from iraq's oil over the last few decades, transfering that to
the US wouldn't make any difference to the iraqi people. again, the point
you make about taking the oil only effects saddam hussein's interests.

>Iraq is carpet bombed for
>42 days for invading, US/UK invade with impunity.
>Invade Iraq for doing what precisely? Not inviting another bunch of >spies
>free reign to their country. Fair enough, I'd say. Would we?

again, as i have said we should oppose any plans for a war against the iraqi
people, but not oppose (all) plans to remove saddam hussein. the two are not
the same, and the only thing we would achieve in presenting the two as the
same would be to defend saddam hussein's back. about the spies, with regards
to the iraqi people, they couldn't care less as far as spying on the iraqi
dictator - again only saddam hussein really cares about that. again, lets
not confuse the issues, whether america uses the claim of not allowing
inspectors back in to rid iraq of saddam hussein or whether it uses some
other excuse, that does not concern us if we are here to help the iraqi
people - we should be for the removal of saddam hussein and sanctions, using
the same logic of helping the suffering iraqi people, and should be
concerned with how this is done, not opposing it. i have already said many
times what should be supported and what shouldn't.

>The democratic west has already silently slaughtered more than any
>international monitoring body has ever accused the regime of.

some life is better than other life? (very orwellian). how can life ever be
a comparison of numbers? the suffering that iraqis have undergone from fear,
torture, starvation, chemical attacks, bombings, deportation, etc can never
be measured. how do you measure suffering? remember, our driving force for
campaigning against sanctions should be to help the suffering iraqi people.
you may not want to be involved in anything concerning the suffering of the
iraqi people from saddam hussein, which would be fair enough, but to oppose
any plans for the removal of saddam hussein, is contrary to this concern and
would only serve to defend saddam hussein.

>Further, the
>post Gulf war Resolution talked about disarmament 'in the region' - not
>as sole target of decimation and deprivation.

this is true, but it is not an excuse for opposing any plan for the removal
of saddam hussein's regime. again, a muddling of issues.

>I know I have said some of this before and apologise, but some things >need

yes, so have i :)

>How can the West (ie UK/US as far as pathetic UN concerned) preach
> >adherence
>to Resolutions and legal norms, whilst binning both themselves.

again a muddling of issues. this can never be a defence against all plans to
remove saddam hussein. with regards to the iraqi people, this should be used
to ask why saddam hussein was helped to crush the iraqi uprising in 1991.

i have great respect for you felicity for the hard work you've done in
trying to minimize the suffering caused by sanctions in iraq. however, iraq
is not a one issue state and we should not campaign for the removal of one
type of suffering yet oppose the removal of another type of suffering.

kind regards,
yasser alaskary

 >From: "Yasser Alaskary" <>
 >Subject: Re: [casi] Media Lens Debate On Iraq Continued
 >Date: Wed, Mar 27, 2002, 2:18 pm

 > Hi,
 > as i keep saying, the iraqi people should be our gold-standard as to what
 > should be done.
 > the iraqi people have been massacred by both sanctions and saddam
 > the option given - No war, the return of arms inspectors, and the full
 > lifting (not enforcing) of economic sanctions, while retaining military
 > sanctions - does not even recognise this fact and pretends that in
 > with iraq, this is all that should be done. how about this option:
 > ridding the iraqi people of saddam and sanctions.
 > how you get rid of saddam hussein should be the issue that is discussed
 > those concerned with the US's current moves on Iraq, to campaign against
 > war on the Iraqi people but to support the initiation of another uprising
 > (like 1991) so that they Iraqi people can liberate themselves (there are
 > also other options that do not involve bombing iraq from top to bottom).
 > yasser alaskary
 > IC Iraqi Society
 > ps- for those who complain that this is an anti-sanctions list and not
 > anything else, i only mentioned the above issues because the original
 > discussed them - so don't bite my head off! ;)
 > ----Original Message Follows----
 > From: "AS-ILAS" <>
 > To: "casi" <>
 > Subject: [casi] Media Lens Debate On Iraq Continued
 > Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 06:57:31 +0100
 > Hi all,
 > FYI
 > Best
 > Andreas
 > -----------------
 > Media Lens Debate On Iraq Continued
 > The Observer's Nick Cohen Responds Again
 > by David Edwards And David Cromwell
 > Media Lens
 > March 26, 2002
 > Following our Media Alert Update, 'The Observer's Nick Cohen and Observer
 > Editor Roger Alton Respond On Iraq' (March 20, 2002 - for this and other
 > Media Alerts see: Media
 > received this reply, his third, from Nick Cohen on March 23, 2002:
 > "Dear Media Lens, Sorry to have taken the mick. The point I was trying to
 > make in my piece, admittedly with the sinful use of humour, is that there
 > are three possible positions to take on Iraq:
 > 1. There should be a war to destroy Saddam, either a direct invasion or a
 > Western-sponsored revolt. (Bush is currently deciding between the two and
 > Blair will do whatever Bush tells him to do.) After victory, sanctions
 > be dropped.
 > 2. There should be no war and no sanctions and Saddam should be left
 > which I guess from your email is your position.
 >   3. There should be no war. But sanctions, particularly sanctions
 > against the arms trade, should be enforced. Foreign powers should also
 > provide a safe haven for the Kurds and decent world opinion should
 > an independent Kurdistan. Foreign airforces should also provide air cover
 > for the Shia majority in the south.
 > Positions one and two are far closer to each other than they are to
 > position three, which is why I made the crack about the difficulty people
 > like you will have in joining us in the coming struggle."
 > Dear Nick
 > Thanks for your email and for the restrained tone. We hope you appreciate
 > that it is not our intention to provoke or denigrate you. Our sole
 > is to draw attention to issues which may well determine the fate of many
 > thousands of innocent people, and, more to the point, whether they are
 > killed and mutilated in a murderous war. In an on-line debate earlier
 > month, you suggested we are living through "a great age of conservatism".
 > We applaud your proposed response: "The only thing to do in my experience
 > is refuse to accept the passive myth that our futures are predetermined
 > relentlessly persecute injustice and absurdity." (Guardian online debate,
 > March 7, 2002) Like you, we are keen to persecute injustice and
 > but not individual journalists.
 > Having said that, this is your third reply to us, and the sense of
 > unreality continues to grow with each response. First you rejected "the
 > sanctions cause starvation theory" - a theory invented by you - as
 > nonsense. You then smeared us as "Serviles" keeping the memory of Joe
 > Stalin alive. Now you tell us that your original article was intended
 > humorously! Does debate in the mainstream consist in proposing arguments,
 > ignoring rational responses to them, and then making completely new
 > arguments all but unrelated to the previous arguments?
 > You write that there are "three possible positions to take on Iraq", that
 > we can choose between: 1. A war "to destroy Saddam"; 2. No war, no
 > sanctions, and Saddam "should be left alone"; 3. No war, but "sanctions,
 > particularly military sanctions, should be enforced".
 > What is so shocking about this summary of the possible options is that it
 > ignores the actual position of the many credible and authoritative
 > commentators repeatedly cited by us in our correspondence with you,
 > No war, the return of arms inspectors, and the full lifting (not
 > of economic sanctions, while retaining military sanctions.
 > This, for example, is the view of Hans von Sponeck, who wrote in January
 > that the way forward was "to agree to a discussion of the draft
 > for the resumption of arms inspection and the lifting of economic
 > presented by the Russian Government to the UN Security Council last June.
 > This proposal foresees the return of arms inspectors to Iraq as demanded
 > the Bush administration and the lifting of economic sanctions after 60
 > days. The Iraqis have neither accepted nor rejected this proposal.
 > "Here is an opportunity that presents a political option to another
 > military confrontation with Iraq. It must not be missed." (by Hans von
 > Sponeck, Counterpunch, January 10, 2002. See:
 > This is the kind of rational, non-violent political option we believe
 > should be explored. Assuming you are aware of von Sponeck's views, and
 > given that we have repeatedly recommended von Sponeck as a credible and
 > rational commentator on Iraq, how can you possibly imagine that we are in
 > favour of option 2: "no war and no sanctions and Saddam should be left
 > alone"?
 > The fact that you do not include the option outlined by von Sponeck in
 > list, and that you imagine we support your position 2, suggests to us
 > you are not aware of the arguments made by von Sponeck and Halliday, and
 > many others. This would not be a surprise, given that neither you nor
 > editor, Roger Alton, have ever mentioned them in the Observer. Once
 > you have produced your own 'straw man' version of other people's
 > arguments - a version which is easy to knock down but which bears little
 > resemblance to the original.
 > We are unaware of anyone arguing for position 2, so your point about
 > options 1. and 2. being closer to each other than to 3. - therefore
 > explaining why you "made the crack about the difficulty people like you
 > will have in joining us in the coming struggle" - is redundant. Also, who
 > is the "us" you are referring to - people for, or against, war? And what
 > struggle do you mean: the struggle to destroy Saddam Hussein, to avoid
 > to maintain sanctions, to protect the people of Iraq? This is not at all
 > clear to us.
 > You say that the point of your original piece was to indicate the three
 > options you describe. But your piece mostly discussed the relationship
 > between Downing Street and Washington, and Blair's impotence in
 > U.S. policy. You said nothing about the option of lifting sanctions,
 > military or economic, as an alternative to war, only about lifting them
 > after a military victory. You made only three mentions of sanctions in
 > 1,200 word piece. You said, "Britain did what America wanted throughout
 > 1990s and contained Iraq by enforcing sanctions" - a tacit approval of
 > sanctions, suggesting that they have at least been successful in
 > Saddam. You then wrote:
 > "I look forward to seeing how Noam Chomsky and John Pilger manage to
 > a war which would end the sanctions they claim have slaughtered hundreds
 > thousands of children who otherwise would have had happy, healthy lives
 > a prison state (don't fret, they'll get there). But the humbling of the
 > who said sanctions were the best and only way will be greater."
 > (,6903,664843,00.html)
 > You wrote of how Chomsky and Pilger "claim" sanctions killed hundreds of
 > thousands of children - casting doubt, as we have discussed, on both the
 > "claims" and their credibility (so implicitly defending sanctions against
 > the charge of genocide). You then wrote that war would embarrass those
 > have insisted that sanctions were the best policy, suggesting that war
 > would reveal that sanctions had always been inadequate to the task, and
 > that war might have been the more effective option all along.
 > Given that this was the full extent of your discussion of sanctions, how
 > can you argue that your piece was intended to indicate the three options:
 > 1. War; 2. No war, lift sanctions and leave Saddam alone; 3. No war,
 > enforce sanctions, particularly military sanctions?
 > You imply that we misunderstood your original point, which employed "the
 > sinful use of humour" - suggesting that we have over-reacted and taken
 > too seriously. Perhaps you were joking in your original article when you
 > suggested that the mass death of Iraqi children was a mere "claim" of
 > Chomsky and Pilger, and that those children (if they really did die)
 > anyway have had an abysmal life in Saddam's "prison state". But how could
 > this possibly be construed as humour? The flood of letters we know you
 > received are from people who read your words as yet another casual smear
 > the integrity of Chomsky and Pilger, and as yet another attempt to defend
 > Western sanctions. What is so tragic is that many Observer readers will
 > have assumed from your article that talk of the mass death of Iraqi
 > children really is just an overblown "claim" made by the "the remnants of
 > the left", as you put it, suggesting a small group of die-hard lefties
 > redundant Cold War axes to grind. And yet, when challenged, you have been
 > unable to defend your words, written with breezy confidence though they
 > were.
 > We wonder what you would have made of a German reporter "taking the mick"
 > out of a tiny number of honest journalists trying to resist massive state
 > pressure and propaganda by publishing 'claims' that the Nazis were
 > committing genocide against the Jews in the 30s and 40s. Would that not
 > truly have been a sinful use of humour?
 > Finally, we noticed that last Sunday's Observer letters page (March 24,
 > 2002) carried no correspondence from readers challenging your piece
 > mentioning Chomsky and Pilger. There are a couple of possible reasons for
 > this that spring to mind:
 > 1. Perhaps the Observer really does think that readers responding to our
 > Media Alerts are "just another yapping dog barking a line", as you say,
 > that this correspondence does not qualify as authentic.
 > 2. Perhaps the Observer letters page does not truly represent the
 > but represents what the editors are willing to let readers see of the
 > postbag. Perhaps journalist Hannen Swaffer provided a clue when he said
 > 1928:
 > "Freedom of the press in Britain means freedom to print such of the
 > proprietor's prejudices as the advertisers don't object to." (Quoted, The
 > Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations, Oxford 2001, p.350)
 > Yours sincerely
 > David Edwards and David Cromwell The Editors - Media Lens
 > ----------------------------------
 > Contact Nick Cohen: Email:
 > Ask Nick Cohen why, in his latest response, he does not list the full
 > lifting of economic sanctions and the return of arms inspectors as a
 > possible alternative to war. Ask him if he is aware of the position of
 > von Sponeck and Denis Halliday.
 > Copy your letters to the Observer editor, Roger Alton: Email:
 > Ask Roger Alton why his paper appears to be the only British broadsheet
 > never to have mentioned Denis Halliday or Hans von Sponeck. Ask him why
 > has not responded to the many people who have written to him on these
 > issues. Remind him that in an interview with David Edwards in December
 > 2000, he said:
 > "I mean, you can't ask me about why other papers don't put stuff in. If
 > ask me about something we haven't put in that's in somewhere else then I
 > can be coherent." (see Interviews:
 > Please bear in mind that your comments will be more effective if you
 > maintain a polite, non-aggressive tone. Similarly, it is better to
 > paraphrase points made above, rather than repeat them word for word.
 > Please cc: with your correspondence.
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