Letter: Iraq sanctions

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Sir: David Usborne reports ("Resignation casts doubt on Iraq weapon inspections", 28 August) that Scott Ritter complained that the Security Council had failed to punish Iraq for its decision to suspend all future co-operation with Unscom until sanctions against Iraq are lifted.

It is difficult to imagine how the Security Council could inflict any more "punishment" on Iraq - having already succeeded in reducing its citizens to penury and stunting an entire generation of Iraqi children.

Mr Ritter's petulant whine that the Council's inaction "constitutes a surrender to the Iraqi leadership" and "makes a mockery of the mission the staff of the special commission have been charged with implementing" merely serves to demonstrate his naivety.

Talk of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" is largely for domestic consumption so it should come as little surprise that, when it started to get in the way of a more important objective - namely the indefinite perpetuation of the sanctions regime - the inspection process would be reined in.