The Old Copper Market, Baghdad A Visitor at Basrah Children’s Hospital the Iraq Action Coalition. The book also includes an interview with Denis Halliday, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq until he resigned in 1998 in protest of the sanctions. \(His successor, Hans von Sponeck, and Jutta Burghardt, head of the World Food ProThe result is a sustained, coherent, and comprehensive critique of U.S. policy on Iraq. THE RESULTS OF THE SANCTIONS Kelly describes hospitals full of children suffering from kwashiorkor and marasmus forced to stand by and watch while these children die because they have no medicine; people dying from waterborne diseases because Iraq has been allowed to import neither enough chlorine to treat the water nor new pipes to replace old, broken ones. Robert Fisk describes an estimated 300 tons of depleted uranium ordnance in southern Iraq, and an explosion of childhood leukemia and grotesque birth defects in that region since the war. In pre-war Iraq, the cure rate for leukemia was 76 percent; under the sanctions, leukemia is a death sentence. Professor Pellett covers the effects on the country as a MAY 26, 2000 whole: average food intake has declined by one-third; growth-stunting and wasting are now as common as in the worst-off Third World countries; mortality for children under five years old is almost two and a half times the pre-sanctions rate. Considering these heavily documented, accumulating casualties, the reflexive U.S. response has been that all this suffering is the fault of Saddam Hussein. It is undeniable that Hussein cares more about his own power than about the welfare of his people; that a small elite lives very well while most Iraqis are suffering; and that anyone perceived as a threat to Hussein’ s power risks imprisonment or death. But it is also true that during the Seventies and Eighties, prior to the Gulf War, Hussein presided over a tremendous increase in the health and well-being of the Iraqi people illiteracy almost wiped out, education free through the graduate level, health care excellent and free. In addition, most U.N. relief officials confirm that the only thing now preventing mass starvation has been the Iraqi government’ s food rationing system, implemented shortly after the in stitution of sanctions. That sys tem has drawn praise for its fairness and efficiency from all knowledgeable quarters. It is true that the Iraqi elites like those in most countries, including the United States will buy expensive M.R.I. machines despite widespread shortages of basic medical supplies. But the amount of money re-directed by those sorts of transactions is minimal in relation to the needs of the Iraqi people. If anything, in the U.S. the social inequity is much greater hospitals here glitter with fancy equipment while 45 million people, disproportionately children, remain uninsured and without access to basic preventative care. It is illuminating to see the conventional defenders of the free market and of corporate super-profits, when they consider Iraq, suddenly discovering socialism. Since the actual facts are far from sufficient for the U.S. government to defend its sanctions policy, the administration has resorted instead to a remarkable array of disinformation. One of the hoariest charges is that Saddam has misappropriated United Nations Oil-for-Food funds to build palaces. Yet the simple structure of these transactions make that misappropriation quite impossible. Under Security Council Resolutions 986 and 1153, Iraq is allowed to sell up to 5.2 billion dollars’ worth of oil every six months \(that dollars of that money goes to meet the needs of 23 million Iraqis \(the rest is designated in advance for “reparations” to Kuwaitis and THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.