Iraqi Baby Murderers and Media Propaganda

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by DoctorJones24, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. DoctorJones24

    DoctorJones24 Member

    Aug 26, 1999
    You have to wonder if Bush the Younger still has the phone number of Hills and Knowlton on "speed dial." Actually, they are no doubt already hard at work on the current "We need to bomb Iraq PR campaign."

    Anyway, here's the story of their last brilliant piece of work. It truly is impressive stuff. From a speech by John R. MacArther of Harper's (formerly of NY Times and WSJ).

    "Again, I assume that most of you have not read my book. I will summarize what I think are the three great frauds produced by the White House with the cooperation, eager or passive depending on your point of view, of the U.S. media.

    First, we have the campaign to prove that Saddam Hussein was the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler rather than what he is, which is a violent Arab dictator of the sort the United States frequently likes to back. A subset of this campaign was to paint the Kuwaitis as a freedom-loving people moving inexorably toward democracy. This was done with very sophisticated maneuvering, costing a lot of money, namely with something called Citizens for a Free Kuwait (CFK), which of course implies that American citizens are rallying to the Kuwaiti cause from all over the country. Citizens for a Free Kuwait forms itself about a week after Saddam invades Kuwait and they hire Hill & Knowlton, the public relations firm, and ultimately pays it $11 million to create what was one of the most brilliantly orchestrated public relations campaigns in history. It really should go down in the record books, and I am hoping that someone will do a scholarly book on it someday.

    I went to visit Citizens for a Free Kuwait, or what was left of it, a few months after the Gulf War ended when I was doing research on my book. I went to see a Mr. Ibrahim, who was the titular head of CFK. The first time I realized something fishy was going on when he pulled out a stack of atrocity photographs. I went through them and thought this looks pretty awful -- people with odd pieces of metal jammed into their bodies in various places.

    It looked quite horrible, but the photographs were a little out of focus. I went through them a second time and I realized that they were mannequins. They had literally dressed up mannequins as torture victims!

    This is not to say that Saddam did not kill Kuwaitis and did not torture Kuwaitis but these fraudulent photographs became the stock and trade of the Hill & Knowlton campaign.

    Now, the absolute piéce de resistance of this propaganda campaign, as you may have heard, was the baby-incubator atrocity. In August, the word started coming out of Kuwait from anonymous sources who were interviewed by reporters, who, as I said, did not do the most fundamental police reporting -- like asking for last names, addresses, ages, occupations, etc., etc., -- saying that Iraqi soldiers were pulling babies out of incubators and killing them that way in Kuwaiti hospitals.

    Hill & Knowlton is very well connected on Capitol Hill and at the White House. The senior account people on the Kuwaiti account included Craig Fuller, Bush's former chief of staff when Bush was Vice President, and various other mucky mucks who know how to make things happen on Capitol Hill. They set up a hearing with the Congressional Human Rights caucus, chaired by Tom Lantos, the Bay Area congressman, and John Edward Porter of Illinois, in which they were going to expose Iraqi atrocities for the benefit of the caucus and the American people.

    Anyway, there was an incredible conflict of interest between the caucus and Hill & Knowlton, the most important aspect of which was that the Congressional Human Rights Foundation, which was a fund-raising arm of the caucus, had its offices, rent-free, in the Hill & Knowlton headquarters. The Hill & Knowlton executives were also representing as clients habitual human rights violators like Turkey, Indonesia and China. You might ask yourself why Lantos and Porter were allowing this arrangement. In any event, the star of the hearing was a young 15 year-old girl named Nayirah -- no last name, no address, no occupation -- who said that she had volunteered at Kuwaiti hospitals and had seen the babies pulled from incubators and left to die on the cold floor.

    Now, to this day, I cannot tell you whether or not this story, which turned out to be utterly fake, was manufactured by historically-astute public relations executives in collaboration with the Kuwaitis, who had read World War I history and had learned how successful the German atrocities against Belgian babies and nuns had been in getting public opinion on the side of the allies and getting the United States into that war.

    Nobody at the hearing, no reporter said, "Nayirah, that is a terrible story; I am on the verge of tears. But what did you do after you put the babies on the floor to die? Did you call for help, did you try to pick one up, what happened then?"

    The most fundamental and most elementary questions that a reporter is supposed to ask were not asked. Niyarah was a fantastic propaganda success. Hill & Knowlton made a brilliant little video news release out of it, which they beamed all over the world. It was on NBC Nightly News and millions and millions of people saw this. My brother saw Niyarah testify, and it brought him to tears. That was the beginning of the campaign. The campaign had begun to "get legs" as we say in the public relations and news business.

    Then they went to the United Nations and they did the same thing at the Security Council. There was a certain Dr. Behbehani, who you may remember testified that he was a surgeon who had personally seen the burial of 40 babies pulled from incubators.

    It turns out that Dr. Behbehani was a dentist, not a surgeon; and he admitted after the war that he had lied, he made the whole thing up! But again, it was grist for the public relations mill, it was terrifically successful. Every time you put this stuff on camera -- and they staged it all very, very successfully -- you make a video news release out of it and WZZZ in San Antonio can just pop it into the console and make it part of their evening news. It's got a longer life than just the day of the hearing or the day of the security counsel hearing. It gets used again and again and again as filler for tonight's roundup on Saddam-Hitler, Iraqi atrocities.

    I did a little math and found out that the polls showed a country pretty much divided 50-50 on sanctions versus hostilities back in December 1990 and January 1991. But when the vote was finally taken in the Senate, you may recall, it passed by five votes and in favor of war. Six Senators cited the baby-incubator atrocity as a principal reason -- sort of a final, compelling reason to vote for the resolution over their initial or instinctive reluctance to go to war. Several others who voted for the resolution said they thought Iraqi atrocities in general were a good reason to go to war. As you may know, Niyarah was not only a liar, but she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. That is the story I revealed in The New York Times in January of 1992 on the op-ed page.

    So, you have the country going to war, essentially, I believe, over human rights, not over oil, not over realpolitik, not over America's destiny to police the world, but really over human rights. This is what swung the balance. That a good part of the human rights atrocities story was fake suggests that we were mislead, conned, whatever you want to say."
  2. obie

    obie New Member

    Nov 18, 1998
    NY, NY
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As McAllister says at the end of his speech, the fact that the Kuwaitis lied about how the Iraqi military treated them (especially the baby incubator story) was exposed long ago. 60 Minutes did a story on it while we were still fighting, I believe.

    With ten years' worth of hindsight, give credit to the Kuwaiti royal family for duping us. But Hill & Knowlton should have faced criminal charges over their actions.
  3. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    Meanwhile our sanctions have killed more babies over the past decade than anything done in Kuwait and yet you never hear a peep about that in the mainstream news media except Madeline Albright crowing about how it was worth it - even though the sanctions have utterly failed to depose Hussein.
  4. CrewDust

    CrewDust Member

    May 6, 1999
    Columbus, Ohio
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Economic Sactions only work against democracys or at least countries with a stong oppostion. So as the Iraqui people suffer, does anyone think Saddam cares. My favorite Saddam fact. His hero growing up, Joesph Stalin.
  5. bigsmooth

    bigsmooth New Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Washington, DC
    Wasn't it eventually revealed and determined that Nayirah, the young girl who testified before Congress about babies being yanked out of incubators, was actually a member of the al-Sabah family, the ruling family in Kuwait?
  6. Colin Grabow

    Colin Grabow New Member

    Jul 22, 1999
    Washington, DC
    What a gross and disgusting distortion of reality. Saddam chooses to spend all of his money renovating palaces and rebuilding his military, and somehow the US is to blame for people starving?

    Myth: The oil-for-food program has failed to meet basic needs of the Iraqi people and it never will.

    Fact: Oil-for-food has made significant improvements in the lives of the Iraqis and will continue to do so. The increase in revenue under the oil-for-food program from $4 billion in the first year of the program to a projected $20.4 billion this year means there is a tremendous amount of money available for humanitarian goods. The government of Iraq must choose to make that happen. In northern Iraq, where the UN controls the humanitarian relief programs, child mortality rates are lower than they were before the Gulf War. However, in southern and central Iraq, where the Iraqi Government controls the oil-for-food program, mortality rates have doubled.

    Myth: The Iraqi Government is doing all it can to make the oil-for-food program work.

    Fact: The regime is slow to order and distribute goods and Saddam's lack of cooperation on monitoring makes it difficult to ensure goods are equitably distributed to the Iraqi people. Baghdad has rejected UN recommendations to increase protein-enriched goods for malnourished children and pregnant women. The Iraqi Government has also rejected assistance by all but a few Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other outside groups.

    Myth: Iraq does not have the resources to support the Iraqi people.

    Fact: Baghdad has significant resources available to alleviate much of Iraq's humanitarian suffering, but Saddam does not spend the money on the Iraqi people. The oil-for-food program allows Iraq to sell as much oil as required to meet humanitarian needs. From December 1999 to June 2000, Iraq earned approximately $8.3 billion from oil sales.

    Myth: There is little food available in Iraq.

    Fact: More than 13 million metric tons of foodstuffs have arrived in Iraq since the first deliveries of the oil-for-food program began in 1997. In fact, Baghdad has been caught exporting dates, corn, and grain outside of Iraq while claiming the Iraqi people are starving.

    It's knee-jerk blame America sentiment such as the above Joe that is why members of the fringe left, such as yourself, are ignored by the majority of Americans. The fact that you choose your cast the blame for Iraq's plight on the US instead of a blood-stained dictator is utterly repulsive.
  7. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    I figured Colin would be in here soon enough defending baby-killing - as long as the USA is behind it.

    Face it, Colin, US elites slapped the sanctions on Iraq after choosing not to depose Saddam Hussein when we had him at our mercy (Why did we choose not to get rid of Mr. Evil Baby-killer when we had the chance, Colin? Why?). US elites slapped the sanctions on, Saddam didn't ask for them. US elites knew he'd spend what he had on his military instead of food. US elites have had over ten years to let the sanctions "work", they haven't and US elites are still imposing sanctions that have failed and have hurt nobody except the Iraqi people. So yes, it is American policymakers who are mostly to blame for the deaths of Iraqi children. US elites had alternatives and they have chosen and still perpetuate an evil course of action. I'm sorry if that upsets your image of the USA as the perfect, faultless shining avatar of all that is good but it's still true nonetheless.

    This is, of course, not to support Saddam (who was our boy in the region, after all) or to say he is not evil. He's as much an evil thug now as he was when the USA loved him. Saddam's evil does not, however, change the fact that your wish to deny the American elites' responsibility for the effects of their own actions is moral cowardice and disgusting in the extreme.
  8. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    Myths about sanctions:

    1) Sanctions may have produced temporary hardship for the Iraqi people, but aren’t they an effective, nonviolent method of containing Iraq?

    Sanctions target the weakest and most vulnerable members of the Iraqi society-the poor, elderly, newborn, sick, and young. The sanctions, coupled with pain inflicted by US and UK military attacks, have reduced Iraq’s infrastructure to virtual rubble. Oxygen factories, water sanitation plants, and hospitals remain in dilapidated states. Surveys by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO) note a marked decline in health and nutrition throughout Iraq. (1)

    While estimates vary, many independent authorities assert that at least 500,000 Iraqi children under five have died since 1990, in part as a result of the sanctions and the effects of the Gulf War. An August 1999 Unicef report found that the under-five mortality rate in Iraq has more than doubled since the imposition of sanctions. (2) Former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday has remarked that the death toll is "probably closer now to 600,000 and that’s over the period of 1990-1998. If you include adults, it’s well over 1 million Iraqi people." (3)

    The United Nations recently observed:

    In addition to the scarcity of resources, malnutrition problems also seem to stem from the massive deterioration in basic infrastructure, in particular in the water-supply and waste disposal systems. The most vulnerable groups have been the hardest hit, especially children under five years of age who are being exposed to unhygienic conditions, particularly in urban centers. The [World Food Program] estimates that access to potable water is currently 50 percent of the 1990 level in urban areas and only 33 percent in rural areas. (4)

    The UN sanctions committee, based in New York, continues to deny Iraq, medical equipment, computer equipment, spare parts, and air-conditioned trucks, all necessary elements to sustaining human life and society. (5) Agricultural and environmental studies show great devastation, in many cases indicating permanent and irreversible damage. (6)

    Others have argued that, from a North American perspective, sanctions are more economically sustainable than military attacks, since sanctions cost the United States less. In fact, hundreds of millions of US tax dollars are spent each year to sustain economic sanctions. Expenses include monitoring Iraqi import-export practices, patrolling the "no-fly" zones, and maintaining an active military presence in the Gulf region. (7) Sanctions are an insidious form of warfare, and have claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

    2) Iraq possesses, and seeks to build, weapons of mass destruction. If unchecked, and without economic sanctions, isn’t it true that Iraq could, and certainly would, threaten its neighbors?

    According to former United Nations Special Commission (Unscom) chief inspector Scott Ritter, "[F]rom a qualitative standpoint, Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction." While it is certainly possible that Iraq has the seed stock to rebuild its purported arsenal, Ritter has said that Iraq does not currently possess the capability to produce or deploy chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. (8)

    The United States only became concerned with Iraq’s military potential in 1990, after the invasion of Kuwait. The US supplied Iraq with most of its weapons. Just one day before Iraq invaded Kuwait, then-President George Bush approved and signed a shipment of advanced data transmission equipment to Iraq. The United States and Britain were the major suppliers of chemical and biological weapons to Iraq in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq War, in which the United States supported both sides with weapons sales. (9)

    Finally, the United States possesses, and keeps on alert, more nuclear weapons than the rest of the world combined. Many Iraqis and much of the international community feel that it is disingenuous of the United States-sitting atop the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, refusing to comply with international treaties or allow its weapons programs to be inspected by international experts, and being the only nation in the world ever to drop an atomic bomb-to tell Iraq what it can and cannot produce. In 1998 and 1999, the United States bombed four countries-Serbia, Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan-all in violation of international law.

    3) But hasn’t Iraq acted in violation of UN resolutions? The United States certainly has not.

    UN Resolution 687, paragraph 14, calls for regional disarmament as the basis for reducing Iraq’s arsenal. By arming Iraq’s neighbors in the Middle East, the US is contravening the same UN resolution with which it maintains arguments for sustaining the sanctions. Israel possesses more than 200 thermonuclear weapons and has violated scores of UN mandates, yet the US remains silent on the UN floor with regard to this violation of international law. (10)

    While the United States claims to be encouraging peace in the Middle East by destroying Iraq’s arsenal, it continues to arm Iraq’s neighbors. The list of consumers of American military technology-in the Middle East and elsewhere-reads like a "who’s who" of international terrorists, human rights violators, and dictators. The US supplies Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran with weapons and technology. All are Iraq’s neighbors and could potentially threaten its borders. US contractors also supplied most of the weapons used by the Indonesian military in its invasion and occupation of East Timor. (11)

    4) Isn’t US intervention through patrol of the no-fly zones essential to protect Kurdish people in the north and Shi’ite people in the south?

    In fact, Iraqis living under the no-fly zones are anything but protected. Civilians are frequently injured, killed, or rendered homeless by weekly and sometimes daily US-UK bombings.

    Acknowledging numerous civilian casualties, the US and British forces in 1999 switched to bombs carrying concrete, instead of explosives for use near populated areas in the North. (12) In the South, bombs continue to carry explosives.

    Hans von Sponeck, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq from 1998-2000, conducted an independent investigation of civilian damage from several US-British no-fly zone airstrikes in the north and south in 1999, finding 144 people killed and 446 injured that year. (13)

    The bombing also complicates the humanitarian efforts of the United Nations. Aid workers have been forced to cancel trips into Kurdish and Shiite regions, and many civilians have been accidentally wounded, further burdening hospitals that are struggling to cope with daunting incidences of illness and preventable disease.

    What’s more, the Kurds in northern Iraq have been subjected to occasional invasions by the Turkish army and air force, as a part of their campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Last year, American and British pilots began to express frustration over the double standard:

    [O]n more than one occasion [American and British pilots have] received a radio message that "there was a TSM inbound"--that is, a "Turkish Special Mission" heading into Iraq. Following standard orders, the Americans turned their planes around and flew back to Turkey.

    "You'd see Turkish F-14s and F-16s inbound, loaded to the gills with munitions," [American pilot Mike Horn] said. "Then they'd come out half an hour later with their munitions expended."

    When the Americans flew back into Iraqi airspace, he recalled, they would see "burning villages, lots of smoke and fire." (14)

    5) Doesn’t Iraq hoard goods that come into the country? And doesn’t the regime prevent humanitarian goods from reaching their designated recipients, diverting them instead into the black market?

    We often hear reports that Iraq is stockpiling desperately needed medicines and other humanitarian goods. Hans von Sponeck is very clear on this issue, "It is not—I repeat, is not, and you can check with my colleagues—a premeditated act of withholding medicines from those who should have it." (15)

    The problems Iraq faces in distributing medicines, as von Sponeck has laid out, are as follows:

    There are many steps involved in procurement, causing delays and sometimes over-ordering of the same goods;
    There’s not enough transportation;
    The warehouses in the provinces are in bad shape;
    The Security Council does not allow cash from the oil revenues of the program into the hands of the Iraqi authorities, so there are no funds to pay for distribution infrastructure; and
    The pay for medical warehouse workers is insufficient, forcing them to look elsewhere to try to cover the needs of their household. (16)
    There have been reports of UN approved medicines turning up in Jordan and the Kurdish region of Iran. However, it is not reasonable to judge the priorities of the Iraqi government on the actions of a few enterprising people who choose to profit at the expense of the poor and suffering Iraqi civilians. The vast majority of the humanitarian goods let into the country are not diverted to the black market.

    6) Isn’t it true that Saddam Hussein’s regime fills its coffers with revenue from smuggling and then refuses to spend the money on their own people?

    Intelligence sources estimate that Saddam Hussein illegally earns between
    $500 million and $800 million per year selling oil on the black market (17) Even if that money was being devoted solely to constructive measures, it would not even begin to meet Iraq’s needs. Reconstructing essential infrastructure will cost $50 to $100bn, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, discussing the matter last year. (18)

    Moreover, based on what we know about spending in pre-sanctions Iraq, if given complete control of their oil and other revenue, Iraq would again invest large amounts in the education and health of the majority of its people. Of course, Iraq’s pre-sanctions record of upholding essential economic and social rights of its people should be considered alongside, not in place of, its extreme violation of the civil and political rights of minority groups and dissidents and its military priorities. But it should simultaneously be recognized that the sanctions make the United Nations and its member states a party to the repression of the Iraqi people.

    7) How do you explain Iraq’s recent slow pace in ordering supplies for health, education, water, sanitation, and oil equipment through the Oil for Food program?

    The Oil for Food program runs in six-month phases. Gross revenues from oil sales for Phase VIII (June 9 – December 5, 2000) ran to 9.564 billion. After deductions for war reparations and UN expenses 6.4 billion was left for the purchase of humanitarian supplies.

    By the January 15th, 2001 the Program had received only $4.265 billion worth of contracts for humanitarian supplies for Phase VIII and Oil for Food's Executive Director, Benon Sevan, noted that 'the total value of contracts received under the health sector was only $83 million, against the $624 million allocated for that sector under Phase VIII.

    He was, he said, "gravely concerned with regard to the unacceptably slow rate of submission of applications" in other sectors. (19)

    A Voices in the Wilderness UK delegation raised this issue with Mr. Tun Myat, the current United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, in mid-January 2001, who suggested that:

    Part of the problem lay with inadequate stock control systems in Iraq (needing new computers blocked by the Sanctions Committee) and with over-ambitious plans for Samarra Drug Industries, Iraq's domestic pharmaceutical production facility.

    Confident in their ability to produce drugs domestically, officials had under-ordered medicines. (20)

    Mayat explained this phenomenon further in a recent interview with Reuters:

    "The real reason is nothing sinister," he said. It all boils down to a new Iraqi law from last October [2000], which eliminates the role of middlemen in supplying contracts to those sectors. "Many ministries here took time to readjust their purchasing procedures, sources of supplies and identification of suppliers," Myat said. "And this is probably the main reason why some of the ministries have fallen very badly behind." (21)

    8) Shouldn’t all of that excess oil revenue be used by the Iraqi government to improve the humanitarian situation in the country?

    Mainstream press seldom reports that Iraq’s oil revenue is placed in an escrow account controlled by the UN Security Council and that some of the surplus funds in this account are the result of logjams created by Security Council refusal to approve certain contracts.

    The volume of blocked items reached $3bn in February 2000 (22)--the highest ever. UN documents from February, 2000 state that The UN Security Council's 661 Sanctions Committee recently placed 32 new contracts valued at $107.8 million on hold, water treatment and electro-mechanical equipment, pipes, valves, a television transmitter, and medical machines. (23)

    While the value of holds is greatly exceeded by the value of approved contracts, it is important to note that in many cases, when Iraq must purchase goods from foreign suppliers, items come in pieces. So it is possible (and common) that an item worth $2m could be put on hold, preventing essential infrastructure repairs worth billions.

    What’s more, Iraq has no control over the quality of the goods that do make it into the country under the Oil for Food agreement, since the goods are paid for in advance of shipment. It is not uncommon for suppliers to take advantage of Iraq’s peculiar situation and send poor quality food and other goods.

    9) How can we expect to make any meaningful change in Iraq policy if Iraq rejects out of hand whatever alternatives come to the table?

    The US government characterizes Iraq’s rejection of new proposals as evidence of the Government of Iraq’s refusal to cooperate with measures intended to help their own people. Recent proposals, including the incremental easing of sanctions conditional on Iraq’s compliance with disarmament guidelines, and the more recent "smart sanctions," do not address the most urgent needs of the Iraqi people who have endured massive suffering for more than ten years.

    Moreover, none of the recent proposals allow Iraq to control it’s own money. Instead, all profits from oil sales would continue to go directly into an escrow account, controlled by the UN Sanctions Committee, based in New York. This arrangement has only compounded the already monumental difficulties Iraq faces in repairing and maintaining critical infrastructure, such as the much degraded agricultural, electrical, and oil sectors.

    10) Would putting an end to all limits on non-military goods coming into Iraq put an end to hardship for Iraqi?

    If ordinary Iraqi people don’t acquire greatly increased purchasing power, greater availability of supplies and commodities won’t necessarily help them meet their needs. Presently, Iraqi people who are employed are paid low wages in a greatly devalued currency. To provide ordinary families with purchasing power will require refloating the Iraqi economy to generate employment* and to restore the value of the Iraqi Dinar. This requires repair of Iraq’s badly deteriorated infrastructure, especially the oil sector. We’re told repeatedly that such undertakings demand massive investments of public and private monies. It’s hard to imagine that the government of Iraq could manage such investments and repairs if it does not have control over its own oil revenues.

    * An estimate given by von Sponeck in 2000 suggested an unemployment rate topping 60%. It is difficult, however, to gage accurately as an increasing number of ordinary Iraqi’s are employed through the black market.

    11) What is a realistic alternative to the current policy?

    The alternative to economic sanctions is termination. Termination combined with capital investment to enable the Iraqi Government to rebuild the country's capacity for electric power that is essential for the potable water, sanitation and health care, required (as in any modern urbanized country) to keep children and adults alive and well. Likewise capital is needed for all the other sectors of the economy from transportation through agriculture, industry through education and technology. (24)

    Any alternative policy would have to take into account the welfare of ordinary Iraqi people, who have suffered dramatically under more than ten years of a failed policy of depravation and violence, and not just the political interests of the United States and its allies.

    Only with a refloating of the economy, can the well being of the people and children improve, apart from those families and individuals irreparable damaged. Irreparably damaged by the loss of a child, chronic malnutrition and consequent retardation, leukemia or some other terrible cancer caused by USA/UK use of Depleted Uranium/plutonium in the Gulf War. The end of social chaos, disruption of Islamic family values and positive change in governance to a more democratic system, may take longer in that the negative impact of the Economic embargo is simply not fully understood in the UN and the USA/UK. The so-called humanitarian programme - Oil for Food - could begin to provide the complex wherewithal to take Iraq out of the infrastructural ruin caused by American bombing. Only restoration of the Iraqi economy can end the death and destruction of Iraqi society, and its people.

    The isolation and alienation of Iraq, its people and its economy must be ended to restore this international partner, sadly once so cozy to the USA and others when the tragic war against Iran was applauded and actively supported in the "West". Now Iraq must be allowed and facilitated to play a positive part in international affairs. Domestically, Iraq must improve its human rights record and end violations, and institute arrangements for the Kurds to be an integrated and prosperous part of the country's economy. Iraq must rebuild its relationship with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and others in the Region. The Government of Iraq has work to do. It must allow the people of Iraq to make their own choices and in due course, and with restoration of middle class and those with professional capacities we may see political change. (25)

    A first step towards such a policy would be the beginning of a "confidence-building process, initially at a low level and behind closed doors, with all protagonists at the table." (26)

    An alternative policy should also be concerned not only that Iraq’s acquiring weapons of mass destruction, but with those countries and corporations who seek to arm Iraq for profit.

    The United States and other members of the Security Council must also take partial responsibility for the arming of Iraq in the decades leading up to the Gulf War as well as the enormous suffering of the Iraqi people since the Gulf War in the name of Iraq’s disarmament.


    1. See Unicef and Government of Iraq Ministry of Health, Child and Maternal Mortality Survey 1999: Preliminary Report (Baghdad: Unicef, 1999). Available online at See also WHO Resource Center, Health Conditions of the Population in Iraq Since the Gulf Crisis (Geneva: WHO, 1996). Available online at

    2. See Unicef press release, "Iraq Survey Shows ‘Humanitarian Emergency,’" August 12, 1999 (Cf/doc/pr/1999/29).

    3. Matthew Rothschild, interview with Denis Halliday, The Progressive 63: 2 (February 1999): 26.

    4. United Nations, "Report of the Second Panel Pursuant to the Note by the President of the Security Council of 30 January 1999 (S/1999/100), Concerning the Current Humanitarian Situation in Iraq," Annex II, S/1999/356, March 30, 1999, p. 6, article 20.

    5. For a list of the holds, See UN Office of the Iraq Program wesbite,

    6. See Dr. Peter L. Pellett, "Sanctions, Food, Nutrition, and Health in Iraq" (pp. 151-68) and Dr. Huda S. Ammash, "Toxic Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions" (pp. 169-178), in Anthony Arnove ed., Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War, (Cambridge: South End Press, 2000) for references to several of these studies.

    7. The US spent more than $1 billion just to operate its bombing campaign against Iraq in 1999. See Steven Lee Myers, "In Intense But Little-Noticed Fight, Allies Have Bombed Iraq All Year," New York Times, August 13, 1999.

    8. Fellowship of Reconciliation, interview with Scott Ritter, Fellowship 65: 9-10 (September- October 1999): 13.

    9. See Noam Chomsky, "‘What We Say Goes’: The Middle East in the New World Order," in Collateral Damage: The ‘New World Order’ at Home and Abroad, ed. Cynthia Peters (Boston: South End Press, 1992), pp. 61-64 and references; Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein (New York: Harper- Collins, 1999); Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, updated ed. (New York: Hill and Wang, 1992), p. 152; Dilip Hiro, The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Conflict (New York: Routledge, 1991); and Mark Phythian, Arming Iraq: How the U.S. and Britain Secretly Built Saddam’s War Machine (Boston: Northeastern UP, 1996).

    10. UN Security Council Resolution 687, paragraph 14. All UN resolutions cited are available online at See Seymour M. Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel, America, and the Bomb (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1993), pp. 198-99, and Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia UP, 1998).

    11. See Noam Chomsky, East Timor and the Western Democracies (Nottingham: Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, 1979), p. 2, and Matthew Jardine and Constâncio Pinto, East Timor’s Unfinished Struggle: Inside the Timorese Resistance (Boston: South End Press, 1996).

    12. Steven Lee Meyers, "Defter Weapon Against Iraqis: Concrete Bomb," New York Times, October 7, 1999, p. A1.

    13. FAIR Action Alert, "New York Times on Iraq Airstrikes: Zero Dissent Allowed," February 23, 2001

    14. Thomas E. Ricks, "Containing Iraq: A Forgotten War; As U.S. Tactics Are Softened, Questions About Mission Arise," The Washington Post, October 25, 2000.

    15. Hans Von Sponeck, "Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility Delegation Report," April 5, 1999

    16. Ibid

    17. Pamela Hess, "Iraq smuggling oil into Turkey," UPI, February 18, 2000

    18. The Economist Intelligence Unit, "Iraq Country Outlook," Country View, July 13, 2000 (

    19. "UN worried by Iraq's failure to spend oil income," Agence France Presse, January

    18, 2001

    20. See VitW UK’s website

    21. "Iraqi oil-for-food no substitute for sanctions end," Reuters, January 30, 2001.

    22. Anne Penketh , "Easing of Iraqi Sanctions Will Make Little Difference, Says UN," The Independent, February 21, 2001

    23. "Weekly Update 28 April - 4 May, 2001," United Nations Office of the Iraq Programme Website (

    24. Dennis Halliday, "Iraq Policy – Alternatives to Sanctions and Bombing," Red Pepper, February 2001.

    25. Ibid

    26. H.C. von Sponeck, "Iraq: International Sanctions and What Next?," Middle East Policy Journal, October 4, 2000.
  9. Dante

    Dante Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 19, 1998
    Upstate NY
    Juventus FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Please don't post something that big again, post a little then a link to the rest of the story.

    Thank You
  10. Colin Grabow

    Colin Grabow New Member

    Jul 22, 1999
    Washington, DC
    One big problem with your theory Joe. Sanctions were imposed in 1990, before it was decided not to prosecute the war to Baghdad. -- i.e. depose Saddam.

    Despite your attempt at obfuscation, the fact remains that Saddam has the ability to feed all his people, he chooses not to, and thus children go hungry. So that means that he is responsible, not the US. As a matter of fact it should be pointed out that from 1991 to 1996 Saddam was offered a deal to sell oil in exchange for food to feed his people and he rejected it.

    Now, I'm not going to argue that sanctions are good -- I think they're dumb and don't work. If we're serious about getting rid of Saddam we should just go in there and blow the hell out of him, otherwise just forget it. Sanctions are halfway measures that won't accomplish anything.
  11. Colin Grabow

    Colin Grabow New Member

    Jul 22, 1999
    Washington, DC
    Thursday, August 19, 1999
    Why lifting sanctions won't help Iraqis
    Alexander Rose
    National Post

    Eight years after the imposition of sanctions, Iraq is a rusting, battered hulk whose defenceless population has lost 600,000 children to starvation. Or so we've been led to believe by well-meaning charities, government agencies, and, rather incongruously, the Russians (who, because sanctions prohibit money transfers, are owed billions for arms sales). A UNICEF report released last week paints a haunting picture of the situation: Children under five are dying at more than twice the rate they were 10 years ago. To be exact, the figure is 131 deaths per 1,000 live births, placing Iraq neatly between Haiti (132) and Pakistan (136). This is, of course, a tragically high mortality rate, but even in the boomtime before the Gulf War, when oil dollars bestowed immense riches, Iraq's mortality rate was 56 per 1,000 -- a figure roughly the same as Guyana and Namibia nowadays. Not terrific, in other words. Moreover, the oft-heard "statistic" that sanctions have killed 600,000 children is a myth. It all began in 1995, when two researchers from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), whose report had heavily relied on Iraqi government figures, asserted in The Lancet that 567,000 children had died, a story quickly picked up by The New York Times and CBS's 60 Minutes. Virtually overnight, an FAO extrapolation based on nothing more than a sampling of 36 infant deaths and 245 child deaths (as skeptical Canadian academics revealed), had turned into Gospel truth. Peace groups, as usual, inflated even these inflated igures, and somehow arrived at a total of one million dead. Yet, what is left unmentioned is that the Iraqi population has exploded by 29% (!) over the past seven years, from 17.9 million to 23.1 million, and that the crude death rate per 1,000 has stayed unchanged at nine in both pre sanctions 1990 and 1996.
  12. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
    San Rafael, CA
    San Jose Earthquakes
    > but even in the boomtime before the Gulf War,
    > Iraq's mortality rate was 56 per 1,000 -- a figure
    > roughly the same as Guyana and Namibia
    > nowadays. Not terrific, in other words

    This ignores the rate of change in infant mortality. It had been going down since 1960 - the Gulf War put and end to that. While it is not clear that a linear progression would tell you what the rate would be right now if the war never happened, it is clear that it would be far less than 50.
  13. schuer

    schuer New Member

    Nov 26, 2001
    Important is that the American public was lied to. Bush sr (who of course knew this, his administration probably was behind it) nor that PR-Firm was punished for it. There is absolutely no reason to believe they are playing this game again. An attack on Iraq would be of no benefit to the American public, only Oil and arm compagnies (in which the Cheneys and the Rumsfelds have big interests in) would benefit.
  14. NER_MCFC

    NER_MCFC Member

    May 23, 2001
    Cambridge, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In case anyone was wondering if this story was relavant in the present tense, there is a story in today's Boston Globe about the head media person at the Defense Department. There is a list of her previous jobs that appears to be in chronological order. If that is so, Rumsfeld hired her from ... you guessed it... Hill & Knowlton.
  15. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
    San Rafael, CA
    San Jose Earthquakes
    > An attack on Iraq would be of no benefit to the
    > American public, only Oil and arm compagnies (in
    > which the Cheneys and the Rumsfelds have big
    > interests in) would benefit.

    But benefiting oil companies benefits America. We need to take over some oil nation, I just think we are going after the wrong one.
  16. TheWakeUpBomb

    TheWakeUpBomb Member

    Mar 2, 2000
    New York, NY
    Seattle Sounders
    I love how joseph's post makes it sound like poor wittle Iraq. The US and UK have just been so darn mean to them.

    When, in fact, the most obvious step towards ending the sanctions is for Iraq to, uh, comply with the UN demands (i.e. let the weapons inspectors in).

    I also love how the left conveniently forgets that, at the time of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, they were the ones clamoring for sanctions instead of military action. So, 12 years ago, sanctions alone would supposedly gotten Iraq out of Kuwait, but military action plus sanctions is the ultimate unsuccessful evil?

    The other thing is the half a million dead babies. I love how this number is pretty much inflated at will. This year alone, I've seen the number of dead Iraqi children placed at 1 million, 1.5 million and 500,000. Would you people settle on a number?
  17. DoctorJones24

    DoctorJones24 Member

    Aug 26, 1999
  18. Colin Grabow

    Colin Grabow New Member

    Jul 22, 1999
    Washington, DC
    Actually, no. Spejic really believes that the apocalypse is nearing and that if we don't secure an oil supply by force if necessary, we're doomed.

    Actually he thinks we're doomed anyway. He once told me that he figures he is going to meet his demise in a food riot. I don't know how serious he was though.
  19. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
    San Rafael, CA
    San Jose Earthquakes
    I am totally serious. I have found a way of looking at the world that allows me to make sense of what takes place, and make predictions of what is going to happen. It is much more scientific than a religion, although I think it would be fair to call me some sort of "conspiracy theorist".

    > Actually he thinks we're doomed anyway.

    Well, there is short term doom and long term doom. I am all for sending other people to doom first if I can stay out of doom a little longer.

    > He once told me that he figures he is going to
    > meet his demise in a food riot. I don't know how
    > serious he was though.

    Slightly serious here. I mainly used that as an example of how I don't exactly look forward to the future I think will happen within our lifetimes. However, I don't know if Americans will stand up to never-ending depression as well as the Russians have.
  20. Godot22

    Godot22 New Member

    Jul 20, 1999
    This violently misses the point. The argument is that sanctions which disproportionately harm ordinary people in Iraq are an ineffective way to influence the policies of a small ruling elite. So long as Iraq's leaders don't care if their population lives in misery or not, sanctions serve only to galvanize their people against the US.

    Regardless of the precise numbers (and in my inexpert opinion, hundreds of thousands of dead children seems like an overstatement), the lives of ordinary people are made more miserable by sanctions. They are also not achieving their stated goal. At some point, the burden of having to explain exactly what good the sactions are accomplishing must fall on the shoulders of those who are arguing that they must stay in place.
  21. LoveFifa

    LoveFifa New Member

    Apr 23, 2001
    Detroit, Michigan
    I don't think Americans will put up with that. We hate standing in line.
  22. TheWakeUpBomb

    TheWakeUpBomb Member

    Mar 2, 2000
    New York, NY
    Seattle Sounders
    You're right. Iraq's leaders don't care, so that's why all this crap that's spewed about how the oil for food program isn't working for whatever reason is just that, crap. I don't care how much aid flows into Iraq - it is still in Saddam's best interest that it not get to the people in Iraq who need it. So let's not be naive and put the blood of 5 trillion babies on the hands of the US and UK.
  23. Father Ted

    Father Ted BigSoccer Supporter

    Manchester United, Galway United, New York Red Bulls
    Nov 2, 2001
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Ireland Republic
    Dumb question I know but: Are the sanctions UN-sanctions or US-only sanctions?
  24. Colin Grabow

    Colin Grabow New Member

    Jul 22, 1999
    Washington, DC
    UN sanctions, although given the venom displayed by JP towards the US you can be forgiven for thinking the US was the only country imposing them.
  25. Father Ted

    Father Ted BigSoccer Supporter

    Manchester United, Galway United, New York Red Bulls
    Nov 2, 2001
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Ireland Republic
    Well then, he should shut up about the US killing Iraqi babies. We all know how much the UN hates the US.

Share This Page