Before 1990 and the imposition of sanctions, Iraq had one of the highest standards of living in the Middle East. Iraq’s Health Care system including its Hospitals and General Practice (GP) facilities were so efficient and effective at maintaining a high standard of health throughout Iraq, that this health Care System was known throughout the region as ‘The Jewel of the Middle-East’.
From John Pilger, ‘Squeezed to Death’, Guardian, March 4, 2000...
When asked on US television if she - Madeline Albright (Jew), US Secretary of State, thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children as a direct result of the sanctions on Iraq was a price worth paying...
Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.”
From an interview for ‘Democracy Now’, September 22, 2005....
Amy Goodman speaking to Governor Richardson:
“... many say that, although President Bush led this invasion, [it was] President Clinton that laid the groundwork with the sanctions and with the previous bombing of Iraq. You were President Clinton’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.... the U.N. sanctions, for example ... led to the deaths of more than a half a million children, not to mention more than a million Iraqis.”
“...Well, I stand behind the sanctions. I believe that they successfully contained Saddam Hussein. I believe that the sanctions were an instrument of our policy.”
“To ask a question that was asked of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright; do you think the price was worth it”? “500,000 children dead.”
“...Well, I believe our policy was correct, yes.”
Effects of the Iraq sanctions
The six-week Persian Gulf War in 1991 resulted in the large-scale destruction of military and civilian infrastructures.
The sanctions imposed on Iraq -- to force Saddam Hussein to allow the United Nations to dismantle or destroy Iraq's [proved to be non-existent]long-range missiles and chemical, nuclear and biological weapons -- and related circumstances have prevented the country from repairing all its damaged or destroyed infrastructure, and whenever attempts have been made, those have been incomplete. That applies to electricity-generating and water-purification plants, sewage-treatment facilities and communication and transportation networks. That has affected the quality of life of countless Iraqis, especially those belonging to the middle and lower economic levels that do not have alternatives or options to overcome the effects of the war and the sanctions.
Iraq is an oil-rich country, which before the 1991 war was almost totally dependent on the import of food and medicine. Financial constraints as a result of the sanctions have prevented the necessary import of food and medicine.
The vast majority of Iraq's people have been on a semi-starvation diet for years.
The reduction in the import of medicines, owing to a lack of financial resources, as well as a lack of minimum health care facilities, insecticides, pharmaceutical and other related equipment have crippled the health care services, which in pre-war years were of a high quality.
The effect of this situation on Iraq's infant and child population is especially severe. From 1991 to 1998, children under 5 died from malnutrition-related diseases in numbers ranging from a conservative 2,690 a month to a more realistic 5,357 per month.
The U.N. Oil-for-Food Program has kept the numbers of deaths and cases of malnutrition from rising still higher, but it was never intended as a remedy for the situation.
-- Information taken from U.N. reports and interviews with U.N. officials.