With tensions in the Middle East increasing and U.S. intervention in Iraq seeming more inevitable every day, a Fairfield professor has joined the national debate by speaking out in criticism of U.S. foreign policy with respect to Iraq.

Philosophy professor Joy Gordon’s article in Harper’s is entitled, “Cool War: Economic sanctions as a weapon of mass destruction.”

The article highlights the ways in which the Unites States is “using [economic] sanctions as nothing less than a deadly weapon.”

Gordon explains that over the past three years, she has obtained many confidential U.N. documents that state how the United States has forcefully and purposefully worked to keep certain critical humanitarian good from entering Iraq, many of which have been legal ones. Among these items are water tankers, dental equipment, fire-fighting equipment, milk and yogurt producing equipment, dialysis equipment, printing equipment, and other items crucial for healthy living conditions in Iraq.

So how does the United States get away with this? They simply claim that these vital humanitarian goods could be used as weapons of mass destruction and they block them. The Unites States also blocks goods on the grounds that they are “Dual-use goods”-goods that, although they are important in terms of humanitarian aspects, might also benefit Iraq’s military. As Gordon explains in her article, “Last year the United States blocked contracts for water tankers, on the grounds that they might be used to haul chemical weapons instead.” The catch is the fact that these tankers were approved by the UNMOVIC (The United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission) because those tankers had a certain type of lining that was not on the list of items that calls for U.N. weapons inspection, a list known as the “1051” list. In other cases, the United States has found alternate ways to block goods, such as the instance when “Iraq was allowed to purchase a sewage-treatment plant but was blocked from buying the generator necessary to run it.”

Among other issues, Gordon hopes that her article will cause people to “question the credibility and judgment of the Bush administration when it claims that Iraq is a military threat to the United States, or is on the verge of producing weapons of mass destruction.”

Gordon would like Fairfield students to keep in mind that these policies are “being done in our name with our tax dollars” and that “it is our responsibility to see that our government does not engage in atrocities with our support.”

Gordon never seems to be at rest. Prior to working here at Fairfield, she taught at Yale in the Philosophy Department, is an attorney with ten years of litigation experience, and has published other articles in the Atlantic Monthly and the Nation. Currently teaching classes in the history of philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of law, and human rights, Professor Gordon is also at work on her first book, “A Peaceful, Silent, Deadly Remedy: The Ethics of Economic Sanctions” which is due to be published with Harvard University Press in the Spring of 2004.

A copy of Gordon’s article is currently on sale at newsstands, available in the library, and will be available on Harper’s web-site when the current issue leaves newsstands. To contact Gordon, her office is located in Donnarumma Hall room 314.

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