It wasn’t too long ago that human rights groups and organizations everywhere were assailing the UN sanctions against Iraq because of their toll on the civilian population. Skirting the issue of whether Saddam, for not complying with the sanctions regime, or the UN and US for willingly acknowledging and ignoring the punishment inflicted upon the civilian population, I’d like to know just how hurtful the UN sanctions were to the Iraqi populace? How many innocent Iraqis reportedly perished from malnutrition, infant mortality, ect, and whatever adverse effects did these sanctions cause?
Secondly, how do the number of deaths related to the UN sanctions compare to those civilian deaths caused by the Gulf War?
And bearing in mind the higher percentage of smart weapons likely to be used should we soon invade Iraq and the desire to minimize Iraqi civilian casualties and long-term damage to the country and its infrastructure (after all, we are planning on rebuilding it), how do the sanctions related deaths compare to projected casualty estimates for this second Gulf War?
Basically, I’d like to know if over a decade of sanctions to contain Saddam would likely be more costly to the Iraqi population than the war we currently seem intent to wage?
I’m especially curious as our more reluctant European allies, such as France and Germany, would be perfectly comfortable with containing Saddam in his newly strengthened sanctions box – an outcome that would unavoidably punish the Iraqi people. Guess I’m looking to see which is really the lesser of two evils here.
Thanks for any insight you might offer.