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[casi] Banning Atropine: Orwellian logic?

Some headlines:
"Iraq Orders Antidote for Nerve Gas" (Nov 12)
"U.S., Russia divided on Iraq's allowed imports" (Dec 2)
"US Stalls Iraq Oil-Food Plan; Wants Two-Week Delay" (Dec 5)

Adding atropine to the list of forbidden items is one
of the main reasons the US is stalling on the Oil-for-Food
program. (Cipro an antibiotic against exposure to anthrax,
the US wants also banned, plus more: "We are not interested
in removing items, we are interesting in adding items".

"Antidote for nerve gas" suggests to the unsuspecting reader
that this is what atropine is primarily used for. A letter to
the Globe and Mail of Dec 4 suggests otherwise:

     "As a physician, I was shocked to hear that the United
     States wants to add atropine to the list of drugs that
     Iraqis are denied as a result of the post-Gulf-war embargo.

     Atropine is a drug used every day in every hospital across
     this country. It is a life-saving drug used to treat
     patients with cardiovascular instability and shock.
     Without it, hundreds if not thousands of patients across
     Canada would die each year.

     If the U.S. goal is not to punish and kill innocent Iraqi
     citizens, then medical essentials such as atropine,
     antibiotics and chemotherapy should not be included in the

Apparently Iraq has ordered a large quantity of atropine
and now the US wants it banned as a dual-use item. The reasons
seem bizarre, if not Orwellian:

1. Atropine might be used as a "battlefield antidote",
i.e. as a protection of Iraqi military if nerve gas were
used "against any invading force". But the Bush
administration has not yet "evaluated" if the size of the
order suggests that. - Just trying to be on the safe side?

"Battlefield" seems a little outdated, given the "invading
force's" military sophistication, including nukes. And why
not scrap all "invading" plans for the safety of all?

2. The second reason is Powell's: He speculated, said
one article, "that Iraq's interest in acquiring atropine
may be a ploy to convince the United States it is prepared
to use nerve gas as a means of dissuading Washington from
using force against Saddam's regime."

This seems even more twisted, but it also implies
what should be patently obvious: Iraq doesn't want this
attack - doesn't want to be nuked, carpet bombed, or
otherwise slaughtered in what looks very much like a
"final solution".

The US itself would never use nerve gas, said Powell -
it's not needed. "We have easier ways to deal with Iraq".

But Iraq might use it, the article suggests: "Iraq is not
a signatory to an international chemical weapons convention.
The United States has renounced the use of weapons banned
in the convention and says it does not maintain these arms
in its arsenal."

This is cleverly worded: The US hasn't signed that convention
either. Or has it? "Renouncing" is not the same as signing.

>From the age of doublethink, (sad) greetings!


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