Saddam May Be Paying For These Sins As We Speak!

This isn’t a particularly new story on the darkness that Saddam cast upon his people during his reign, but it certainly casts a damming light on the western media that chose to take the moral and ethical low road in not only failing to report the truth about the cause of hundreds of children’s deaths in Traq, but also were participants in validating the lie.

I didn’t want to link to this latest rumor of Saddam’s “untimely” death, since it was only being reported in the Guardian. But now the international version of the NYT has added their two-cents worth, so I’ll allow myself to start to hope its true.

4 Responses to “Saddam May Be Paying For These Sins As We Speak!”

  1. Glen Says:

    Oh God!…Thanks for this amusing piece, but as the author of this article says “BUT now for the truth — because the peddlers of such corrosive hate-speech must be exposed and shamed, if not

    into silence then into moderation.” I do not wish to shame Mr.Bolt although his speech is far from “moderation” and closer to that “hate-speech” he is accusing those lefties journalists. But I also wish that “our dangerous and wilful ignorance” ends too.

    There is no doubt S.H was a major criminal, evil, one of the biggest monsters of the modern era, and whatever you want to call him. Pity that the people who supported him during his worst atrocities are not paying as well.

    It amazes me that only NOW are we learning of “the horror that gripped Iraq”.

    So let’s go back in history and remember that up to 1990, when he had committed his worst crimes by far, like the Anfal operation in 1988 which resulted in over 100,000 deaths in northern Iraq, or the attacks in the Kurdish town of Halabja on March 16, same year, with poison gas and nerve agents, killing 5,000, he was a friend an ally of those running the show in Washington today. President Ronald Reagan’s administration only weakly protested Iraq’s appalling human rights record and blocked a Senate resolution that would have imposed sanctions. Bush 1 authorized loan guarantees and sale of advanced technology with clear applications for weapons of mass destruction right up to the day of the Kuwait invasion, sometimes overriding congressional efforts to prevent what he was doing. Britain was still authorizing export of military equipment and radioactive materials a few days after the invasion.

    When Bush 1 announced new gifts to his friend in December 1989, it was considered too insignificant even to report. A few months later, shortly before he invaded Kuwait, a high-level Senate delegation, headed by Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, visited Saddam, conveying the President’s greetings and assuring the brutal mass murderer that he should disregard the criticism he hears from maverick reporters here.

    Unfortunately the Iraqis did not have an opportunity to overthrow Saddam, unlike the Romanians who overthrew Ceausescu in 1989. What prevented any kind of uprising in Iraq was the murderous sanctions regime, which strengthened Saddam Hussein, and made the population completely reliant on him for survival. And this argument did not come exclusively from those “peddlers of such corrosive hate-speech” but from the heads of the UN oil for food programme Dennis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck who had hundreds of investigators running through the country.

    The truth about the sanctions is not as simplistic as Mr. Bolt makes it seem to be. I guess he forgets about the destruction of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure after the war, including electric power stations, irrigation facilities, and water and treatment sewage plants.

    There is a detail well documented report on the impacts of sanctions here:

  2. Craig Says:

    Dictators throughout history have traditionally had many enablers somewhere along the line of either their ascent to power or during their reign. People with that kind of dark, treacherous intent are smart enough to know how to use others for their own designs.

    I can’t speak for a particular agenda the author may have had in exposing certain reporters or news outlets. My only point in posting this article was that there were journalists and decision-makers within news organizations who, admittedly, surpressed criminal actions of Saddam’s regime to curry enough favor to allow them to stay within the country and continue working there.

    The level of information that the world was able to obtain, especially throughout the 1990’s, was distressing enough. But it is the depth of suffering, corruption, and human neglect that is only more recently being seen and validated, that is only now being fully realized. Besides I would have hoped for more of a sense of moral and ethical obligation from the world press than I ever would have expected from a UN task force filled with career diplomats and naive bureaucratic lackeys who would just as soon ask an Iraqi official if they are buying and distibuting the proper food and materials, rather than actually monitoring and scrutinizing the process. How many examples of UN ineffectualness do we need to see to hammer home that fact?

    And the recent uncovering of billions of Saddam’s money (which is likely only a portion of his true wealth, still hidden or frozen in outside accounts) indicates that much of the damaged infrastructure that sat in disrepair was not singularly the fault of any limitations created by a world-imposed sanction.

    Despite the ineffective and wrong-headed approach of economic sanctions in the first place, alternative solutions such arms embargos and other specific sanctions aimed at “impacting” only the government and its military would have been similarly worthless in its affect on Saddam’s hold on power and access to contraband materials. And Iraq’s people would have been repressed, imprisoned and slaughtered at the same rate, only with a little more food in their bellies and a few more pieces of currency in their pockets.

  3. Glen Says:

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t a question of a little more food or a few more pieces of currency. It’s also about clean water, the importation of chlorine was embargoed by sanctions, as a result you have diseases like diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis, typhoids. And you can guess who are the most likely to pay with their lives from these diseases, the old and the children.

    I don’t know what’s the point in throwing mud to a bunch of journalists who dare to talk about the impact of 12 years of US policy in Iraq, I’m talking for Pilger and Fisk. The article sets the stage for some climactic revelations although all it could muster was some manipulative editing, which all forms of journalism contain.

    If you want to discredit the UN, UNICEF for their conclusions, you’ll also have to discredit Red Cross International, and every human rights organization that there is who came to the same conclusions.

    My point is that the United States was fully aware of what it was doing, it knew of the consequences of depriving Iraq of the necessary chemicals and facilities to provide clean water to its population.

    You can see it for yourself, declassified DIA documents like “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities” January 22, 1991:

    “Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline,” the document states. “With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations Sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease.”

    This document also states that “Food processing, electronic, and, particularly, pharmaceutical plants require extremely pure water that is free from biological contaminants,”

    A second DIA document “Disease Outbreaks in Iraq,” February 21, 1991

    “Conditions are favorable for communicable disease outbreaks, particularly in major urban areas affected by coalition bombing.”

    This document also states “most likely diseases during next sixty-ninety days (descending order): diarrheal diseases (particularly children); acute respiratory illnesses (colds and influenza); typhoid; hepatitis A (particularly children); measles, diphtheria, and pertussis (particularly children); meningitis, including meningococcal (particularly children); cholera (possible, but less likely).”

    This can be resume with the most famous quote by Madeline Albright, when asked by 60 Minutes Leslie Stahl to explain US policy in the context of the devastation she had seen among the children of Iraq, she responded “It’s a hard decision, Leslie, but we think the price…is worth it.”

    And from Voices in the Wilderness some Q&A about “Sanctions: Myth & Reality”:

  4. Craig Says:

    The following article addresses some of the concerns and the documentation that you cite in your prior comments.

    Again, I think its obvious that the sanctions imposed by the UN were not going to work has they believed they could. I think, in the end, this issue, like so many things in life, is a very gray area, and not as black and white as people on the strong right or strong left sides of the political spectrum like to view it.

    Sanctions certainly imposed some hardships, including some greater health risks, on the Iraqi people as a whole. But much of this degraded quality of life seems more directly the result of Saddam’s purposeful intent and the morally corrupt mechanisms of his administration, rather than due to the limitations created by the sanctions themselves.

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