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Re: [casi] Mark Twain: on anti-war support

I'm wondering why Hassan and a few others are on this list. We are trying to get an end
to the genocidal US/UK sanctions on Iraq. Is that why they're on this list or are they
seeking to undermine us? Do they think that these sanctions can be justified because of
SH? Do they agree that the Gulf war and sanctions have killed more Iraqis than the
regime ever did? Are they aware of the devastation and long term damage done to
Iraq's development and its people.

It is rare for sanctions campaigners to be in favour of this war. One pro-war view I heard
recently (from someone who sees US/UK policies towards Iraq as being evil) went along
the lines of: perhaps 100000 Iraqi deaths in a war is preferable to another year of
sanctions which kills the same number of civilians, but mostly chldren, and harms,
deprives and stunts millions more innocents.

On 16 Jan 2003 at 9:06, Hassan Hadad wrote:

> Since when have we needed to listen to people such as
> the pope or Mark Twain regarding politics?  Does the
> pope have any clue about what's really going on in
> Iraq?

The Catholic Church and other Christian churches have been consistently against the
sanctions although you won't hear that reported very often in our media. The Catholic
Church is active (but not widespread) in Iraq.

> The average Iraqi would welcome the long overdue war
> against Saddam with open arms and hearts.

How would you know? You should know that there is no such thing as an average Iraqi!

The US is very frustrated at how the bulk of Iraqis do NOT blame SH for their plight but
instead blame the US. This is despite the propaganda directed at the civilian population
by US bankrolled media. The US is also very disappointed at how little support there is
amongst the Iraqis for any of the opposition groups.

Even amongst the many Iraqis who have left Iraq following the Gulf War and the
sanctions, it is the devastation of their country by the US which has caused them to
leave. Prior to the Gulf War, there was a bigger proportion of refugees from repression
just as there was a large number of students and others funded by the Iraqi government.

> They have
> suffered so much because of Saddam, that they would
> kiss Ariel Sharon's feet, if he were installed as the
> puppet for the Americans after Saddam is ousted.
> Castro is not slaughtering the Cuban people for us to
> be worrying too much about them right now.

Sharon???? I am worried about the Cuban people because it is our very wealthy and
powerful countries which are causing them hardship. Just as with Iraq (and other
countries in history), the US wants the people to blame their ruler. Just as with Iraq they
don't. There are plenty of Cuban refugees who hate Castro in the US. Their best hope
for change in Cuba would be to remove the sanctions and restore full links.

> We should
> be focusing on the people who are really suffering.

We should be focussing on WHY they are suffering and removing the biggest cause (ie

> For all you human rights activists: Where have you
> been the in the last twenty to thirty years?  Do you
> all of a sudden have a voice when the US is finally
> helping out the Iraqis?  Where were your voices when
> Saddam deported, tortured, and murdered his people?

Do you REALLY believe that the US is spending all that money on warfare to help out
the Iraqis?

I can't speak for anyone else in the anti-sanctions movement but I was 'there' in the
early days. At one time the Iraqi Kurds were less badly off than those in the other
countries. The hope we had when Jimmy Carter was President of the US and his
emphasis on human rights was lost when he left office. The US and UK gave much
support, encouragement and succour to SH when he was at his worst. Instead of
moderating his regime they deliberately attempted to discredit us and pretended that
nothing bad was happening in Iraq.

I was involved in Brazil. The contrasts were a dilemma for me:

Iraq                                            Brazil
military dictator                               military dictators
difficult country to govern                     much easier country to govern
helped by the US                                helped by the US
many deaths, widespread repression              fewer deaths, repression
attempt to preserve national resources  resources sold to foreign companies
widespread health care, education etc   deterioration of social provision
relatively efficient government                 very poor government
inculcation of national identity                        inculcation of national identity
external threats                                no external threats
massive military spending                       modest military spending
fear of the leader                              much less fear

Brazil was coming out of dictatorship when the iron curtain came down in Europe. I was
in Brazil as it happened - ecstatic having been brought up as a child with many friends
from the Polish refugee community in the UK.

A Brazilian human rights activist turned to me and said that for him this was the start of a
very worrying time. He said that now there would no constraint on the US and he could
foresee within a few years a devastating war by the US on a resource-rich developing
country. He suggested either Brazil (if they elected a leftist government that started land
reform or a bit of nationalism of foreign owned assets) or a major Middle Eastern

> Why are you all of a sudden interested in the
> estimated number of casualties that will take place
> when the Americans take out Saddam?

All of us on the list have been very worried about the number of casualties caused by
our last war and our sanctions on the Iraqi people. 1.5 million civilians? Mainly children?

We are worried about what our governments do in our name. We do not want them
ignoring international law, attacking feeble countries and telling us lies. If only a few end
up dying (as I suspect) that does not make it right. Will they tell us? How many civilians
died in Afghanistan?

> These numbers are
> a mere fraction of the number of lives already lost,
> and the number of lives that will be lost if Saddam
> stays.  The people that die because of a war with Iraq
> will end up dying under Saddam's regime.

They are dying because of sanctions which is a far, far greater evil than SH ever was.

> Most Iraqis
> would rather death than the continuity of Saddam's
> rule.

I think that you are completely wrong on this.

> Let's pray that the Iraqi people stop suffering by
> making sure the American government finally gets rid
> of the dictator that inflicts the suffering.

This is just a repetition of US/UK propaganda.

When Russia succeeded in getting an end to the Iran/Iraq war, much to the US/UK's
surprise and annoyance, I fully expected that SH's regime would eventually have to
change for the better in the aftermath or he'd go or be overthrown. My own opposition to
SH stopped when I realised the horrors of what the US was going to do to Iraq and my
Brazilian friend's forecast years before. Obviously SH had been duped into invading
Kuwait and the US were manipulating and shaming him into not leaving Kuwait so that
they could have their way.

Mark Parkinson

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