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The Independent's Hamish McRae: letter to the editor

 
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David C
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Joined: 12 Jan 2004
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Post Post subject: The Independent's Hamish McRae: letter to the editor Reply with quote

30 June 2004

Dear Sir,

Hamish McRae rightly points out that Iraq suffered under a decade of sanctions ('There is a great prize within Iraq's grasp, despite Saddam and the occupation', 30 June). He then adds that "not even Saddam Hussein could totally destroy the Iraq economy".

This is grossly misleading. Such a rewriting of history omits the huge role of the west, in particular that of the US and the UK, in destroying Iraq's economy: both by the dropping of 88,500 tonnes of bombs in the 1991 Gulf War, and by the imposition of devastating UN sanctions. These sanctions led to the deaths of over one million Iraqi people (including around 500,000 children under 5) and were maintained with the greatest vigour by Washington and London.

In March 1999, an expert humanitarian panel convened by the UN security council concluded that "the humanitarian situation in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy which in turn cannot be achieved solely through remedial humanitarian efforts". That year, seventy members of the US Congress signed a letter to President Clinton, appealing to him to lift the embargo and end what they called "infanticide masquerading as policy." Policy analysts John and Karl Mueller wrote in the journal Foreign Affairs that the "sanctions of mass destruction" imposed by Clinton had up to that point killed more civilians in Iraq than "all the weapons of mass destruction in human history".

And yet, none of this was deemed relevant by Mr McRae. He is guilty, not of cautious optimism, but of turning a blind eye to the crimes of the West. An accurate portrayal of Iraq's recent and ongoing suffering, and a proper identification of those responsible, is crucial to the issue of whether there really is "the prospect of a huge prize for the Iraqi people", as Mr McRae claims.

Or whether, after the US has spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost hundreds of US soldiers' lives in invading and occupying Iraq, any prospect of independent economic development for the benefit of the Iraqi people (rather than for western corporations and strategic interests) is utter delusion.

yours faithfully,
David Cromwell
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David Cromwell
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Thu Jul 01, 2004 12:48 pm
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