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Re: Pencils and Sanction Deaths

Hello, all. I'm very surprised to see this rejoinder. From Kathy Kelly to 
Phyllis Bennis, everyone I've talked to says significantly more food and 
medicine is getting in, because of the increase in oil revenue plus the 
creation of the green lists. If this hasn't changed the child mortality 
rates, then it could only be because it actually is being hoarded.

I note Dirk didn't quote any numbers. My assumption has been that nobody 
outside Iraq has generated new data since that 1999 UNICEF report.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

In solidarity,

Rahul Mahajan

>Hello all,
>I'm very surprised !!! Who says the dead rate has come down since 1998? Who
>says???? I was in Iraq last year (july 2001), and I brought home some
>statistics. Also the annual report of UNICEF 2000 (the most recent one at
>the time). The dead rate did certainly NOT come down !!! On the contrary. In
>the UNICEF report, I can read: "ongoing degradation of infrastructure",
>which is the main reason for the increase of chiild mortality: lack of clear
>water. And another title: "continuing high levels of malnutrition". What
>does that mean? Plus, the statistics of the Iraqi Ministry of Health also
>show an increase of the dead rate. But of course, these figures "can't be
>trusted"; which I find "not fair". In the UNICEF report of 2000 I can also
>read: "Nutrition surveys carried out by UNICEF as well as the FAO/WFP
>nutrition assassment mission in May 2000, show that since the introduction
>of the Oil for Food Programme in 1996 the nutritional status of children has
>not improved". What does that mean, do you think? That child-mortality
>reduced over the last 3 years? Let's be serious!!!
>I had no intention of reacting on this, because I have good, but also bad
>experiences with the sometimes "hair-splitting" discussions on this matter.
>The discussion about correct figures is a good one, because it helps
>everyone to discuss with reliable figures, and I thank the CASI-list for the
>high level of the discussions and correct answers we receive. But we have no
>gain to under-estimate figures. Because that also hurts our credibility. I
>also deeply value Colin's encylopedic knowledge of Iraq, but why did this
>knowledge suddenly left him when he said that mortality-figures came down
>"substantially", when that is not true???? I can't see the logic in that,
>when on the one hand he is so furious if some journalist exaggerates, but on
>the other hand he under-estimates the exact number of deaths. And about the
>pencils: I had the same discussion with Gabriel of VIW-UK. There is still a
>problem with pencils, because a) there is a very severe control of the
>sanction committee, a control that we witnessed in Basra, and b) one can not
>import enough pencils to fill the gap of the period 1990-1996. The other
>discussion I started, was about the contracts on hold. I was attacked by a
>number of CASI-members, because I used Iraqi figures. But what do I see?
>They attacked me because the Iraqi said the total amount of the contracts on
>hold was 6 billion $, while the official Western figure at that time was 4
>billion$. But in the last UNIOP weekly update of 15 dec.2001-4 jan2002, the
>total value of "holds" reached just under 5 billion$, thus increased with 1
>billion $. So who is right in this case? My plead to trust official Iraqi
>figures was correct, because in the end, the "holds" will almost certainly
>reach the Iraqi figure of 6 billion $.
>So, before having a hair-splitting discussion about matters that you maybe
>know well on paper, it is good to have a look at the reality inside the
>country. That might help to bring this discussion in perspective. We are
>campaigners against sanctions primarily because we are disgusted about the
>genocidal politics of the US-UK administration. Or am I wrong? We will not
>convince the warlords Bush, Blair &co, by a correction of the figures.
>And I will give the same answer as I gave to Gabriel: the article of Omar
>Al-Taher had the right spirit. The author was indignant at the human tragedy
>because of the sanctions. That is a good start for campaigning against
>sanctions, and that's why I liked the article very much: it came from the
>heart. I could understand that Colin wanted to try to correct some figures,
>but he attacked the journalist severely, and I think that was wrong.
>That's why I also understood the furious reaction of Salwa, and the reaction
>of Rahul.
>Correct figures is one thing. But Colin's reaction also could have been
>written by a journalist of let's say: the Washington Post, and then I start
>asking questions.
>I hope I didn't upset anyone. Colin, I await your reaction on this.

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