Magazine article The Christian Century

Calling for an End to Iraq Sanctions

Magazine article The Christian Century

Calling for an End to Iraq Sanctions

Article excerpt

Decrying the "evil that is happening as a result of sanctions against Iraq," House Democratic Whip David E. Bonior (D., Mich.) asked President Clinton to alleviate suffering in Iraq and call for an end to United Nations--imposed economic sanctions on the country. "This policy is a weapon that leaves the other side's weapons completely untouched," said Bonior at a news conference February 16. "It is a weapon that has killed more than 1 million civilians, mostly children. It's high time we recognize that this embargo hasn't hurt Saddam [Hussein] or the pampered elite who support him."

Bonior joined other members of Congress and 11 American Muslim and Arab American organizations--including the Muslim American Society and the Arab American Institute--at the news conference demanding an end to the sanctions imposed in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait. The sanctions are to remain in effect until the UN determines that Iraq no longer has any weapons of mass destruction.

"Originally intended to undermine the authority of Saddam Hussein, they [sanctions] serve now only to further the dire circumstances of the Iraqi people," said Representative Tom Campbell (R., Calif.) in a statement read by a spokesperson. "Clearly, economic sanctions are having no effect upon the brutal leadership in Iraq but are devastating for its people. The time has come to turn a new page in our dealings with Iraq."

Bonior, who along with Campbell and John Conyers (D., Mich.) initiated an antiembargo letter sent to Clinton in January, maintained that the economic embargo has done little to weaken the Iraqi government and has instead victimized Iraqi civilians, particularly children. "This is infanticide masquerading as policy," said Bonior. "Who are the real victims of economic sanctions against Iraq? Not Saddam Hussein. The children are the real victims. …

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