U.S. Responsible for Human Toll of Iraq Sanctions

by Joy Gordon
Published: Dec. 23, 2010 – Common Dreams

Last week the U.N. Security Council voted to lift the sanctions that it imposed on Iraq 20 years ago. Vice President Joe Biden hailed the occasion as “an end to the burdensome remnants of the dark era of Saddam Hussein.”

What he did not say was that the sanctions were more than burdensome. They triggered a humanitarian crisis that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children, and the collapse of every system necessary to sustain human life in a modern society. And he certainly did not mention that among all the nations on the Security Council, it was the U.S. — and the U.S. alone — that ensured that this human damage would be massive and indiscriminate.

All of this took place within an obscure committee of the Security Council, known as the 661 Committee. Few have heard of it. But it was this committee that determined whether Iraqis would have clean water, electricity in their homes, or fuel for cars and trucks.

It was a committee that met behind closed doors, and never made its records public. Within it, the U.S. had a unique role. As the humanitarian situation in Iraq deteriorated, support for the sanctions on the Security Council began to erode. When other members of the council sought to allow critical humanitarian goods into Iraq, the U.S. vetoed them. For the first eight months of the sanctions, the U.S. would not even allow Iraq to import food. Once the committee decided to allow food, the U.S. then objected to trucks needed to deliver food and other goods, as well as irrigation equipment to increase agriculture.

The U.S. policies were extreme and relentless. The U.S. blocked refrigeration for medicines, on the grounds that refrigerators might be used to store agents for biological weapons. The U.S. blocked things as innocuous as plywood, fabric, glue and glass on the grounds that they were “inputs to industry,” which might be used to rebuild Iraq’s military.

The U.S. blocked child vaccines and yogurt-making equipment on the grounds that the Iraqi government might use them to make weapons of mass destruction. When Iraq tried to increase the number of small animals for meat, cheese and milk, the U.S. blocked goat and sheep vaccines, claiming that Iraq might use them as biological weapons.

The U.S. prevented Iraq from importing water tankers during a period of drought, while there were epidemic levels of sickness from drinking water unfit for human consumption. And water pipes for irrigation. And light switches, and telephones, and ambulance radios, and fire trucks, claiming that they might be used by Iraq’s military.

At one point, a U.S. official came before the 661 Committee with a vial of cat litter, and informed the members, in all seriousness: “This could be used to stabilize anthrax.”

No one else found the U.S. justifications to be plausible. UNMOVIC, the U.N.’s weapons inspectors, disputed many of the U.S. justifications for blocking humanitarian goods. Even Britain, the U.S.’ closest ally on the Security Council, did not share the views of the U.S. Still, the U.S. rarely relented.

The U.S. insisted that these policies were aimed at Saddam Hussein. But it was obvious that they had little to do with him. Iraq’s political and military leadership, and the wealthy elite, were insulated from the hardship. But the population as a whole was not.

To destroy a country’s infrastructure, to reduce a nation to a pre-industrial condition and then keep it in that state, means precisely that it will be unfit to sustain human life. The reports of U.N. agencies and international organizations such as the Red Cross ensured that U.S. officials knew, with certainty, exactly what harm was being caused by U.S. policies.

While Vice President Biden tells the world that the end of the sanctions means that Iraq can now move forward to a bright future, what he does not say is that in fact there was damage that was irreversible, including child deaths and stunted growth from years of malnutrition. What he also does not say is that the rest of the damage — the collapse of the infrastructure, the terrible deterioration in industry, agriculture, electricity, health and education — was not just due to Saddam Hussein’s indifference. However much harm Saddam did to the Iraqi people, the U.S., for over a decade, made it far, far worse.

Joy Gordon, Ph.D., is a philosophy professor at Fairfield University. She is the author of “Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions” (Harvard University Press).

Source: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/23-4



DOCUMENTARY– “Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq” by John Pilger

7 Comments on “U.S. Responsible for Human Toll of Iraq Sanctions”

  1. Captain says:

    1st MERRY X-MAS TO ALL OF YOU : 2nd in an ideal world , the majority of individuals frequenting capitol hill/white house/downing st./buckingham palace/vatican should all be put on trial for HIGH TREASON / CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.since this could never happen and since there are no more TRUE TERRORISTS who would shoot these pigs, im afraid we all will suffer the fate we are too afraid / busy to challenge . the parasitic nature of the nwo organism is of such construct that it must , bound by its own nature , devour everyone & everything until there is absolutely nothing left but to devour itself. 1 more thing , who profited from the war-misery the most ? HA HA HA HALIBURTON & RAND CORP ,DHL&TSA,HOME OFFICE&UKBA,PENTAGON&MOD and on and on ….. humanity faces a faceless enemy , in order to engage an enemy threat you identify it 1st then study its operational modus, then infiltrate its decision making structure & only then,will you be in an effective position to deploy counter-measure tactics. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  2. Dwight Baker says:

    Speak out, defend the defenseless and pray first then cry out for God severe judgments to fall on those guilty of crimes against humanity and nature!
    By Dwight Baker
    December 25, 2010

    Joe Biden is a pawn in the NWO system. No need to talk about how less for us.

    There are a limited few that understand what humanity is up against. And in that limited few, I know many that want to walk the walk and talk the talk to make a big difference. Yet discouragement is our worst enemy. It is not outside influences that get us down, but it is our thoughts of being on an island sitting all alone.

    Thereby my wishes for all this day celebrated around the world Christmas Day 2010 and then the birth of another New Year 2011 is that all who care and have concern for the greater good to come for mankind and nature, to stand up and be counted among the few and encouraged each other from time to time.

    For as Providence continues to come down in floods from our God, the day will come and soon when the few will be counted on to lead the many out of slavery and depravity.

  3. Afonso says:

    What about Benjamim Fulfordºs claim that the new world order(federal reserve etc) is going down soon??

  4. Dwight Baker says:

    By Dwight Baker
    December 26, 2010

    Benjamin Fulford

    After leaving Forbes he wrote a series of books in Japanese. He conducted an interview with the reclusive David Rockefeller in November 2007[citation needed].

    I have seen the video of the interview with David Rockefeller. Benjamin is a very bright guy. The good news for me if he is just half right about his predictions then we are on the edge of turning the corner.

    From Fulford Post http://benjaminfulford.net/

    Although the deadlock at the top of the global financial system seems to be never-ending, in reality top players are waiting for a global purge of historical proportions to be completed. The result will be so dramatic that historians will discuss it for millennia. The purges are happening within freemasonry, within the US military and intelligence establishment, within orders of Knights, within the Vatican, in the Yakuza underworld, and even among the royal families of the world to name but a few. Although there were threats of war and of the unleashing of secret super-weapons such as HAARP in the run-up to the winter solstice and the full lunar eclipse, the forces of peace and harmony have emerged victorious. World peace is at hand.

  5. Afonso says:

    Check ron paul video about fed in activistpost.com

    • captain says:

      dear Alfonso first of all thank you very much for all the info , i have been quite prominently commenting / blogging on activistpost.com , until recently , since most replys i received started to become infantile semi-retarded hate messages which had no connection to the context on which i commented/blogged i immediately recognised it as a typical psy-ops infiltration job , i contacted the site moderators who strangely enough didn’t seem to care (too afraid) and now i am no longer able to post a comment ,when i press the preview / post comment button , nothing happens at all . sad but true , at least im still able to voice my opinion on my beloved NWO OBSERVER , happy new year alfonso!

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