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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/11/15

The Only Two Tools in the US Tool Bag: Bombs and Starvation

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Message Joseph Clifford

The US has become the bully on the block and seemingly has only two weapons to use in forcing people to accept our will: one is bombs and the other is harsh economic sanctions. Economic sanctions can easily prove worse than bombs, because they do not discriminate and target the innocent. For over 50 years we imposed harsh economic sanctions on the people of Cuba, and for 50 years the "people" of Cuba were deprived of necessities and suffered. We recently relented, but repeatedly during the 50-year sanction period, the rest of the world begged us, and overwhelmingly voted in the UN every year, to have the US remove its sanctions. We ignored the world's pleas, and for 50 years defied the entire world in punishing the people of Cuba.

Iraq's people became a target of the most brutal sanctions the world has ever seen, and some estimate that over the years at least one million civilians died because of the sanctions. Most of the casualties were the aged or the very young, always the most vulnerable. Many younger readers might not recall the then Secretary of State, in a 60 Minutes TV interview be asked: We hear there are as many as 600,000 children have died because of the sanctions; do you think it is worth it? Madame Albright, the Secretary of State, coldly answered: Yes. Tragically Iraq got the one-two treatment; first the sanctions, then bombs in the form of "Shock and Awe." Four consecutive Presidents bombed Iraq.

We imposed sanctions on Venezuela because we did not like the person they repeatedly elected, and because he "nationalized' the oil companies and used the money to improve the lot of the very poor in his country. His people were punished with sanctions, and the US assisted in trying to overthrow the leader, only failing because his people rallied to his defense.

We have sanctions against the people of Iran because we suspected they might develop a nuclear weapon, despite overwhelming evidence by all intelligence agencies that no such program exists. Now we have the framework for a treaty that would insure there will be no such program in Iran, but many neocon Republicans and Democrats are opposing lifting the sanctions. To add insult, both Israel and the US have repeatedly advocated the possibility of attacking and bombing Iran. Wacko wannabe President, Senator Tom Cotton, said we should bomb Iran, and it would only take "several days" to win.

The US has imposed sanctions on 19 current nations, despite the fact they only punish innocents, and there is no historical evidence to suggest sanctions work. They are simply a means to punish the innocent. According to historian Andrew Becevich, US has bombed 14 nations in the Middle East since 1980, which probably establishes a new world record for dropping bombs in rapid succession on countries.

An interesting comparison between methods used by the US and China is illuminating. While we use drones to kill people in Pakistan on a regular basis, causing a great deal of anti-US resentment in Pakistan, China has just announced that it will pay for, and build, a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan. Some readers might know Pakistan is energy starved and desperately needs gas; however, because the US had sanctions on Iran, we prevented anyone from building the much-needed pipeline for years. While the US uses bombs and sanctions to punish Pakistan, China has finally stepped up to say they will pay for and build a desperately needed pipeline to Pakistan, despite US sanctions. Who is winning the hearts and mind of the Pakistanis and Iranians?

Last month President Obama called Venezuela "a threat to US national security", and we have sanctions on their struggling economy in an attempt to bring down their government, while China just announced a 10-billion-dollar loan to Venezuela in an attempt to help their economy. Who is winning the hearts and minds of the Venezuelan people?

While the US is imposing sanctions or bombing countries, China is quietly signing construction projects around the world, building roads, power plants, developing oil fields, and even a new canal that would travel 172 miles through Nicaragua.

Critics of the Chinese policy suggest the projects have Chinese self-interest at heart, but the same can be said of all US sanctions and bombings. Their construction projects, while in part done for self-serving interests, also serve the interests of the people involved; while sanctions and bomb dropping only serves the interest of the US government, and brings death to the people of the countries we bomb and sanction. Wonder why China is not being attacked by terrorists?

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Joe Clifford lives in Rhode Island and has written a regular column for an online newspaper and has contributed many articles to various RI newspapers. His articles deal almost exclusively with American Foreign policy but ventures into other (more...)

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