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[casi] Re: justifying war on the grounds that it will lead to an end to economic sanctions

Here's how Noam Chomsky addressed this point in a recent interview:

Question: Some advocates of war have suggested that if the economic
sanctions on Iraq are as horrible as the left claims, then a war, even a war
that killed 100,000 civilians, would be a humanitarian blessing, since,
presumably, after a U.S. victory there would be no more sanctions. How do
you answer this argument?
Noam Chomsky: I've heard some zany arguments in the past, but this must
break some new records. I suspect it was offered tongue in cheek. Note first
the conception of "the left": the UN's humanitarian coordinators (Denis
Halliday, Hans van Sponeck) who know more about the country than anyone
else, UNICEF, etc. It's a bit like saying that the left is concerned about
global warming -- and tells us something about where those who question "the
claim" place themselves on the political spectrum.

But that aside, the argument does have appeal. For example, we could offer
Iran assistance in conquering Israel and carrying out appropriate "regime
change," so that suicide bombings would stop. Since the war advocates
doubtless regard suicide bombing as atrocious, they should be calling for
that. Or, we could help Russia grind Chechnya to dust, so that Chechens
would no longer have to suffer Russian terror and atrocities. The
possibilities are endless.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Goreing" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 1:56 AM
Subject: Re: [casi] No war no solution

> I'm sorry to have seen no reflections yet on Abdulkarim Salih's message of
> 30 Jan, though as he raised a serious and very bitter point for opponents
> the sanctions, people may well need some time to think how best to
> Or some may feel the issue has been gone over before, though I'm afraid I
> don't recall it (there was a paragraph from Peter Brooke in his message of
> October 2002).
> > any body on this list knows horror of sanctins in my
> > country. this will continue to happen if there is no action- so all
> > nice people against wars actually support many deaths due to sanctions
> > due to Saddam. and they say we are against sanctions also. and then what
> > you do. post messages to this list for 10 years?
> Anyone want to plead guilty to this? Or does anyone want to sum up the
> positive achievements of the anti-sanctions campaign? Unfortunately the
> achievements don't include any serious impact on US/UK policy -- or is
> a question of judgement?
> > No body has done anything to help end iraq suffering for 10 years. so
> > america wants to end it- and i know it doesnt do it out of liking for
> > some american action is only way to end sanctions on iraq.
> It would no doubt be a tragic and disgusting spectacle if the chief
> and perpetrators of the sanctions regime proceed to liberate Iraq at the
> cost of thousands of Iraqi lives, congratulating themselves all the time
> their wisdom and resolve.
> And yet -- might a war, if it ends the sanctions, be better for the Iraqi
> population than the continuation of the sanctions for 2 more years? Five
> more years? Ten more? Even if one expects the sanctions regime to become
> more porous in practice, and even if the nutritional and medical status of
> the people recovers, the blockade suffocates so much in national and
> personal life that the thought of it going on indefinitely is deeply
> distressing.
> I have no wish to even think about making judgements of this kind, but at
> some level it has to be faced. Any comments?
> Andrew Goreing
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