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U.N. Embargo Against Iraq

March 02, 1994

* In response to Ramsey Clark's Column Left, "Iraq Embargo Is Killing Kids; End It Now," Feb. 22:

Sanctions against the government of Iraq were imposed because of that government's well-documented record of brutality against minority indigenous people living within its borders. It represents a brutal, but necessary measure, as it curbs the ability of the Iraqi government to do business, and represents the price that the Iraqi people are required to pay for supporting the regime.

If Clark is so concerned over the humaneness of this situation, and the suffering that it entails, perhaps he would consider the suffering of the "marsh Arabs" of Iraq, the Shiite Muslims of the southeastern region of the country, whose suffering at the hands of the Iraqi government was so vividly detailed in a brilliant report on the "MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour" of Feb. 21. The report details how the government is draining the marshes, depriving these people of water for working, food and life itself, as part of a systematic attempt at genocide, much as practiced against the Iraqi Kurds. The report is enlightening for all who can see it, and is eloquent rebuttal to Clark.

BARRY SCHNEIDER

Chino

* I find it disturbing that an allegedly well-meaning humanist such as Clark would so skillfully misrepresent the situation. There has never been an embargo preventing the importation of food and medicine. The problem is that aside from international contributions of such items, the Iraqi government refuses to purchase these items. The claim is lack of foreign exchange. If Saddam Hussein would be willing to release a few bucks from his hoard in the Swiss banks, the women and children of Iraq would not be deprived of anything.

I find it especially hypocritical for Clark to argue against embargoes since he was most vehement in proposing the embargo in place of military action prior to the Persian Gulf War. Is he opposed to the Haitian embargo too? Clark should use his skills of persuasion on Hussein if he has the welfare of the Iraqi people at heart.

IRWIN GROSSMAN

Los Angeles

* Clark's column impressed me. He told of the devastating effect the embargo has had on the citizens of Iraq. I agree with him that innocent people suffer more than the heads of government.

However, what about the embargo we have placed against Cuba these last 30 years? They are suffering also. In the case of Cuba we (the United States) have done so unilaterally. Even the United Nations has berated us for doing so. Even our "friends" have voted against us! Is it not time to end that embargo first? Cuba has suffered long enough.

MILTON L. TAUBKIN

Los Angeles

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