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[casi] "Were Sanctions Right?"

A Postwar Inquiry on the Iraqi Sanctions,

July 29 2003
Memo To: Democratic Presidential Contenders
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Were Sanctions Right?

As the situation in Iraq qets stickier, candidates, more of you are joining
Howard Dean in questioning the reasons for the pre-emptive war and its
consequences. If there are serious congressional hearings ahead, the probing
will get down to issue of why the Iraqi people suffered through a dozen
years of sanctions if Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction
during all those years. In last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, the
question is raised, "Were Sanctions Right?" by author David Rieff: If there
is one thing every citizen of Iraq today agrees upon, it is that the
sanctions were wrong: "The Iraq I traveled to in May was full of dissonant
voices and contradictory opinions. People were no longer afraid to speak
their minds. And yet what I found was an almost universal opposition to
sanctions -- a stern, unshakable conviction that the 1990's were a human and
economic catastrophe for the Iraqi people and that sanctions were at the
heart of the disaster."

Even Rieff does not get down to the nub of the matter, which would be so
hard for the American people to accept: That the decision was made by the
U.S. foreign policy establishment in 1991 that the sanctions could not and
would not be lifted until Saddam Hussein was deposed. That is, no matter how
much he cooperated with the UN inspectors, the standards for compliance had
to be continually raised in order to keep the pressure on the Iraqi
people -- hoping their suffering would cause them to overthrow Saddam.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright now admits it was "stupid" for
her to say that it was "worth" the lives of the 500,000 Iraqi children who
died because of the sanctions (according to the United Nations) to "contain"
Saddam. Now it turns out Saddam was almost certainly "contained" as early as
1991. What were the UN inspectors doing all that time? They were not really
looking for WMD, but trying to verify that they had been destroyed.

This fact helps understand why the American military was not welcomed as
"liberators" and why it is most unlikely the 23 million Iraqis will not
continue to spawn young who we will call "terrorists," those plotting to
kill one American at a time, seeking revenge for Washington's willingness to
kill Iraqis by the thousands, week after week, for 13 years. They are glad
Saddam is gone if only because the sanctions have been lifted, but it is
most unlikely they will forget their own holocaust. Now that the NYT has had
its limited postwar inquiry, there really should be an official one.


Were Sanctions Right?  By DAVID RIEFF,  NYT July 27, 2003

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