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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 complies? 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. ************************** ALAN BATES Christ's College St. Andrew's Street Cambridge CB2 3BU Tel: 01223 767443 Mobile: 0966 167594 College Fax: 01223 334967 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html