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Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:11 AM

From 2000. Squeezed to Death. Iraq after years of sanctions. John Pilger paints sad image.

I am so thankful that Rachel Maddow is going have the special, Hubris, next week.

Those of us here at DU in 2002 were in shock what our country was doing. I posted this article years ago. I have wondered how in the world they could have been any kind of threat to us after all those years of sanctions and daily bombings.

From the Guardian UK March 2004:

Squeezed to Death

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."

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.


A 95% literacy rate before the 1st Gulf war.

"The change in 10 years is unparalleled, in my experience," Anupama Rao Singh, Unicef's senior representative in Iraq, told me. "In 1989, the literacy rate was 95%; and 93% of the population had free access to modern health facilities. Parents were fined for failing to send their children to school. The phenomenon of street children or children begging was unheard of. Iraq had reached a stage where the basic indicators we use to measure the overall well-being of human beings, including children, were some of the best in the world. Now it is among the bottom 20%. In 10 years, child mortality has gone from one of the lowest in the world, to the highest."


More about the care being withheld:

Just before Christmas, the department of trade and industry in London blocked a shipment of vaccines meant to protect Iraqi children against diphtheria and yellow fever. Dr Kim Howells told parliament why. His title of under secretary of state for competition and consumer affairs, eminently suited his Orwellian reply. The children's vaccines were banned, he said, "because they are capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction". That his finger was on the trigger of a proven weapon of mass destruction - sanctions - seemed not to occur to him. A courtly, eloquent Irishman, Denis Halliday resigned as co-ordinator of humanitarian relief to Iraq in 1998, after 34 years with the UN; he was then Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, one of the elite of senior officials. He had made his career in development, "attempting to help people, not harm them". His was the first public expression of an unprecedented rebellion within the UN bureaucracy. "I am resigning," he wrote, "because the policy of economic sanctions is totally bankrupt. We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that . . . Five thousand children are dying every month . . . I don't want to administer a programme that results in figures like these."


Just including this as a background on the voices of both parties. In These Times has a paragraph called The B Team.

Strangers to the Truth

The B team

On the other side of the aisle are the shining lights of the Democratic Party, James Carville, Stanley Greenberg and Bob Shrum (the consultant who ran Kerry’s campaign and shied away from confronting the Swift Boat Veterans). These three men founded the Democracy Corps, a nonprofit “dedicated to making the government of the United States more responsive to the American people.” Recall that on Oct. 3, 2002, prior to the Iraq war resolution votes, Democracy Corps advised Capitol Hill Democrats: “This decision to support or oppose an Iraq war resolution will take place in a setting where voters, by 10 points, prefer to vote for a member who supports a resolution to authorize force (50 to 40 percent).” In other words, Carville and friends advised Democrats to cater to public opinion and let Bush have his war.


This invasion will define us forever. Perhaps Rachel's special Monday will bring it to the forefront again so our younger Americans won't forget.

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Reply From 2000. Squeezed to Death. Iraq after years of sanctions. John Pilger paints sad image. (Original post)
madfloridian Feb 2013 OP
madfloridian Feb 2013 #1
Scootaloo Feb 2013 #2
madfloridian Feb 2013 #3
PDJane Feb 2013 #5
madfloridian Feb 2013 #6
PDJane Feb 2013 #4
madfloridian Feb 2013 #7
littlemissmartypants Feb 2013 #8
Victor_c3 Feb 2013 #14
littlemissmartypants Feb 2013 #15
madfloridian Feb 2013 #17
DallasNE Feb 2013 #9
malaise Feb 2013 #10
newfie11 Feb 2013 #11
xchrom Feb 2013 #12
KG Feb 2013 #13
madfloridian Feb 2013 #16
KG Feb 2013 #18
madfloridian Feb 2013 #19

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:35 AM

1. The sadness on the faces of people selling possessions for food and medicine.

I notice just as I posted this, the number of people blocking me shot up to 17. Not sure what that tells me, but I gather it is because I am part of the left.

From Pilger:

"The same sadness is on the faces of people in the evening auctions, where intimate possessions are sold for food and medicines. Television sets are the most common items; a woman with two toddlers watched their pushchairs go for pennies. A man who had collected doves since he was 15 came with his last bird; the cage would go next. Although we had come to pry, my film crew and I were made welcome. Only once, was I the brunt of the hurt that is almost tangible in a society more westernised than any other Arab country. "Why are you killing the children?" shouted a man from behind his bookstall. "Why are you bombing us? What have we done to you?" Passers-by moved quickly to calm him; one man placed an affectionate arm on his shoulder, another, a teacher, materialised at my side. "We do not connect the people of Britain with the actions of the government," he said. Laith Kubba, a leading member of the exiled Iraqi opposition, later told me in Washington, "The Iraqi people and Saddam Hussein are not the same, which is why those of us who have dedicated our lives to fighting him, regard the sanctions as immoral."

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:37 AM

2. Maderline Albright said it was "worth it."

After being presented with the actual statistics of over five hundred thousand children - just the children! - having died in relation to the sanctions, she said, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it."

I'm not going to lift blame from Bush for the invasion and the carnage that caused. But the brutalization of Iraq is a bipartisan policy that spanned four administrations and two decades.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:44 AM

3. Yes, she said that.

I don't think the price has been worth it. And yes it was bipartisan.

Here are Bill Clinton's words from 2004:

""I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over," Clinton said in a Time magazine interview that will hit newsstands Monday, a day before the publication of his book "My Life."

Clinton, who was interviewed Thursday, said he did not believe that Bush went to war in Iraq over oil or for imperialist reasons but out of a genuine belief that large quantities of weapons of mass destruction remained unaccounted for.

Noting that Bush had to be "reeling" in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Clinton said Bush's first priority was to keep al Qaeda and other terrorist networks from obtaining "chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material."

"That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for," Clinton said in reference to Iraq and the fact that U.N. weapons inspectors left the country in 1998."

http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/06/19/clinton.iraq/

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 02:12 AM

5. One can hold sincere beliefs and be incredibly wrong and guilty of war crimes.

I'm sure that Henry Kissinger was sincere in his beliefs, but he knew that his actions amounted to war crimes, too. He still hasn't been brought to justice for those crimes, either.

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Response to PDJane (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 02:23 AM

6. You are right, and sometimes sincere beliefs cause terrible harm.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:53 AM

4. I hope so. The fact is that the US tried to use Iraq as a free-market experiment as well.

Frankly, I think that one of the reasons that the US killed Saddam instead of taking him to the Hague was that Bush 1's administration should have been in the docket with him.

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Response to PDJane (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:00 AM

7. Seems now we have a thing about free market experiments...

I believe that's what they are doing to public education.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:06 AM

8. I cried so hard that night and I still cry.

My boyfriend in college was from Iran. I have a close friend from Afghanistan. I had dreams of going to Iraq before the war. I want to see Afghanistan and would love to see Iran. As an American woman I have been told "It is very dangerous." I guess so they hate us for what was done to them. I weep.

Love, Peace and Shelter. lmsp

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 08:24 AM

14. The war has been rough on a lot of people

I'll be watching this too.

When the call for us to go to war in Iraq was being made, I was sitting at Fort Benning, GA doing a bunch of training to be an Infantry Officer in the Army. I joined prior to September 11th and I never thought that I'd find myself fighting a war like Iraq or Afghanistan. I joined the Army when Bill Clinton was still running things and the most recent deployments of the US Army was in the Balkans to stop the genocide that the UN was incapable of stopping. I truly believed that we had learned our lessons from Vietnam and that the US military was a force used for good and to make the world a more fair place. I was 17 when I joined in 1997 and filled with a very righteous and idealistic vision of our military and the way it was used. This idealistic vision that I grew up on and believed wasn't the case - obviously.

During the buildup to Iraq I never once believed that we were justified in invading that country. I finished my training and I found myself getting ready to deploy to Iraq as an Infantry Platoon Leader in 2004. I saw firsthand what the war in Iraq was all about during the 13 months that I was there. It sickened and appalled me to my core.

The war was never about helping or improving the Iraqi people. Maybe on the cover, but not in actual conduct. The focus of the war and my deployment was doing what I needed to do in order to keep myself and my Soldiers safe. If the war would have been about making Iraq a better country and had we actually respected the Iraqi people as human beings on the same level as us, the emphasis wouldn't have been on protecting ourselves above the Iraqi people. If the US Army was to be used in the US to provide security and if I were to treat Americans citizens like I treated Iraqis in Iraq, the American people would not have put up with it. The US Army occupation was absolutely brutal on the Iraqi people - the very people the media was telling that we were trying to help.

I could write a book about this (in fact, I really want to) but the war was a very humanizing experience for me. I learned a lot about people and, contrary to what you might expect, it made me a much kinder and more understanding person. I'm truly sorry for what I saw and did in Iraq. I had the purest of intentions when I joined the military, but in actual conduct I did everything to the contrary.

I would love to go back to Iraq one day and connect with the people I impacted for better or for worse in the area I operated out of. I think a meeting between me and the people I impacted could provide a lot of closure and healing on both sides.

Iraq (Iran or Afghanistan too) might not be the safest places to visit for any American (male or female), but you'll probably be alright. Most people are good people and would rather help you than hurt you. You, probably like me, would find yourself in the middle of a group of people who are just curious to meet an American and not looking to hurt you.

I'd imagine that you'd probably not be fan of a guy like me who actually deployed to Iraq and I couldn't blame you. In a way, I was part of the problem and a part what was wrong with our occupation of Iraq. But I just want to let you know that there are people out there who are truly sorry about the way the wars in the middle east unfolded. I wish so much that I could do over again my deployment to Iraq.

Anyways, I hope that you get the chance to visit the Middle East. It is a very interesting and remarkable place.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 10:18 AM

15. Thank you.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:19 PM

17. That was disgusting. Bombing a country on TV and celebrating as we did.

It's like we had no soul when we did that.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 04:09 AM

9. Another Name For "Economic Sanctions" --

Austerity.

Government action against people that are economic in nature is a form of austerity. It doesn't hit the government as often claimed but the people that are mere pawns in the larger political battle. That is what happened in Iraq and that is what is happening in Greece and other countries today. Austerity, in whatever form, never ends well for the people. Another example of that is post-World War I Germany and that was a calamity unseen before or after. Politicians never learn the lesson of history so they go about repeating them over and over and over again.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 04:45 AM

10. But but but

They now control the oil.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:10 AM

11. Way to go America

Last edited Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:24 PM - Edit history (1)

Way to win hearts and minds. At least the oil Barron's are happy. To hell with the human life, past and future destroyed.

Now their looking on to the next sacrificial country for their all mighty oil.
Oh wait it maybe us this time. Fracking/tar sands and whatever else they can sell their soul for money.

Meanwhile most sheeple in this country could care less.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:18 AM

12. du rec. nt

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:34 AM

13. that was the biggest lie of all: that fantastic notion that iraq was a threat to anybody,

that invading them was somehow protecting our 'freedom'.

i'm constantly amazed at the lies americans will believe.

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Response to KG (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 11:57 AM

16. Amazing remembering all the politicians who cowered instead of telling the truth.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:29 PM

18. yes, and the new myth about dem politicians being bamboozled by bush.

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Response to KG (Reply #18)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:53 PM

19. Everyone was afraid to criticize Bush.

We must never let this country get that way again. It was real fear of being attacked by the right wing. Our conservative fundamentalist area went nuts, with churches providing yard signs saying to support the war, support Bush. It was crazy.

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