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March 9, 2001

The Seven Big Lies About Iraq


by Jon Basil Utley

ONE –It’s Saddam’s fault that half a million children died since the economic blockade, saddam could feed his people if he cared instead of using his money to buy weapons – "More than one million Iraqis have died- 500,000 of them children-as a direct consequence of economic sanctions... As many as 12% of the children surveyed in Baghdad are wasted, 28% stunted and 29% underweight." – UN FAO, December 1995. For details see Morbidity and Mortality Among Iraqi Children 1990-98.

ANSWER – Nearly all oil sales money has been allocated through United Nations inspectors, subject to nearly 40% reduction for reparations and UN expenses, and subject to Washington's veto and foot dragging – usually months for even the simplest decision. Washington has allowed food and medicine imports, but almost nothing else. For nearly ten years it blockaded chlorine to sanitize the water and any equipment to rebuild the electricity grid, sanitation and irrigation facilities. Even pencils for school children were prohibited. (A New York Times editorial 2/11/01 reports, "currently American diplomats are holding up billions of dollars of imports needed for civilian transportation, electric power generation...and even medical treatment"). Finally the Europeans rebelled at the cruelty and shamed Washington into allowing such imports, (New York Times 12/6/00). Until oil prices increased last year, sales ran about $4 billion yearly minus about 35% withheld by UN left 2.6 billion divided by 20 million population = $130 per year per person = 36 cents per day per person for food, medicine. Obviously Iraq needed to rebuild its agriculture and transport infrastructure to feed itself, but this was prevented by Washington.

Washington blockaded supplies to rebuild Iraq's bombed oil production and refining facilities since 10 years, although it went to war supposedly to assure oil supplies for the world. Iraq is now also getting substantial monies through sales of smuggled oil, especially since the price of oil went up and the rest of the world tires of the American blockade. No doubt some of this goes for weapons purchases.

TWO If Iraq allowed inspections for wmd (weapons of mass destruction), Washington would remove the blockade. Iraq iraq must prove that it has no wmd and that it won't manufacture any in the future.

ANSWER There's No Connection Between Inspections and Sanctions on Iraq and consequently no incentive for Iraq to comply. Equally No Nation can "prove" a negative, that it's not doing something. Biological and chemical weapons can be made, "in a large closet which is all the space you need to mix deadly chemical weapons...... Chemical and biological weapons are the great equalizers against our atomic weapons." (Time "Everyman a Superpower," 11/24/97).

Re inspections, Reuters reported, 12/13/99, – "The (European) aim was to prevent the United States and Britain from imposing arms requirements that Iraq could not meet and thus keeping the sanctions in place for years to come." And AFP 12/13/99, "French diplomats retorted that by insisting on full cooperation, the council would give the United States an excuse to refuse to suspend sanctions on the flimsiest grounds." Madeleine Albright declared in 1997: "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." Clinton went one step further when he said, "sanctions will be there until the end of time, or as long as he [Saddam] lasts." The Bush Administration has not repudiated these statements

Scott Ritter, former head of the U.N. arms inspection team in Iraq, on the NBC Today Show, 12/17/98, explained, "Washington perverted the U.N. weapons process by using it as a tool to justify military actions, falsely so. ... The U.S. was using the inspection process as a trigger for war."

THREE Iraq wouldn't let the UN/US monitors inspect possible wmd production or storage sites. that's why America started bombing.

ANSWER Iraq did so from 1991 until 1998, but Washington still wouldn’t take off the trade blockade. Scott Ritter, the former UNSCOM inspector, told CNN on 2/18 "In terms of large-scale weapons of mass destruction programs, these had been fundamentally destroyed or dismantled by the weapons inspectors as early as 1996, so by 1998 we had under control the situation on the ground."

Then in 1998 Washington also demanded access to the Iraq's government personnel files, the basis of the its power structure. Saddam saw that U.S. demands were just always increased with no hope of sanctions being lifted.

FOUR – It's Iraq's fault that the blockade continues. America has nothing against Iraq's people, only against its government.

ANSWER – Britain and Washington have introduced a "peace plan"demanding that Iraq must allow inspections in return for nothing.

Russia and France have introduced a plan (vetoed by Washington) allowing for immediate lifting of sanctions in return for continued, ongoing WMD inspections. Washington has already often stated policy of no relief from blockade no matter what Iraq does, as long as Saddam stays in power. This is typical Washington policy (denounced by former Pres. Jimmy Carter) of demanding rulers follow policies to get themselves killed or at least thrown out of power (and then tried for "war crimes") and then starves the nations' civilians on and on for years (Pat Buchanan speech) while nothing changes. (For detailed discussion of resolution see CASI from Cambridge and IAC detailed analysis of UN Resolution).

LATE NEWS, 3/7 – Secretary of State Powell implied in testimony to Congress that America might now go along with this option.

FIVE The United Nations ordered sanctions and Washington is just enforcing them.

ANSWER – Most nations in the world want them lifted for non-military goods. It is the U.S. veto that prevents lifting of the sanctions (UPI, 11/1/00) Imposed in 1990 many nations argue that they were never intended to last for years and are one of the most brutal sanction regimes in modern history. The crippling trade embargo is incompatible with the UN charter as well as UN conventions on human rights and the rights of the child (BBC News Online, 9/30/00). Unilaterally attacking Iraq is totally unconstitutional and illegal under United Nations Charter and Nuremberg Judgements.

SIX – If we don't bomb Iraq, Saddam will use his WMD against us or his neighbors or Israel.

ANSWER – Saddam is rational. He had these weapons during the First Gulf War and didn't because he feared our threats of consequences even when his nation was being decimated. Israel has some 200 atomic bombs and can well defend itself. It has already threatened Iraq with their use if Iraq attacks with WMD. Meanwhile Washington arms all Iraq's neighbors (except Iran), and Turkey bombs and invades Iraq at will.

SEVEN – Saddam gassed his own people.

ANSWER – Didn’t our government also do that at WACO? The C2 gas used by the FBI killed children who couldn’t fit into gas masks and then created an explosive mixture which triggered fire and immolation, (see super documentary, WACO, nominated for an Academy Award). Remember how often Americans were lied to in order to get us into wars. (See Subjects, How Hill and Knowlton Public Relations "sold" the Iraq War). For the First World War, it was stories that German soldiers ate Belgian babies. For the Iraq war it was lies about babies being thrown out of incubators, "testified" to a Congressional Committee by a "mystery" witness who later turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti sheik’s ruling family who is Ambassador in Washington. It was all lies. Then we were told there were aerial photographs of the Iraqi Army massed on Saudi Arabia’s border ready to attack. They were never released; they apparently were lies too. How do we know we weren't also lied to about the gassing? See Jude Wanniski report for detailed analysis of gassing.

CONCLUSION – Look at the above and think how America is now hated. No wonder many Arabs engage in suicide missions. American military are so unpopular in Saudi Arabia that the government hides our Airmen away in desert bases to keep them out of sight from its citizenry. (A CNN reporter from Time magazine once said that the dream of glory for many young Saudis was to die in battle killing Americans – and that's among Saudi, or "friends"). How the world sees us was reported by the Wall Street Journal's European edition editor (2/24/98) "What came up most were charges of American hypocrisy. The US wants to bomb Iraq over its violations of UN directives, but won’t take any action against the Israelis for theirs (e.g. occupation of part of Lebanon and settlements in Palestine)."

If Washington showed justice and fairness in its policies, then it would not be creating sworn and desperate enemies who, in former Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick's words, "define themselves as being Enemies of America." The best security for Americans is not to make so many enemies (see Joseph Sobran column, How Many Enemies Do We Want?)

ADDENDUM – (Evidence from Kosovo of similar Washington tactics against civilians).

The Boston Globe (5/16/99) reported:

"In planning the 1991 Persian Gulf War, US officers found a 12 bridges for the movement of Iraqi troops in and out of Kuwait. US planes bombed those bridges over and over, with little effect. So they bombed every bridge in Iraq, 160 in all, about two-thirds of them far from Kuwait. After a while, all bridges were seen and treated equally. Similarly, now in Belgrade, it seems, all military agencies are seen and treated as if they were of equal importance. The Pentagon announced last week that three-quarters of the targets hit in this air war, 270 out of 380, have been 'strategic targets.' Only 110 have been directly connected to the soldiers and militias in Kosovo."


Mr. Utley is Robert A. Taft Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He was formerly a foreign correspondent in South America for Knight Ridder Newspapers, has written for the Harvard Business Review and Washington Post, and was formerly a director of Accuracy in Media, a contributing editor to Conservative Digest and affiliated with many conservative organizations.


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  • Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative and Robert A. Taft Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. A former correspondent for Knight Ridder in South America, Utley has written for the Harvard Business Review on foreign nationalism and was for 17 years a commentator on the Voice of America. He is director of Americans Against World Empire.

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