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Hi all; below is a letter from the Cambridge MP, Anne Campbell (she called me Colin! Horray!). I expect that it does not differ substantially from the letters that constituents in other parts of the UK will be receiving. We will be trying to formulate a response to this. Dear Colin, Thank you for your communicating with me about the situation in Iraq. Last week, the Prime Minister gave authority for UK forces to be deployed against Iraq. This came in direct response to Saddam Husseins' repeated refusal to comply with United Nations resolutions calling for Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction and to allow the monitoring of the destruction of such weapons. Despite constant lies, prevarication and breaching of agreed conditions, the weapons inspectors carried our [sic] their task, uncovering in the process vast evidence of weapons of mass destruction capability. As the Prime Minister said, there can be no greater responsibility to ask of our servicemen than to risk their lives for the sake of peace and stability in another part of the world. But the action the government took was essential because of the constant frustration of the UN's efforts to stop Saddam developing weapons of mass destruction. Since 1991 the inspectors destroyed or rendered harmless: 48 scud missile, 40,000 chemical munitions, 690 tonnes of chemical weapons agents, 3,000 tonnes of pre-cursor chemicals, the Al Hakam biological weapons factory destroyed in 1996. However, over 30,000 chemical weapons warheads and 4,000 tonnes of pre-cursor chemical remain unaccounted for. The report by Richard Butler, Head of the UN Special Commission, gave clear and unambiguous evidence of Saddam Hussein's continued and systematic obstruction of weapon's [sic] inspectors. It shows quite clearly that Saddam has no intention whatsoever of keeping his word. As the Prime Minister has stated [sic] "He is a serial breaker of promises". The decision to take military action was not taken lightly. If Saddam Hussein will not abandon his weapons of mass destruction programme through reason and diplomacy, it must be degraded and diminished by military force. Our objectives in this military action are clear: to degrade his capability to build and use weapons of mass destruction and to diminish the military threat he poses to his neighbours. Every possible care was taken to avoid civilian casualties. The targets chosen, therefore, were connected with his military capability, his weapons of mass destruction capacity, and his ability to threaten his neighbours. The military action was in full compliance with the conditions set by the UN Security Council. We would, of course, have preferred a peaceful solution. Over the past few years we have engaged in endless diplomacy at every level. But the reality is that Saddam Hussein has no intention of abiding by the agreements that he has made. Following the Butler Report, after more than a year of obstruction and a catalogue of deceit, there was no option but to act. The decision on timing was also influenced by the fact that Ramadan, the most holy month in the Muslim calendar, was shortly to begin. Both the UK and US governments wanted to avoid beginning military action during such an important time in the Muslim world. As the Prime Minister made clear, our quarrel is not with the people of Iraq. "The whole world should know that we have allowed Saddam to sell oil to buy as much food and medicine for the Iraqi people as is necessary. He could have fed and cared for his people but he has chosen not to. Our quarrel is with Saddam along and the evil regime he represents". For the safety and stability of the region and the wider world, Saddam cannot be allowed to develop weapons of mass destruction. We know that he is not afraid to use chemical and biological weapons - even against his own people. If he is not stopped now the consequences to [sic] our future peace are real and fundamental. We cannot allow that to happen. As you are now aware, the action has not ceased. Care was taken to minimise the loss of life and damage to civilian infrastructure. Saddam's military capability has been degraded by the action of Britain and the US and the world made safer as a result. Thank you for letting me know your views. Your sincerely Anne Campbell Member of Parliament for Cambridge Colin Rowat King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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