[ Medical School Resources | Appendices | Discussion ]
According to UNICEF, war claimed the lives of more children than soldiers. After the allied bombing in Iraq, a Harvard public health team observed suffering of "tragic proportions," with children even starving to death. The UN counts 47,000 excess deaths among children under five years of age in the months following the Persian Gulf War.
The continued U.S. sanctions have since contributed to the deaths of ten times that number. "We have heard that a half million children have died," said 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl, speaking of the U.S. sanctions against Iraq. "I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And - and you know, is the price worth it?"
Her guest, on May 12, 1996, was U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright, who responded: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."
America is a mistake, a giant mistake - Sigmund Freud
Quoting from the American Journal of Public Health, "The imposer of the most comprehensive and vicious policy of sanctions in the world is the U.S.A." The U.S. embargo against Cuba, for example, is the longest embargo in modern history.
From the Lancet editorial "Medical Advocacy for the Oppressed,"
In 1992, the U.S. government ignored the warning of the American Public Health Association that the tightening of the [Cuban] embargo would lead to... widespread 'famines.' In fact, 5 months after the passage of the [Helms-Burton] Act the worst epidemic of neurological disease this century due to a food shortage became widespread in Cuba. More than 50,000... inhabitants were suffering from [malnutrition-associated] optic neuritis, deafness, loss of sensation and pain in the extremities and a spinal disorder that impaired walking and bladder control.
The United Nations General Assembly has condemned the entire U.S. embargo and has demanded that it be lifted. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has informed the U.S. Government that such activities violate international law and has requested the U.S. take immediate steps to exempt food and medicine from the embargo. Quoting from a letter published in the Lancet, "When a national policy threatens the public health system of another country it becomes a medical issue."
 Bellemy, C. The State of the World's Children 1996. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1995.
 Eisenberg, L. "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters." New England Journal of Medicine 336(1997):1248-1249.
 Garfield, R. "The Impact of the Economic Crisis and the US Embargo on Health in Cuba." American Journal of Public Health 87(1997):15-20.
 "Medical Advocacy for the Oppressed." The Lancet 351(1998):1219.
 Kirkpatrick, AF. "Role of the USA in Shortage of Food and Medicine in Cuba." The Lancet 1996(November):1489-1491.
 "Sanctions on Health in Cuba." The Lancet 34891996):1461.
 Simhan, I. Letter. The Lancet 1997(February):363.