Gray's claim that John McDonnell and the StWC are "cowards" for not supporting sanctions on Iran that would kill hundreds of thousands

Hans Von Sponeck, one of two heads of the 1991-2003 UN sanctions on Iraq to resign. Von Sponeck resigned in 2000 denouncing sanctions on Iraq as a form of genocide.

Gray condemns us as "cowards" for not supporting the current war on Iraq or expanding sanctions on Iran. The UN sanctions on Iraq ,demanded and enforced by successive British and American governments, killed around 5,000 children a month over 12 years and thats according to two former heads of the UN sanctions programme (1). Halliday on his resignation called the sanctions "genocide" - a reasonable description of with-holding food and medicine from an entire country resulting in around 720,000 dead children (5,000 more deaths a month than there were before sanctions for 12 years) plus many adults dying from 1990 till March 2003 - when the main cause of death became war .

Oxfam says the current Israeli government sanctions on the Palestinian authority - (meant to punish the Hamas element in the governing coalition for refusing to recognise Israel) - have already led to 46% of Palestinians not having enough to eat and patients in Palestinian hospitals dying due to lack of medicines to treat them (3), (4).

Yet Gray says we're cowards for opposing sanctions that would bring this kind of suffering to ordinary Iranians and probably kill as many ordinary Iranians per month as sanctions on Iraq did. Is it right in some way to let ordinary people starve to death or die of lack of basic medicines to punish governments they don't control?

We'll support smart sanctions - travel bans on human rights abusers and the architects of massacres in the Sudanese government and military, siezure of their foreign bank accounts and a ban on arms sales to Sudan - sanctions that hurt the guilty not the innocent - but that's not good enough for John Gray.



Next Link -Gray's hypocrisy and dishonesty on Iraqi trade unionists

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(1) = Guardian 29 Nov 2001 , ‘"The hostage nation : Former UN relief chiefs Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday speak out against an attack on Iraq"’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,608578,00.html

(2) = CNN 16 Jan 2001, ‘Chat Transcript : Former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday opposes U.N.’s sanctions ’, http://www.cnn.com/COMMUNITY/transcripts/2001/01/16/halliday/

(3) = Guardian 13 Apr 2007, ‘Oxfam calls for end to Palestinian blockade ’, http://www.cnn.com/COMMUNITY/transcripts/2001/01/16/halliday/

(4) = Guardian 10 May 2006 , ‘Patients die as doctors run out of drugs to treat them’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1771199,00.html

copyright©Duncan McFarlane 2007