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Tom Nagy's research does show that the US knew what was happening, knew specifically that the sanctions were creating a humanitarian catastrophe. This is a crime against humanity. It does not show that water treatment was targeted for bombing. As for the issue of whether the effects were intended or not, I have written elsewhere (in my article on power, propaganda, indifference and the sanctions - see my website - URL below): 'Intentions matter, and intending to inflict human cost is morally worse than not intending to inflict it. Hence, for example, whereas some leaders have sought the death of vast numbers of people, mass death is not an objective of the sanctions. Furthermore, remedial measures have been instituted intended to reduce the scale of suffering in Iraq, especially since 1996 and the establishment of the UN Oil For Food (OFF) programme permitting Iraqi oil exports from which most of the proceeds go towards the purchase of humanitarian goods under UN supervision. Another difference is that the killing is indirect rather than direct: in other words, the deaths are caused by shortages of necessary items rather than by individuals being executed or bombed. As Mueller and Mueller put it, the deaths caused by sanctions are <LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK>dispersed rather than concentrated and statistical rather than dramatic.<RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK> This means that responsibility for the deaths is much less obviously attributable or intentional. However, when we say that we did not intend something to happen, it usually means that a consequence was not functional to the pursuit of our objectives, was unexpected, the product of omissions rather than actions, unavoidable, something we try to end or reverse once we become aware of it, or some combination of these. There is a clear sense in which the human cost of the sanctions is functional to various versions of the objectives of the sanctions. Iraqi society is a resource for Saddam Hussein to survive and be powerful. Damaging Iraqi society can contribute to limiting his power or reducing his chances of survival, and it can also be seen as a means of putting pressure on Saddam Hussein to comply with the relevant UN resolutions. Consequences matter as well as intentions, and where consequences are anticipated and, once they have occurred and are known, culpability is increased. From the outset, the huge scale of death and suffering in Iraq was a fully anticipated consequence of the sanctions due to their reinforcement of the effects of US-led bombing in 1991 and Iraq<RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK>s long war with Iran in the 1980s. When those anticipated consequences became a reality, the sanctions continued. Furthermore, the human cost in Iraq is not merely a product of omissions, but of actions as well. The sanctions were set up and run one way rather than some other way. This is particularly important in that international law and human rights conventions do not give decision-makers, at the state or UN level, the right to act in any way they see fit in pursuit of their perceived interests. In this vein, the UN General Assembly<RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK>s Inter-Agency Standing Committee of UN, non-governmental and inter-governmental humanitarian agencies emphasised to the Security Council that: <LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK>The design of a sanctions regime should [...] take fully into account international human rights instruments and humanitarian standards established by the Geneva Conventions<RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK>. In a report commissioned by the UN, Belgian Law Professor Marc Bossuyt concluded that: <LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK>The sanctions regime against Iraq is unequivocally illegal under existing international law and human rights law<RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK> and <LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK>could raise questions under the genocide Convention.<RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK> Hence culpability is further deepened by the fact that these omissions and actions are those not of just any actors but of those with specific role responsibilities. The avoidability or otherwise of consequences also comes into play. Even within the sanctions regime, much of the human cost could have been avoided by offering from the outset a large-scale programme of supervised oil sales for humanitarian supplies. Instead, the offers that were made by the UN in 1991 were for an unspecified share of a one-off small amount of money (working out at about $73 per person). A revised offer made in 1995, and accepted by an economically shattered Iraq in 1996 as the OFF programme, at least specified and increased the amount of money to be available for humanitarian supplies. The offers of remedial action allowed pro-sanctions officials to refuse to accept blame for the human cost by enabling them to argue that a humanitarian programme had been offered to Iraq: making a strictly humanitarian offer aimed at saving Iraqis was not a priority. In sum, the human cost of the sanctions has been instrumental in the pursuit of policy objectives, anticipated, known, a product of actions rather than omissions, avoidable, subject only to limited remedial action and that remedial action has not clearly been motivated primarily by a desire to avoid that human cost. These points do not undermine the unintentionality defence completely, because we need to retain the capacity to identify and condemn those who do intend such things in the sense that the human cost of a policy is seen as an end in itself. However, even here the distinction is not absolute because what they have in common is a strong streak of indifference, involving both an uncaring awareness of human cost and also a sheer lack of attention to that human cost through avoidance of thinking about it or acting to avert it.' Eric ---------------------- Dr. Eric Herring Department of Politics University of Bristol 10 Priory Road Bristol BS8 1TU England, UK Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582 Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608 Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Politics http://www.ericherring.com/ Join the Network of Activist Scholars of Politics and International Relations (NASPIR)! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naspir/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk