The Book

Front Cover  Table Of Contents

Copyright  Back Cover



Pages 62 – 64

After the Gulf War, Iraq was subjected to some of the harshest sanctions ever imposed upon a nation. The UN deployed inspectors to conduct a search for weapons of mass destruction. This search lasted more than six years. The UN was also to provide stability to Iraq, but because of the lack of funding, resources and ever-political posturing by Saddam Hussein, this became a daunting task.

Containment consisted of a “No-Fly Zone.” This allowed the Allies to fly warplanes over northern and southern Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from using his military. Eventually, the No-Fly Zones became a means for the Allies to force Iraq to comply with UN demands. Comprehensive economic sanctions would devastate an already fragile war-torn country. Iraq was plunged into dire poverty as a result.

Economic Sanctions against Iraq

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.”

Elie Wiesel

The UN reported that a battered and beaten Iraq was facing a crisis. UNICEF witnessed 200 children dying a day. Lack of food, water, sanitation, and health care threatened the country. Medical conditions broke down due to the shortage of clean water, waste disposal facilities, preventive medicine, and health-care services. The lack of electricity and poor transportation only exacerbated the situation. According to United Nations reports, Iraq was in a state of “imminent catastrophe” and the UN predicted epidemics and famine if massive life-support needs were not swiftly met.

From 1991 through 2002, an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died as a result of the first Gulf War and the impact of the sanctions. This number is close to three times as many deaths as those caused by the U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Japan. By 1999, 13 percent of all Iraqi children were dying before their fifth birthday as an indirect result of contaminated water.

The United States anticipated the collapse of the Iraqi water system early on. The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency projected in January of 1991 that under the embargo, Iraq’s ability to provide clean drinking water would fail within six months. Chemicals for water treatment, the agency noted, were “depleted or nearing depletion.” Chlorine supplies were “critically low,” and the main chlorine-production plants had been shut down. Industries such as pharmaceuticals and food processing were nearly incapacitated.

The sanctions affected virtually every aspect of the country’s imports and exports. So, for example, while Iraq was allowed to purchase a sewage-treatment plant, it was blocked from buying the generator needed to run it. The consequence of not having the needed technology to run the sewage plant resulted in Iraqis dumping 300,000 tons of raw sewage into their rivers daily.

The U.S. finally agreed with the UN evaluation in 1996 that Iraq was facing a humanitarian disaster. A “Food for Oil” program was established, thereby allowing Iraq a chance to resolve this crisis in exchange for a limited amount of oil. Iraq’s entire infrastructure, including its food, medicine, water treatment, electricity, telephones, roads, equipment, and supplies were subjected to UN Security Council monitoring and review.

On March 18, 1997, Iraq granted Russia the status of most favored nation to receive Iraqi oil exports in exchange for humanitarian goods. Of the first 37 contracts approved by the United Nations in the Food for Oil sale, seven went to Russian companies, representing almost 20 percent of the volume of oil in the sale. On March 22, 1997, Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rashid announced the establishment of a new Iraq/Russian oil company that would work independently of Iraq’s national oil company. Iraq signed other agreements with France and China as well.

Three of the UN Security Council’s permanent members, France, Russia and China, as well as other members of the UN, continually requested that the sanctions be lifted from Iraq, but the UN held that the sanctions could not be lifted until the United States and Britain agreed. Both nations would continue to hold firmly to the imposition of sanctions upon Iraq until after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Mr. Denis Halliday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, resigned in October of 1998 in order to freely criticize the sanctions on Iraq, stating, “I don’t want to administer a program that satisfies the definition of genocide.”10 His resignation came after a thirty-four year career with the United Nations.

“The great error of nearly all studies of war … has been to consider war as an episode in foreign policies, when it is an act of interior politics . . .”

Simone Weil

The biggest criticism of the Food for Oil program was that Saddam Hussein allegedly used the funds from the program to build palaces and mosques. He was said to have punished segments of Iraqi citizens by denying them food. We now know that while ordinary Iraqi citizens suffered and died, Saddam Hussein continued to enjoy his rich lifestyle inside his many palaces with his well-stocked liquor cabinets, Cuban cigars, parties, and tailored Armani suits. Hussein’s dictatorial lifestyle was hardly affected during the years of sanctions but the Iraqis suffered brutally.

Foundation of The Project for a New American Century

It was 1992 and Neoconservative Paul Wolfowitz, who served in the Department of Defense under Dick Cheney in the George H.W. Bush Administration, created the first draft of the “New Defense Planning Guidelines.” The defense document prepared by Wolfowitz called for preemptive strikes against Iraq and North Korea. The New Defense Planning Guidelines created a hailstorm of criticism, so much so that George H.W. Bush, embarrassed by the media exposure, ordered Dick Cheney to rewrite them.

These guidelines were later resurrected to become the fundamental doctrine of the Project for a New American Century. In a document entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” Wolfowitz campaigns for a future of rapidly increased defense spending and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Ominously, he writes, “The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”

In the darkness of the 9/11 attacks on our nation, Wolfowitz got his “Pearl Harbor.” Few U.S. citizens realized that the Project for a New American Century’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” became the United States’ new foreign policy. This policy not only included the doctrine of preemptive strikes against other nations, but it also enthusiastically pro¬moted the ideals of American hegemony.

“Imperialism is an institution under which one nation asserts the right to seize the land or at last to control the government or resources of another people.”

John T. Flynn