The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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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 sanctions. 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 issues. 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 USCENTCOM PA SGM 813-827-5894 ============================================================================ 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. Sincerely, Tom Still Breathing the relatively free air of Canada... _______________________________________________ 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