June 18, 2003

JOHN PILGER said that we were killing the children of Iraq via sanctions. Now that the war is over, the evidence suggests that he was a liar or a fool. And so were a lot of others:

And intellectuals here -- too eager as always to believe the worst of us -- believed this, too.

The sanctions caused "the deaths of children on a scale far exceeding that caused by any military weapon in history," wrote Malcolm Fraser in a letter co-signed by Chris Sidoti and Peter Garrett -- people happy to think we're so evil that we also stole Aboriginal children, keep refugees in "concentration camps" and rape Mother Earth.

And the prominent Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, a regular ABC guest, not only claimed perhaps "a million" Iraqi children were dying from our "madness", but said "mass funerals for babies -- 70 in one cortege on the last count -- made their way through Baghdad".

B UT now for the truth -- because the peddlers of such corrosive hate-speech must be exposed and shamed, if not into silence then into moderation.

Iraqi doctors now say what our intellectuals and our reporters should have felt in their bones. Iraq's children were dying not because of us, but because of Saddam. And even the parades of dead children were part of a monstrous hoax.

Dr Amer Abdul a-Jalil, the deputy resident at Baghdad's Ibn al-Baladi Hospital, has told the London Telegraph that "sanctions did not kill these children -- Saddam killed them".

Why does anyone listen to these people? Well, increasingly, we don't.

UPDATE: Reader Dick Aubrey raises some interesting moral issues:

I am not surprised, although the idea of keeping some babies on ice for use as exhibits for the peace-freak trade did not occur to me.

I once observed, while in Central America with such a bunch, that if dead civilians were necessary to discredit US policy, dead civilians would be provided. Part--I speak as one with some formal training in hearts-and-minds--of the lefty war manuals deal with how to deke the government into killing their own people. The lefties always knew that if they killed civilians, all would be forgiven, if it were even noticed.

I have made a similar observation to my own church (PCUSA), modifying it to, "If dead babies are useful to Saddaam, dead babies will be provided." The point is that the folks who made such a big deal about the sanctions are directly responsible for making dead babies so valuable to Saddaam. Blood is on their hands. The blood of innocents.

Yes, if you're a useful idiot, people will find way to take advantage of that, even if it requires innocents to die.