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Old 07-03-2002, 05:30 PM   #1
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Sanctions against Iraq

I'm starting this thread so anyone who wants to can continue the discussion about sanctions against Iraq which was started in another thread and the person who started that thread has requested the discussion be moved elsewhere. So here goes.

This is the story so far:

joyfulgirl: Approximately 6,000 Iraqi children die each month as a result of U.S. economic sanctions, too, but hey--who cares? We're still the greatest nation on earth because we're the good guys and we always win.

joyfulgirl: Two top UN officials, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, world-renowned for their integrity, stepped down from their positions, calling the U.S. and British embargoes a kind of genocide. They saw no evidence that Hussein is withholding supplies from the Iraqi people and blame entirely the sanctions on these deaths. I repeat, approx. 6,000 per month. These are UNICEF numbers. That completely blows my mind.


Achtung Bubba: Even accepting what Halliday and von Sponeck says as true, it doesn't change the fact that Hussein is building / has built weapons of mass destruction, and he is a madman crazy enough to use them on his own people and other nations.

FizzingWhizzbees: If you believe that Iraq has nuclear weapons or biological weapons, developed in the period since 1991, surely this only serves as further evidence of the ineffectiveness of sanctions against Iraq. Sanctions have done nothing to remove Saddam Hussein from power but that have killed at least 500,000 (at the most conservative estimate) innocent people.
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Old 07-03-2002, 05:35 PM   #2
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I do believe that Hussein is a credible threat to our nation, whom I personally suspect has ties to Al-Qaeda. Certain high level Al-Qaeda members are suspected to have entered Iraq, at the very minimum. I certainly do not think it is in the world's interest to let him go.

At the same time, I feel that the sanctions do not hurt Hussein in the slightest, but are an undue burden on the public. Imagine being punished for ten years for what your nation's leader did? Something has to change in our approach to Hussein, as the sanctions, clearly, are ineffective and unnecessarily cruel to civilians.

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Old 07-03-2002, 05:57 PM   #3
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Actually I have spoken more on this subject in the original thread, before it spun-off. I agree with Melon stated above. I think it points out that we have no alternative than to take out the entire regime so that we can ensure they have no weapons of mass destruction, ensure the terrorist ties are cut, have the sanctions lifted, feed those in danger of starvation and dying, and ensure the peope can elect a new leadership that will not pose a threat to the rest of the world.
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Old 07-03-2002, 06:22 PM   #4
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Actually, the sanctions have been very effective in a one crucial respect. They have prevented Saddam Hussain from rebuilding his massive army that he had before the Gulf War. It had over 1 million men, 6,000 tanks, 1,000 aircraft, over 3,000 Artillery, and thousands more artillery. Today, Saddam Hussain has had difficulty maintaining a force of 400,000 men, only 2,000 tanks, 300 aircraft, 1,200 artillery, and less than half the armored vehicles. The Fact is Iraq at the time of the Gulf War had the 4th largest military in the world but was largely dependent on imports from the SOVIET UNION to supply it and arm it. Nearly 80% of its weapons were purchased from the Soviet Union. Most of the rest came from China.

The Sanctions are what has prevented Saddam Hussain from being able to rebuild his military might and threaten the region again as he did before the Gulf War. The Current Military balance has keep the peace there since 1991. Before that the region had known nearly 11 straight years of WAR with Iraq as the instigater.

While the Santions are effective at stopping the shipping of large weapons platforms such as Tanks, Artillery, Armored Vehicles, Aircraft, from getting through, and prevents Iraq from using its large Oil revenue's from purchasing such weapons, there is a very large black market in which many smaller things slip through all the time, often non-military.

As far as the suffering, this is clearly orchastrated by Hussain himself. Iraq is allowed to sale its oil revenue each year to buy humanitarian supplies, over 15 BILLION dollars worth for one year, for only a population of 25 million! Saddam Hussain though obstructs the distribution of such aid or refuses to buy it with the oil revenue that is available to use for such purchases. Iraq's level of Exports are currently at the same level they were before the Gulf War. High tech western products, to include High Definition TVs make it to stores in Downtown Baghdad.

Saddam Hussain continues to use funds made from the huge Black Market and other illegal sources to fund what remains of his military(400,000 men) and do Research and Development to produce Weapons of Mass Destruction. He also sends money to the family's of suicide bombers in Palestine. Why do so if such a tragedy is unfolding every day in Iraq? Then again, Saddam is the type of person who might like seeing thousands of people die every day, especially if they are people he considers to be likely opposition to his regime. Keeping public opposition down is one of his goals, and the distribution of humanitarian goods is one of his tools in doing this. Saddam Hussain controls the terroritory of Iraq as well as any large amounts of supplies, including humanitarian supplies that is moved around the country. Giving aid to some while starving others is his way of maintaining control over the population.

As far as the UN, it is impossible to accurately access the number of deaths from anything inside Iraq given the fact that it is a Police State. Verification is impossible! There is no confirmation that 500,000 people have actually died. Even if such statistics were true, the level of Oil that Iraq is allowed to sell on the world market would more than prevent such a tragedy from happening. The only barrier for the people is Saddam Hussain. The Sanctions regime allows Iraq to sell how ever much oil it needs for humanitarian reasons. So if the statistics are true, its Saddam Hussains fault.
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Old 07-03-2002, 06:49 PM   #5
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I think that when it comes to the children, we need to find ways to not have them suffer because it will lead to more hate of this country. I dont know if that entails lifting the sanctions or not. I do believe the Hussein is a threat to America and ne other country for that matter.
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Old 07-04-2002, 12:20 AM   #6
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Fizzing,

Seeing children starve anywhere in the world is definately wrong. But, they Iraqi children are starving for one reason: Saddam Hussein.

Hussein was starving his people even before the Gulf War. He has, as mentioned above, billions of dollars annually to take care of his people, but chooses not to. What was it he said back in 1991? "I'll feed my army first." At least he's true to his word on one thing....
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Old 07-04-2002, 03:31 AM   #7
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I thought this article would contribute to this thread.

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Old 07-04-2002, 01:44 PM   #8
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True enough, Sting, but what is a population of 25 million battered people going to do against a powerful 30-year dictator and his army? It's like saying that, in a hypothetical situation, that the world embargoed the U.S., and blamed it all on Bush. Then telling us, the American people, that, if we don't like it, we can overthrow him and his loyal military; never mind the trillions in high tech weaponry. It's not a perfect comparison, but that's why I think the sanctions are not working as they were intended to.

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Old 07-04-2002, 07:13 PM   #9
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I think that this is time to rethink many of our policies regarding Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba etc. Unfortunately we have in place an administration which confuses blindly clinging to old out dated policies with being principled. We also happen to have an administration highly lacking in imagination which is largely dependent on looking and acting tough for its approval ratings. Not exactly the most favorable conditions for change at a time when change and imagination are needed the most!

I think that the American people should demand that something be done about Hussein before its too late but I don't think we should be so quick to settle for an all out invasion to remove him.

I for one would rather see some middle approach be taken and I think that any military actions should not go forward without Iraqi opposition troops on the ground with us, kind of like we did in Afghanistan. Unfortunately this will take more time and patience in Iraq's case than the administration is willing to have. I fear that we will go in half-cocked with guns blazing sooner rather than later. And this is going to mean very bad news for us in the region.
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Old 07-05-2002, 02:18 AM   #10
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Melon,
The short answer to your first question is, nothing. The only thing that can defeat Saddam is a combined arms invasion by the US military. We have not done this in the past because of the cost, both economic and political. It requires the stationing of US forces inside Iraq for perhaps a decade. If that is not done, you could have a situation like Bosnia except 5 times worse.

In 1991, we restored security and military balance to the region which was in the economic and political interest of the region as well as the USA. Going to Baghdad back then entailed cost that were not worth it, considering our objectives then could be accomplished by cutting off much of the Iraqi army in Southern Iraq and Kuwait, and defeating it. Kuwait was liberated and rebuilt, the Iraqi army reduced to 1/3 its previous size, sanctions in place to prevent its rebuilding, overall economic and political stability in the region insuring cheap oil to help fuel the economic boom of the 1990s in the USA and elsewhere, and no doubt brought in plenty of bucks for the region itself.

11 years has past now, and regime change from within the regime itself has not happened and probably never will without a US invasion. In that time Saddam has continued to seek Weapons of Mass Destruction. The fear is that Saddam is closer than ever to getting the BOMB, and might link up with terrorist groups in the near future. The risk of that combination is starting for many to outweigh the cost of a military invasion and regime change in Iraq.

As far as Sanctions, Iraq is allowed to sell all the oil it needs for humanitarian supplies. But its a fact that Saddam Hussain controls everything in the country including the distribution of supplies bought from the UN. If sanctions were lifted tomorrow, the only thing that would change is that Saddam would be allowed to use his oil revenue to buy weapons to rebuild his army. The imports of food and other humanitarian supplies would still be controlled by Saddam. The situation for the average Iraqi would not change one bit.

Military invasion and regime change in Iraq would solve these problems, but the cost would be expensive. Again, US troops stationed in Iraq for perhaps 10 years to prevent civil war and foreign invasion from Iran and Syria while Iraq rebuilt itself. In the long term though, if Iraq could establish a stable government, its postion along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers plus its massive oil revenue could make it by far the most prosperous country in the region. Unlike Afghanistan or Somalia, Iraq has natural resources in such a large supply that over the long term, providing a stable democratic government, it can dig itself out of any situation its in, given the demand from abroad for its resources.

Iraq is not the only country where the people could benifit from a regime change, and its true that were considering doing that in Iraq because it is a serious potential threat to our interest. Military invasions and regime changes don't come cheap, and are only done when the risk of not doing it, outweigh the cost of going in. The United States does not have the resources to do regime changes all across the globe, but it does have the resources and will to change the smaller number of regimes that could potentially or have threatened its national security. In the 21st century, a countries security can easily be threatened without an invasion of that countries national borders. That is the nature of an increasingly globalized interdependent world.
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