False Economy

Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was brutal and oppressive, but provided you steered clear of politics, it was an efficient and functioning society. He was clever enough to provide the general populace with decent jobs, food and education.  And all the Second Gulf War did was to replace that efficient society with an inefficient society that is just as brutal and oppressive. And between the two Gulf Wars the sanctions did not work.

Why anybody with a shred of intelligence believes that economic sanctions against rogue nations achieve their ends (viz. Zimbabwe, Iraq, Iran etc.) is beyond me.

I guess the theory, like most theories, is sound. Make the populace suffer and they will rise against their rulers. Most of us want to live a quiet life and just have a roof over our heads, put food on the table, and educate our kids. We may grumble about prices and taxes – but politics is a bore (Showbusiness for ugly people) and we grin and bear it.  Only when the filthy rich and powerful start grinding our faces in an ever increasing workload and tax burden – and threaten the lives of our children – do we rise up.

But in practice the Iraq sanctions did not cause the populace to rise up in spite of the sufferings including an estimated 300,000 children dying for lack of medicines. And all the “oil for food” program did was create a huge black market in illicit oil vouchers that enriched and corrupted Russian, French and Indonesian  government officials, private American investors – and besmirched the reputation of Swiss independent inspection companies and the UN at the highest level including Kofi Annan and Benan Savan.

The effects of all of these shenanigans are illustrated in the story False Economy in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”

Poor Captain Bob, ruined by the false economics of so-called free market capitalism, still has enough dignity to gather the tattered shreds of his self-respect and blow the whistle on the oil for food program in spite of the consequences.

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