Dark Force

Joel Bleifuss

Dennis Halliday, the former U.N. assistant secretary-general and U.N. humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq, has said that the United Nations has been taken over by the United States and turned into a “dark joke” and a “malignant force.”Halliday, who was nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, spoke with the Sunday Herald of Scotland, after a truck bomb exploded at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing many of his friends. He said:The West sees the U.N. as a benign organization, but the sad reality in much of the world is that the U.N. is not seen as benign. The U.N. Security Council has been taken over and corrupted by the U.S. and the U.K., particularly with regard to Iraq, Palestine, and Israel. In Iraq, the U.N.-imposed sustained sanctions probably killed up to 1 million people. Children were dying of malnutrition and water-borne diseases. The U.S. and U.K. bombed the infrastructure in 1991, destroying power, water, and sewage systems against the Geneva Conventions. It was a great crime against Iraq. Thirteen years of sanctions made it impossible for Iraq to repair the damage. That is why we have such tremendous resentment and anger against the U.N. in Iraq. There is a sense that the U.N. humiliated the Iraqi people and society. I would use the term genocide to define the use of sanctions against Iraq. Several million Iraqis are suffering cancers because of the use of depleted uranium shells. That’s an atrocity. Can you imagine the bitterness from all of this. … Bush has blown $75 billion on this war, so he should spend $75 billion on reconstruction—and the money shouldn’t just go to Halliburton and the boys either. … Bush and Blair have misled their countries into war. By invading Iraq and placing the U.S. inside the Islamic world, America is inviting terrorists to come on the attack.

Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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