imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Don't Blame the Killer

by Hootchie Mama Friday, Apr. 25, 2003 at 12:16 AM

Blame the US. . . Further Instructions: Quickly denounce this article as the work of the Corporate Media. . . preferrably Foxnews. Carry on.

Now we know the truth. Now that American marines have opened the doors and collapsed the walls of Saddam Hussein’s infamous palaces, along with the homes of his relatives and party loyalists, there can no longer be any doubt: The left’s persistent claim that Iraq’s people are poor and malnourished largely as a result of UN sanctions – of which the US is seen as the principal architect – rings utterly hollow. Now the eyes of the entire world have been given a glimpse of the lavish wealth that Saddam’s Ba’athist regime hoarded for itself while forcing the population at large to scrimp and struggle. Now it is no longer arguable: It wasn’t sanctions, but the unimaginable greed of the Iraqi regime, that caused the deaths of so many innocent subjects of Saddam.

During the months and years preceding Operation Iraqi Freedom, the chorus we repeatedly heard from the left asserted that were it not for UN sanctions, each week some 1,200 to 1,500 fewer Iraqi children would have died. According to board member Ramzi Kysia of the Washington, D.C.-based Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC), the years of sanctions have “resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths.” A spokesman for Voices in the Wilderness (VITW), an activist “humanitarian aid” group, said in 1998 that “the sanctions have already accounted for the death[s] of more than 1.5 million Iraqi civilians since August of 1990, the vast majority of the dead being children.”  A recent UN report asserted that one-third of all Iraqi children under age five are chronically malnourished. “Sanctions have turned Iraq into a ruin,” says a senior UN official. “The impact has been horrendous.” UN spokesman Eric Falt concurs,  “Malnutrition is running at an all-time high. Even if the statistics are not 100 percent accurate, there is no question about the scale of the catastrophe.”

In an effort to “put a human face” on the statistics of misery, heart-rending eyewitness accounts of Iraqi suffering have flooded the media for years. In a November 1997 piece in the Baltimore Sun, for instance, George Capaccio wrote that during a recent visit to Iraq he had seen “dignified Muslim women begging on Baghdad Street corners; young boys hawking cigarettes and kerosene to help support their families; a father running with his child into a hospital emergency room because there are so few functioning ambulances; a middle aged man with diabetes standing by a hospital entrance and pleading with me for insulin.” “Inside the hospitals,” he continued, “I see blood- and urine-stained mattresses; broken air conditioners and light fixtures; dimly lighted pediatric wards; mothers tending their children day and night; and hundreds of children waiting for medicine that never comes. This is what several years of sanctions has done to this once-prosperous country.”

A February 1998 Christian Science Monitor piece reported, “In daily life for seven years, people . . . in Iraq have paid a very real human cost. Millions lack enough food and medicine. Death rates, especially for children, have risen dramatically.” In August 2002, the former head of the United Nations’ humanitarian workers in Iraq blamed sanctions for “starving to death 6,000 Iraqi infants every month, ignoring the human rights of ordinary Iraqis, and turning a whole generation against the West.”

“Sanctions are unbearable, inhuman,” agreed Moyassar Hamdon Sulaiman, leader of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. “[Westerners] speak about ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ but we call this a 'weapon of mass suffering.’” “You call it sanctions or embargo,” said the archbishop of Basra’s Chaldean Church, “but in reality it is injustice to the most extreme degree. Our people are suffering deeply, greatly, and harshly.” Basra’s Eastern Orthodox bishop lamented, “[Our city] has no potable water supply and little electricity. Epidemics rage, taking away children by the thousands. Our situation is unbearable.” In a similar spirit, the archbishop of Baghdad’s Armenian Church says, “Pursuing political and economic aims through causing pain and suffering for people is not a very moral attitude.”

American religious leaders have been outspoken as well. In a joint 2001 letter to the UN Security Council, the Mennonite and Quaker Churches complained that “the sanctions have contributed in a major way to persistent life-threatening conditions in [Iraq].” The Mennonite Central Committee, the United Methodist Church, the Christian Reformed Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA formed a coalition called “Compassion Iraq” to press for an end to sanctions. The National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Middle East Council of Churches passed organizational resolutions condemning sanctions and urging their discontinuance.

Yet we heard nary a word from these critics about the manner in which Saddam was siphoning rivers of money away from the UN’s oil-for-food program, which was designed to prevent the type of humanitarian crisis Iraq was facing. Indeed between 1997 and 2002, that program more than quadrupled the amount of humanitarian-earmarked revenues Baghdad was allowed to raise. But instead of using this money to feed and medicate the needy masses, Saddam used it to furnish his military, security, and government personnel with sumptuous meals, expensive cars, and large monthly stipends. On one Baghdad-area estate that housed senior Ba’ath Party officials, US marines have already found some 0 million in cash – all in 0 bills packed tightly inside dozens of large metal boxes. Not a bad cache for people living in a country where sanctions have supposedly plunged an entire population into desperate poverty.   

Between 1990 and 2002, Saddam spent at least billion on the construction of scores of palaces and monuments to himself, largely with funds that should have been used for food and medicine. These palaces feature such extravagances as golden plumbing, crystal chandeliers, and the finest European marble. For the first time, images of these imposing edifices are being transmitted to the outside world, where viewers can plainly see that these are not merely individual buildings, but sprawling estates that in many instances measure several square kilometers in size. Their grounds, moreover, are adorned with elaborate gardens, lakes, and waterfalls – many of them in the heart of drought-stricken areas where most citizens lack enough clean water for even their most basic daily needs. 

In 1994 the Ba’athist regime completed its construction of Saddam International Tower, a lavish 300-foot-tall government office facility. Five years later saw the opening of Saddamiat al Tharthar, a vast lakeside vacation resort located 85 miles west of Baghdad, containing sports stadiums, an amusement park, hospitals, and several hundred homes for government officials. The critics of sanctions, however, remained mute regarding these projects. Nor did they have much to say about Saddam sending ,000 packages of “oil-for-food” money to the families of “martyred” Palestinian suicide bombers.

Being a chip off the old block, Saddam’s son Uday, we have learned, had a similar taste for extravagance. Within the past two weeks, US marines have found his own large palace with marble walls, wherein he was known to cavort with his harems of “girlfriends”; his private zoo that included such wild animals as cheetahs and lions; and his subterranean cavern of car parks, packed with his hundreds of classic and vintage automobiles. Strewn among his belongings were and 0 bills whose corners were charred from having been used to light Uday’s expensive cigars. Moreover, Uday enjoyed displaying personal symbols of his opulence – things like his million ring and a solid-gold watch with 54 full-cut fine diamonds.

While our knowledge of some of these extravagances has come to light only with our military victory, much of it was well known long before the war. Nonetheless, the critics of sanctions have generally avoided addressing such subjects – because there’s no political mileage to be gained from them. The critics’ real agenda has nothing to do with placing responsibility for Iraqi poverty and suffering squarely where it belongs, but rather to blame America for leading the way in systematically “exterminating” a mostly-Muslim people.

Knowing this, we can easily understand why these critics have scarcely given even a passing mention to what has happened in northern Iraq, the Kurdish area that has been independent of Saddam – and protected by US and British patrols – since the early 1990s. Under the sanctions program, the Kurdish regional government receives 13 percent of Baghdad’s oil income but, unlike Saddam, actually uses those funds to pay for food, medicine, and construction projects designed to benefit its people as a whole – rather than merely to line the pockets of a heartless despot and his inner circle. As a result, this region where Saddam’s infamous Anfal campaign once gassed thousands of Kurds to death is now flourishing, as evidenced by its recent construction of 20,000 new homes, 800 water systems, 600 schools, and nearly 1,500 miles of new roads. In stark contrast to the regions of Iraq heretofore controlled by Saddam, infant mortality rates in the north are actually lower than they were before the UN sanctions took effect, as are the rates of underweight births and mothers dying during pregnancy.

Yes, now we know the truth. But will the Blame-America-First crowd acknowledge it? Don’t hold your breath.

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy