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[casi] BBC radio 4 moral maze

Dear Sama and list,

My question to Sama is this: assuming that you are the same Sama Hadad who
appeared on BBC radio 4's 'moral maze' (broadcast yesterday), why were you
making claims about the sanctions that are demonstrably untrue? You
stated, for example, that the 'oil for food' programme would be sufficient
to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi population if Saddam Hussein
did not mismanage it.

A cursory reading of the CASI website is enough to give the lie to this
claim, let alone the realms of detailed and expert analysis posted on this
list in the last 5 years. Sama, if you have not read these, you should not
be going on national radio to argue in favour of a war. If you have read
them, then it seems to me that you are making claims that you know to be
untrue in order to strengthen your rhetorical case.

This makes me unspeakably sad and angry. I can see that there is a case to
be made for arguing that the invasion is justified in order to get rid of
Saddam Hussein. Even though I personally find this war morally and
intellectually indefensible, I do not claim to have a monopoly on
compassion and truth. I can allow that you sincerely and honestly believe
that removal of Saddam Hussein by foreign force is the best course of
action for the Iraqi people.

However, I have no such doubts in the case of the sanctions. To me, anyone
claiming that the hardships they inflict are solely the fault of the Iraqi
government is either dishonest, deluded or ignorant. Sanctions are
economic warfare - that is their purpose. As the CASI website states,
under oil for food, 'Iraqi income is roughly one-twelfth per person what
it was in 1979/80, and in terms of available goods it is about 5% of what
it was in 1979 or 1980.' Iraq has been crippled economically by a policy
inflicted by our government. While Saddam Hussein has clearly not
cooperated to the extent that he might have done, this does not remove the
fact that sanctions are US/UK policy and US/UK responsibility.

Beyond this, I do not see, Sama, why arguing for the invasion somehow
entails a whitewashing of the actions of the UK and US governments over
the past 12 years. There is no necessary inconsistency in seeing the
removal of Saddam Hussein by foreign force as the best course of action
for the Iraqi people, and yet also agreeing that the policy of the US and
UK has been a prime cause both of Iraqi hardship and their inability to
remove Saddam Hussein for themselves.

You are clearly deeply concerned for the welfare of Iraqis, Sama, and you
are also clearly doing a great deal of media work. Saddam Hussein is an
evil man; no-one disagrees with you on that. So please do not jeopardise
your integrity and credibility by painting a bush-ian world of stark good
and evil where Saddam Hussein is to blame for every smidgin of Iraqi
suffering, while Bush and Blair sit and think good humanitarian thoughts.

with sadness and best wishes,


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