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Re: [casi] Blair's speech -- keep the momentum going

A useful thing, for letters and discussion, is to learn a couple
of quotes from humanitarian agencies about the threats to the wellbeing of
the millions of Iraqi children and other vulnerable people. Juxtaposing
them directly with the quote from Blair about it being an ``act of humanity''
is quite striking. There was an Independent article posted here a
few days ago with quotations from terrified Iraqi children. Again
juxtapose with the  ``act of humanity'' statement.

Useful perhaps to mention the possibility of the ``Shock and Awe''
strategy of smashing Baghdad with 800 Cruise Missiles in 48 hours and
eliminating all power and communications facilities in a
``Hiroshima/Dresden'' type act of terrorism, crushing the population to a
state of utter despair. We don't know if they're planning to do this,
but if Blair were asked if this was ruled out, he couldn't say it wasn't.
(In fact we should ask him.) Calling this an act of humanity sounds

 I think it can be useful _gently_ to press people on
how many people they think are going to be killed. They will have no
answer. You can then ask whether it can be right to advocate a violent act
when they have no idea how many people will die.
(Especially when death in war is so terrible -- so much terror,
screaming, dying slowly in agony in the rubble in the dark and searching
for your children's broken bodies -- I don't tend to say this, though it
is always on my own mind.) Then you can bring up the actual UN estimates
and discuss the fact that because of the poverty caused by sanctions much of
the population relies, precariously, on the government for subsistence
rations and even slight disruption (let alone Shock and Awe) will cause
great suffering. I sometimes ask how someone would feel to be living in
Baghdad with their elderly relatives, disabled brother or sick
children at this moment.

Blair's stance of supporting the Iraqi people can be destroyed by
explaining that he has helped to maintain the entire country in a state of
destitution and economic collapse with rampant poverty (which kills) that
has required people to rely on government handouts for more than a
decade. Listmembers know better than anyone how to refute his claim to be
acting on behalf of the Iraqi people.

Good luck everyone.


On Sun, 16 Feb 2003, Eric Herring wrote:

> A quick comment to use on this. If the argument is that Saddam is such
> an intolerable beast and that is why we MUST go to war, then that means
> those taking that line must be committed to going to war even if Iraq
> complies fully with the disarmament process (and which should be
> accompanied by the lifting of the sanctions).
> 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
> Join the Network of Activist Scholars
> of Politics and International Relations (NASPIR)!
> _______________________________________________
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+  Fay Dowker                       Physics Department               +
+                                   Queen Mary, University of London +
+  E-mail:       Mile End Road,                   +
+  Phone:  +44-(0)20-7882-5047      London E1 4NS.                   +
+  Fax:    +44-(0)20-8981-9465                                       +
+  Homepage:          +

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