Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Much to Be Gained, Little to Be Lost in Giving Sanctions a Year to Squeeze Iraq

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Much to Be Gained, Little to Be Lost in Giving Sanctions a Year to Squeeze Iraq

Article excerpt

THE United States is on the path to war with Iraq. The Bush administrations seems unwilling to let the economic sanctions prove their effectiveness, and equates a negotiated settlement of the conflict with "rewarding aggression." The administration touts the period following the United Nation's Jan. 15 deadline for Iraq to evacuate Kuwait as a global hunting season against Saddam Hussein.

But a war against Iraq would not be a global effort. It would be largely an American undertaking with an international veneer. Most of the casualties and costs would be borne by the US. The costs could well include the enduring hatred of Arab masses, directed - despite Iraq's invasion of Kuwait - against the country that inflicts most of the damage upon an Arab land.

Many Arabs already see the US as the successor to British and French colonialists, a supporter of immensely wealthy sheikdoms, and the champion of Israel. Militarily, the US is without peer; politically, it stands on shifting sands in the Arab world.

What's the rush to attack Iraq? The consequences of war could be far worse than the present difficult situation. Why not extend the economic embargo for a year beyond the invasion, until Aug. 2, 1991? If our purpose is to get Iraq out of Kuwait, the extra time could be used to see if this can be done peacefully. And the reported unreadiness of US forces in the Gulf before mid-February could add some time to help us think about what to do.

In recent congressional testimony, Adm. William Crowe, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said:

"If, in fact, the sanctions will work in 12 to 18 months instead of six months, the trade-off of avoiding war with its attendant sacrifices and uncertainties would, in my estimation, be more than worth it."

I AGREE. A one-year economic embargo of Iraq would have many advantages. …

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