The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
I'm sure the irony of this article by the Foreign Secretary and it's blatant disinformation won't go unnoticed by readers of this list... Why not write to the Telegraph (and Cook) and put some things straight? seb ------------------------------------------------------------------ ARTICLE BY THE FOREIGN SECRETARY, MR ROBIN COOK, IN THE 'DAILY TELEGRAPH' NEWSPAPER, WEDNESDAY 18 NOVEMBER 1998 Haven't we been here before? This was not the first time that Saddam had taken us to the brink. It will certainly not be the last. As the Security Council accepts the assurances of Iraqi co-operation with the United Nations, it is a legitimate question to ask. This is the reaction Saddam was hoping for. There is little doubt what game he is trying to play with us. He believes that, if he keeps marching us to the top of the hill and down again, eventually we will grow weary and stop marching. He is gambling against the resolve of public opinion. This time, however, it was firmly behind us. We were ready for the consequences if Saddam did not back down. British planes were ready to fly one-fifth of the sorties planned. We understood what was at stake. And the public's support ensured that the international community won. Saddam blinked first. He started off the confrontation by ending all co-operation with Unscom inspectors. He ended it promising full and unconditional co-operation. There is no doubt he lost. But it is not over yet. Saddam is a devious operator. He knows full well that democratic governments must listen to public opinion. He knows that it does not have an unlimited appetite for military adventure. That is why he keeps testing our resolve. Every time it comes to confrontation, there are two theatres of operation - the Gulf, where force will be used if everything else fails, and the international media, where Saddam hopes to undermine our determination and win without a missile being fired. Our target is Baghdad's stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. Baghdad's target is the hearts and minds of our people. Saddam does not have to worry about public opinion in Iraq. In a state founded on terror, the only opinion that matters is Saddam's. This is the classic paradox for democracy fighting dictatorship. We have to be as good as our word, while Saddam breaks his with a remarkable consistency. We have to keep our people with us, while Saddam again orders his into the firing line. But democracy has its own strengths in this battle. Saddam is gambling on its weaknesses. If we are serious about making him behave, we need to play to its strengths. The first of those strengths must be truth. We are dealing with a serial liar, whose lies must be exposed. We must nail the absurd claim that sanctions are responsible for the suffering of his people. Food and medicine have never been covered by sanctions. Earlier this year, we doubled the amount of oil that Iraq can sell to buy these and other humanitarian goods. But Saddam chooses not to. He spends his money on new palaces and weapons. He could have ended the suffering of his people years ago. We must also expose his repeated lying over his ambitions to stockpile weapons of terror. He has consistently tried to deceive Unscom. He claimed that he has never put nerve gas in weapons. We have now proved that he has. He claimed that an animal feed factory was harmless. In fact, it was designed to produce 50,000 litres of anthrax and botulism toxin a year. Second, we must use the truth to keep public opinion firm. Time and again we have seen that a democracy can summon up a strength and unity of which dictators can only dream. Third, we must maintain the unity of the international community. This time round, it was absolutely solid. Saddam was not able to split the Security Council. Even the Arab world made clear that whatever happened would be the responsibility of Baghdad. Far from wearing it down, Saddam is finding that he has exhausted the patience of the international community. Fourth, we must uphold the sanctity of international law and the United Nations. If we abandon them, we lose the only objective standard by which a country can steer its course. The rule of the strongest would be substituted for the rule of law. Conversely, if we stand by them, we will find they grow in strength and authority. That way we build a world that is safe from the Saddams of the future. Finally, we must turn Saddam's contempt for democracy back on himself. A government of Iraq that was accountable to its people would end their suffering. And it would end years of confrontation designed only to further one man's regional ambitions. We cannot ask for a popular uprising. If Iraqis put their hands up to disagree, they are literally cut off. But there are things we can do. We have consistently given the Iraqi opposition groups practical support. We have sponsored peace talks, so that the Kurdish rebel groups can disagree with Saddam rather than each other. In the past week, we have called Saddam's bluff. But we know him too well to trust his word. We are not relaxing our guard. As the UN inspectors resume their operations in Iraq, we will be looking for evidence of the full compliance promised by Baghdad. Saddam is now caught in a web. We have compelled him to give commitments to full co-operation by the threat of military force. Saddam knows that military forces in the Gulf remain on high alert. He knows that, if he attempts to escape from the web by breaking his pledges, we will hit his regime hard and fast. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html