The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
I'll argue this point, even though I'm not convinced of it: it IS a very difficult issue. >deems vital to its interests, NGOs will have to either >redefine how much operational independence they need, or >stay home." > >Staying home is not a comfortable option for groups >committed to the humanitarian imperative. Why should they >not be active wherever there is need, particularly when >U.S. government funds are made available by the U.S. I've never been an NGO, but I do have experience as a volunteer worker with childrens' organizations, and have often seen cases where parents try to use the organization for their own purposes, such as threating keeping children home as punishment. I can't think of a case where it ultimately turned out for the good by playing along with that: it weakens the organization, and ultimately also hurts the kids. NGOs, however, never need to "stay home". There are any number of other areas in the world which just as desperately need help, and what may be taken from Iraq will be gratefully received by those other nations. If NGOs play along and compromise their standards, it will harm the NGOs, and strengthen the US and like aggressors, who will simply exploit them. Look back at the letter I got in response from Hastert where he cites UN efforts to solve the water problem: he tries to use the UN to get the US off the hook, but at the same time the problems aren't solved -- the suffering is only drawn out. Look at Byrd's piece where he wants other nations to get involved, again removing US responsibility. The coalition must be made to take responsibility for the damage they caused or they will just go on doing the same thing everywhere. If the NGOs cave in the US will have more resourced freed up to attack more nations, and will not be held accountable for it's actions. It will roam the world wreaking havoc and leave the pieces for everyone else to clean up. In the long run NGOs will do more harm than good by allowing this to happen. It's like supplying drugs to an addict, and bailing him out by making excuses to his boss when he doesn't show up for work. But can the US really ignore the massive chaos and suffering in Iraq? I think not. Not only will it very quickly result in open rebellion by the people of Iraq, but the rest of the world, and even the American people, will insist on action. The administration can't afford to let their "liberate the Iraqis" line be shattered. What the NGOs *can* do is complain very, very loudly. This is a completely opposite tack to submitting to the censorship the US wants, and a vitally important one take. Of course it is difficult, and we fear to see more suffering by the Iraqi people, but we need to look to the overall situation, and remember where the moral responsibility is. It is not so unlike someone paying the ransom to a kidnapper, which very often does not work out well at all. If humanitarian aid goes badly -- even if as a result from US interference or failure to fulfill it's part -- the blame will be placed on the NGO. Already the lack of security has resulted in ineffectiveness of aid. Already the US has stopped NGOs from gaining access to victims. Already the victims are being blamed. What the US wants to avoid is not suffering, but looking bad and being thwarted in it's ambition. As such, it will readily impede NGOs from doing the task and then turn around and blame those same NGOs for it, "proving" how badly run the rest of the world is and how much the US needs to be in charge of everthing. Wasn't it France's fault that the UN inspectors failed so that the US was forced to attack -- according to the US administration? If NGOs play the US game, by US rules, then NGOs and Iraqis both lose. ________________________________________________________________ The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand! Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER! Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today! _______________________________________________ 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