It is time for the United Nations to remove economic sanctions on Iraq. These sanctions were put in place first in response to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait and subsequently to prevent the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein from using proceeds from oil sales to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
But as White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, the Saddam Hussein regime “is now history”:
“The sanctions should become history, too, because the Iraqi people need help. And removing the sanctions leads to help for the Iraqi people. And that’s what’s first and foremost on the President [Bush’]s mind. The sanctions were an action taken against a regime that no longer exists.”
The U.S. is committed to giving the Iraqi people a chance to take hold of their own destiny. President George W. Bush has requested more than two-billion dollars for Iraqi relief and reconstruction. These funds will provide food, water, and medicine. They will also be used to repair neglected or damaged infrastructure, restore government services, and keep schools open.
The U.S. has also made available more than six-hundred-thousand metric tons of food to the Iraqi people. Enough food has been shipped from the U.S. to feed four-and-a-half million Iraqis for one month.
The U.S. went into Iraq to disarm Saddam Hussein. That mission has been accomplished. But as President Bush said, “We will also go in to make sure that those who are hungry are fed. Those who need health care will have health care. Those youngsters who need education will get education.”
But for Iraq to fully recover, economic sanctions have to be lifted. Money from the sale of Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqi people. Iraq’s own resources can be the foundation on which to rebuild. Said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the U.S. hopes “the United Nations will take the right action.”