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I think Alan Bates argument is a powerful one, although not one which I personally agree with. It is however espoused by a large segment of the media and seen by the British people as a justification for military action against Iraq. Here are a few of the reasons why I challenge the need for military action: 1. The aim of the Gulf war was to get Saddam out of Kuwait and to destroy his military capacity to do so again. However the best of the world's fighter planes, bombs and military intelligence failed to achieve the latter. Several military experts and Gulf war veterans have expressed doubts and argued that air strikes may not be effective. Therefore one can not presume that war is the obvious solution to the current crisis. 2. Even if military action is a success, this is no garantee that Saddam will behave in the future - one lesson the Gulf war has taught us. If diplomacy has failed in the past, so has force. 3. The argument that Saddam's weapons are a threat to the stability of the region is not relevant to the current situation, which is about enforcing the UN resolutions, not an invasion of or threat to Iraq's neighbours. Such a threat may indeed materialize in the future, but that can be said of any country. Israel has been bombing Southern Lebanon since the invasion of 1982. However bombing Israel has not been considered as a means of enforcing the Oslo Peace accords and stabilizing the region (nor should it be). 4. The US has less altruistic interests than is openly admitted. We can not believe everything that governments wish us to believe. It seems to me that the British government is currently engaged in a propaganda campaign to beef up support for attacks on Iraq. For example the "fact" that Iraq has hiden supplies of "zombie gas". What a lucky co-incidence for George Robinson that these supplies have just been "discovered". The government is trying its hardest to legitimize this war and convince us that the threat is so great that we must go to war whatever the price. I am not so sure. To sum up, I do not believe that we have to go to war or else we will pay a heavy price. The success of military action is not garanteed and the threat Saddam poses to world peace is not as drastic as our government will have us believe. Military action may have many unforseen consequences more damaging to peace in the region. The only certainty is that many innocent people will die. I believe war will do more damage than good. Selwa Calderbank Trinity Hall Cambridge PS I have not been able to answer all of Alan Bates' arguments here due to time constrictions but I hope that I have been able to give some weight to the case against military action. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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