Bush claims that Iraq is solely to blame for the 500,000 deaths resulting from our sanctions policy. Why do progressives argue with American policy? Let’s look at the facts behind this smokescreen.
The United States supported Saddam Hussein for years while we knew he was gassing Iraqis because he was fighting our enemy Iran. When he then threatened our oil supply by invading Kuwait, he was suddenly (and rightfully) painted as the Adolf Hitler of the region (the “Butcher of Baghdad”). Papa Bush riled up the righteous indignation of the United States to free the region of the presence of this evil man. As we were chasing the Revolutionary Guards to Baghdad and encouraging the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites to revolt, suddenly the Papa Bush Administration made the unconscionable decision to halt. While hiding behind the limitations of a United Nations resolution, officials in the Papa Bush administration came forth with the following actual cause for the halt: Saddam Hussein was necessary to maintain stability within Iraq and prevent the country from fragmenting into ethnic divisions. Should we have left Hitler to run Germany after pushing him from France to prevent Germany from splitting in two for 40 years?
After watching Hussein massacre the opponents we encouraged to revolt, we installed a sanctions regime which we know harms the population of Iraq much more than Hussein. This is a policy of containment that we know allows Hussein to remain in power and “stabilize” Iraq and thus safeguard our oil supply, but at the cost of 500,000 lives. Does America really stand for democratic values? We should have installed a democracy in Iraq. After “freeing” Kuwait, did we listen to Kuwaitis and set up a democracy? No! We reinstalled an absolute monarchy! We support an oppressive monarchy in Saudi Arabia. Our international policy does not revolve around respect for democratic values as Baby Bush claims. It revolves around a stable supply of oil. The Union of Concerned Scientists has pointed out that raising fuel efficiency standards to 32 mpg would eliminate all oil imports from the Middle East. Remember this when you step into your SUV!