|It is often argued [...] that sanctions — imperfect as they are—offer an alternative to war.
As Zbigniew Brzezinski writes in a recent Washington Post op-ed, “a reckless shortcut to war…is not the wisest response to a potentially grave crisis.” Instead, Brzezinski goes on to argue that, “A more prudent and productive course for the United States would be to continue the painful sanctions against Iran.”
But such arguments by sanction enthusiasts obscure the fact that sanctions are indeed an act of war. After all, what else are we to call the deliberate crippling of a nation’s economy? And in any case, if the American economy were made to scream, we can be assured there would be American bombs aplenty.
What’s more, though, not only are sanctions clearly an act of war, they often serve as a prelude to an escalated confrontation. And one certainly need not venture far beyond Iran to find evidence of Washington’s favored sanction today, invade tomorrow strategy.
The second lie so often accompanying the use of sanctions is that they are somehow “targeted.” In the case of Iran, the true nature of the supposedly “targeted” sanctions was exposed well before the latest round of escalation.
As a July letter from the Iranian Hemophilia Society written to the World Health Organization warned, sanctions have “seriously endangered the lives of tens of thousands of patients, particularly children, suffering from special diseases.”
Likewise, in an August report to the United Nation’s General Assembly, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon wrote that, “The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine.”
Indeed, as a New York Times piece from early November reported, Iranians “suffering from cancer, hemophilia, thalassemia, kidney problems and other diseases are increasingly told the foreign-made medicines they need are no longer available.”
A recent report in the British Guardian newspaper, meanwhile, has noted that “millions of lives are at risk in Iran because western economic sanctions are hitting the importing of medicines and hospital equipment.”
But such reports have fallen on deaf ears in sanction-happy Washington. After all, for Washington, ordinary Iranians are legitimate targets.
As U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, a co-sponsor of the latest Iran sanctions bill, once averred, “It’s okay to take the food out of the mouths of” innocent Iranians.
Kirk was of course simply trying his best to channel Madeleine Albright, who, when asked in a 1996 appearance on 60 Minutes whether the half million dead Iraqi children due to sanctions was “worth it,” coolly affirmed that, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.” [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006—On Saving This Government:
I must save this government if possible. What I cannot do, of course I will not do; but it may as well be understood, once for all, that I shall not surrender this game leaving any available card unplayed. — Abraham LincolnWhen Lincoln said that, it was a Civil War which threatened to divide our country. Today, there isn't a war between citizen and citizen, but between citizen and government. Why? Because the Bush administration has attacked the interests of the American people, squandered its fortune, and caused so many to die in war. Today's divide is not between north and south, but between the people and its government, a government which has proved over the last few years that it is created by and for the powerful rather than the citizenry of these United States.
There are times when a certain form of governance becomes toxic, where those in the public trust act not as civil servants, but as self-serving politicos. We are living in such a time.
The Congress no longer belongs to ordinary Americans; it belongs to the lobbyist who can cut the largest check. The Presidency no longer leads, but misleads. And the Judiciary (specifically the Supreme Court) is set to belong to the most vile, extreme, and un-American element of our society.
Democrats can either surrender this government to a party which seeks to destroy it, or we can take Lincoln's advice and play our available cards. To those who say filibusters—judicial, patriot act, etc.—are too politically costly, I say that failure to filibuster is conceding that this nation isn't worth fighting for. Instead of worrying that we will be labeled "obstructionist," I say we filibuster Alito, filibuster the Patriot Act, filibuster time and time again until this crazy government comes to a screeching halt. Enough is enough. The list of scandals is overshadowed only by the list of names of the 2,190 whose deaths have yet to be honored by this administration.
Another wide-ranging show today on Kagro in the Morning. Greg Dworkin rounded-up the Hagel nomination, the debt ceiling, platinum coin seigniorage (the Word of the Day!), Gabby Giffords on guns, and the Tea Party nosedive. Next, Bloomberg's insane teachers' union/NRA comparison with Laura Clawson. One legislator's quest to screw with Virginia's voter ID law. And a tip of the hat to LetsGetItDone, whose work on The Coin is garnering praise from some Very Serious People, including the former head of the U.S. Mint!