Between Iraq and a Hard Place
Is the United States losing its moral stance in its "containment" of Iraq?Skip to next paragraph
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Many Democrats in Congress now want President Clinton to ease the economic sanctions that critics claim are damaging the lives of innocent Iraqis and doing nothing to topple Saddam Hussein (story, page 2).
The administration is considering whether to allow more nonmilitary goods to enter Iraq, despite rising concerns that Saddam is trying to make chemical and biological weapons while still refusing to let United Nations weapon inspectors back in.
As the political pressure to help the Iraqi people mounts both in the US and Europe, the US is losing the argument that Saddam is largely responsible for the plight of his people.
And a US warning that Saddam remains a threat to the Mideast seems not to register with those who see only the effects of sanctions on Iraqis.
Nine years after the war that forced this regional bully to retreat, the US carries a heavy burden in opposing Saddam. Refining the sanctions policy to ease life for Iraqis - without reducing pressure on their leader - makes sense.
But balancing the immediate humanitarian needs against long-term security concerns will require astute statesmanship.
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