Invisible War – The United States and the Iraq Sanctions
By Joy Gordon
4 November 2010, 5.30pm
Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge
Provocative and sure to stir debate, this book lays bare the damage that can be done by unchecked power in our institutions of international governance. The talk will be followed by Q & A and a reception.
“It is time Americans knew of the cruelty inflicted on Iraqis in our name behind closed doors at the UN in one of the morally most disastrous foreign policy decisions in American history. Gordon has documented it, calmly, courageously, meticulously, and convincingly.”
—Henry Shue, University of Oxford, author of Basic Rights
The economic sanctions imposed on Iraq from 1990 to 2003 were the most comprehensive and devastating of any established in the name of international governance. The sanctions, coupled with the bombing campaign of 1991, brought about the near collapse of Iraq’s infrastructure and profoundly compromised basic conditions necessary to sustain life.
In a sharp indictment of U.S. policy, Joy Gordon examines the key role the nation played in shaping the sanctions, whose harsh strictures resulted in part from U.S. deﬁnitions of “dual use” and “weapons of mass destruction,” and claims that everything from water pipes to laundry detergent to child vaccines could produce weapons.
Drawing on internal UN documents, conﬁdential minutes of closed meetings, and interviews with foreign diplomats and U.S. ofﬁcials, Gordon details how the United States not only prevented critical humanitarian goods from entering Iraq but also undermined attempts at reform; unilaterally overrode the UN weapons inspectors; and manipulated votes in the Security Council.
In every political, legal, and bureaucratic domain, the deliberate policies of the United States ensured the continuation of Iraq’s catastrophic condition. Provocative and sure to stir debate, this book lays bare the damage that can be done by unchecked power in our institutions of international governance
Digitally reproduced by permission of the publisher from Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions by Joy Gordon, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, Copyright (c) 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.