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Re: [casi] Beware of Frankenstein Scientists!

Dear Bert

The piece of text of mine stated  'the human cost of the sanctions has
been instrumental in the pursuit of policy objectives, anticipated,
known, a product of actions rather than omissions, avoidable, subject
only to limited remedial action and that remedial action has not
clearly been motivated primarily by a desire to avoid that human cost.'
Straightforwardly accurate and hardly naive.

It would be simply stupid to label a document about human costs of a
policy as lacking attention to human costs. I did not do this. You
plucked that out from a large piece of text written for more general

The quote about degradation expected in six months fits neatly with my
point that this was a document specifically about sanctions not about
bombing. And as I pointed out before, bombing effects do not prove
targeting. That requires additional evidence.


On Fri, 24 Jan 2003 14:12:33 +0000 Bert Gedin <>

> Dear Eric & List,
> Firstly, thanks for directing us to the site of the original document,
> 'Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities'. However, had I not known that you
> were a respected academic, I would have considered your opinions, on this
> issue, somewhat naive. It certainly seems you are, so to speak,
> barking up the wrong tree, on this one. No, as you say, there is no mention
> of "bombing". The document was published, as I understand it, in
> the first days of the Gulf War. You know, of course, that "collateral
> damage" means killing civilians. Military language, if anyone needs
> reminding, is often coded, using clandestine expressions, or even slang.
> We, surely, must try to understand the words, yes, but also the spirit
> of any message. Here are a few examples from the military document: "Iraq's
> overall water treatment will suffer a slow probably will take
> at least six months (to June 1991) before the system is fully degraded"
> "Incidences of disease, including possible epidemics, will become probable."
> Very crucially, the last sentence, in this, very lengthy, document,
> re-iterates: "Full degradation of the water treatment system probably will
> take at least another six months." If you really believe there is "a sheer
> lack of attention to that human cost" etc. then, sorry, but we will have to
> differ. My own belief is that this was part of a callously pre-concieved
> plan. Within the context, let's direct ourselves to whom the File was from:
> "DIA WASHINGTON DC"=US Defense Intelligence Agency.
> Via "NMIST NET"=National Military Support Team. To: "CENTCOM"= US Central
> Command. There are, but that may be another topic, further military acronyms
> in the document. Perhaps, in Dylan's words, "The answer, my friend, is
> blowin' in the wind", in asking this: Should we,
> in considering whether, or not, destruction of Iraq's water systems
> was deliberate policy give US/UK military establishments the benefit of
> the doubt? No prizes for guessing my answer!
> Greetings,
> Bert G.
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Dr. Eric Herring
Department of Politics
University of Bristol
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Bristol BS8 1TU
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