“Iran sanctions now causing food insecurity, mass suffering” by Glenn Greenwald [Guardian]

It’s heinous genocide on Middle Eastern people AGAIN. One of the many reasons why I became an expat was because the genocidal sanctions on Iraq — inflicted primarily by the US — to soften that nation up for military obliteration. Now, after odious POTUS Obama’s initially posing as a Pied Piper of peace and dialogue, here we are again with a campaign of flagrant genocide against people who won’t be subjugated by the US. So utterly evil, and cowardly to boot. Greenwald’s unfair bias against Iranian leadership removed from this re-post – Zuo Shou

* Yet again, the US and its allies spread mass human misery though a policy that is as morally indefensible as it is counter-productive *

Oct 7, 2012

[Excerpted]

The Economist this week describes the intensifying suffering of 75 million Iranian citizens as a result of the sanctions regime being imposed on them by the US and its allies…:

“Six years ago, when America and Europe were putting in place the first raft of measures to press Iran to come clean over its nuclear ambitions, the talk was of “smart” sanctions. The West, it was stressed, had no quarrel with the Iranian people—only with a regime…Yet, as sanctions have become increasingly punitive in the face of Iran’s intransigence, it is ordinary Iranians who are paying the price.

“On October 1st and 2nd Iran’s rial lost more than 25% of its value against the dollar. Since the end of last year it has depreciated by over 80%, most of that in just the past month. Despite subsidies intended to help the poor, prices for staples, such as milk, bread, rice, yogurt and vegetables, have at least doubled since the beginning of the year. Chicken has become so scarce that when scant supplies become available they prompt riots. On October 3rd police in Tehran fired tear-gas at people demonstrating over the rial’s collapse. The city’s main bazaar closed because of the impossibility of quoting accurate prices. . . .

“Unemployment is thought to be around three times higher than the official rate of 12%, and millions of unskilled factory workers are on wages well below the official poverty line of 10m rials (about $300) a month.”

Pervasive unemployment, inflation, medicine shortages, and even food riots have been reported elsewhere.

That sanctions on Muslim countries cause mass human suffering is not only inevitable but part of their design. In 2006, the senior Israeli official Dov Weisglass infamously described the purpose of his nation’s blockade on Gaza with this candid admission: “‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman justified the Iran sanctions regime this way: “Critics of sanctions argue that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that.”

Even more infamously, the beloved former Democratic Secretary of State Madeleine Albright – when asked in 1996 by 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl about reports that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US-imposed sanctions on that country – stoically replied: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.” So extreme was the suffering caused by sanctions in Iraq that one former UN official, Denis Halliday, resigned in protest, saying that the sanctions policy met the formal definition of “genocide”:

“We are now in there responsible for killing people, destroying their families, their children, allowing their older parents to die for lack of basic medicines. We’re in there allowing children to die who were not born yet when Saddam Hussein made [war with] Kuwait.”

In an excellent Op-Ed for Al Jazeera last week, Murtaza Hussain extensively documented the devastation wrought on 26 million Iraqis by that sanctions regime – the one Albright declared as “worth it” – and argues: “that tragedy is being willfully replayed, only this time the target is the population of Iran”. He explained:

“Intensifying sanctions against the country have sent the Iran’s rial into an unprecedented free-fall, causing it to plummet in value by 75 per cent since the start of the year; and, stunningly, almost 60 per cent in the past week alone.

“Ordinary Iranians completely unconnected to the government have had their lives effectively ground to a halt as the sudden and unprecedented collapse of the financial system has rendered any meaningful form of commerce effectively impossible. In recent weeks, the price of staples such as rice and cooking oil have skyrocketed and once ubiquitous foods such as chicken have been rendered completely out of the reach of the average citizen.”

That is a fact that should be deeply disturbing to any decent person. In 2001, the writer Chuck Sudetic visited Iraq and then wrote in Mother Jones about what he saw: namely, that the US-led sanctions regime “killed more civilians than all the chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons used in human history”…

…So horrific is the human suffering brought about by such sanctions regimes that some are beginning to argue that killing Iranians with an air attack would be more humane. That was the argument advanced several days ago by the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, Blake Hounsehll, who mused that he was “beginning to wonder if limited airstrikes on Iran may actually be the more morally sound course of action.” He was contemplating airstrikes, he then explained, because “a couple thousand deaths” might be worth it to avoid “the livelihoods of 75 million people destroyed”.

Part of Hounshell’s announcement is simply the way America’s foreign policy elites so casually call for actions that they know will end the lives of large numbers of innocent human beings: it may be time to cause “a copule thousand deaths”, he suggested with an almost audible yawn. And part of it is what Council on Foreign Relations president emiritus Leslie Gelb candidly described as “the disposition and incentives” among America’s foreign policy professionals “to support wars to retain political and professional credibility”. In other words, supporting military action is what America’s influential foreign policy commentators, by definition, reflexively do in order to advance their own career and make themselves relevant.

But part of Hounshell’s statement reflects the difficult-to-dispute recognition on his part that the sanctions regime causes such intense, widespread human misery that – in the warped Washington world in which airstrikes and sanctions are the only two cognizable options – extinguishing the lives of “a couple thousand” innocent Iranians may actually be the more humanitarian outcome when weighed against the ongoing suffering of 75 million people from the sanctions regime. That is how devastating sanctions are.

What’s most extraordinary about all of this is that the extreme human suffering caused by US-led sanctions is barely acknowledged in mainstream American political discourse. One reason that Americans were so baffled after the 9/11 attack (why do they hate us?) is the same reason they continue to be so baffled by anti-American protests in the Muslim world (what are they so angry about?): namely, most Americans literally have no idea, because nobody ever told them, that their government’s imposition of sanctions in Iraq led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children, and they similarly have no idea that the suffering of ordinary Iranians is becoming increasingly substantial.

People in the Muslim world (who are relentlessly depicted as propagandized) are well aware of the human devastation US sanctions have caused, while Americans (who think of themselves as the beneficiaries of a free and vibrant press) have largely had those facts kept from them. That dynamic in part, is what often explains the irreconcilable worldviews among people in those two parts of the world.

As usual, don’t look for Democratic partisan [sic] to object to any of this…

Full article link here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/07/iran-santions-suffering?INTCMP=SRCH

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