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So what are we going to do?

Dear Everyone

I have read and agree with everything that opponents of air strikes
against Iraq have written to the list about the subject.  I want to make
clear that I have as strong a dislike for military action as anyone.  I
also find it shocking that so many civilians have died and endured such
suffering as a result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq.  I also agree that
the stance of US/UK is not without hypocrisy, bearing in mind our past
supply of weapons to Saddam Hussein's regime.

Nevertheless, I still feel that correspondents to the list need to address
our minds to some undeniable facts:

1. The UN inspectors HAVE UNCOVERED an, up until recent obstructionism by
the regime, continued to uncover, many thousands of chemical, biological
and other weapons of mass destruction.  It is surely right that these
should be found and destroyed.

2. Hussein's regime continues to possess weapons capable of causing
massive destruction in the Middle East.

3. Hussein continues to act in defiance of UN resolutions and to persecute
minorities and to pose a threat to the stability of the Middle East.
History shows us that a failure to ensure that UN resolutions are upheld
only leads to more trouble in future, and will eventually lead to an even
more violent world if the Security Council no longer exerts any control on
world events.  Failure to enforce Security Council resolutions has made
the UN look an absolute failure and leads to more death and destruction -
Bosnia should have taught us that lesson.

In the light of the above facts, assuming we all agree that Saddam Hussein
should comply with Security Council resolutions and not possess weapons of
mass destruction, then, even though the West is acting hypocritically,
that does not alter the fundamental question: how are we going to achieve
this end?  Negotiation is all very well, but Saddam has continually looked
for ways to split the international resolve against him by obstructionism
and to provoke a response to get more and more concessions.  The latest is
the row over the composition of the inspection teams, but it is only one
in a long line of examples.  Those who back negotiation forget one
fundamental truth: that it is only the threat of military action that is
forcing Saddam Hussein to negotiate.  Any split in the international
resolve is a disincentive to him to reach a settlement which includes
compliance with Security Council resolutions.  If we rule out sanctions
and military action, how else are we realistically going to ensure he

Kofi Annan has made a sensible comment; that the present situation seems
to be a prelude to war and we need to find a way for Saddam to back down
whilst saving face.  But we have to remember that the Russians did just
that only to have Iraq publicly deny the agreement to the severe
embarrassment of the Russian foreign minister.  So let us give Saddam that
opportunity to back down by calming everyone at home instead of adopting a
war-happy attitude merely to get public opinion on side for another bout
of air strikes.

Yet we all need to ask ourselves the difficult question:  If Saddam is
unwilling to comply with the resolutions, how are we going to enforce
them?  Only if we can provide our leaders with a viable alternative to
sanctions and military action are we going to be able to win this campaign
and help the people of Iraq avert a continuation of this human tragedy.

Christ's College
St. Andrew's Street
Tel: 01223 767443
Mobile: 0966 167594
College Fax: 01223 334967

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