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The Common People of Iraq

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• Part 2: The Long Answer
Part 3: In the End

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The Common People of Iraq
The Persian Gulf War
Saddam Hussein

Part 1: The Short Answer

Sometimes lost in all the discussion of the Iraqi army and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and who has what missiles and bombs is the fate of the common people of Iraq.

Yes, Iraq has a large army, but the country also has a large urban population, many of whom are living in poverty.

As a result of economic sanctions placed on Iraq as a result of its invasion of Kuwait, it has been reported that more than 1 million non-military people have died in Iraq, half of them children under 5. Many more families and children have little or no food or clean water.

Why is this? The economic sanctions indirectly prevent most other countries from trading with Iraq. As a result, the needy Iraqi people don't get things like nutritious food and milk and vaccinese to combat disease. Polio, in particular, is making a comeback in Iraq.

The sanctions themselves don't deny the Iraqi people food and medicine; rather, the U.N. and foreign countries continue to refuse to trade with Iraq on their own, in protest of Iraq's stubborn stance against allowing weapons inspections. (And with the late development that Iraq had promised to allow such inspections to resume, the question of when the sanctions would be lifted came into focus again.)

So because the Iraqi government won't cooperate with the international community, the Iraqi people starve and the Iraqi children in particular suffer the most.

Who's to blame? It depends on who you ask. Saddam Hussein and his allies (what few there are left) will argue that the United States and the United Nations are to blame. The U.S. and U.N. will argue that all Iraq needs to do is cooperate.

It's a sad fact of wars and global political struggles that too often, the innocent get hurt the most.


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