These results are even more disheartening for those of us in the Department of Making Things Better for Children in the Middle East By Military Force, since the previous attempts by Britain and America to improve the lot of Iraqi children also proved disappointing. For example, the policy of applying the most draconian sanctions in living memory totally failed to improve conditions. After they were imposed in 1990, the number of children under five who died increased by a factor of six. By 1995 something like half a million Iraqi children were dead as a result of our efforts to help them.
A year later, Madeleine Albright, then the US ambassador to the United Nations, tried to put a brave face on it. When a TV interviewer remarked that more children had died in Iraq through sanctions than were killed in Hiroshima, Mrs Albright famously replied: “We think the price is worth it.”
But clearly George Bush didn’t. So he hit on the idea of bombing them instead. And not just bombing, but capturing and torturing their fathers, humiliating their mothers, shooting at them from road blocks – but none of it seems to do any good. Iraqi children simply refuse to be better nourished, healthier and less inclined to die. It is truly baffling.
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