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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

tough choices « Previous | |Next »
July 30, 2003

This is a very good and tough minded article by David Reiff in the New York Times Magazine. The link is courtesy of Abu Aardvark

It is about the 1990s in Iraq and the regime of sanctions put in place by the United Nations and the US. It argues that it is a modern tragedy.

On the one hand:

"...Iraq sanctions may have contained Hussein, but they had failed at weakening his grip on his country. Brent Scowcroft is right that without the sanctions the American victory in the second gulf war might very well not have been as smooth. The embargo does seem to have achieved the goal subsequently advanced for it as a rationale; that is, to keep Hussein 'in his box' and to prevent him from developing weapons of mass destruction."

On the other hand a fundamental reason Iraq is in such terrible shape is not just because of Hussein's brutality to his own people. The comprehensive regime of economic sanctions, which the United Nations Security Council imposed on Iraq for almost 13 years, sharply restrictrd all foreign trade, and brought a once rich country to its knees.

Seen as strategically sound (it is either do nothing, military intervetion or sanctions). sanctions also exacted an appalling human toll. Rieff says:

"...there is little doubt that at least several hundred thousand children who could reasonably have been expected to live died before their fifth birthdays. The damage, according to those who fought against sanctions, was terrible."

Sanctions are an option with North Korea.(If that is rejected then its either do nothing or military intervention). Sanctions will result in ruined lives and the dead bodies strewn across the ruins of broken societies either. This will be the cost North Koreans will pay for Australian security. Another modern tragedy is looming.

Do read the article. You rarely see this sort of quality journalism in Australia.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:42 AM | | Comments (0)
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