Sanctions Killed Innocent Iraqis, and It Looks Like Innocent Iranians are Next
Not only is the Latter-day Roman Empire-er-the United States putting the thumbscrews to Iran by not purchasing its oil, its putting the thumbscrews to other countries to force them to put the thumbscrews to Iran as well.
Under growing pressure from the United States, some of Asia’s largest economies are reluctantly looking for options to reduce the amount of oil they buy from Iran, a move that would further tighten the economic vise on an increasingly defiant nation that announced plans for a new round of naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz.Targeted sanctions have already been tried and have been admitted to have failed. Now more pervasive sanctions are being tried.
The decision by South Korea and Japan to try to accommodate Washington’s demands follows reports that China has already reduced its purchase of Iranian crude...
How will these sanctions work? Quite well, if your goal is to make the problem worse. General sanctions will work as poorly as they did last time.
Was there a last time, you ask? Yes. In Iraq.
The newest sanctions will not hurt the people in power in Iran. Sanctions will only help them consolidate their power. These sanctions won't help the welfare of the Iranian people or aid them in achieving the liberties that they deserve, either. In both respects, sanctions will only bring harm to the everyday people of Iran.
Barry Lando reports on what happened in Iraq over the last 20-plus years of sanctions there.
...the fact is that we in the West, and particularly the U.S., are more responsible for Iraq’s tragic plight and its foreboding future than the Iraqis themselves.How can that be? Because of sanctions very similar to the ones we are levying against Iran now. Sanctions that began in 1990
cut off all trade between Iraq and the rest of the world. That meant everything, from food and electric generators to vaccines, hospital equipment—even medical journals. Since Iraq imported 70 percent of its food, and its principal revenues were derived from the export of petroleum, the sanctions had an immediate and catastrophic impact.Is that how we go about helping the people of Iran? I hardly think so. Lando writes
Enforced primarily by the United States and Britain, they remained in place for almost 13 years and were, in their own way, a weapon of mass destruction far more deadly than anything Saddam had developed. Two U.N. administrators who oversaw humanitarian relief in Iraq during that period, and resigned in protest, consider the embargo to have been a “crime against humanity.”
a disastrous shortage of food...meant malnutrition for some, starvation and death for others. At the same time, the medical system, once the country’s pride, was careening toward total collapse. Iraq would soon have the worst child mortality rate of all 188 countries measured by UNICEF.
But here's the worst part. It didn't even solve the problem that it was ostensibly intended to solve.
...rather than weakening Saddam, the sanctions only consolidated his hold on power. Iraqis were so obsessed with simply keeping their families alive that there was little interest or energy to plot the overthrow of one of the most ruthless dictatorships on the planet. “The people didn’t hold Saddam responsible for their plight,” Halliday said. “They blamed the U.S. and the U.N. for these sanctions and the pain and anger that these sanctions brought to their lives.”I don't really think that our current leaders in government are incapable of learning from the history of failed sanctions in Iraq. But if they refuse to, let's get some people in there who do understand history and want to learn from it. From an Orwellian perspective, sanctions against Iran will work very well. From a humanitarian one, they won't work at all.