- Iraq attack “self defence”?
- ... the causes of crime
- the other favourite scapegoat
Iraq attack “self defence”?
Blair’s latest tack on the planned war with Iraq, is to pose it as (pre-emptive) self-defence: “a terrorist attack on Britain is inevitable”. Leaving aside that he has not established any link between Iraq and terrorist attacks around the globe, isn’t self-defence supposed to be proportionate, using only reasonable force?
So how can he justify the following? - this information from a ‘strictly confidential’ UN document, dated 10 December 2002, which examines “Likely Humanitarian Scenarios” in the event of a war in Iraq:
“[This document] was written to assist with UN contingency planning for safeguarding the wellbeing of a population most of whom the document acknowledges are ‘highly dependent’ upon a Government ration for their basic needs.
“The document focuses on the likely outcomes for the infrastructure, the economy and Iraqi civilians, in the event of a range of anticipated military scenarios. Predictions include the serious degradation of the electricity sector, with the knock-on effect that all sectors — including health, water and sanitation — will have reduced capacity (para.5a). The extensive curtailment of access to potable water is anticipated (para.15).
The document includes the following estimates for the humanitarian effects of military action:
“In planning for the numbers that will require medical treatment, ‘as many as 500,000 could require treatment to a greater or lesser degree as a result of direct or indirect injuries’ (para.23). A footnote bases this claim on World Health Organisation estimates of 100,000 direct casualties, and 400,000 indirect casualties. The high number of indirect casualties may be partially because ‘the outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions is very likely.’ (para.25).
“It is estimated that the nutritional status of some 3.03 million persons countrywide will be dire and they will require therapeutic feeding. This consists of 2.03 million severely and moderately malnourished children under five and one million pregnant and lactating women.” (para.27). A footnote identifies this as a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimate.
“It is estimated that there will eventually be some 900,000 Iraqi refugees requiring assistance, of which 100,000 will be in need of immediate assistance.” (para.35). A footnote identifies this as an estimate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).”
... the causes of crime
Rent-a-Goebbels Culture Minister Kim Howells accused gun-loving rap music of being implicated in the growing urban violence which led to the shocking New Year killings of two teenage girls in Birmingham. UK garage artist, Ms Dynamite, hit back at a memorial concert for the girls — you can’t just blame the music, you must look at the social prospects for the young people who are involved in these gangs.
So this report might give Kim pause for thought (if he could keep his mouth shut long enough): Poverty among Ethnic Minority Groups in Britain, by Lucinda Platt, published by Child Poverty Action Group.
“Around a third of all children in Britain are living in poverty, and it is worse among those in ethnic minority groups — 73% of Bangladeshi and Pakistani children, 63% of black African children and 40% of Caribbean children live in income poverty. This means their family income is less than 60% of the national average — while the average for all children is 32%, and 29% for white children.”
CPAG’s director, Martin Barnes, said: “The starting point is that a third of all children in Britain live in poverty. But levels of poverty among children from ethnic minority groups are staggering.
“Disadvantage is entrenched in our society but it is deeper and more consistent among minority groups, particularly among children.
“The causes of poverty are complex, but there is strong evidence that discrimination and racism towards ethnic minorities continues to contribute to the risk of living in poverty. Discrimination creates unequal opportunities and unequal outcomes.”
Employment rates among working age Bangladeshi adults are 35%, compared to 75% in the population as a whole, while economic activity rates among Pakistani women are half those for women overall.
the other favourite scapegoats
The five million Roma people living in central and eastern Europe have living standards closer to famine-struck Africa than their European neighbours. One in six is constantly starving, according to a UN development programme report. At least a third of their children fail to complete primary education.
New Labour, for those of you without memories, was going to deal with causes not just symptoms.
So blame black musicians, cut benefits to “bogus” asylum-seekers, bomb a starving and terrorised people to stop terrorism. You know it makes sense.