Hussein to blame for continued sanctions

Last week’s confrontation between Iraq and the United States ended when President Saddam Hussein backed down, allowing U.N. inspectors unrestricted access to sites in Iraq. This flare up was the latest in a series of problems that have arisen while the United Nations has attempted to convince Hussein’s regime to comply with U.N. resolutions passed at the end of the Gulf War in 1991. The United Nations has maintained pressure on Iraq by using sanctions in hopes of eliminating Iraq’s ability to wage war with weapons of mass destruction, specifically nuclear, chemical and biological.
The United Nations has had only two methods to counter Iraq’s activities — ongoing sanctions and occasional military engagements. The world community should keep sanctions in place until a thorough inspection has been completed and we can be reasonably sure that Iraq no longer poses a threat to its neighbors.
Sanctions have inflicted severe hardships on the people of Iraq, and those who question sanctions do so fairly. Stripped of its ability to sell oil, the country’s per capita income has plummeted to levels inconsistent with those of an oil-rich country. Because Iraqi citizens are suffering, it seems easy to blame the United States for not allowing badly needed foreign goods to flow into Iraq. This view, however, is misplaced. It fails to recognize the real culprit for the suffering of the Iraqi people.
In order for the sanctions to be lifted, Saddam Hussein and Iraq must simply comply with the U.N. resolutions. If not for the continued obstruction by Hussein and his minions, the sanctions would already have been lifted. Rather then accusing the United States of murder, groups such as the Progressive Student Organization would save more Iraqi lives and demonstrate more rationality if they encouraged Hussein to stop being such an ass and allow the U.N. inspectors finish their jobs.
Sanctions are in place because Iraq is reasonably believed to possess chemical and biological weapons. The terms that ended the Gulf War dictate that Hussein must relinquish this arsenal. The dictator has used chemical weapons against his own people, most noticeably on the Kurds in the northern part of Iraq. If he was allowed to successfully obstruct the U.N. process, a dangerous message would be sent to other countries which might be interested in acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
Neither sanctions nor military actions are the preferred methods of dealing with this problem. Yet, without another readily apparent alternative, the international community has few other options. It can continue sanctions, resume military attacks or do nothing. Sanctions are certainly the least distasteful of the three and are in accord with the terms to which Iraq agreed as the loser of the Gulf War.
In the meantime, the international community should attempt to aid the people of Iraq. They face horrible conditions as the result of Hussein’s continued shenanigans. It would be nice to live in a world where the sanctions could simply be lifted, but this would be a disservice to Iraqis suffering under Hussein’s dictatorship. Sanctions should remain in place until Iraq’s ability to produce and store weapons of mass destruction has been eliminated.