The Children of Iraq

John Pilger, the British journalist, has visited Iraq and reported extensively on what he has seen. Reading  his commentary, one begins to understand how brutal lies can be. 

Before the Gulf War, Iraq had one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. Today it is the highest. The economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council denied Iraq the equipment it needed to clean up the battlefields from the Gulf War. The battlefields needed to be cleaned up because the depleted uranium that was discharged by American and British bombs carried with them a silent death that was far more devastating than the initial blasts would have suggested. There are regions in Iraq where as many as 40% of the children living nearby now have cancer. It is not unusual for several children in one family to have cancer. Those who don’t have cancer today are expected to get it later in life.

The death rate for children under 5 was running 4,000 per month in the year 2000 when one of the articles I am referring to was written.

As far as I can tell, the American strategy as it applies to Iraq has been… “If we destroy life, as these people know it, perhaps they will blame Saddam Hussein and run him out of office.”  But that is only part of the strategy.  It appears to me that the other part is… “If we destroy life as these people know it, we can then come in, control the oil, and no one will be able to do anything about it.”  I think this is all about oil, not about terrorism.  There is no greater terrorism than when it rains US bombs.  And after each rain storm, we call the dead-collateral damage.  They call the dead- family and friends.  This is not about Saddam’s evil intentions.  When Saddam poisoned the Kurds, the US Government said nothing.  Saddam Hussein is a product of the CIA and American policy, but that is another story.

In 1996, when then Secretary of State Madeline Albright was asked during a 60 Minutes interview about the hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq who have died because of the sanctions, and whether she thought the price was worth it… she said, yes, she thought it was worth it. SHE thought it was worth it. Who has a right to think such a thing or to make such decisions about other people’s children… in my name, in your name?  

So you could argue, “Don’t blame us for the death of these children, Saddam Hussein could have stopped the sanctions at any time. Blame him.”  Well I do blame him.  But that doesn’t absolve us from the part we played.  We knew or should have known that Saddam Hussein would rather let his people suffer than give in to outside pressure.  So we knowingly chose to pursue a strategy that guaranteed his people WOULD suffer.  And we didn’t stop when we saw the results.  We used the pain and deaths of these children to try to pressure Saddam Hussein to do what… leave town – an ignorant, unworthy, cruel policy.

A year after Albright’s appearance on 60 Minutes: “…in an interview with CNN reporter Peter Arnett, Osama Bin Laden directly stated that ‘A REACTION MIGHT TAKE PLACE as a result of U.S. government’s execution of over 600,000 Iraqi children by preventing food and medicine from reaching them.’Did you like this article?