Bombing Iraq would be ineffective in forcing Iraqi compliance, as it would serve to increase Saddam Hussein's support amongst Iraqi people ("Cook flies to the gulf", 4 February).
By 1993, according to Unicef, the economic sanctions to impoverish the country had caused at least 100,000 child deaths from malnutrition, vaccine- preventable diseases and contaminated water supplies. Combined with civilian casualties in the Gulf War and the two cruise missile attacks which have taken place since then, it is easy to spread the perception that the West is interested in harming the general population of Iraq rather than its brutal leadership.
To the small extent that the Iraqi government needs the support of the people, Saddam Hussein would be pleased to take any opportunity to portray himself as standing up to outside pressure. Britain and the United States are trapped, one fears, into a narrow and unpleasant range of options because they have a narrow and unpleasant agenda - the replacement of Saddam Hussein with an equally totalitarian, but obedient, leader.
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