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December 12, 2004
Sanctions Apologists Fight Math; Are Defeated
If you believe there's anything significantly wrong here, please comment below or write me at tinyrevolution*at*yahoo*com.
Supporters of the sanctions on Iraq will never admit the sanctions should, according to international law, have been lifted years ago. In fact, as I said earlier, they will never even notice this is an issue.
BUT -- they have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to admitting the sanctions had a horrific effect on Iraqis. (By conservative estimate, 350,000 children died.) Fortunately, they have a fallback position. I'll give you one guess what it is.
Well, you guessed right. IT WAS ALL SADDAM'S FAULT. It's amazing the things that are all Saddam's fault. He's probably also responsible for global warming and the cruel cancellation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Here's a representative sample of this perspective:
Saddam Hussein's regime always had enough resources to provide the Iraqi population with adequate food, medical care, and other necessities -- and this was especially true after the Iraqi regime finally agreed to institute the UN-run oil-for-food program after 1997. It simply chose to divert these resources to other uses...
Theoretically, this could be so. But let's leave the realm of theory and enter reality.
According to the CIA's final WMD report, the Iraqi regime received -- via smuggling, manipulation of the Oil for Food program, etc. -- $10.9 billion in illicit oil revenue from 1990 to 2003. The Senate Governmental Affairs investigations subcommittee calculated it differently, at $21.3 billion.
Let's assume this money provided no benefit to Iraqis generally. Saddam just took the money and ate it. (In fact, this isn't true -- even Saddam constructing monstrous edifices to his own ego would put money in the pockets of any Iraqis doing the monstrous-edifice construction.)
We'll also assume this money would otherwise have been used for the well being of Iraqis. (Again, not so: under properly functioning sanctions, this money would mostly not have gone to Iraq AT ALL.)
Now let's do some calculations, using figures from the CIA World Factbook. These numbers aren't exact for many reasons, but it gives us an idea of the scale of the situation.
CIA: $10.9 billion
Senate: $21.3 billion
YEARS UNDER SANCTIONS (mid-1990 to mid-2003)
IRAQ PER CAPITA INCOME (2004)
$10,900,000,000 divided by 13 divided by 25,400,000 equals:
$33.01 EXTRA PER IRAQI PER YEAR
$21,300,000,000 divided by 13 divided by 25,400,000 equals:
$64.51 EXTRA PER IRAQI PER YEAR
Thus, Iraqi per capita income would have increased by either:
33.01 divided by 1500 equals 2.2 percent; or
64.51 divided by 1500 equals 4.3 percent
So, that's the argument by sanctions apologists. That's the difference between 350,000 children living and dying.
Iraqi per capita income is $1533/1565 = 350,000 children alive, every single one
Iraqi per capita income is $1500 = all 350,000 children dead
You can judge for yourself how likely this is. For my part, I'll just say: thank god we put those sanctions on. If Iraqi income had been much higher, there'd be so many Iraqi children we wouldn't have space on earth to put 'em all.Posted at December 12, 2004 05:31 PM | TrackBack