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[casi] Role for CASI with switch from Sanctions to Occupation

Dear Collagues at CASI,

    The CASI list seems to have gone quiet (or more hopefully, this perception
is merely an  artifact on my going on sabbatical).

    In response to the question  of the role of CASI as the U.S. mode of control over
Iraq has changed  from lethal  "sanctions" to possibly far more lethal "occupation," there seems an 
urgent need to monitor and analyse the occupation with the same diligence that CASI applied to 

    I am particularly alarmed that I can find no data on waterborne disease in Iraq after June 26 
(from WHO). This concern is exacerbated by shabby public relations gimicks such as the DOD's press 
release on 101st Airborne Division  providing electrical power and safe water to zoo
annimals. What about the status of the children? When I put that question to Central Command in 
Florida (using the phone number on the press release), I got a remarkable reply from the 
spokesperson of Southern Command, Sgt. Maj. Matson:
Dr. Nagy,

We can try to get a Civil Affairs person into your class to review the facts
on the ground and we'll save time for questions. They are 8 hours ahead.
Tell me what time your class is and whether you will have a speaker phone to
conduct this class.

We will not however schedule someone to waste time answering philosophical
questions, you'll have to get a State Dept. official to do that. Your
presumption that the situation is worse now than it was six months ago is
just, to be polite, assinine. You are clearly being selective in your
sources. If your students did that you would fail them. I'm totally
befuddled that you would reference an aerospace engineer on the subject of
water in Iraq. I'm sure I misunderstood you.

The officer I bring to you will know what is happening with water in Iraq.
He may not be a medical expert to answer questions about epidemiology

I know you are familiar with the fact that there was no sewage system in
Iraq prior to the war, so if they get one now, that will be progress.

I know you are familiar with the oil-for-palaces program that Saddam was
running. But perhaps you missed it. From 1990 to the war in March he built
80+ palaces. Don't argue with me over the health of the children in Baghdad
when Saddam's personal worth, as reported by the credible Forbes magazine,
is $6 billion, in a country where $100,000 would be an enormous sum.

Let's get someone on the line who has actually been to Baghdad, been living
and working with the village elders rather than folks who have never left
the pleasant woods of Toronto. But I promise you, if you trash him in an
interview and belittle him with inaccurate facts I'll ensure your questions
about Iraq are forwarded to the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa from now on. GO
Maple Leafs !!

-Sgt. Maj. Lewis Matson

    This sounds to me like language  a dictatorship
(or "guided democracy") would use towards any citizen or reporter or mere academic daring to  to 
persue her/his duties with any level of dillegence.

     Sgt. Maj. Matson's  reply becomes more ominous, because  indeed Matson is the spokesman for 
Central Command, identified as such in wire service stories and his  long on line interview with 
the semi-official government newspaper, "The Washington Post". The last sentence, is alas, only 
semi-tongue in cheek.

    I would comments  on both the notion of refocusing CASI to deal with the reality of the 
occupation and if people in the U.S. and UK and other nominal democracies have encountered such 
warnings and vague threats for their efforts to get information from official spokespersons of 
their own governments. Finally, since I am not a political scientist, I wonder what sort of reply 
would be most useful.

Still Breathing the relatively free air of Canada...

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