James Forsyth

There were real, human costs to containment

There were real, human costs to containment
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On Today this morning, Nick Robinson said that Tony Blair would point to improvements in infant mortality and the like. Today then cut back to the studio where a reporter analysed this claim. The reporter disputed the validity of this claim and said that sanctions had ‘skewed’ the numbers. But the sanctions were a consequence of Saddam being in power. As long as he was there, there were going to have to be sanctions to contain his ambitions. Dennis Halliday, a UN official who resigned over sanctions, said that four to five thousand children a month were dying because of sanctions.

There are intellectually respectable arguments on both the pro and anti-war sides. But to claim that the containment status quo was cost free is simply not accurate.