Sanctions better than war?

I want to preface this because I do not want this to turn into another general antiwar pro-war debate. I am confident that not all of those opposed to war are doing this solely for humanitarian reasons, or just because they think Iraqi civilians may die. There are plenty of people who, although think civilian deaths are a reason to oppose it, they also do not like the implications of a non UN sanctioned war and what it would entail about “American Imperialism”, “bullying”, “hegemony”, or whatever adjective you want to apply to the might of the US and the forcing of it’s will on others. I do not want to argue the latter here. It is not that I find these reasons legitimate. To the contrary, I find those ill informed and knee-jerk reactions to pretty much anything the US does. I do, however, give some empathy to those who feel the loss of innocent life is too much of a price to pay. This is to debate those who’s overriding belief that the cost of lives to innocents in a war makes a war in Iraq just to disarm him not justified…

And one more caveat before I start; I do not want to debate those that think that a Saddam armed with WMD is not a threat to world peace and security for everyone. I thin those people should be in front of the UN protesting all resolutions to disarm Iraq. Or at least be honest about it if you must debate and give significant reasons why that is so besides the fact that Saddam cannot launch a nuke at a US city. And if you must argue that, then I would like to stay on topic and for you to also give reasons why you think sanctions, or status quo, is more preferable to war.

Now, for the past twelve years I have heard almost ad infinitum about the imperialist Americans killing “millions of Iraqi children” by starving them with their murderous sanctions. Now, maybe they are still decrying it and their voices are just being drowned out by the antiwar rhetoric. But they are being replaced by the ones decrying the loss of innocent lives by an aggressive war by the US.

This link provides a lot of estimates on the deaths of civilians caused by the Gulf War. The highest number cited is 3,500. As CyberPundit pointed out to me in another thread, there are surely more deaths caused by damaged infrastructure and other post war syndromes. But the number he quoted from memory from a yahoo article estimating the deaths were in the tens of thousands. And assuming the worste*, a civil war and mass upheaval in the region, you cannot safely say that the deaths of civilians from a major blunder would overshadow the deaths purportedly caused by the sanctions.

*Assuming the worse and running with it is asinine considering the worse never happens accept in the most extraneous of times. While the best laid plans always go out the window after the first shot is fired in times of war, the worst would only happen if those with the ability to curtail the damage just walk away. And I can safely say that that would never happen in today’s world under this particular set of circumstances.

The goal of sanctions is to prohibit Iraq’s development of WMD. The goals of war is to prohibit WMD, liberate the Iraqi people, and help bring stability into a centuries old unstable region. The deaths of a new war is argued to be lower than the previous war because of many circumstances. The foremost reason is the goals of the war. There are indications that many of those that would do massive harm will not do so if they are confident that Saddam will not be around to punish them after the war. The others are things like the technology advancements of the US, the strength of Saddams forces being significantly reduced since the first war, the awareness of the war and expectations of antiwar peoples all over the world, etc.;

Also we would have the ability to effect the postwar deaths in an effective way. The major action would be the lifting of sanctions. They would also have the most powerful nations in control to actually rebuild any effected infrastructure caused by the war, which in and of itself , could raise the quality and chance of life even above a pre warmongering Saddam standard.

Of course, no one can confidently say what will happen in the future. And I, hopefully, am trying to put the realities into perspective. Yes, I have annunciated the positives and argued against the negatives. I am confident that, even if the US drops the ball big-time, the rest of the world can lessen the fall of a pathetic peoples who have suffered far too long IMO. And I think this is a great opportunity for the West to make amends and actually give credit to their touted humanitarianism.

So how is war worse than what we have been doing since the early 90’s. And how can we support sanctions and inspections when the amiable postion of the status quo kills so many innocents while letting the guilty off with just a slap on the wrist at worse, and support for the regime against the inhumanities of the west grows?

Damn hamster has it out for me. I wanted to add this to my caveat in the original thread but I got tricked by Cecil’s rat

If you think that an armed Saddam is not a threat and sanctions are not required even for Saddma’s actions against Kuwait, I cannot argue any stronger than history or the UN resolutions against Iraq can do for themselves so we will agree to disagree.

Thats why i support the war, because it will lift the sanctions. In the end, that is a better fate for the Iraqis than living in poverty & a state of humanitarian crisis. I heard Iraq had one of the best medical care programs in the world before the sanctions.

Don’t know if this is relevant, but its largely the Iraqi governments fault that millions have died for 3 reasons.

  1. They refuse to disarm, which would lift the sanctions
  2. They refuse to take full use of the oil for food program
  3. They misappropriate humanitarian aid to support the military

Richard Garfield, a Columbia University professor who studies how economic sanctions affect public health, estimates that about 350,000 more Iraqi children under the age of five died in the 1990s than would have died without the U.N. sanctions in place. On the other hand, in northern Iraq, where the United Nations supervises the distribution of goods from the oil-for-food program, infant mortality rates have fallen below pre-Gulf War levels.

I hope some anti-war posters will respond to this thoughtful OP – particularly those who are also anti-sanction. A lack of response may indicate that you are in denial about the need to do something to control Saddam’s WMDs or perhaps that you think it’s OK to let him develop all the weapons he wants.

december, I’m going to say this with all the politeness and restraint I can muster: Stop being dishonest about the motives and arguments of your opponents. It’s disgusting and trollish.
Saen: So we’re to limit our responses to those who wish only to defend the status quo in Iraq — by which I take it you mean continued sanctions with or without inspections? And those of us who favor alternate courses which don’t include either full sanctions or war are to stay out of the debate?

Nice little game you’ve laid out for yourself. Don’t be surprised if nobody wants to play, though.

The santions haven’t killed one kid, let alone thousandsor hundreds of thousands. Saddam can sell nearly all the Oil he wants for “humanitarian” purchases- drugs, food, etc. Let me state this again- the sanctions do not impose any real impediment to food & medical supplies being bought for the “starving Iraqis”. NONE.

Now, yes- millions HAVE died since the start of the blockade- and every death can be laid at Saddams doorstep. He has chocse to spend the money on more palaces, and trying to build up his army, and buy WMD. SH uses the sanctions as an excuse for the deaths he is causing by his own neglect. Not to mention, he is starving his enemies, and making sure his own allies get fed.

Now, true- maybe if the sanctions were lifted, SH would allow more money to flow in for food & other humanitarian goods. He’d have so much cash for his toys, palaces & such, that he’d be able to let his own people get in on the feedbag. But- so far, it doesn’t look like he will.

As Calculus has shown- where the UN is distributing the same types of humanitarian supplies that Saddam can buy & distribute- the infant mortality rate is less that it was before the War. SH is simply not buying & distributing the food & medical supplies he could.

Even though Hans Blix is optomistic about more inspections- he has stated clearly that the USA’s “threat of force” was & is nessesary to have the renewed inspections in the first place, and/or continue them. “I don’t think there would have been any inspections but for outside pressure, including US Forces.” Is one quote he gave Time Magazine (3-03-03)

You can do whatever you want. Post whatever you want. I just said my desire was to debate those that a war would be worse than what we have been doing.

I even confused myself on my ceaveats, and I apologize. I meant to say that if you have a viable alternative course that a) dissarms Saddam and b) ends sanctions that kill many iraqis’s, while at the same time imrpoving their lives under Saddam, then come out with it. Make that case and I will debate it. But don’t just say that there are other alternatives and leave it at that.

The reason I stated them was because I have been through too many arguements where people say that what we are doing is wrong, there are better ways to do it, but just because you cannot think of them right now does not make you wrong.

I do not want to debate that an armed Saddam is not a threat. You can state it but I will ignore it. Unless you have significant reasons that do not ignore why people think he is a threat.

So I invite you in particular xenophon41 to state your “alternative course” and how it adresses the threat of Saddam and the welfare of the Iraqi people.

I second Saen’s call for specific alternatives to war to disarm/depose Saddam and the Baathists. I keep hearing vague “alternatives” from the anti-war proponents, but the only specific one I hear is “Give inspections a chance to work.”

If the answer is give inspections a chance, I hope the doves on this board can satisfactorily address these questions*.

(*The questions are based on the prerequisite that the world, as expressed by the United Nations, agrees on the pressing need for Saddam to be disarmed completely of WMD, as expressed in 1441. There is, however, a fundamental disagreement on the method for disarming him. Fair enough?)

  1. As Dr. Deth noted, Hans Blix admitted that the massive U.S./U.K. military buildup was the obvious reason Saddam even agreed to let the inspectors back in. Therefore, is the U.S. supposed to keep 200,000 or so non-Muslim soldiers in Muslim lands indefinitely - permanently poised to invade - to force Saddam to comply with inspectors until he complies totally?

  2. If the answer to Question 1 is no, please provide a realistic scenario in which Saddam is disarmed without the large numbers of troops. After all, when he believed the U.S. wouldn’t invade in 1998, he felt emboldened enough to not cooperate with UN inspectors - inspectors therefore leave. The price for his non-cooperation? A few harmless Tomahawks.

  3. How will keeping all those non-Muslim soldiers in Muslim nations affect the locals in these nations? OBL himself has stated that the presence of infidel Crusader troops on Muslim lands was one of the main motivations behind 9/11. Do you think the presence of these troops indefinitely (to ensure Saddam’s compliance with inspections) provides fertile recruiting material for OBL to offer to frustrated young men? If not, why not?

(3a. To be fair, I think pro-war proponents should have to answer why Iraqis/Muslims will see America in a better light when we launch an aggressive war on a Muslim country, as opposed to merely stationing them in very large numbers.)

  1. If, say, in 2006, Saddam cooperates in destroying his WMD to U.S. satisfaction. What guarantee, other than 200,000 troops permanently poised to invade, does the world have that he (or Qusay or Uday, both of whom are apparently as odious as their father) won’t start building them again?

  2. If inspections on a permanent basis is the answer, does that mean the sanctions also have to continue on a permanent basis?

  3. If the answer to Question 5 is no, how can we ensure that Saddam will use the subsequent increased revenue for Iraqi people, instead of for WMD?

As an aside, for me, the biggest disappointment in this has been Bush himself. I wish Bush would pose these kinds of questions to the world (and thus shift the burden of proof to the anti-war proponents) instead of pursuing his hamfisted, arm-twisting diplomacy. I think there is a very valid casus belli, and history has pretty much illustrated that the inspections/sanctions route has not worked.

As a continuation to my last post, I was only half-kidding when I proposed linking acceptance of the Kyoto treaty to European support for this war in an earlier thread.

After all, if we pro-folks take Bush at his word and believe that we’re ridding the world of a brutal dictator with WMDs in his hip pocket, we should listen to what the rest of the world takes seriously (such as environmental treaties). If we didn’t like Kyoto, we should have counter-offered.

I know, I’m probably being simplistic, but that’s why I’m here - to hopefully reduce my ignorance.

That is a strawman and never was a position of the official pro-action stance. I could argue that a freer people that is lifted from brutal suppression and sanctions would show some kind of gratitude to their sole “saviors”. I could also repeat the thing I said about “support for the regime against the inhumanities of the west” because of the sanctions not being there. But then I would be posturing for the sake of the anti-war people.

I do not think we are going to war to make others feel all cuddley about us. Nor do I think the position to take action against Saddam should be dictated by the attitudes of those that, at best doesn’t care about us one way or another because of the conditions they live in every day.

The ones who I am sure would cause a negative effect towards, those that profit from Saddam, well I never wanted to appease them anyways.

Of all of those numbers stated, did those numbers also include the Kurds? It is easy to twist numbers to make a point, but if Saddam withheld food and medicine from the Kurds in Iraq (which is actually a forgone conclusion since he wants to wipe them out of his country anyways) and then include their deaths in the count, because after all, they are Iraqis – who’s to say that we had a hand in that?

And to show how nebulous the numbers are when stated that “more than a million iraqis died since the start of the blockade in 1990”, let me also state that “Millions of americans have died since the start of the blocade in 1990 as well” – it’s just that we’ve died from different causes than from a blockade, and I bet that a majority of those iraqis that perished were from other causes as well…but pumping up the numbers to ease the sanctions has always been one of many avenues that Saddam explores and uses to keep some sympathisers on his side.

fair enough. But this is GD, so since you are questionaing the credibility of my cite, I have to ask for a cite for this.

Esp. in regards to the UN numbers I quoted. Remember, that quote of over a million deaths where in 1995. So the number would be significantly higher today.

I agree with you GoHeels, Bush has been shooting himself in the foot through his lack of a coherent foreign policy. I can see the need for military action and I just wish we had a President capable of making that case to the rest of the world.

Sanctions are a horribly ineffective means of bringing other nations to heel. In the case of Iraq they have served more (whether rightly or not) as a source of PR for Saddam’s regime.

Well, I’ve posted it before, most succinctly in this post, but also in several threads in which we’ve both participated. I’ll restate it for you:[ul][]Continued inspections, backed up by military units on the ground and military readiness to provide air support / missile attacks where called for by the inspection teams. This could be done with a much smaller (though still intimidating) force on permanent rotation in the Gulf and in Turkey (who might be more easily persuaded to cooperate with an enforcement effort than with an invasion).[]Immediate negotiation with Iraq for lightening of sanctions -through UN process- based on progress and cooperation in disarmament. Ideally, this should be combined with focused aid coordinated by NGO’s without interference by Iraq (a starting point for negotiation). The idea would be to set up for total removal of sanctions when disarmament can be fully verified and monitored. -An interesting related tack might be to offer accelerated removal of sanctions on the condition of voluntary exile for Saddam and his family and internationally monitored free elections. (Not that likely to work, but a possibility.)Increased diplomatic involvement with all countries in the Gulf region. This could even be done in accordance with the already stated national security strategy of the Bush administration by making “freedom and the development of democratic institutions key themes in our bilateral relations, seeking solidarity and cooperation from other democracies while we press governments that deny human rights to move toward a better future.”[/ul]The problem with putting forward arguments for any course of action (including war) is that, if one is honest, no specific result can be either guaranteed or denied. However, there are sure, known and expected consequences of the type of invasion the Bushies plan for Iraq. And they include far more casualties than were incurred -by Iraq or the coalition forces- in Desert Storm.

Descriminate bombings to enforce resolutions against iraq. Sounds like status quo to me. Except for the fact that the inspections team isn’t giving coordinates. Imagine that. They understandibly cannot find WMD in Iraq, impliment surprise inspections without tipping Saddam off, or admitedly enforce any resolutions without Saddam’s cooperation, but we expect them to pinpoint targets for us.

Not likely is right. So instead of the same ole same ole of requiring Saddam to willingly disarm with the threat of invasion and debilitating sanctions, we instead shift gears to depending on the cooperation of Saddam with the threat of bombings (wich we do now), and the carrot that his actual cooperations will lift sanctions imposed upon his people?

What part of this are we not doing now besides depending on Saddam’s cooperation in our strategy? Does Saddam not know that his full cooperation would lift sanctions and remove the threat of war? Do you honestly portend that the removal of the iminent threat of invasion would make him any more cooperative that he was a year ago?

This is almost exactly status quo. Nothing you have written is original. It is either being implimented as we speak or, in the case of Saddam removing himself, already brooked and denied by the benevolent dictator who’s only interest is in his own people :rolleyes:

A specific result cannot be guaranteed or denied, but a specific action definately can be.

So tell me, why do you support the likely continuation of sanctions and a brutal dictator in power over action that would remove both and give some chance to the people of Iraq for better lives for them and their children? What are the “known and expected consequences” that you find more deplorable than what i have cited?

Wow. What an… uninformed analysis. Have you cherry picked the only two things you want to respond to, or will you address the bulk of my post, or at least explain how my suggestions resemble the status quo in any meaningful way? Please support your assertions with citations where necessary. Thank you.

You are quite correct, however, that nothing I’ve put forward is original. France recommended the first point. (Rejected by the Bushies.) Many have recommended the second point over the last decade —including, IIRC, GWB in his 2000 campaign. (Rejected by both the Clintonites and now by the Bushies.) And the third point is currently claimed by Bush himself in that NSS paper! (I don’t anticipate seeing him actually try to implement that particular plank, but it would be nice.)

Well, I’m trying to be a lot more respectfull than Saen, but my opinions are not too far fom his.

Xeno the scenario you’ve outlined has a sort of military-type problem. Think Vietnam. The biggets problem in Vietname for the US, above all other, was that we had no clear goals and no way to achieve them. Our only tool to make the other guy pay attention was carpet bombing, and that had the singluar flaw of relying on the other guy giving up, rather than actually doing permanent damage. We need a way to win that works regardless of what Saddam does or does not do.

That actually is the single biggest flaw in your idea: it requires Saddam to give up. BUT, if he doesn’t, there’s gonna be hell to pay. Moreover, you’ve overlooked logistics. You’re idea calls for troops to be on the ground in a hostile country for an unknown period, while engaging in a de facto state of war. This is, frankly, bull hocky.

On the social front, your plan has the serious flaw of destabilizing the MidEast. In and of itself, this is not a problem. In fact, I think the MidEast needs to to be wobbled, liek an old tooth read to come out, and then gently popped out so a new one can take it place.

However, your idea will require the cooperation of governments that neither want nor plan on democratic reform. These are functioning dictatorships or monarchies. They have no interest in implementing a real democracy. The only way it will happen is if we can apply real pressure, to do that, we will probably have to show some backbone in Iraq. Plus, having a real firendly government who would love to get more income from oil sales (at higher prices if the other Arabian countries decide not to sell to the US) would not be a bad thing.

Lifting sanctions may do some good to the ordinary Iraqis, but it will also strengthen the Baathists and Saddam immensely. Moreover, it will demonstrate a cowerdice on the part of we Americans, and we will not be thanked or respected in the Mid East for it. Rather, they will try to take advantage of us.

Lastly, it won’t do the one thing we really need: it won’t remove Saddam from power. Getting rid of him and his family and cronies and Republican Guard will be a good thing both for the people of Iraq (and particularly the Kurds) and the US of A. Heck, not doing it in the Gulf War was nearly criminal. We pretty much guarranteed that a hostile, vicious man with no compunctions about hurting his own people would cause problems and stay strong.

Continued inspections, - You didn’t get the memo?

backed up by military units on the ground and military readiness to provide air support / missile attacks - did, done, and doing

**where called for by the inspection teams. ** - This I did cover, but want to be sure what you mean. What kind of military strikes would be called for by the inspections teams? If a scientists refuses to cooperate with a private interview should we bomb the house? If Saddam locks up one of his palaces do we send in a special forces team through the windows? Under what exact circumstances that have been apparent so far would inspectors need to call in military action? And at what point did we ever leave the command of our military apparatus to civilians doing civilian jobs?

This could be done with a much smaller (though still intimidating) force on permanent rotation in the Gulf and in Turkey (who might be more easily persuaded to cooperate with an enforcement effort than with an invasion). - Yep, still going

Immediate negotiation with Iraq for lightening of sanctions -through UN process- based on progress and cooperation in disarmament. - I know this is the deal. They know this is the deal. Seems everyone knows it besides you?

Ideally, this should be combined with focused aid coordinated by NGO’s without interference by Iraq (a starting point for negotiation). The idea would be to set up for total removal of sanctions when disarmament can be fully verified and monitored. ** - Well Bush did lighten the burden, even in the face of Iraqi non-cooperation. Powell also tried to get more stringent oversight on the resources going into Iraq, but that didn’t pass UN muster.
** -An interesting related tack might be to offer accelerated removal of sanctions on the condition of voluntary exile for Saddam and his family and internationally monitored free elections. (Not that likely to work, but a possibility.)
- Proposed, brooked, and denied.

Increased diplomatic involvement with all countries in the Gulf region. This could even be done in accordance with the already stated national security strategy of the Bush administration by making “freedom and the development of democratic institutions key themes in our bilateral relations, seeking solidarity and cooperation from other democracies while we press governments that deny human rights to move toward a better future.”

Uh, your cite is better evidence than I can bring up of the willingness of the US to support democracies, eespecially in the mideast. To be more specific, I need to know from you what needs to increase exactly?

Diplomatic? That is a broad range and I can find several instances besides my following cites.

Financial aid? cite

Military pressure? What do you call Iraq and others .

The honey method? Saudi Arabia comes to mind.

Administrative direction? cite
You see. It is these overtly ambiguous responses that I get from you people is what i was trying to avoid. Instead of braodly saying “increased diplomatic involvement”, what are you getting at besides generalizing critique of results from the government?

What part of my original analysis was “uninformed”?

What part of your suggestion is original and not status quo?

Well, that’s what I get for assuming that you “nobody’s given good alternatives to war” folks had made yourself aware of the alternatives that had actually been proposed. I should have been clear that I support the proposal offered last month by France, Germany and Russia, which calls for “reinforced” inspections including mobile units. I’d like to see such a reinforcement include military units available to provide support on the ground where called in by the inspectors and to intercept any suspected movement of weapons away from sites identified for inspection. Far from being there with “no clear goals” the military operation in Iraq would be a clear one of enforcement of UNMOVIC’s mission.

I’m not recommending an open-ended operation, or a willingness to permit a “de facto state of war” to continue, I’m recommending the same inspection and assessment timelines that are in the proposal. (I’d summarize them, but I’d prefer that you actually read the proposal.)

Please explain, including the part how it would be more destabilizing than a war.

First, it isn’t my plan, it’s Bush’s. Did you even read the NSS I provided a link for? Second, how is my plan lacking in backbone? Third, you haven’t demonstrated how our invasion will necessarily lead to a “real friendly government” in Iraq. (Of course, neither have I, but then, I’m not selling anything as a panacea, unlike the war hawks.)

Another three part response here: Firstly, why is it our place to forceably remove a legitimate head of another state from power? (Rather than engaging that country diplomatically or militarily as necessary.) Secondly, what’s the benefit to the USA of removing Saddam --outside of any other consequences of a military invasion; say, if Saddam could be wished into a cornfield somewhere by magic? Thirdly, how in the hell is Bush’s plan of action going to be beneficial to the Kurds? He’s already sold them out to the Turks. They should be our natural allies if we hope to establish a democratic state in Iraq. Unfortunately, they seem to be considered irrelevant by this administration (or at least to be oddly excluded from our “alliance of the willing”).

Gosh, Saen, it’s almost as if you read the words without understanding what they mean. Do you not understand that when I say “continued inspections” that means I’m aware that inspections are underway? Do you also not see how tactical military support of specific inspection teams would be vastly different than military buildup pending invasion? Do you fail to comprehend that immediate negotiation over specific sanctions is different than blanket lifting of sanctions based on certification of disarmament and also different than the resolution adopted last May?

As to Powell’s proposal last January, and Saddam’s recent response, that’s hardly the end of the story. We’ve heard rhetoric from Saddam before (like when he refused to destroy the Al Samoud missiles right up until the point where he started to destroy them).

Sure, just as soon as you tell me which specific military targets need to be hit first in an invasion (be more specific than “Bagdhad” — you guys are always so overtly ambiguous about this), and explain the military command structure of the Iraqi army, with names of commanders. War is your proposed “solution”, you explicate that and I’ll explicate my non-guaranteed proposal.

Remember, I’m recommending nothing more than an overt application of the diplomatic effort your Commander in Chief promised us in that NSS. I don’t have specifics. Neither does Bush, as is becoming painfully obvious.

See the first paragraph of this post.

See my previous response from you where I gave partial history of my unoriginal suggestions. See again the first paragraph of this post for the “not status quo” part.