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We are already at war with Iraq

On Monday morning, the U.S. shot at an air-defense station in southern Iraq. This was the 25th such attack this year alone
On Monday morning, the U.S. shot at an air-defense station in southern Iraq. This was the 25th such attack this year alone. Such cat and mouse skirmishes have been occuring since the "no fly zone" was established at the end of the Gulf War. Whether or not we actually launch a full scale invasion (and we likely will before next spring), our armed forces have already done a number on Iraqi civilians.

I am curious...how do people think the general U.S. population would respond to an invasion of Iraq? Would there be the usual "rah rah" flag-waving shit, or, given the international community's frowning, will people finally pull the plug on George's imperialism?
Think about it... 05.Aug.2002 09:05

globalizethis...

the international community...well...the civilians in the international community...have been not just frowning...but taking to the streets all over the world since this "war" on terrorism began...and that doesn't seem to keep us "educated, superior" americans from waving our flags and getting all pissed off when some judge in california criticizes the "under god" piece of the pledge of allegience. as long as a nice spin is put on it...people in this country will eat up a war with iraq. it's sad...but true. it's all the more reason to rethink how we are going to fix this problem. rallys are nice...but we need a program of education. we need to get to the belief systems that are so deeply engrained in the minds of our neighbors and family members. we need to take back the minds of our society!!!

I'm afraid it's true 05.Aug.2002 11:29

PHH

I'm afraid I'll have to concur with globalizethis, Americans will go along with it. People don't know any better. I will be visiting my mother this winter and I'll watch the offical version unfold on the FOX NEWS CHANNEL. It's not just the IRAQ thing, it's the whole world view.

What do we do about it? God only knows. If government was not controled by money this would be only a start.

been working on my 'rents with mixed results 05.Aug.2002 16:28

CaptainPlanet

When I visit my parents (in another state), I try to get them to consider that there is much more going on than what's in "the news". They usually think I need psychological help. I did miraculously get them to listen to the Greg Palast sound clip on the 2000 election and they were receptive.

Would love to see any discussion on tools / strategies for breaking past the denial that most Americans are in regarding the bias / manipulation of the media. I know there are good resources out there. For most of the mainstream, they would have to suffer direct consequences in some way (losing a job, being imprisoned) before they would consider even lifting a pen to write a politition. I would hope it wouldn't have to come to that to change their minds.

<:Bri:>

using the news... 05.Aug.2002 21:07

x

i don't know about anyone else, but my family (whom i have been having a hell of a time getting to open their eyes) have invested heavily in wall street in preperation for their retirement (which is imminent!!). so, i have been using the latest news to try and get them to see some things. when me and my mother discuss the state of wall street, and the reasons for this (she is begining to see the white collar criminal's role in this), i try and point to the ways that SHE could have played a role in preventing our current national economic situation. we can point to every memo that comes out showing what shrub knew about 9-11. there is alot that the corporate media hands us! our friends, family and neighbors eat the shit up!! so let's use it!!!

For Captain Planet (and x) 06.Aug.2002 18:03

DJEB

Forgive my HUGE post, but here are some resources you can use:


Iraq's "clear and present danger" to the U.S.

How has Iraq attacked us? What is the threat that Iraq poses? You hear a lot of talk about the threat. You'll hear it tonight. Scan the TV channels: "Iraq poses a clear and present threat against America." "Saddam Hussein threatens our way of life!" Threatens our way of life! It's as though if I went off the coast of New York City there would be the Iraqi fleet ready to bomb us. If I go down to the Mexican border, there's the Iraqi Panzer divisions ready to come across the border. Iraq threatens us. Ladies and gentlemen, Iraq threatens nobody but the people of Iraq. Saddam Hussein is not capable of projecting his power outside of his borders. I was part of the effort that destroyed his military. And for over seven years I was inside that country uncovering the secrets of their weapons of mass destruction programs.

George Bush says, "Saddam, let the inspectors back in. Let us get back to the work of finding your weapons." You'll hear Richard Pearl, a very influential person, Paul Wolfowitz and others get on TV, my former boss, Richard Butler, on television and say "Iraq possesses biological weapons." Not "they might possess," "we think they're possessing." "They possess it." As if they know. "They possess chemical weapons." They don't. We destroyed the factories. We destroyed the weapons.

You'll hear that we were kicked out. We weren't kicked out. You know why weapons inspectors aren't there today? Because on December 15, 1998, the Deputy Ambassador of the United States in the United Nations picked up the phone, called Richard Butler and said, "get your inspectors out of Iraq." Why? Because on December 17 we started bombing. And what did we do when we bombed? We didn't go after weapons of mass destruction facilites. We went after Saddam Hussein to eliminate the president of Iraq... How did we target Saddam? We used the information collected by the weapons inspectors. So ask yourself, if you're an Iraqi, would you let the inspectors back in? I think not.

When I went there [Israel] in 1994, the director of military intelligence stated that Iraq was Israel's number one threat. When I left in 1998, Iraq was the number six threat faced by the state of Israel and falling. The reason why Israel had a change of heart in terms of the threat represented by Iraq was because of the close cooperation between the United Nations and Israeli intelligence which enabled us to investigate fully and thoroughly every piece of information Israel was concerned about inside Iraq. And we did so to the satisfaction of the Israeli government. You may not be aware of this, but in the last couple of weeks the Israelis have sent delegations to Washington DC encouraging George Bush not to make a move on Iraq. That to make a move on Iraq right now is unnecessary and unwise for the security of Israel. So, they view the threats as being elsewhere.

Now, missiles, I happen to know a little bit about ballistic missiles. [It's] the same thing. Even if Iraq possessed the long range missiles that they had during the Gulf War, the one's that they launched against Israel, take a look at the pathetic payload that these missiles had. You know, we're talking a couple hundred kilograms [payload]. The nuclear weapon that Iraq was designing was 1.2 tonnes. They didn't have a missile capable of delivering this. Even if they had shrunk the [payload] down to the proper diameter, they didn't had a missile capable of delivering this. It would have taken Iraq five to eight years of continuingly developing their program unhindered by weapons inspectors before they could come up with a delivery system capable of bringing a nuclear weapon, a nuclear device to Tel Aviv. But they don't have a missile program worthy of the name. We destroyed it.

They are allowed, under Security Council resolution, to produce a missile with a range of less than 150 kilometres and they have such a missile. It's called the al Sammud. I watched the al Sammud grow up since it was a little baby in 1994. And I'm telling you right now, in 1998, the last couple times the Iraqis launched it, it didn't work. ...We were there in the factory. We watched them design it. We watched them mill the parts. We watched them assemble it. We watched them do everything to that [missile]. Why? We were weapons inspectors. That was our job. That's the kind of intimacy we had of, not only the Iraqi missile program, but everything in Iraq. So... when I sit here and tell you that they don't have it, it's not guess work. It's not as though we're speculating. We know. Why? We were there. And we weren't there just being blocked by the Iraqis. Whenever the Iraqis blocked me and other inspectors from a site, these were sites that dealt with Saddam Hussein's personal security, not Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. These are sites that dealt with Saddam's bodyguards, with Iraqi intelligence, with Iraqi signal intelligence. Why [go there]? Because we thought they might be hiding documents. Not weapons. Documents. But when we went to the factories that capable of being converted to produce weapons of mass destruction, we were never once blocked. And since 1994, we monitored these factories. Not only did we find that they didn't have the capability, and that they weren't producing weapons of mass destruction, [we found] that it would take them 5 to 6 years, with full access to technology, with full access to money that's denied them by economic sanctions, to begin the reconstitute to a level that could be of concern to us.

April 2001, CIA report, CIA report says we have no proof, no evidence that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction or is producing any. We are concerned that they might be able to do so, be we have no evidence. The fact is, we don't know and we won't know until we get weapons inspectors back in. -  http://radio4all.net/pub/archive5/mp3_3/ug113-hour1mix.mp3

A 9-11 connection? A justification of war?

In early months of Bush administration, the issue of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was not near the top of the foreign policy agenda. Revival of the issue after September 11 appeared primarily to be a pretext for settling unfinished business. Iraq's links to al-Qaeda have proved too tenuous to include Iraq directly in the "war on terrorism." Most recently, the FBI itself has raised doubts about the veracity of the story that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague. Hence the weapons issue has now taken center stage, with the US invoking UN resolutions and hoping to rally international support on this basis. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/merip_graham.cfm ( MERIP Press Information Note 96, "Sanctions Renewed on Iraq," by Sarah Graham-Brown, May 14, 2002.)

The United States is now set on war with Iraq. What justification is there for such a war? Occasionally it has been suggested that Iraq was somehow linked to the 11 September attacks. The strongest alleged link has been the supposed meeting of Mohammed Atta, the 11 September ringleader, and an Iraqi diplomat expelled from the Czech Republic for spying. The two are meant to have met in Prague in 2001, a 'fact' confirmed by Czech interior minister Stanislav Gross in Oct. 2001. When the Czech police completed their inquiry in Dec. 2001, however, 'Jiri Kolar, the police chief, said there were no documents showing that Atta visited Prague at any time this year [2001], although he had visited twice in 2000'. Another man by the name of Mohammed Atta did visit Prague in 2001, but according to a Czech intelligence source, 'He didn't have the same identity card number, there was a great difference in their ages, their nationalities didn't match, basically nothing. It was someone else.' (Daily Telegraph, 18 Dec. 2001, p. 10) Despite the disintegration of this fable, it continues to circulate and to be repeated as fact. Useful lies can live for a long time. As for any links between Baghdad and al-Qaeda, an anonymous former CIA officer has remarked that, 'The reality is that Osama bin Laden doesn't like Saddam Hussein. Saddam is a secularist who has killed more Islamic clergy than he has Americans. They have almost nothing in common except a hatred of the US. Saddam is the ultimate control freak, and for him terrorists are the ultimate loose cannon.' (Daily Telegraph, 20 Sept. 2001, p. 10)

Initially, Washington included Iraq on its list of countries with links to al-Qaeda, but when European governments insisted that there was no intelligence evidence connecting Baghdad to Osama bin Laden's organisation, the US changed tack. "Now the emphasis is on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme and the danger that Saddam might send out his own agents armed with chemical or biological devices", one [British] official said.' (Times, 16 Feb. 2002, p. 19) The latest CIA report on the topic (Jan. 2002) says, that without 'an inspection-monitoring program' 'it is more difficult to determine the current status' of Iraq's biological and chemical weapons programmes. No smoking gun, then. Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter has written, 'Given the comprehensive nature of the monitoring regime put in place by UNSCOM [UN Special Commission weapons inspectors], which included a strict export-import control regime, it was possible as early as 1997 to determine that, from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq had been disarmed. Iraq no longer possessed any meaningful quantities of chemical or biological agent, if it possessed any at all, and the industrial means to produce these agents had either been eliminated or were subject to stringent monitoring. The same was true of Iraq's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.' (Arms Control Today, June 2000) According to Ritter, a former US Marine, 'manufacturing CW [chemical weapons] would require the assembling of production equipment into a single integrated facility, creating an infrastructure readily detectable by the strategic intelligence capabilities of the United States. The CIA has clearly stated on several occasions since the termination of inspections in December 1998 that no such activity has been detected.' As for biological weapons, 'The Iraqis do have enough equipment to carry out laboratory-scale production of BW agent. However, without an infusion of money and technology, expanding such a capability into a viable weapons program is a virtual impossibility. Contrary to popular belief, BW cannot simply be cooked up in the basement; it requires a large and sophisticated infrastructure, especially if the agent is to be filled into munitions. As with CW, the CIA has not detected any such activity concerning BW since UNSCOM inspectors left Iraq.' -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/rai_no_justification_for_war.cfm

It is now clear that (despite intensive investigative efforts) there is simply no evidence of any Iraqi involvement in the terror attacks of September 11. The most popular theory, of a Prague-based collaboration between one of the 9/11 terrorists and an Iraqi official, has now collapsed. Just two weeks ago, the Prague Post quoted the director general of the Czech foreign intelligence service UZSI (Office of Foreign Relations and Information), Frantisek Bublan, denying the much-touted meeting between Mohamed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, and an Iraqi agent.

More significantly, the Iraqi regime's brutal treatment of its own population has generally not extended to international terrorist attacks. The State Department's own compilation of terrorist activity in its 2001 Patterns of Global Terrorism, released May 2002, does not document a single serious act of international terrorism by Iraq. Almost all references are either to political statements made or not made or hosting virtually defunct militant organizations.

We are told that we must go to war preemptively against Iraq because Baghdad might, some time in the future, succeed in crafting a dangerous weapon and might, some time in the future, give that weapon to some unknown terrorist group --maybe Osama bin Laden-- who might, some time in the future, use that weapon against the U.S. The problem with this analysis, aside from the fact that preemptive strikes are simply illegal under international law, is that it ignores the widely known historic antagonism between Iraq and bin Laden. According to the New York Times, "shortly after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, Osama bin Laden approached Prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz al-Saud, the Saudi defense minister, with an unusual proposition. c Arriving with maps and many diagrams, Mr. Bin Laden told Prince Sultan that the kingdom could avoid the indignity of allowing an army of American unbelievers to enter the kingdom to repel Iraq from Kuwait. He could lead the fight himself, he said, at the head of a group of former mujahideen that he said could number 100,000 men." Even if bin Laden's claim to be able to provide those troops was clearly false, bin Laden's hostility towards the ruthlessly secular Iraq remained evident. There is simply no evidence that that has changed.

Ironically, an attack on Iraq would increase the threat to U.S. citizens throughout the Middle East and perhaps beyond, as another generation of young Iraqis come to identify Americans only as the pilots of high-flying jet bombers and as troops occupying their country. While today American citizens face no problems from ordinary people in the streets of Baghdad or elsewhere in Iraq, as I documented during my visit to Iraq with five Congressional staffers in August 1999, that situation would likely change in the wake of a U.S. attack on Iraq. In other countries throughout the Middle East, already palpable anger directed at U.S. threats would dramatically escalate and would provide a new recruiting tool for extremist elements bent on harm to U.S. interests or U.S. citizens. It would become far more risky for U.S. citizens to travel abroad. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0802-02.htm

...after the September 11 attacks, many in the Bush Administration said, "Osama bin Laden could not have carried out this attack without state sponsorship..."... "Iraq had to be the ones responsible for this." And conveniently at that point in time defectors started coming out. Defectors talked about a terrorist training camp south of Bagdad in Salman Pak where they train people to take over airplanes conveniently in groups of four and five armed with knives. Amazing how this information came out after September 11. It's not true. I've been to that terrorist training camp. It's not a terrorist training camp, it's a hostage rescue camp put in place in the 1980s by by the British government to support Saddam Hussein because any nation that has a national airlines has an assault force capable of conducting hostage rescue of aircraft that have been subject to hijacking. We have it. Iraq has it. That's what Salman Pak is plain and simple.

As we speak, American Marines, soldiers, Seal commandos, Air Force personell are in Afghanistan. We've deafeted al Qaeda, at least militarily. We've occupied their camps. We've captured their caves. We've captured computers with harddrives. We've captured documents - thousands of them. And guess what we're finding? And in the months since we've captured these, we've arrested over a thousand al Qaeda members across the world because these documents give 'em up. We know who al Qaeda met with. We know who they plotted with. We know what they were trying to do. And guess what these documents don't show? Any linkage whatsoever with Iraq. See, there is no linkage between al Qaeda and Iraq. These are two totally separate entities. Two totally separate problems. That didn't stop the administration though, from keeping the beat of the war drum against Iraq. -  http://radio4all.net/pub/archive5/mp3_3/ug113-hour1mix.mp3

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What about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction?

By ignoring or suppressing these facts, together with the scale of a four-year bombing campaign by American and British aircraft (in 1999/2000, according to the Pentagon, the US flew 24,000 "combat missions" over Iraq), journalists have prepared the ground for an all-out attack on Iraq. The official premise for this - that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction - has not been questioned. In fact, in 1998, the UN reported that Iraq had complied with 90 per cent of its inspectors' demands. That the UN inspectors were not "expelled", but pulled out after American spies were found among them in preparation for an attack on Iraq, is almost never reported. Since then, the world's most sophisticated surveillance equipment has produced no real evidence that the regime has renewed its capacity to build weapons of mass destruction. "The real goal of attacking Iraq now," says Eric Herring, "is to replace Saddam Hussein with another compliant thug." -  http://www.zmag.org/content/MainstreamMedia/pilger_compliantpress.cfm

There is strong evidence that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have pretty much been destroyed. Earlier this year, Iraq fully cooperated with international nuclear weapons inspectors. Scott Ritter, a UN weapons inspector in Iraq for six years, asserts that 95% of Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons have been destroyed. On March 13, 2002, he wrote: "America claims that Iraq lied to inspectors and still has deadly stockpiles. But the Bush administration has shown little interest in sending the inspectors back. It has used their absence to hype the threat of a re-armed Iraq." Furthermore, the United States has presented no evidence that Iraq is harboring terrorists. -  http://www.rmpjc.org/STOP-THE-WAR-AGAINST-IRAQ/WarAgainstIraqDefiesLaw-March2002.html

What are sanctions for? Eradicating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, says the Security Council resolution. Scott Ritter, a chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq for five years, told me: "By 1998, the chemical weapons infrastructure had been completely dismantled or destroyed by UNSCOM (the UN inspections body) or by Iraq in compliance with our mandate. The biological weapons programme was gone, all the major facilities eliminated. The nuclear weapons programme was completely eliminated. The long range ballistic missile programme was completely eliminated. If I had to quantify Iraq's threat, I would say [it is] zero." Ritter resigned in protest at US interference; he and his American colleagues were expelled when American spy equipment was found by the Iraqis. To counter the risk of Iraq reconstituting its arsenal, he says the weapons inspectors should go back to Iraq after the immediate lifting of all non-military sanctions; the inspectors of the international Atomic Energy Agency are already back. At the very least, the two issues of sanctions and weapons inspection should be entirely separate. Madeleine Albright has said: "We do not agree that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted." If this means that Saddam Hussein is the target, then the embargo will go on indefinitely, holding Iraqis hostage to their tyrant's compliance with his own demise. Or is there another agenda? In January 1991, the Americans had an opportunity to press on to Baghdad and remove Saddam, but pointedly stopped short. A few weeks later, they not only failed to support the Kurdish and Shi'a uprising, which President Bush had called for, but even prevented the rebelling troops in the south from reaching captured arms depots and allowed Saddam Hussein's helicopters to slaughter them while US aircraft circled overhead. At they same time, Washington refused to support Iraqi opposition groups and Kurdish claims for independence." -  http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/pilger.htm

"Let's talk about the weapons. In 1991, did Iraq have a viable weapons of mass destruction capability? You're darn right they did. They had a massive chemical weapons program. They had a giant biological weapons program. They had long-range ballistic missiles and they had a nuclear weapons program that was about six months away from having a viable weapon.

"Now after seven years of work by UNSCOM inspectors, there was no more (mass destruction) weapons program. It had been eliminated....When I say eliminated I'm talking about facilities destroyed....

"The weapons stock had been, by and large, accounted for - removed, destroyed or rendered harmless. Means of production had been eliminated, in terms of the factories that can produce this...."There were some areas that we didn't have full accounting for. And this is what plagued UNSCOM. Security Council 687 is an absolute resolution. It requires that Iraq be disarmed 100 percent. It's what they call 'quantitative disarmament.' Iraq will not be found in compliance until it has been disarmed to a 100 percent level. That's the standard set forth by the Security Council and as implementors of the Security Council resolution, the weapons inspectors had no latitude to seek to do anything less than that - 80 percent was not acceptable; 90 percent was not acceptable; only 100 percent was acceptable.

"And this was the Achilles tendon, so to speak, of UNSCOM. Because by the time 1997 came around, Iraq had been qualitatively disarmed. On any meaningful benchmark - in terms of defining Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability; in terms of assessing whether or not Iraq posed a threat, not only to its immediate neighbors, but the region and the world as a whole - Iraq had been eliminated as such a threat....

"What was Iraq hiding? Documentation primarily - documents that would enable them to reconstitute - at a future date - weapons of mass destruction capability....But all of this is useless...unless Iraq has access to the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars required to rebuild the industrial infrastructure (necessary) to build these weapons. They didn't have it in 1998. They don't have it today. This paranoia about what Iraq is doing now that there aren't weapons inspectors reflects a lack of understanding of the reality in Iraq.

"The economic sanctions have devastated this nation. The economic sanctions, combined with the effects of the Gulf War, have assured that Iraq operate as a Third World nation in terms of industrial output and capacity. They have invested enormous resources in trying to build a 150-kilometer range ballistic missile called the Al Samoud.

"In 1998 they ran some flight tests of prototypes that they had built of this missile. They fizzled. One didn't get off the stand. The other flipped over on the stand and blew up. The other one got up in the air and then went out of control and blew up. They don't have the ability to produce a short-range ballistic missile yet alone a long-range ballistic missile....

"The other thing to realize is: they are allowed to build this missile. It's not against the law. The law says anything under 150 kilometers they can build and yet people are treating this missile as if it's a threat to regional security....It's a tactical battlefield missile, that's it. Yet, (Congressman Tom) Lantos and others treat this as though it's some sort of latent capability and requires a ballistic missile defense system to guard against it. It's ridiculous. Iraq has no meaningful weapons of mass destruction program today. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views/030700-106.htm

There is no latitude for inspectors to accept anything less than 100 percent disarmament, which, given the combined effect of the passage of time and Iraqi intransigence, leaves the inspectors in the nearly impossible position of trying to prove a negative. The reality that, from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq has in fact been disarmed has been ignored. The chemical, biological, nuclear, and long-range ballistic missile programs that were a real threat in 1991 had, by 1998, been destroyed or rendered harmless. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views/030900-101.htm

In early months of Bush administration, the issue of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was not near the top of the foreign policy agenda. Revival of the issue after September 11 appeared primarily to be a pretext for settling unfinished business. Iraq's links to al-Qaeda have proved too tenuous to include Iraq directly in the "war on terrorism." Most recently, the FBI itself has raised doubts about the veracity of the story that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague. Hence the weapons issue has now taken center stage, with the US invoking UN resolutions and hoping to rally international support on this basis.

The lack of clarity in Bush administration pronouncements inevitably signals to the Iraqi leadership that even if they were to comply with WMD inspections, the US would still try to oust them. As in the past, moving the goalposts on sanctions and arms control leaves the Iraqi government with a reason not to comply -- citing a "no-win" situation. Furthermore, the leadership's long-held belief in the usefulness of chemical and biological weapons would suggest they would be even more likely to conceal and try to retain them if they were faced with a major attack.

For the US, the worst-case scenario would be for the UN inspectors to declare Iraq free of banned weapons and therefore call for the lifting of sanctions. Fear of this eventuality may be behind recent attacks on the arms control record of Hans Blix, formerly head of the IAEA and now of UNMOVIC. Asked to investigate him by Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, doyen of the regime change crowd, the CIA found that Blix had conducted inspections within the IAEA's parameters. But Wolfowitz's approach fits with the Bush administration policy of attacking or removing unwelcome chairpersons of international bodies -- working on human rights, climate change or chemical weapons -- with which the US has disagreements. Blix, for his part, has presented a firm view of UNMOVIC's work, stating that Iraq would need to give the inspectors hard proof that its WMD had been destroyed. At the same time, he has held out the possibility that if Iraq cooperated fully, sanctions could be lifted within a year. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/merip_graham.cfm ( MERIP Press Information Note 96, "Sanctions Renewed on Iraq," by Sarah Graham-Brown, May 14, 2002.)

There has been no solid information regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction since UNSCOM and IAEA arms inspectors left Iraq in December 1998 in advance of the U.S. Desert Fox bombing operation. Prior to their leaving, the inspectors' last report (November 1998) stated that although they had been stymied by Iraqi non-compliance in carrying out some inspections, "the majority of the inspections of facilities and sites under the ongoing monitoring system were carried out with Iraq's cooperation." The IAEA report was unequivocal that Iraq no longer had a viable nuclear program. The UNSCOM report was less definitive, but months earlier, in March 1998, UNSCOM chief Richard Butler said that his team was satisfied there was no longer any nuclear or long-range missile capability in Iraq, and that UNSCOM was "very close" to completing the chemical and biological phases.

Since that time, there have been no verifiable reports regarding Iraq's WMD programs. It is important to get inspectors back into Iraq, but U.S. threats have made that virtually impossible by setting a "negative incentive" in place. If Baghdad believes that a U.S. military strike as well as the maintaining of crippling economic sanctions, will take place regardless of their compliance with UN resolutions regarding inspections, they have no reason to implement their own obligations. If the United States refuses to abide by the rule of international law, why are we surprised when an embattled and tyrannical government does so?

Throughout the 1980s Baghdad received from the U.S. high-quality germ seed stock for anthrax, botulism, E.coli, and a host of other deadly diseases. (The Commerce Department's decisions to license those shipments, even after revelations of Iraq's 1988 use of illegal chemical weapons, are documented in the 1994 hearings of the Banking Sub-Committee.) It is certainly possible that scraps of Iraq's earlier biological and chemical weapons programs remain in existence, but there is no evidence Iraq has the ability or missile capacity to use them against the U.S. or U.S. allies. The notion that the U.S. would go to war against Iraq because of the existence of tiny amounts of biological material, insufficient for use in missiles or other strategic weapons and which the U.S. itself provided during the years of the U.S.-Iraq alliance in the 1980s, is simply unacceptable. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0802-02.htm

Video of former weapons inspector Scott Ritter on the threat posed by Iraq: "...the real threat is zero. None." -  http://multimedia.carlton.com/ram/pilger/iraq/zero.ram

Scott Ritter on the propaganda surrounding the WMD issue -  http://stream.realimpact.org/rihurl.ram?file=webactive/cspin/cspin20020510.rm&start="10:44.3"

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Didn't Saddam throw out the weapons inspectors and why won't he let them in again?

By ignoring or suppressing these facts, together with the scale of a four-year bombing campaign by American and British aircraft (in 1999/2000, according to the Pentagon, the US flew 24,000 "combat missions" over Iraq), journalists have prepared the ground for an all-out attack on Iraq. The official premise for this - that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction - has not been questioned. In fact, in 1998, the UN reported that Iraq had complied with 90 per cent of its inspectors' demands. That the UN inspectors were not "expelled", but pulled out after American spies were found among them in preparation for an attack on Iraq, is almost never reported. Since then, the world's most sophisticated surveillance equipment has produced no real evidence that the regime has renewed its capacity to build weapons of mass destruction. "The real goal of attacking Iraq now," says Eric Herring, "is to replace Saddam Hussein with another compliant thug." -  http://www.zmag.org/content/MainstreamMedia/pilger_compliantpress.cfm

gThe inspectors have to go back in under our terms, under no one elsefs terms,h Colin Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, ignoring Iraqfs concerns over the well-documented fact that the last inspection team in Iraq passed on intelligence information to the U.S. government in violation of its mission. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/arnove_iraq-crossfires.cfm

...the United States led to a fabricated crisis that had nothing to do with legitimate disarmament. This crisis led to the United States ordering UNSCOM inspectors out of Iraq two days before the start of Operation Desert Fox, a 72-hour bombing campaign executed by the United States and Great Britain that lacked Security Council authority. Worse, the majority of the targets bombed were derived from the unique access the UNSCOM inspectors had enjoyed in Iraq, and had more to do with the security of Saddam Hussein than weapons of mass destruction. Largely because of this, Iraq has to date refused to allow inspectors back to work. The ensuing uncertainty has created an atmosphere that teeters on the brink of war. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0731-09.htm

The inspectors were not thrown out of Iraq. [U.S. State Department] -  http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/nea/iraq/factsheet.htm

I was advised on two occasions by the representative of the United States of America that it would be wise for me to consider withdrawing my people for the sake of their safety. They also advised the Secretary General to the same effect and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and in the light of that advice Kofi Annan agreed with me that I should withdraw my people for their safety. They are the facts. -  http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/cta/events2000/talking_point/tp04jun.ram

You'll hear that we were kicked out. We weren't kicked out. You know why weapons inspectors aren't there today? Because on December 15, 1998, the Deputy Ambassador of the United States in the United Nations picked up the phone, called Richard Butler and said, "get your inspectors out of Iraq." Why? Because on December 17 we started bombing. And what did we do when we bombed? We didn't go after weapons of mass destruction facilites. We went after Saddam Hussein to eliminate the president of Iraq... How did we target Saddam? We used the information collected by the weapons inspectors. So ask yourself, if you're an Iraqi, would you let the inspectors back in? I think not.

There's a very easy way to get inspectors back in, and that is to say that once Iraq is disarmed, sanctions will be lifted. You do this and the Iraqis will come to play. I guarantee it. They've said it over and over again. ...Now Iraqis have been disarmed to a fundamental level. Ninty to ninty-five per cent disarmament has been achieved. This is fact. It's without dispute. The United Nations documentation backs this up. Every executive chairman... acknowledges this. It's not as though I'm fabricating this number. It's real. The question is what to do about the remaining five to ten per cent.

Under the old resolution, which required 100% disarmament, we had to go after that five to ten percent. Iraq could not be found in compliance without that five to ten percent. And we did go after it. That meant trying to find documentation that would enable us to figure out what happened to the stuff.... Which meant that we had to inspect... places that don't have anything to do with weapons of mass destruction other than the fact that somebody might have a document hidden in his desk. That's why we went there.

If you want to get weapons inspectors back into Iraq, I suggest we step away and talk about what is... the objective of the Security Council of the United Nations when they passed Resolution 687. Was it 100% disarmament to the letter of the law? No. It was getting rid of those weapons programs which they felt, as long as they are continuing to be in the possession of Saddam Hussein, represent a clear and present risk to international peace and security. These programs are gone. They've been gone since 1995-1996. [If] you want to get weapons inspectors back into Iraq, find Iraq to be fundamentally disarmed under Resolution 687. Therefore, lift the economic sanctions, but follow through with the rest of the resolutions. See, there's two more resolutions on the book. 715, which is ongoing monitoring and verification, passed in 1993, implemented in 1994. This calls for weapons inspectors to go into every industrial facility, indeed, any facility they want to in Iraq - no notice inspections - and monitor these facilities to ensure that Iraq doesn't reconstitute capability. Resolution 1051, passed in 1996, implemented since that time. The export/import control regime, which requires Iraq to declare - there's a thick list of dual use materials, that is machines that can be used not only for ligitimate civilian goods, but could be converted for prohibitted uses - these machines have to be declared to the United Nations. Anytime Iraq seeks to buy these machines, they have to declare it - not just Iraq, but the nation that sells it. And then the inspectors follow, track this material as it comes into Iraq and into the facilities, tag it and it can't be moved. We monitor how it's used. No secret. That's what we did. It worked. The beauty of it is, not only did Iraq accept this and implement it, but the Security Council accepted this.

If you take a look at 715 and 1051, the annexes that exist on both these resolutions, they are more stringent than what is being put forward by Colin Powell in these so-called "smart sanctions." -  http://radio4all.net/pub/archive5/mp3_3/ug113-hour1mix.mp3

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Why did Saddam Hussein block some inspection sites?

Whenever the Iraqis blocked me and other inspectors from a site, these were sites that dealt with Saddam Hussein's personal security, not Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. These are sites that dealt with Saddam's bodyguards, with Iraqi intelligence, with Iraqi signal intelligence. Why [go there]? Because we thought they might be hiding documents. Not weapons. Documents. But when we went to the factories that capable of being converted to produce weapons of mass destruction, we were never once blocked. And since 1994, we monitored these factories. Not only did we find that they didn't have the capability, and that they weren't producing weapons of mass destruction, [we found] that it would take them 5 to 6 years, with full access to technology, with full access to money that's denied them by economic sanctions, to begin the reconstitute to a level that could be of concern to us. -  http://radio4all.net/pub/archive5/mp3_3/ug113-hour1mix.mp3

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What will make the US lift Sanctions?

Previously the ambiguity in US policy was that key players would not say that if Iraq complied with inspections and was given a clean bill of health, sanctions would be lifted. When Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March 2001 that if Iraq let weapons inspectors in, the US "may look at lifting sanctions," he continued the Clinton administration's strategy of using sanctions as a form of punitive control and containment, rather than enforcement of specific requirements on Iraq. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/merip_graham.cfm (MERIP Press Information Note 96, "Sanctions Renewed on Iraq," by Sarah Graham-Brown, May 14, 2002.)

...Madeleine Albright has said: "We do not agree that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted." If this means that Saddam Hussein is the target, then the embargo will go on indefinitely, holding Iraqis hostage to their tyrant's compliance with his own demise...." -  http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/pilger.htm

August 6, 1990: United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 661, placing sanctions on Iraq to "restore the authority of the legitimate government of Kuwait."
(For U.N. resolutions, see: gopher://gopher.undp.org/11/undocs/scd/scouncil)

April 3, 1991: U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 687 which states that upon "the completion by Iraq of all actions contemplated in" specific paragraphs of the resolution, "the prohibitions against financial transactions ... shall have no further force or effect." The paragraphs cited have to do with weapons inspections. Other paragraphs in the resolution have to do with "return of all Kuwaiti property seized by Iraq" and Iraqi liability for losses and damage resulting from Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

April 5, 1991: U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 688 that "demands that Iraq" end its repression "of all Iraqi citizens."

May 20, 1991: President George Bush: "At this juncture, my view is we don't want to lift these sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power." James Baker, Secretary of State: "We are not interested in seeing a relaxation of sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.

January 13, 1993: As Bill Clinton is about to take office, he states: "I am a Baptist. I believe in death-bed conversions. If he [Hussein] wants a different relationship with the United States and the United Nations, all he has to do is change his behavior." (The New York Times, January 14, 1993)

January 14, 1993: In the face of criticism, particularly from The New York Times, that he might lift sanctions and even normalize relations with Iraq, Clinton backtracks: "There is no difference between my policy and the policy of the present Administration.... I have no intention of normalizing relations with him." (See The New York Times and Boston Globe, January 15, 1993) Incoming Secretary of State Warren Christopher: "I find it hard to share the Baptist belief in redemption.... I see no substantial change in the position and continuing total support for what the [Bush] administration has done."

January 12, 1995: While inspections are taking place, though not complete, Ambassador Madeleine Albright says the U.S. is "determined to oppose any modification of the sanctions regime until Iraq has moved to comply with all its outstanding obligations." She specifically cites the return of Kuwaiti weaponry and non-military equipment. (Reuters, January 12, 1995)

May 12, 1996: On "60 Minutes," Lesley Stahl asks Albright: "We have heard that a half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it?" Albright responds: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."

March 26, 1997: Albright, in her first major foreign policy address as Secretary of State: "We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted. Our view, which is unshakable, is that Iraq must prove its peaceful intentions. It can only do that by complying with all of the Security Council resolutions to which it is subjected. Is it possible to conceive of such a government under Saddam Hussein? When I was a professor, I taught that you have to consider all possibilities. As Secretary of State, I have to deal in the realm of reality and probability. And the evidence is overwhelming that Saddam Hussein's intentions will never be peaceful."

November 7, 1997: Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz: "The American government says openly, clearly, that it's not going to endorse lifting the sanctions on Iraq unless the leadership of Iraq is changed."

November 14, 1997: President Clinton. [During a standoff on weapons inspectors] "What he [Hussein] says his objective is, is to relieve the people of Iraq, and presumably the government, of the burden of the sanctions. What he has just done is to ensure that the sanctions will be there until the end of time or as long as he lasts. So I think that if his objective is to try to get back into the business of manufacturing vast stores of weapons of mass destruction and then try to either use them or sell them, then at some point the United States, and more than the United States, would be more than happy to try to stop that."

November 14, 1997: In response to the question "Is it his [Clinton's] opinion that the sanction will not be lifted ever as long as Saddam is in power, whatever he does?" National Security Adviser Sandy Berger states: "No. Let Saddam Hussein -- let Saddam Hussein come into compliance, and then we can discuss whether there are any circumstances... It has been our position consistently that Saddam Hussein has to comply with all the relative Security Council resolutions from this action.... I don't think, under these circumstances, when he has [sic] blatantly out of compliance, it is the right time for us to talk about how we lift the sanctions.... It's been the U.S. position since the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein comply -- has to comply with all of the relevant Security Council resolutions." In response to the question "but what the president said -- what he has just done is to ensure that the sanctions will be there until the end of time or as long as he lasts." Berger responds: "Well, that's right, and that's not inconsistent with what I've said. In other words, there's no way -- if he is -- if he's got to be in compliance, he can't be in compliance if he's thrown the UNSCOM people out. So it's a necessary condition. It may not be a sufficient condition."

November 20, 1997: [A stand-off is defused] A Russian-Iraqi communique is released pledging that Moscow will "energetically promote the speedy lifting of sanctions against Iraq on the basis of its compliance with the corresponding U.N. resolutions." Albright states that the lifting of the sanctions "will probably be discussed at some time, but the United States has not agreed to anything."

November 26, 1997: UNICEF reports that "The most alarming results are those on malnutrition, with 32 per cent of children under the age of five, some 960,000 children, chronically malnourished -- a rise of 72 per cent since 1991. Almost one quarter (around 23 per cent) are underweight -- twice as high as the levels found in neighbouring Jordan or Turkey." Philippe Heffinck, UNICEF Representative in Baghdad: "And what concerns us now is that there is no sign of any improvement since Security Council Resolution 986/1111 [oil-for-food] came into force." www.unicef.org/newsline/97pr60.htm

December 9, 1997: In response to the question: "The United States has given apparently contradictory criteria for when it will lift the sanctions. It says it will do it when UNSCOM is allowed into Iraq, when UNSCOM can get into the 'palaces,' when Iraq abides by all U.N. resolutions, including paying a few hundred billion in reparations, when Saddam Hussein is overthrown, or never. The question: When is it?" Richardson: "Our policy is clear. We believe that Saddam Hussein should comply with all the Security Council resolutions, and that includes 1137, those that deal with the UNSCOM inspectors, those that deal with human rights issues, those that deal with prisoners of war with Kuwait, those that deal with the treatment of his own people. We think that there are standards of international behavior."

December 16, 1997: President Clinton: "I am willing to maintain the sanctions as long as he does not comply with the resolutions.... There are those that would like to lift the sanctions. I am not among them. I am not in favor of lifting the sanctions until he complies.... But keep in mind, he has not come out, as some people have suggested, ahead on this last confrontation. Because now the world community is much less likely to vote to lift any sanctions on him..." In response to the question "How do you assess Saddam Hussein?" Clinton makes several points and then says: "Finally, I think that he felt probably that the United States would never vote to lift the sanctions on him no matter what he did. There are some people who believe that. Now I think he was dead wrong on virtually every point."

July 30, 1998: The New York Times reports: "Russia tried and failed to get Security Council action today on a resolution declaring that Iraq had complied with demands to destroy its nuclear weapons program and was ready to move away from intrusive inspections to long-term monitoring... Russia has been arguing that those files can be 'closed' one at a time, to give Iraq some motivation for further cooperation. The United States has held that all requirements must be met before sanctions can be altered."

August 14, 1998: The Washington Post front page: "U.S. Sought To Prevent Iraqi Arms Inspections; Surprise Visits Canceled After Albright Argued That Timing Was Wrong," regarding Scott Ritter.

August 17, 1998: Richardson: "Sanctions are going to stay forever, or until it complies fully." (The New York Times, August 18, 1998)

August 20, 1998: Richardson: "Sanctions may stay on in perpetuity." (The New York Times, August 21, 1998)

September 15, 1998: Martin Indyk, Assistant Secretary of State: "First of all, there is one serious consequence that has already occurred; that is, the Security Council has voted unanimously to suspend indefinitely sanctions reviews. That means there will be no sanctions reviews and sanctions will not be lifted." Indyk then claimed: "the Security Council resolutions provide in very specific terms for the lifting of sanctions when Iraq has fully complied with all the Security Council resolutions. And that is the crux of the matter; it's not a question that they'll never be lifted, but the conditions on which they'll be lifted will never appear to be fulfilled."

November 10, 1998: State Department spokesperson James Rubin: "We've stated very clearly that it is up to Saddam Hussein to comply with the resolutions of the Security Council that lay out the needs and requirements, including on weapons of mass destruction, coming back into compliance with those resolutions, including on Kuwaiti prisoners, Kuwaiti equipment, and, in short, demonstrating his peaceful intentions, in which case we are prepared to see an adjustment in the sanctions regime." A few moments later, Rubin states: "The Security Council has set out a very simple path to resolve this situation. And all it requires is him doing what he agreed to do, cooperating with UNSCOM -- not refusing cooperation with UNSCOM -- but providing them the information they need." -  http://www.accuracy.org/iraq.htm

UN and Iraqi officials Friday admitted that negotiations on the return of UN weapons inspectors to the country, seen as a step toward lifting the 12-year-old embargo on Baghdad, had broken down.

"One or two states are responsible for this," Sabri told Iraqi Youth Television.

"With their right of veto in the Security Council, they are preventing the council from doing its job with Iraq," Sabri said, referring to the United States and Britain and their hardline policy on Baghdad.

The US administration has repeatedly threatened to launch a military strike on Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, whom it accuses of developing weapons of mass destruction. [Saturday, July 6, 2002 by Agence France Presse ] -  http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0706-03.htm

Arms inspectors must return to Iraq. The international community must be satisfied that weapons of mass destruction no longer exist. But as long as an ambiguous framework for inspections remains in place, any incentive for compliance is undermined.

The refusal of individual Security Council members to recognize incremental progress in disarmament by Iraq in the pre-1998 period constituted a fundamental mistake of historic proportions. Scott Ritter, a former U.S. inspector known for his thoroughness, has said that Iraq was already qualitatively disarmed when UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn at the request of the U.S. in 1998.

Dishonesty has not been limited to the Iraqi government. Some U.S. inspectors doubled as spies; this was not conducive to creating the kind of trust essential to resolving the current weapons inspection impasse. The Secretary- General must be in a position to guarantee no further misuse of UN weapons inspections. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0702-03.htm


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What have been the effects of the Sanctions?

What has transpired in Iraq amounts to a children's holocaust. According to a Harvard study conduced in 1991, in the first eight months of that year 47,000 excess children deaths took place. In 1996, UNICEF put a number on the children dying as a result of the United Nations sanctions regime; it found that 4,500 children were dying every month from preventable hunger and disease. Garfield, in a study of mortality among Iraqi children, found that between 1991 and 1998 at least 100,000 -- but more likely 227,000 excess deaths -- took place, of which three quarters resulted from the consequences of United Nations sanctions. In a 1999 report, requested by the UN Security Council, it was found that in "marked contrast to the prevailing situation prior to the events of 1990-1991, infant mortality rates in Iraq today are among the highest in the world, low infant birth weight [of less than 2.5kg] affects at least 23 per cent of all births." The arrested growth of children has become widespread; with the UN secretary general noting, in 1997, that chronic malnutrition has resulted in 31 per cent of children having had their growth stunted, and 26 per cent being underweight. Kofi Annan concluded his report by stating: "one- third of children under five years of age ... are malnourished."

The overall effect of sanctions has been, according to Richard Garfield: "the only instance of a sustained, large increase in mortality in a stable population of more than 2 million in the last 200 years." This should come as little surprise as a UN Development Programme field report stated that "the country has experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty." The International Committee of the Red Cross, which has had people on the ground throughout the 1990s, reported in 2000 that "daily life for ordinary Iraqis was a struggle for survival. The tragic effects of the embargo were seen in the steady deterioration of the health system and the breakdown of public infrastructure. Despite the increase in availability of food, medicines and medical equipment, following a rise in oil prices and the extension of the 'oil-for-food' programme, suffering remains widespread." -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/allain_criminalenforcers.cfm

...Eric Hoskins - a Canadian doctor and coordinator of a Harvard study team on Iraq - reports that the allied bombardment "effectively terminated everything vital to human survival in Iraq - electricity, water, sewage systems, agriculture, industry and health care". (Quoted, Mark Curtis, 'The Ambiguities of Power - British Foreign Policy since 1945', Zed Books, 1995, pp.189-190) -  http://www.zmag.org/content/MainstreamMedia/cohen_reply.cfm

September 24, 1992: The New England Journal of Medicine publishes the findings of Harvard researchers that 46,700 Iraqi children under five have died from the combined effects of war and trade sanctions in the first seven months of 1991.

October 4, 1996: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) releases report on Iraq. "Around 4,500 children under the age of five are dying here every month from hunger and disease," said Philippe Heffinck, UNICEF's representative for Iraq. gopher://gopher.unicef.org/00/.cefdata/.prgva96/prgva35

October 3, 1997: A joint study by the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization and World Food Program, found the sanctions "significantly constrained Iraq's ability to earn foreign currency needed to import sufficient quantities of food to meet needs. As a consequence, food shortages and malnutrition became progressively severe and chronic in the 1990s." www.fao.org/WAICENT/faoinfo/economic/giews/english/alertes/srirq997.htm

April 30, 1998: UNICIF reports: "The increase in mortality reported in public hospitals for children under five years of age (an excess of some 40,000 deaths yearly compared with 1989) is mainly due to diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. In those over five years of age, the increase (an excess of some 50,000 deaths yearly compared with 1989) is associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, liver or kidney diseases." www2.unicef.org/pub/iraqsa

October 6, 1998: Denis Halliday, who had just resigned as the head of the "oil-for-food" program for Iraq, Assistant Secretary General of the UN, gives a speech on Capitol Hill, citing a "conservative estimate" of "child mortality for children under five years of age is from five to six thousand per month." Halliday states: "There are many reasons for these tragic and unnecessary deaths, including the poor health of mothers, the breakdown of health services, the poor nutritional intake of both adults and young children and the high incidence of water-born diseases as a result of the collapse of Iraq's water and sanitation system--and, of course, the lack of electric power to drive that system, both crippled by war damage following the 1991 Gulf War." (See remarks, www.accuracy.org/halliday.htm ) -  http://www.accuracy.org/iraq.htm

Wednesday, 12 August 1999: The first surveys since 1991 of child and maternal mortality in Iraq reveal that in the heavily-populated southern and central parts of the country, children under five are dying at more than twice the rate they were ten years ago. UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said the findings reveal an ongoing humanitarian emergency.

The surveys reveal that in the south and center of Iraq -- home to 85 per cent of the country's population -- under-5 mortality more than doubled from 56 deaths per 1000 live births (1984-1989) to 131 deaths per 1000 live births (1994-1999). Likewise infant mortality -- defined as the death of children in their first year -- increased from 47 per 1000 live births to 108 per 1000 live births within the same time frame. The surveys indicate a maternal mortality ratio in the south and center of 294 deaths per 100,000 live births over the ten-year period 1989 to 1999.

Ms. Bellamy noted that if the substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under-five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998. As a partial explanation, she pointed to a March statement of the Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues which states: "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war."

"The large sample sizes -- nearly 24,000 households randomly selected from all governorates in the south and center of Iraq and 16,000 from the north -- helped to ensure that the margin of error for child mortality in both surveys was low," she noted. "Another important factor was the fact that, in the survey completed in the south and center of Iraq, all the interviewers were female and all were medical doctors. In the survey done in the northern autonomous region, fully 80 per cent of interviewers were female -- each team had at least one female interviewer - and all interviewers were trained health workers."

Among the report's additional findings in the south and central areas of Iraq:

Current levels of under-5 mortality -- as between girls and boys -- reveal that girls have a slightly lower rate, 125 deaths per 1000 live births as opposed to 136 deaths per 1000 live births among boys.
Children who live in rural areas have a higher mortality rate than children living in an urban area: 145 deaths per 1000 live births as opposed to 121 deaths per 1000 live births.
In the autonomous northern region, under-5 mortality rose from 80 deaths per 1000 live births in the period 1984-1989 to 90 deaths per 1000 live births during the years 1989-1994. The under-5 rate fell to 72 deaths per 1000 live births between 1994 and 1999. Infant mortality rates followed a similar pattern. Today's under-5 mortality rate of 131 per 1000 in south and central Iraq is comparable to current rates in Haiti (132) and Pakistan (136).
-  http://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm
Massive new irrigation systems stretching across the breadbasket regions of rural Iraq would normally be cause for celebration. In a nation where nearly a quarter of the children suffer chronic malnutrition, abundant crops of wheat and barley would signify hope and progress.

But when Hans von Sponeck, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, visited Iraq last month he found neither: The spigots were turned off. Although the sophisticated sprinkler systems had survived the exhaustive screening of U.N. trade sanctions, the water pumps had not.

"The danger is these pumps could be used by the (Iraqi) military for other purposes," said von Sponeck, a 32-year veteran of the United Nations who resigned two years ago to protest the sanctions. "Anything that has a sophisticated pumping mechanism can be used for propelling weapons of mass destruction, I guess."

The ongoing collateral damage of the war and sanctions on Iraqi civilians has totaled more than 1 million deaths, half of which are children younger than 5, according to UNICEF and World Health Organization reports.

As U.S. lawmakers this summer debate whether the military should again strike at Saddam's regime or simply tighten the trade embargo, Iraqi civilians live in dread of the inevitable crossfire. More than 700 targets were bombed in 1991 to cripple Saddam - bridges, roads and electrical grids that powered 1,410 water-treatment plants for Iraq's 22 million people.

Coupled with the U.N. sanctions that blocked or rationed dual-use imports such as the water pumps, electric generators and chlorine ? that also can be used in the making of mustard gas ? epidemics ensued. Iraqi children died from dehydration and waterborne illnesses such as cholera, diarrhea and other intestinal diseases.

The United States, concerned with Saddam's potential for developing weapons of mass destruction, initiated roughly 90 percent of the blocks on humanitarian supplies by the U.N. Security Council.

"You wonder why there are terrorists?" Haddadin asked, according to writer Jane McBee, who toured the Middle East with members of the Physicians for Social Responsibility. "What do you think these children will be in 10 years? Do you think they'll join the Peace Corps?" -  http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0804-04.htm

I deeply believe that sanctions as now applied to Iraq - and this has been the case for a number of years - have been utterly counterproductive to the disarmament purpose. And I think that the damage that they have done [to] the Iraqi people must stop. Now, ironically, I also think that they probably helped keep Saddam Hussein in power. -  http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/cta/events2000/talking_point/tp04jun.ram

Because of sanctions, Saddam Hussein is a more secure leader in Iraq than he has been at any time since 1991. But what I'll also say is this, when you have economic sanctions that have resulted in the death of 1.5 million people, you can sit here and say that Saddam Hussein is to blame. I'll call him the trigger man for you, ok? We'll indict him as the trigger man. We'll say, "Saddam, you're the trigger man. You pulled the trigger on 1.5 million dead Iraqis because of economic sanctions. You had the key to solve this all. You cooperate with the inspectors, sanctions will be lifted, the food would come in, the people of Iraq would flourish." Ok, so Saddam is guilty. Let's find him guilty, let's condemn him right now. But let's do something else, too. Since 1991, the United States has had a policy in place that says we don't care if Saddam gives up his weapons of mass destruction. Keep in mind, sanctions are [to be] lifted when there is a finding of compliance. These aren't sanctions forever. They are lifted when Iraq complies with its disarmament obligation. Sanctions, according to the United States, will stay in place until such time as Saddam Hussein is removed from power regardless of his obligation to disarm. So, the United States has no intention of allowing these sanctions to be lifted. In 1997, Madeline Albright, when confronted with the number of Iraqi dead, dead Iraqi children, said, "that's a price we're willing to pay." [paraphrased] Alright, so Saddam's the trigger man. You know what we are? We're the getaway driver. -  http://radio4all.net/pub/archive5/mp3_3/ug113-hour1mix.mp3

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Saddam Risk a Lie, Says UN Expert

UNITED Nations weapons inspectors colluded with British secret service agents to spread disinformation about Saddam Hussein's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs as part of a campaign to justify military strikes, according to the head of the UN inspection team in Iraq.

In an interview with The Herald, Scott Ritter, who led the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) team in Iraq for seven years in the 90s, claims he helped to leak propaganda to journalists. He resigned from the post in 1998 but said his experience then suggested that recent claims that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction should be treated skeptically.

...Ritter, a former intelligence officer in the US marines, maintains there is scant evidence that Iraq is a threat.

He says claims that Iraq is re-arming come from unreliable witnesses and that factories bombed in 1998 during Operation Desert Fox had not breached UN resolutions. "Every single one of those facilities was subjected to repeated inspections and never did we detect anything to remotely suggest that these were involved in producing anything prohibited. There's nothing there. Nothing." [Published on Monday, July 8, 2002 in The Herald (Scotland) ] -  http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0708-05.htm

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"Thanks to the oil-for-food program, the people of Iraq, especially those in the north, are getting needed foods and medicinesh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

The "oil-for-food" programme, in many ways, is a failure because sanctions are an outgrowth of a strategy conceived by the United States to simply inflict the most economic hardship on Iraq as possible. The programme mandates that 25 per cent of oil sale revenues be handed over to the UN Compensation Committee which administers reparations payments related to war damages, while 5 per cent of revenues are shared equally between Turkey, for the transportation costs of oil, and the United Nations, for its administration and operational costs related to Iraq. A further 13 per cent of revenues pay for the administration of the Kurdish territories which act autonomously under cover of the US-UK imposed "no-fly zone." Thus, the Iraqi Government receives only 58 per cent of the revenues from the "oil-for-food" programme, which are to be distributed among 87 per cent of the Iraqi population.

Of the items which had been given the green light, less than 50 per cent have made it to Iraq. As Abbas Alnasrawi, an economy professor at the University of Vermont, has noted, of "the $20.8 billion appropriated to all of Iraq, only $8.4 billion-worth of goods for all sectors of the economy had arrived in Iraq by the end of July 2000." Compounding the misery is the fact that once items make their way to Iraq, it is not guaranteed that they will be distributed in a timely fashion. A 1999 UN Report noted that nearly half of medical supplies which had been imported to Iraq "remained in warehouses and had not been distributed to local clinics and hospitals," in part, because Iraq has not been able to rebuild the infrastructures required to distribute these items. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/allain_criminalenforcers.cfm

...In March 1999 an expert 'Humanitarian Panel' convened by the Security Council concluded the UN's 'oil-for-food' programme could +not+ meet the needs of the Iraqi people...

The Panel continued:

"Regardless of the improvements that might be brought about - in terms of approval procedures, better performance by the Iraqi Government, or funding levels - the magnitude of the humanitarian needs is such that they cannot be met within the context of [the oil-for-food programme] ... Nor was the programme intended to meet all the needs of the Iraqi people ... Given the present state of the infrastructure, the revenue required for its rehabilitation is far above the level available under the programme." -  http://www.zmag.org/content/MainstreamMedia/cohen_reply.cfm

MYTH: gThanks to the oil-for-food program, the people of Iraq, especially those in the north, are getting needed foods and medicinesh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

FACT: Former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Denis Halliday, oversaw the oil-for-food program and believes otherwise. gThe OFF program as conceived is completely inadequate. It was designed in fact not to resolve the situation, but to prevent further deterioration of both mortality rates and malnutrition. It has failed to do that; at best it has just about sustained the situation. Itfs grossly under-funded, and it has not even begun to address the needs, the dietary needs of the Iraqi peoplec And on top of that you have a medical sector which gobbles up the rest of the money to a great extent, so again we have not managed to provide the basic needs of the Iraqi peopleh (The Fire This Time, April 1999). Halliday resigned from his post in September 1998 in protest of the sanctions against Iraq. He had worked for the UN for 34 years. -  http://zmag.org/ZMag/Articles/nov01lindemyer.htm

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gIraqi obstruction of the oil-for-food program, not United Nations sanctions, is the primary reason the Iraqi people are sufferingh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

MYTH: gIraqi obstruction of the oil-for-food program, not United Nations sanctions, is the primary reason the Iraqi people are sufferingh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

FACT: The UN sanctions were levied against Iraq in August 1990 and the oil-for-food program began in December 1996. It is therefore impossible to attribute the suffering of the Iraqi people to the obstruction of a program, which did not exist until six years after the fact. As Halliday explained, the oil-for-food program was set up by the UN Security Council as a response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq created by the impact of the sanctions. The creation of the program demonstrates that the suffering of the Iraqi people preceded any possible interference. -  http://zmag.org/ZMag/Articles/nov01lindemyer.htm

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gIraq is mismanaging the oil-for-food program, either deliberately or through incompetenceh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

Their [former assistant secretary generals of the UN Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck] last appearance in the press was in the Guardian last November, when they wrote: "The most recent report ofthe UN secretary general, in October 2001, says that the US and UK governments' blocking of $4bn of humanitarian supplies is by far the greatest constraint on the implementation of the oil-for-food programme. The report says that, in contrast, the Iraqi government's distribution of humanitarian supplies is fully satisfactory...The death of some 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments' delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad."

They [Halliday and von Sponeck] are in no doubt that if Saddam Hussein saw advantage in deliberately denying his people humanitarian supplies, he would do so; but the UN, from the secretary general himself down, says that, while the regime could do more, it has not withheld supplies. Indeed, without Iraq's own rationing and distribution system, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, there would have been famine. Halliday and von Sponeck point out that the US and Britain are able to fend off criticism of sanctions with unsubstantiated stories that the regime is "punishing" its own people. If these stories are true, they say, why does America and Britain further punish them by deliberately withholding humanitarian supplies, such as vaccines, painkillers and cancer diagnostic equipment? This wanton blocking of UN-approved shipments is rarely reported in the British press. The figure is now almost $5bn in humanitarian-related supplies. Once again, the UN executive director of the oil-for-food programme has broken diplomatic silence to express "grave concern at the unprecedented surge in volume of holds placed on contracts [by the US]". -  http://www.zmag.org/content/MainstreamMedia/pilger_compliantpress.cfm

In terms of the severe shortages of humanitarian supplies (food, medicine, etc) for the Iraqi people, how much can this be blamed on the economic sanctions, on the cumbersome UN process of approving imports, and on Saddam Hussein's misallocation of resources and perhaps intentional attempt to make his people suffer to win world sympathy.

All these factors play a part. Saddam Hussein, like all military dictators, is primarily concerned with protecting and privileging his military and political supporters. However, despite other economic cronyism, UN and other humanitarian agencies generally give high ratings to the Iraqi government food ration system; there is relatively egalitarian access to equally insufficient food. Iraq's government has used some money (obtained from smuggled oil sales as well as pre-war reserves) for new buildings and palaces, and for protecting Saddam Hussein's favored troops and political backers from the ravages of sanctions. However, the U.S.-led international sanctions have by far wrought a more devastating impact. Context must be recalled: Saddam Hussein's government was and has been a military dictatorship for 20 years; for 12 of those years, the U.S. supported that regime. It was still a dictatorship, and political human rights were still severely constrained. But prior to 1990 and the imposition of sanctions, the Iraqi population had among the highest standards of living in the Middle East: food access, education, health care and general quality of life approached that of developed countries. The most common problem faced by Iraqi pediatricians was childhood obesity. Today the Iraqi population still faces severe denial of human rights --political and civil rights-- by the Iraqi regime. But additionally, since 1990 it faces the lethal denial of other human rights --economic and social rights-- AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS. The UNICEF figures indicate that 5,000-6,000 children under the age of five die each month as a direct result of sanctions. The deaths are not primarily from a lack of food, but lack of clean water, as well as medicine and equipment to treat easily curable (many water-borne) diseases. While the current ration-based "food basket" approaches the UN minimum caloric level, it does not include sufficient actual protein, vitamins, etc. for health or growth (A cup of oil and a cup of sugar would provide more than sufficient calories; it would not provide health.) UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies agree that conditions have continued to deteriorate even with the initiation of the Oil for Food program; Iraq's oil infrastructure (pumping and processing) is simply too "degraded" since the 1991 war to produce sufficient oil to bring in anything close to the top allowable amounts of money. Of the limited funds earned through Oil for Food, one-third off the top goes to pay for Kuwaiti reparations and the costs of UNSCOM. Although there have been some recent efforts at improvements, the Sanctions Committee (made up of the members of the Security Council) continues to impose near-crippling delays and denials of licensing for importing materials required for repairs and replacement of the oil and physical infrastructure, as well as for allowable consumer items. The committee's definitions of prohibited "dual use" goods includes such items as pencils for schoolchildren (because the graphite could be used in weapons production) and chlorine to purify untreated water (the water treatment system was destroyed in 1991 and not rebuilt). If there are international concerns that the suffering is designed to win sympathy, the answer should be ending of economic sanctions while tightening and expanding military restrictions[!]. -  http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/bennisiraq.htm

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Media Lens: "The British and US Governments claim that there are plenty of foodstuffs and medicines being delivered to Iraq, the problem is that they are being cynically withheld by the Iraqi regime. Is there any truth in that?"

[Denis] Halliday: "There's no basis for that assertion at all. The Secretary-General has reported repeatedly that there is no evidence that food is being diverted by the government in Baghdad. We have 150 observers on the ground in Iraq. Say a wheat shipment comes in from god knows where, in Basra, they follow the grain to some of the mills, they follow the flour to the 49,000 agents that the Iraqi government employs for this programme; then they follow the flour to the recipients and even interview some of the recipients - there is no evidence of diversion of foodstuffs whatever, +ever+, in the last two years. The Secretary-General would have reported that."

Media Lens: "The British government claims that Saddam is using the money from the 'oil-for-food' programme for anything other than food. Peter Hain, for example, recently stated, 'Over $8 billion a year should be available to Iraq for the humanitarian programme - not only for foods and medicines, but also clean water, electricity and educational material. No one should starve.'"

Halliday: "Of the $20 billion that has been provided through the 'oil-for-food' programme, about a third, or $7 billion, has been spent on UN 'expenses', reparations to Kuwait and assorted compensation claims. That leaves $13 billion available to the Iraqi government. If you divide that figure by the population of Iraq, which is 22 million, it leaves some $190 per head of population per year over 3 years - that is pitifully inadequate." -  http://www.zmag.org/content/MainstreamMedia/cohen_reply.cfm

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MYTH: Saddam Hussein is hoarding both food and medical supplies from his people to evoke Western sympathy (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

FACT: Allegations of the gwarehousingh of food and medicine were put to rest by former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Hans Van Sponeck; gIt is not, I repeat not, and you can check this with my colleagues, a pre-meditated act of withholding medicines from those who should have it. It is much, much, more complex than that.g Sponeck explains that low worker pay, lack of transportation, poor facilities, and low funding are responsible for the breakdowns in inventory and distribution systems. The bureaucracy of the oil-for- food program, such as contract delays and holds, also plays a substantial role. Sponeck, like his predecessor, Denis Halliday, resigned from his post in February 2000 in protest of the sanctions. Also like Halliday, Sponeck had worked for the UN for over 30 years (The Fire This Time, April 1999).

Halliday concurs that contract delays, contract holds, and distribution problems account for the medical supplies problem. g[T]hose factors come together and you have a problemc I have no doubt in saying that there is no one person in the Ministry of Health or anywhere else in the Iraqi government who is deliberately trying to damage the health, or allowing children or others to die by deliberately not distributing medical supplies. Thatfs just nonsenseh (The Fire This Time, April 1999). -  http://zmag.org/ZMag/Articles/nov01lindemyer.htm

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gSanctions are not intended to harm the people of Iraqh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

MYTH: gSanctions are not intended to harm the people of Iraqh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

FACT: Several United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents clearly and thoroughly prove, in the words of one author, gbeyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the countryfs water supply after the Gulf War. The United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anywayh (The Progressive, August 2001).

One document entitled gIraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities,h [read the document here -  http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/declassdocs/dia/19950901/950901_511rept_91.html] dated January 22, 1991, is quite straightforward in how sanctions will prevent Iraq from supplying clean water to its citizens. It explains Iraqfs heavy dependence on the importation of specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water. Failing to secure these items (which is nearly impossible to do under the sanctions), the documents adds, will result in a shortage of drinking water and could glead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of diseaseh (U.S. Department of Defense, January 1991).

Other DIA documents confirm that the U.S. government was not only aware of the devastation of the sanctions, but was, in fact, monitoring their progress. The first in a lengthy series of documents entitled gDisease Informationh is a document whose heading reads gSubject: Effects of Bombing on Disease Occurrence in Baghdad.h[read the document here -  http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/declassdocs/dia/19950901/950901_0504rept_91.html] The document states, gIncreased incidence of diseases will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification/distribution, electricity, and decreased ability to control disease outbreaks. Any urban area in Iraq that has received infrastructure damage will have similar problems.h The document then itemizes the likely disease outbreaks, noting which in particular will affect children (U.S. Department of Defense, January 1991).

A second DIA document, gDisease Outbreaks in Iraqh [read the document here -  http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/declassdocs/dia/19950901/950901_0pgv072_90p.html] from February 21, 1991 writes, gConditions are favorable for communicable disease outbreaks, particularly in major urban areas affected by coalition bombing.h It continues, gInfectious disease prevalence in major Iraqi urban areas targeted by coalition bombing (Baghdad, Basrah) undoubtedly has increased since the beginning of Desert Storm.h Similar to the preceding document, it explains the causes of the disease outbreaks and itemizes them, again paying close attention to which will affect children (U.S. Department of Defense, February 1991).

The third document, written March 15, 1991 and entitled gMedical Problems in Iraq,h[read the document here-  http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/declassdocs/dia/19951016/951016_0me018_91.html] states that diseases are far more common due to gpoor sanitary conditions (contaminated water supplied and improper sewage disposal) resulting from the war.h It then cites a UNICEF/WHO report that gthe quantity of potable water is less than 5 percent of the original supply,h that gthere are no operational water and sewage treatment plants,h and that diarrhea and respiratory infections are on the rise. Almost as a sidenote, it adds gChildren particularly have been affected by these diseasesh (U.S. Department of Defense, March 1991). -  http://zmag.org/ZMag/Articles/nov01lindemyer.htm

...if we look back to the last U.S. war with Iraq, we know that the Pentagon planned and carried out knowing and documenting the likely impact on civilians. In one case, Pentagon planners anticipated that striking Iraq's civilian infrastructure would cause " Increased incidence of diseases [that] will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification/ distribution, electricity, and decreased ability to control disease outbreaksc." The Defense Intelligence Agency document (from the Pentagon's Gulflink website), "Disease Information -- Subject: Effects of Bombing on Disease Occurrence in Baghdad" is dated 22 January 1991, just six days after the war began. It itemized the likely outbreaks to include: "acute diarrhea" brought on by bacteria such as E. coli, shigella, and salmonella, or by protozoa such as giardia, which will affect "particularly children," or by rotavirus, which will also affect "particularly children." And yet the bombing of the water treatment systems proceeded, and indeed, according to UNICEF figures, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, "particularly children," died from the effects of dirty water. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0802-02.htm

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How different are "smart sanctions?"

On May 14 [2002], the Security Council adopted Resolution 1409, setting in place a new framework for the sanctions that will take effect on May 30 and last for six months. The resolution allegedly lifts restrictions on Iraq's ability to import civilian goods, focusing narrowly on preventing Iraq from importing or building weapons of mass destruction.

The resolution represents a symbolic, rather than a substantive change in the sanctions regime. It allows the US government, using the cover of the UN, to continue the sanctions, which are growing more unpopular internationally, and to lay the groundwork for a massive military assault on Iraq.

In the "propaganda war" with Iraq, the goal is to deny the simple fact that the sanctions -- which have now been in place for more than 11 years -- have had a devastating impact on the civilian population, while, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, "actually tightening [Saddam Hussein's] grip on power."

But under the proposed smart sanctions, the United States will still be able to use its power in the UN to block essential goods by citing "dual use" concerns. And the economy will continue to suffer.

After the US pressured Russia, the UN approved a 300-page list of items that fall into the dual-use category and must be reviewed for approval before Iraq can use its oil revenue (held in escrow by the UN) to purchase them. While the "Goods Review List" has not been made public, reporters have said that it includes computers and communication equipment, and it will certainly block items that are badly needed in Iraq but which any modern society could also use in a chemical or biological weapons program.

"In the past, the US government, using its veto power on the UN sanctions committee, has blocked contracts for ambulances, chlorinators, vaccines, and even pencils citing "dual use" concerns.

At the moment, $5 billion in contracts are "on hold" because of the United States, completely undermining the claim of John D. Negroponte, the US Permanent Representative to the UN, that "under the Oil for Food Program it has always been possible to get humanitarian and civilian goods into Iraq, and I think the principal obstacle has been the refusal of the Iraqi regime to spend its own resources for the importation of those items."

Negroponte's claim is further undermined by the views of UN officials working in Iraq today.

"The [oil-for-food] distribution network is second to none," Adnan Jarra, a UN spokesperson in Iraq, recently told the Wall Street Journal. "They [the Iraqis] are very efficient. We have not found anything that went anywhere it was not supposed to."

"I think the Iraqi food-distribution system is probably second to none that you'll find anywhere in the world," Tun Myat, the administrator of the UN oil-for-food program, said in an interview with the New York Times. "It gets to everybody whom it's supposed to get to in the country."

But Myat stressed, "People have become so poor in some cases that they can't even afford to eat the food that they are given free, because for many of them the food ration represents the major part of their income."
-  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/arnove_smartsanctions.cfm

Further, the UN Security Council established a Sanctions Committee in 1991 to ensure respect for Resolution 661. The United States, along with the United Kingdom and to some extent France, have imposed their will on the Committee and have sought to interpret the exceptions to the embargo in the narrowest of terms, thus holding up many items destined for Iraq on the basis of being dual (civilian/military) use, or rejecting other items such as ball-point pens or watches, as not being of an "essential" humanitarian need. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/allain_criminalenforcers.cfm

Under economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council almost 10 years ago, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to clean up its contaminated battle-fields, as Kuwait was cleaned up. At the same time, the Sanctions Committee in New York, dominated by the Americans and British, has blocked or delayed a range of vital equipment, chemotherapy drugs and even pain-killers. "For us doctors," said Dr Al-Ali, "it is like torture. We see children die from the kind of cancers from which, given the right treatment, there is a good recovery rate." Three children died while I was there. -  http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/pilger.htm

The key element in the new arrangements is the Goods Review List provided for in paragraph 2 of UNSC Resolution 1382, passed in November 2001. Items specified on this list, defined as for military or dual use, are to be separated from humanitarian goods. Russia's agreement to accept this list, after protracted negotiations, cleared the way for implementation of the new "smarter" sanctions. The US sweetened the pot for Russia by removing holds on over $200 million of Russian contracts with Iraq in late March. By the rules of the 661 Committee which presently scrutinizes orders for humanitarian goods, all Security Council members are allowed to query and hold up such orders. About 90 percent of the $5 billion worth of contracts currently on hold are being blocked by the US and Great Britain.

The new proposals are expected to end this system of 661 Committee scrutiny of humanitarian goods. Under the new system, contracts containing goods on the Goods Review List will be reviewed by the UN Office of the Iraq Program (OIP) -- which administers oil for food. This office would then send the contracts to the UN Monitoring and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which head up efforts to prevent Iraq from obtaining banned weapons. In turn, these offices can refer contracts considered objectionable to the 661 Committee for rejection or passage.

The imposition of "smarter" sanctions has arguably come as too little, too late. As the Iraqi regime is well-adapted to sanctions, both in terms of political control and its regional and international networks of trade, clandestine contacts and money laundering, the new measures are unlikely to exact a significant tax on regime coffers. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/merip_graham.cfm (MERIP Press Information Note 96, "Sanctions Renewed on Iraq," by Sarah Graham-Brown, May 14, 2002.)

Six years of revisions to sanctions policy on Baghdad have repeatedly promised "mitigation" of civilian suffering. Yet, in 1999, Unicef confirmed our worst fears: that one child in seven dies before the age of 5 -- an estimated 5,000 excess child deaths every month above the 1989 pre-sanctions rate. Four months ago, Unicef reported that more than 22 per cent of the country's young children remain chronically malnourished, confirming yet again how limited this "mitigation" has been.

The failure is not one of internal distribution. During my [ Hans von Sponeck ]tenure, more than 90 per cent of oil-for-food goods distributed by the government reached their intended destinations. UN reports have consistently confirmed this success rate -- one beyond expectation, given the chaotic constraints of disintegrating infrastructure, erratic communications and electrical power, and arbitrary U.S. "holds" on $5-billion worth of contracts.

Rather, the failure has been a problem of woefully inadequate amounts and range of goods received. Until May of 2002, the total value of all food, medicines, education, sanitation, agricultural and infrastructure supplies that have arrived in Iraq has amounted to $175 per person a year, or less than 49 cents a day.

This has made postwar reconstruction impossible, and ensured mass unemployment and continuing deterioration of schools, health centers and transportation. "Smuggled" oil revenues represent only a small fraction of oil-for-food funds. Even here, an estimated three-quarters of these funds have been directed to social services. Above all, it is a problem of livelihood. What Iraqis need is employment. What Resolution 1409 offers, instead, is allegedly less paperwork.

Without massive investment to rebuild the war- and embargo-shattered infrastructure, most Iraqi families cannot earn income to purchase the civilian goods promised. Like all previous revisions, "smart sanctions" leave the root cause of their troubles -- strangulation of the civilian economy -- unaddressed.

Oil revenues continue to be channeled out of the country into a UN escrow account, unavailable to pay teachers, doctors, garbage collectors or agricultural services. No foreign loans, no foreign investment, no access to foreign exchange are permitted. Import of much of the equipment and tools needed for rebuilding the shattered civilian infrastructure remains subject to U.S. veto.

In 1999, an expert panel of the Security Council warned that the humanitarian crisis in Iraq would continue without "sustained revival of the Iraqi economy." Three years on, several Security Council members still haggle over import restrictions while the Iraqi people continue to suffer, and die, for lack of work. Last month, The Economist predicted even further decline in Iraq's GDP in the coming year under "smart sanctions."

Reports of stores full of new merchandise only serve to mask the continuing poverty that is the plight of most Iraqis. "No matter how much you modify the UN humanitarian program," said Tun Myat, my successor as UN co-ordinator, "it is not designed for -- and it will never be -- a substitute for normal economic activity. . . . The markets are quite full of things; the problem is whether or not there are people who have the purchasing power to buy them."

A much more constructive solution would be to lift the economic sanctions that have impoverished society, decimated the Iraqi middle class and eliminated any possibility for the emergence of alternative leadership. Political change would not happen overnight. But then again, 12 years of sanctions have only strengthened the current regime.

Credible opposition groups outside Iraq have called for delinking economic and military sanctions.

At the March Arab summit in Beirut, all 22 Arab governments (including Kuwait) called for the same. If the economic embargo on Iraq is not in their interest, then in whose interest is it?

"Smart sanctions" only reaffirm the position of Iraqi women and children as bargaining tools in the continuing dispute between Washington and Baghdad. It is time to dispense with the mirage of mitigation and allow Iraq to again become a better place for the men, women and children who have suffered so grievously under sanctions. The Security Council and the Iraqi government bear the obligation to create the conditions that make this possible. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0702-03.htm

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"Holds on inappropriate contracts help prevent the diversion of oil-for-food goods to further Saddamfs personal interestsh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

MYTH: gHolds on inappropriate contracts help prevent the diversion of oil-for-food goods to further Saddamfs personal interestsh (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

FACT: Requests for desperately needed equipment routinely get held up in the Security Council for months at a time. The delays have gotten so bad that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Office of the Iraq Program Director Benon Sevon have written letters decrying the excessive holds placed on items ordered under the program (Education for Peace in Iraq Center).

The holds that perpetuate the detrimental health impacts of the sanctions have gained the attention of one House member. In the summer of 2000, Representative Tony Hall of Ohio wrote a letter to then Secretary of State Madeline Albright gabout the profound effects of the increasing deterioration of Iraqfs water supply and sanitation systems on its childrenfs health.h Hall wrote, gHolds on contracts for the water and sanitation sector are a prime reason for the increases in sickness and death. Of the eighteen contracts, all but one hold was placed by the U.S. government. The contracts are for purification chemicals, chlorinators, chemical dosing pumps, water tankers, and other equipmentc I urge you to weigh your decision against the disease and death that are the unavoidable result of not having safe drinking water and minimum levels of sanitationh (The Progressive, August 2001).

Despite the minimal coverage by Congress, holds continue to expedite the process of destruction within Iraq. gEarlier this year [2001], U.S. diplomats blocked child vaccines for Iraq, including for diphtheria, typhoid, and tetanus. Over $3 billion worth of contracts remain on hold. To date, no hearings have been heldh (Education for Peace in Iraq Center, August 2001). -  http://zmag.org/ZMag/Articles/nov01lindemyer.htm

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gSaddam Husseinfs repression of the Iraqi people has not stoppedh and therefore glifting sanctions would offer the Iraqi people no relief from neglect at the hands of their governmenth (U.S. State Department, March 2000).

The U.S. State Department claims that Iraqi authorities routinely practice extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions throughout those parts of the country still under regime control. The total number of prisoners believed to have been executed since autumn 1997 exceeds 2,500h (U.S. State Department, March 2000). Former U.S. Marine and UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter puts this number in context. gThe concept of us trying to save the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein is ludicrous. He is a brutal dictator. He may torture to death 1,800 people a year. Thatfs terrible and unacceptable. But we kill 6,000 a month. Letfs put that on a scaleh (June 1999 FOR interview).

The State Department similarly claims that gIn northern Iraq, the government is continuing its campaign of forcibly deporting Kurdish and Turkomen families to southern governorates. As a result of these forced deportations, approximately 900,000 citizens are internally displaced throughout Iraqh (U.S. State Department, March 2000). The State Department, however, fails to mention that over four million people-four times the amount of ginternal displacementsh-have been forced to flee Iraq in search of a better life due to the deplorable conditions of the country as a result of the sanctions (Reuters). -  http://zmag.org/ZMag/Articles/nov01lindemyer.htm

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One weapon of mass destruction that is never mentioned by the pro-sanction side is a toxic metal - depleted uranium:

Wherever you go in Iraq's southern city of Basra, there is dust. It gets in your eyes and nose and throat. It swirls in school playgrounds and consumes children kicking a plastic ball. "It carries death," said Dr Jawad Al-Ali, a cancer specialist and member of Britain's Royal College of Physicians. "Our own studies indicate that more than 40 per cent of the population in this area will get cancer: in five years' time to begin with, then long afterwards. Most of my own family now have cancer, and we have no history of the disease. It has spread to the medical staff of this hospital. We don't know the precise source of the contamination, because we are not allowed to get the equipment to conduct a proper scientific survey, or even to test the excess level of radiation in our bodies. We suspect depleted uranium, which was used by the Americans and British in the Gulf War right across the southern battlefields." -  http://pilger.carlton.com/print/19197

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The United Nations levied the sanctions against Iraq, so the United States is not to blame.

MYTH: The United Nations levied the sanctions against Iraq, so the United States is not to blame.

FACT: Van Sponeck addresses this point head on. gThe UN doesnft impose sanctions. Itfs the UN Security Council member governments who come together and impose sanctionsc I donft see the distinction between US sanctions, in broad terms, and what is done and coming out of the Security Council of the UN. The leader in the discussion for the sanctions is the US side and they are the ones, together with the British, that have devised many of the special provisions that govern the implementation of the 986 [oil-for-food] program. They are coming together, in that Security Council of 15 nations and work as a team, and thatfs the outcome, but I donft see a separate US sanction regime that is markedly different from the UN Security Council regimeh (The Fire This Time, April 1999). -  http://zmag.org/ZMag/Articles/nov01lindemyer.htm

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Don't forget that Saddam is one of many of Washington's creations:

The irony is that the US helped bring Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party to power in Iraq, and that the US (and Britain) in the 1980s conspired to break their own laws in order, in the words of a Congressional inquiry, to "secretly court Saddam Hussein with reckless abandon", giving him almost everything he wanted, including the means of making biological weapons. [Under secretary of state] Rubin failed to see the irony in the US supplying Saddam with seed stock for anthrax and botulism, that he could use in weapons, and claimed that the Maryland company responsible was prosecuted. It was not: the company was given Commerce Department approval. " -  http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/pilger.htm

Throughout the Iran-Iraq war, the Reagan administration chose to give priority to maintaining U.S.-Iraq relations over concerns about Iraqfs use of chemical warfare. Although Washington regarded the issue as an impediment to expanding the relationship, the U.S. evidently viewed chemical weapons use as, to some extent, a public relations problem for Iraq. The U.S. monitored Iraqfs use of chemical weapons closely. A State Department document from November 1983, for example, refers to Iraqfs "almost daily use of CW" and suggests approaching Baghdad in response. Another recommends that the approach occur as soon as possible to avoid "unpleasantly surprising" the Iraqis with "public positions we may have to take on this issue." (In March 1984, the U.S. publicly condemned Iraqfs chemical weapons use.) These documents also indicate that the U.S. was aware that Iraq, relying primarily on western technology, had acquired a chemical weapons production facility.

Iraq continued its use of chemical weapons against Iranian forces throughout the war. The issue became more problematic for the Reagan administration, however, in the spring and summer of 1988, when Iraq engaged in chemical attacks against Iraqi Kurds in the village of Halabja and at other locations. As early as September 2, the State Department confirmed an attack against Kurdish insurgents that had taken place on August 25, while a memorandum to the secretary of state commented that "the failure of the international community to mobilize an effective response has lowered the inhibitions on use of these weapons in the region and elsewhere." Nevertheless, the Reagan administration opposed congressional efforts to respond by imposing economic sanctions, arguing that they would be contrary to U.S. interests. Among the possible negative results cited were the endangerment of contracts for "massive postwar reconstruction" in Iraq. The administration succeeded in blocking the legislation.

The Bush administration became a particular focus of criticism because it followed its predecessor in making strengthened U.S.-Iraq relations a key objective, despite the fact that the end of the Iran-Iraq war had eliminated a major rationale for this goal. A transition paper prepared for the new presidency outlined the conflicts that characterized U.S. policy toward Iraq. The paper recommended assigning high priority to U.S.-Iraq relations because of Saddam Husseinfs potential as a "major player," but reviewed persistent divisive issues, including Iraqfs chemical weapons use which "aroused great emotions" in the U.S., and its "abominable human rights record." These negative factors were contrasted with Iraqfs value as a market and its potential as a trading partner, and wit the fact that it shared an interest with the U.S. in containing Iran. The paper recommended that the new administration should begin with a high-level message calling for further development of political and economic relations.

Critics of U.S. policy toward Iraq during the Reagan and Bush administrations charged that it was based on short-term calculations, a commitment to a risky economic relationship, and the mistaken belief that Iraq could be persuaded to adopt policies compatible with U.S. objectives. Instead of addressing these criticisms, both presidents chose a path which simply reinforced existing policy choices. When the Bush administration confronted reports of widespread abuse by Iraqi officials of U.S. government-backed programs in late 1989, for example, its response was to ensure that an additional $1 billion in credit guarantees would be authorized in 1990. When concerns were expressed both within and outside the administration that Iraqfs purchases of U.S. technology were destined for its nuclear and other nonconventional weapons programs, the White House dismissed them in favor of continued efforts to increase exports and protect the U.S.-Iraqi economic relationship.

For its part, the Reagan administration had downplayed Iraqfs systematic - and illegal - use of chemical weapons throughout the Iran-Iraq war, again for stated foreign policy reasons. Reagan officials went through the motions of responding to the issue by expanding controls on chemical agents and by approaching other governments on the subject. However, there was no serious U.S. or international response to Iraqfs sustained violation of international law through use of these agents. As some government officials have since commented, Iraq got away with using these weapons; demonstrated that they could be used effectively; and undermined inhibitions that had prevented their use in previous conflicts.

...The U.S. provided assistance despite its awareness of Iraqfs active programs to develop indigenous production capabilities for missiles and chemical and biological weapons - and perhaps nuclear weapons as well. Despite controls governing U.S. exports of dual-use (civilian and military) technology, a considerable range of militarily useful material was legally exported from the U.S., including some that could be utilized in nuclear weapons development programs. -  http://nsarchive.chadwyck.com/igessayx.htm

Throughout the 1980s Baghdad received from the U.S. high-quality germ seed stock for anthrax, botulism, E.coli, and a host of other deadly diseases. (The Commerce Department's decisions to license those shipments, even after revelations of Iraq's 1988 use of illegal chemical weapons, are documented in the 1994 hearings of the Banking Sub-Committee.) -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0802-02.htm

Five years before Saddam Husseinfs now infamous 1988 gassing of the Kurds, a key meeting took place in Baghdad that would play a significant role in forging close ties between Saddam Hussein and Washington. It happened at a time when Saddam was first alleged to have used chemical weapons. The meeting in late December 1983 paved the way for an official restoration of relations between Iraq and the US, which had been severed since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

With the Iran-Iraq war escalating, President Ronald Reagan dispatched his Middle East envoy, a former secretary of defense, to Baghdad with a hand-written letter to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and a message that Washington was willing at any moment to resume diplomatic relations.

That envoy was Donald Rumsfeld.

Just 12 days after the meeting, on January 1, 1984, The Washington Post reported that the United States gin a shift in policy, has informed friendly Persian Gulf nations that the defeat of Iraq in the 3-year-old war with Iran would be econtrary to U.S. interestsf and has made several moves to prevent that result.h

In March of 1984, with the Iran-Iraq war growing more brutal by the day, Rumsfeld was back in Baghdad for meetings with then-Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. On the day of his visit, March 24th, UPI reported from the United Nations: gMustard gas laced with a nerve agent has been used on Iranian soldiers in the 43-month Persian Gulf War between Iran and Iraq, a team of U.N. experts has concluded... Meanwhile, in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, U.S. presidential envoy Donald Rumsfeld held talks with Foreign Minister Tarek Aziz (sic) on the Gulf war before leaving for an unspecified destination.h

The day before, the Iranian news agency alleged that Iraq launched another chemical weapons assault on the southern battlefront, injuring 600 Iranian soldiers. gChemical weapons in the form of aerial bombs have been used in the areas inspected in Iran by the specialists,h the U.N. report said. gThe types of chemical agents used were bis-(2-chlorethyl)-sulfide, also known as mustard gas, and ethyl N, N-dimethylphosphoroamidocyanidate, a nerve agent known as Tabun.h

Most glaring is that Donald Rumsfeld was in Iraq as the 1984 UN report was issued and said nothing about the allegations of chemical weapons use, despite State Department gevidence.h On the contrary, The New York Times reported from Baghdad on March 29, 1984, gAmerican diplomats pronounce themselves satisfied with relations between Iraq and the United States and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been restored in all but name.h

A month and a half later, in May 1984, Donald Rumsfeld resigned. In November of that year, full diplomatic relations between Iraq and the US were fully restored. Two years later, in an article about Rumsfeldfs aspirations to run for the 1988 Republican Presidential nomination, the Chicago Tribune Magazine listed among Rumsfeldfs achievements helping to greopen U.S. relations with Iraq.h The Tribune failed to mention that this help came at a time when, according to the US State Department, Iraq was actively using chemical weapons.

Throughout the period that Rumsfeld was Reaganfs Middle East envoy, Iraq was frantically purchasing hardware from American firms, empowered by the White House to sell. The buying frenzy began immediately after Iraq was removed from the list of alleged sponsors of terrorism in 1982. According to a February 13, 1991 Los Angeles Times article:

gFirst on Hussein's shopping list was helicopters -- he bought 60 Hughes helicopters and trainers with little notice. However, a second order of 10 twin-engine Bell "Huey" helicopters, like those used to carry combat troops in Vietnam, prompted congressional opposition in August, 1983... Nonetheless, the sale was approved.h

In 1984, according to The LA Times, the State Department?in the name of gincreased American penetration of the extremely competitive civilian aircraft marketh- pushed through the sale of 45 Bell 214ST helicopters to Iraq. The helicopters, worth some $200 million, were originally designed for military purposes. The New York Times later reported that Saddam gtransferred many, if not all [of these helicopters] to his military.h

In 1988, Saddamfs forces attacked Kurdish civilians with poisonous gas from Iraqi helicopters and planes. U.S. intelligence sources told The LA Times in 1991, they gbelieve that the American-built helicopters were among those dropping the deadly bombs.h

In response to the gassing, sweeping sanctions were unanimously passed by the US Senate that would have denied Iraq access to most US technology. The measure was killed by the White House.

Senior officials later told reporters they did not press for punishment of Iraq at the time because they wanted to shore up Iraq's ability to pursue the war with Iran. Extensive research uncovered no public statements by Donald Rumsfeld publicly expressing even remote concern about Iraqfs use or possession of chemical weapons until the week Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, when he appeared on an ABC news special.

In 1984, Donald Rumsfeld was in a position to draw the worldfs attention to Saddamfs chemical threat. He was in Baghdad as the UN concluded that chemical weapons had been used against Iran. He was armed with a fresh communication from the State Department that it had gavailable evidenceh Iraq was using chemical weapons. But Rumsfeld said nothing. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0802-01.htm

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Are the sanctions legal?

There exists in international law a hierarchy of norms whereby certain fundamental laws trump all others. These legal norms (known as jus cogens norms) are meant to supersede any other provision of international law, be it found in treaties or conventional law. Thus, despite the fact that the United Nations Charter is the highest law of the international system, and that the Charter mandates that all countries carry out the decisions of the Security Council, such obligation must come second to norms of jus cogens. This is so because countries have agreed that without respecting such fundamental norms the whole international order might well break down.

There is a large gap between what is to be understood by "genocide" in its everyday incarnation and in the manner in which it is understood as a term of international law. Genocide has been considered by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as being the "crime of crimes" and, thus, to be found in violation of the provisions of the 1948 Convention regarding genocide, it must be demonstrated that individuals committed acts "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group" by, for instance, "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."

Because genocide is meant to be at the summit of international crimes, the threshold for determining a violation is raised high by the need to demonstrate the special intent (or dolus specialis) to commit genocide. As William Schabas has written in his treaties on Genocide in International Law, the crime of genocide has to be conducted with the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part;" however, where that "specified intent is not established, the act remains punishable, but not as genocide." Although the Rwanda Tribunal has noted that special "intent is a mental factor which is difficult, even impossible, to determine," it remains the standard to ensure that true cases of genocide are dealt with as such. In the case of Iraqi sanctions, without being able to demonstrate that the intent of the UN Security Council is to destroy, in whole or in part, the Iraqi people; "genocide" -- as defined by international law -- cannot be imputed.

That being said, the threshold for what constitutes a "crime against humanity" in international law is lower than genocide. Again, recalling that there is a difference between the everyday use of a term and the definition of that term under international law, it appears that the continued sanctions against Iraq most resemble the crime against humanity known as "extermination." The most recent manifestation of the international understanding of what are "crimes against humanity" are found in the Statute of the soon to be established International Criminal Court. Under the provisions of the Statute, crimes against humanity are a number of acts which are "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population." Among those acts is that of "extermination," which includes the "intentional infliction of conditions of life ... calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population." The noted Egyptian jurist Sherif Bassiouni, the leading expert on the issue of crimes against humanity, writes that the "plain language and ordinary meaning of the word "extermination" implies both intentional and unintentional killing." Also, negligence -- that is, knowing, or should have known, and not done anything -- carries with it responsibility for the crime of extermination.

While the attribution to UN sanctions as having the effect of "extermination" appears, at first glance, shocking, it should be understood that the legal notion of "extermination" needs to be disassociated from the every-day notion of term. The United Nations Security Council has been aware, for more than a decade, of the effects of its sanctions regime on Iraq. And though it has attempted to mitigate the suffering of Iraqis through its "oil-for-food" programme, it has been made clear by studies carried out by the UN itself that these modifications have not reversed the humanitarian catastrophe which has beset Iraq. When the definition of extermination is considered, that is: "intentional infliction of conditions of life ... calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population" it is clear that after more than ten years of sanctions, which have killed anywhere from hundreds of thousands to nearly two million people, that the United Nations is involved in a campaign of, what can be considered, in legal terms, as "extermination;" which in turn constitutes a crime against humanity. If this characterisation of the effects of the United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed on Iraq is correct, then legal obligations follow towards all countries because crimes against humanity are considered as norms of jus cogens.

During August 2001, the International Law Commission, the UN body mandated to draft international law, adopted, after more than four decades of deliberation, the Draft Articles on State Responsibility. In those Draft Articles, which are considered as reflecting customary international law, states have an obligation to "cooperate to bring to an end through lawful means" a violation to a norm of jus cogens such as, in the case at hand, a violation of a crime against humanity. Further, as the Iraqi sanctions constitute a crime against humanity, then states also have an obligation not to "recognise [this situation] as lawful" and to no longer "render aid or assistance in maintaining that situation." As such, there is an obligation in international law, which every state must respect, to end the United Nations sanctions regime imposed on Iraq as transgressing the legal definition of the term "extermination" -- as understood within the legal parameters of a crime against humanity.

If the fact that Iraq sanctions constitute a crime against humanity is not incentive enough to bring them to an end, statesmen within the UN should be weary of the impeding establishment of International Criminal Court. As of 1 July 2002, not only will the United Nations and countries be held "responsible" for violations of the law, but the Court is specifically established to hold persons "individually, criminally responsible" for a number of crimes including that of crimes against humanity. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/allain_criminalenforcers.cfm

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"Was there legal authority under UN resolutions for the US bombing raids [from 1998 onward]?"

Was there legal authority under UN resolutions for the US bombing raids? (What is the Clinton administration claiming and what's the reality)

The bombing strikes are a violation of international law. There is NO UN resolution that calls for, allows, justifies, or accepts unilateral acts by a member state against Iraq in retaliation for real or alleged violations. U.S. officials usually refer to two possible UN resolutions to justify military strikes. Both claims are false. a) Security Council resolution 678, passed November 29, 1990, which authorized the use of force against Iraq. This was the U.S.-initiated resolution providing a UN cover for Washington's decision to force a military response to Iraq's illegal invasion of Kuwait. It is taken under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (the only way use of force can be authorized) and authorizes "all necessary means" to make Iraq "withdraw immediately and unconditionally all its forces" from Kuwait. That resolution's authorization inherently expired with the expulsion of Iraqi troops from Kuwait. There are no Iraqi troops in Kuwait, therefore one cannot rely on a legitimating instrument limited to the expulsion of Iraqi troops from Kuwait, to justify bombing Iraq for a different reason eight years later. b) The Council resolution 1154, passed March 2, 1998. After heated debate and with widespread reluctance, U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson succeeded in getting the Council to pass a resolution including the threat of "severest consequences" for Iraq if there should be any future violation of Iraq's commitment to provide access to UNSCOM. However, virtually every Council ambassador, with the exception of those of the U.S. and Britain, stated explicitly that they did not define "severest consequences" to mean automatic authorization for any Member State to use military force on its own. The Russian ambassador coined the term "automaticity" to describe what the Council was NOT authorizing -- the U.S. or another country claiming an "automatic" UN authorization to simply launch military actions on its own. Rather, the definition of "severest consequences" was that, in the event of a further Iraqi violation, the Council must be reconvened to discuss what the "severest consequences" should be. The resolution includes the words "The Council remains seized of the matter," meaning the Council maintains control over the issue, continues to monitor the situation, and that the relevant issue (how to respond to a future violation) belongs to the Council for decision-making. -  http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/bennisiraq.htm

U.S. Brig. General William Looney, who directed the bombing of Iraq in the late 1990s, put the point out bluntly:

If they turn on their radars we're going to blow up their goddamn SAMs [surface-to- air missiles]. They know we own their country. We own their airspace... We dictate the way they live and talk. And that's what's great about America right now. It's a good thing, especially when there's a lot of oil out there we need." [Wm. Blum, Rogue State (Common Courage, 2000) p. 159] -  http://www.zmag.org/jamaliraq.htm

...the United States led to a fabricated crisis that had nothing to do with legitimate disarmament. This crisis led to the United States ordering UNSCOM inspectors out of Iraq two days before the start of Operation Desert Fox, a 72-hour bombing campaign executed by the United States and Great Britain that lacked Security Council authority. Worse, the majority of the targets bombed were derived from the unique access the UNSCOM inspectors had enjoyed in Iraq, and had more to do with the security of Saddam Hussein than weapons of mass destruction. Largely because of this, Iraq has to date refused to allow inspectors back to work. The ensuing uncertainty has created an atmosphere that teeters on the brink of war. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0731-09.htm

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Why has the U.S. resisted chances to oust Saddam?:
Let us not forget that at the conclusion of the 1991 war, the United States allowed Hussein's forces to use helicopter gunships to put down uprisings. In their book, Bush and Scowcroft offer a pathetic explanation for that decision (see p. 490 of "A World Transformed"), but the real reason is clear: A breakaway Kurdish state in the north and Shi'a [note: some use Shitte; not sure what AP style is] Muslim state in the south would have made it more difficult for the United States to control the region; a dictator of a unified Iraq who supports U.S. policy is much preferred. Governments that might truly represent the people are feared by U.S. policymakers, given that those people sometimes have funny ideas about who should control the resources of their lands. -  http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/etiquette.htm

US leaders, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, speak of their desire to see 'regime change' in Iraq. However, ever since 1991 US administrations have shied away from provoking fundamental change in Iraq, and have sought instead 'an iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein', according to Thomas Friedman, Diplomatic Correspondent of the New York Times, writing on 7 July 1991: sanctions were there to provoke a coup to create 'the best of all worlds', a return to the days when Saddam's 'iron fist... held Iraq together, much to the satisfaction of the American allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia.' In March 1991 this prospect was described by Ahmed Chalabi (now leader of the Iraqi opposition group the Iraqi National Congress) as 'the worst of all possible worlds' for the Iraqi people. (Quoted in Noam Chomsky, World Orders, Old and New, 1994, p. 9)

The US commitment 'leadership change' rather than 'regime change' was demonstrated when Kurds and Shias rose against the regime in March 1991: the US granted permission to Baghdad to use helicopter gunships against the rebels, refused to release captured arms dumps to rebel forces, and refused to intervene to defend the rebellions. Richard Haass, director for Near East affairs for the US National Security Council, explained in March 1991, 'Our policy is to get rid of Saddam, not his regime.' (Andrew and Patrick Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, HarperCollins 1999, p. 37) 'Washington's calculation is that a break-up of Iraq would fundamentally alter the balance of power in the Middle East, especially if it led to the creation of an independent Kurdistan. Turkey, a steadfast US ally with a large Kurd minority, would be destabilised. Iran could exploit the vacuum.' (FT, 1 Feb. 2002, supplement p. III)

An officer involved in US planning says, 'Our question was, "What about the day after?" For example, do you take the Republican Guard [the military unit most loyal to Saddam] and disarm it? Or is it preferable to turn it from having a capability to protect Saddam to a capability to protect Iraq?' (New Yorker, 24 Dec. 2001, p. 63) Protect Iraq from fragmentation, that is. In Feb. 1991, large elements of the Republican Guard, including the Hammurabi Heavy Division, the most powerful single force in the Republican Guard, were boxed in near Basra, almost certainly about to be destroyed, when President Bush Sr. called a ceasefire, preserving this central pillar of the regime. It appears that under President Bush Jr. military planning is governed by the same desire to preserve the military regime in Iraq - the Republican Guard is noticeably absent from the targeting plans being floated in the media. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/rai_no_justification_for_war.cfm

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To aviod being a hypocrite:

Analogies are difficult given world power realities, but consider the following. "The Chinese News Agency reported today that the Chinese Government has decided to oust US President George W. Bush.the debate is over. China has decided that the US nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs pose too great a threat to world security. Chinese intelligence presented government leaders with plans for massive covert action, sabotage, information warfare and extremely aggressive bombing campaigns against the US. The leadership was enthusiastic." Or consider "The Iraqi News Agency reported today that Saddam Hussein has decided to oust Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Hussein has decided that Israel's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs pose too great a threat to regional security. Iraqi intelligence presented Hussein with plans for massive covert action, sabotage, information warfare and extremely aggressive bombing campaigns against Israel. The president was enthusiastic."

To repeat: A non-selective application of the reasons the US gives for attacking Iraq (weapons of mass destruction, repression, threat to the region, brutal policies, failure to abide by UN resolutions, etc.), in other words, a non-hypocritical stand, would lead to an unpleasant conclusion - the US will have to bomb Israel, and the United States. The rule of law is designed to be non-selective. The rule of force? Well, the victims provide the answer - corpses. -  http://www.zmag.org/content/Iraq/morris_iraq-questions.cfm

In December, your negotiators tore the biological weapons convention to shreds. The 1972 convention, as you know, was impossible to implement. While the treaty banned the development and production of bioweapons, it contained no mechanism for ensuring that its rules were enforced. So for six years, the 144 signatories had been developing a "verification protocol", which would permit the United Nations to examine suspected bioweapons facilities. In July, your government refused to sign the protocol. In December, you deliberately scuttled the negotiations by insisting, at the last minute, that the resolution be rewritten. One European delegate, referring to the commitments your delegation had made before the meeting, observed, "they are liars. In decades of multilateral negotiations, we've never experienced this kind of insulting behavior." Your actions have rendered the convention useless, leaving the world unprotected from the very weapons you say you want to eliminate.

Four years ago, Republican members of Congress, working alongside the Clinton government, voted to inflict similar damage to the chemical weapons convention. This treaty already possessed the means to force nations to open their laboratories to inspection, which is the key determinant of effective weapons control. But in 1998, your party decided that the United States should not be subject to these provisions. By passing legislation banning the removal of chemical samples from the US by international weapons inspectors; limiting the number of laboratories which the US needs to declare and permitting the United States president to refuse "challenge inspections" of its chemical plants, Republican congressmen effectively hobbled the convention worldwide. Under your presidency, even routine verification has been vitiated, as government officials have told the inspectors which parts of a site they can and cannot visit, just as Saddam Hussein has done in Iraq. Other countries have used your intransigence as an excuse for undermining the convention themselves.

In September last year, the New York Times reported that "the Pentagon has built a germ factory that could make enough lethal microbes to wipe out entire cities". The factory's purpose was defensive: your employees wanted to see how easy it would be for terrorists to do the same thing. But it was constructed without either congressional oversight or a declaration to the biological weapons convention, in direct contravention of international law. We could, perhaps, agree that if the US had discovered a similar undisclosed plant in a poor nation, then that country's government, if it survived your initial response, would have a good deal of explaining to do.

But of still more concern is the recent discovery that your government has been planning to test warheads containing live microbes in large aerosol chambers at the US Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland. Experts in this field say that the scale of the experiments suggests that they are not defensive, but designed to help develop new biological weapons.

Your government has also refused to destroy its stocks of smallpox, and has insisted on developing new and more lethal varieties of anthrax. You say that this is purely for defensive purposes: to study how they might be used by enemy forces, or to develop new kinds of vaccine. But the Federation of American Scientists warns that some of the new research you are funding could be categorized as "dual use": it could lead just as easily to attack as to defense Even if we were to accept your government's assurances that these programs are solely defensive in nature, it is surely plain that they are generating the very hazards they claim to be confronting. The anthrax attacks in October appear to have been launched by a scientist from within your own biological warfare laboratories, making use of a strain developed by the US Army's medical research institute. -  http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0319-05.htm