Let Them Eat
By Terry Jones
12 April, 2005
report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that
Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they
This, of course,
comes as a bitter blow for all those of us who, like George Bush and
Tony Blair, honestly believe that children thrive best when we drop
bombs on them from a great height, destroy their cities and blow up
hospitals, schools and power stations.
It now appears that,
far from improving the quality of life for Iraqi youngsters, the US-led
military assault on Iraq has inexplicably doubled the number of children
under five suffering from malnutrition. Under Saddam, about 4% of children
under five were going hungry, whereas by the end of last year almost
8% were suffering.
These results are
even more disheartening for those of us in the Department of Making
Things Better for Children in the Middle East By Military Force, since
the previous attempts by Britain and America to improve the lot of Iraqi
children also proved disappointing. For example, the policy of applying
the most draconian sanctions in living memory totally failed to improve
conditions. After they were imposed in 1990, the number of children
under five who died increased by a factor of six. By 1995 something
like half a million Iraqi children were dead as a result of our efforts
to help them.
A year later, Madeleine
Albright, then the US ambassador to the United Nations, tried to put
a brave face on it. When a TV interviewer remarked that more children
had died in Iraq through sanctions than were killed in Hiroshima, Mrs
Albright famously replied: "We think the price is worth it."
But clearly George
Bush didn't. So he hit on the idea of bombing them instead. And not
just bombing, but capturing and torturing their fathers, humiliating
their mothers, shooting at them from road blocks - but none of it seems
to do any good. Iraqi children simply refuse to be better nourished,
healthier and less inclined to die. It is truly baffling.
And this is why
we at the department are appealing to you - the general public - for
ideas. If you can think of any other military techniques that we have
so far failed to apply to the children of Iraq, please let us know as
a matter of urgency. We assure you that, under our present leadership,
there is no limit to the amount of money we are prepared to invest in
a military solution to the problems of Iraqi children.
In the UK there
may now be 3.6 million children living below the poverty line, and 12.9
million in the US, with no prospect of either government finding any
cash to change that. But surely this is a price worth paying, if it
means that George Bush and Tony Blair can make any amount of money available
for bombs, shells and bullets to improve the lives of Iraqi kids. You
know it makes sense.
is a film director, actor and Python. He is the author of Terry Jones's
War on the War on Terror