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March 28, 2003 Editor Matthew Rothschild comments on the news of the day. Now They Cite the Toll of Sanctions http://www.progressive.org/webex03/wx032803.html At the Bush-Blair press conference on March 27, I heard an increasingly common and absolutely shameful justification for this Iraq war. Tony Blair was the one who uttered it. To illustrate the brutality of Saddam's regime, Blair said, "Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease, preventively, but died because of the nature of the regime under which they are living." But that's not exactly right. All those children died, in large part, because the United Nations--at the behest of Britain and the United States--insisted upon maintaining economic sanctions on Iraq. These sanctions prevented basic items from getting to Iraq, items like chlorine to purify the water supply there. And, yes, Saddam is partially responsible, as well. If he had obeyed U.N. Security Council resolutions, those sanctions might have been lifted. For years, human rights activists urged a lifting of these economic sanctions because of the terrible toll they exacted, a toll that only now Tony Blair seems concerned about, only now when he can use that toll as an excuse for war. This is the bottom of the barrel of immorality. During the Clinton Administration, Madeleine Albright notoriously told Lesley Stahl of Sixty Minutes that this civilian death toll was "worth it." Albright understood and acknowledged U.S. complicity in those deaths, but accepted them anyway. That was bad enough. Now Blair and Bush have finally discovered the sanctions issue themselves, but they refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for those deaths and instead seize upon them simply to justify their war of aggression. But Britain and the United States could have forced the U.N. to lift those sanctions any time they wanted to. They could have saved those 400,000 children from dying. They chose not to. Now to come out and say they are aghast at the toll is not only a futile exercise in hand-washing but also an amazingly brazen switcharoo. (For a related commentary, see "George Will Discovers Economic Sanctions," This Just In, March 17, 2003.) http://www.progressive.org/webex03/wx0317b03.html _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk