Letter: Iraq's Blitz spirit

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Sir: Misinformation from Iraqi academics and Andrea Needham (Letters, 19 December) illustrates our government's astonishing neglect in failing to ensure wide understanding of present realities in Iraq. Our media are equally at fault. Many journalists are well aware of what Saddam does, but prefer to dwell instead on the miseries of his people. Do those stories sell more easily?

It is not sanctions that keep Iraqis hungry and medically deprived, but Saddam. The sanctions have been carefully devised to provide all necessary food and medicines. Saddam has diverted as much as he can for his military projects. The UN Sanctions Committee has vetoed only chemicals and material falsely labelled as medical supplies but destined for military usage. Saddam has spent and still spends millions to smuggle in military material. He could easily provide all his people's needs, had they not already been available under sanctions.

Sanctions are neither illegal nor immoral; Saddam is, and his weaponry and use of it are both. He used it to wipe out the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq and his opponents elsewhere.

Your Iraqi academics ask for "a new strategy aimed at helping the Iraqi people to induce real change in Iraq". Can they suggest what is needed?