In 1999, I travelled to Iraq with Denis Halliday who had resigned as assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations rather than enforce a punitive UN embargo on Iraq. Devised and policed by the United States and Britain, the extreme suffering caused by these "sanctions" included, according to Unicef, the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five.
Ten years later, in New York, I met the senior British official responsible for the imposition of sanctions. He is Carne Ross, once known in the UN as "Mr.Iraq". I read to him a statement he made to a parliamentary select committee in 2007 : "The weight of evidence clearly indicates that sanctions caused massive human suffering among ordinary Iraqis, particularly children. We, the US and UK governments, were the primary engineers and offenders of sanctions and were well aware of this evidence at the time but we largely ignored it or blamed it on the Saddam government. [We] effectively denied the entire population a means to live."
I said, "That's a shocking admission."
"Yes, I agree," he replied,