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Friday, December 10, 2004

The Oil for Genocide Program

Jonathan Schwarz at A Tiny Revolution points out that the controversy over the UN "Oil for food" program is misplaced:
[T]he sanctions on Iraq were not supposed to be there in perpetuity. According to the relevant UN resolutions, the sanctions would be lifted when Iraq was disarmed of WMD. We now know Iraq met these requirements in 1991, or arguably 1995 at the latest...

This is not some minor point. The sanctions -- as the US government intended -- killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. This includes, at a rough estimate, 350,000 children.

120 World Trade Centers full of children...

And I don't make the World Trade Center comparison lightly. Because -- as even the Bush administration believes -- the 9/11 attacks were in retaliation for the sanctions (plus our troops in Saudi Arabia). A "senior administration official" even argues that without our nineties policy toward Iraq, Osama bin Laden would just be hanging out, telling boring stories about his days in the Khyber Pass.

To make the story even more gruesome, we also know the Clinton administration ignored numerous peace feelers from Iraq. But that shouldn't be surprising -- as the US government has repeatedly said, our only interest was in ousting Saddam. The sanctions helped, in our minds. So we had to bloviate constantly about the WMD as a pretext.

Thus, hand in hand with Saddam, we spent almost thirteen years strangling the people of Iraq. Leading us right to the terrifying world we live in today.
A couple of days ago, Jonathan posted the following:
[I]f you listed the people responsible for killing the most Iraqis, Saddam Hussein would be in SECOND place. Due to the relentless sanctions the US insisted on during the nineties, the honor of Most Iraqis Killed goes to Bill Clinton.
I think most of us would view that as appalling. George W. Bush and Ayad Allawi view it as a challenge.