The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Below is the reply received from my illustrious MP re the policy of genocide in Iraq and my request that he support the Conscience campaign. Dear Mr Fogarty Thank you for your letter of 3 July. I appreciate that my previous reply was brief in respect of each of the points you raised and, as you correctly say, I did not wish to engage in a protracted argument about detail. Suffice to repeat that I am very sympathetic with much of what you say, the outcomes you and I would wish to see are very similar but I have reservations about the practicality of the approaches you suggest. For example, my previous letter makes it absolutely clear that less and less Ministry of Defence expenditure, in percentage terms, can be regardedas aggressive. Peacekeeping activities and disaster and humanitarian relief play increasingly large roles in MoD activities. The proportion of MoD money which is spent on aggressive activities probably varies from month to month, certainly from year to year. If you wish to believe that 10%% of your taxes are being diverted towards more peaceful operations (someone doing exactly the same job of food distribution in the Third World for example, but without a uniform) then please do so. I am sure that (perhaps regrettably) it would not be difficult to find someone who would wish to see an increased proportion of their taxes go to the front line of the armed forces to compensate for this... Of course I want to see an end to the present tensions in Iraq. Of course I seek a political rather than a military solution. And of course it would be better if Saddam Hussain realised his mistakes, accepted that he is guilty of genocide of his own (Kurdish) people and perhaps allowed in an independent tribunal to assess his record over the last 20 years. But I regret that is a world of political reality this isn't going to happen [sic]. The thrust of your letter, however, suggests that there are major flaws in the democratic process. We have had to live with these flaws for at least 500 years. As someone once said, democracy is actually the worst of all possible forms of government - apart from all the others. I will certainly continue to do my work as a representative of the people of High Peak, elected on a majority of the votes in 1997 and 48% of them in 2001, to the best of my ability - and conscience. Yours sincerely Tom Levitt MP And my reply... Dear Tom 1. Thank you for your letter of 18 July. I very much appreciate you giving me a considered reply rather than the seemingly ill-informed briefings put out by the Party. 2. I was interested to read your claim that the Ministry of Defence is spending less money than ever on activities that might be regarded as aggressive and is now diverting most of its revenue towards food distribution in the Third World. As you might suspect, I was also a little sceptical. I would very much appreciate it if you could ask the Minister how much of the MoD's revenue was spent on humanitarian aid and how much was spent on military aid for the years since the last election. Perhaps you could also confirm that approximately 10% of the money collected by the Inland Revenue is earmarked for the Ministry of Defence. 3. As you rightly state, life would be a lot better for Iraqi civilians if they didn't have to pay the price for the actions of the political class of their country and its power struggles with the governments of the USA and the UK. As you also state, it is unlikely that Saddam Hussein is about to undergo a Damascene conversion. However, the US and the UK governments conspiring to commit acts of genocide against ordinary Iraqi civilians does not seem the best way to tackle the problem. 4.. I take great heart in your preference for a political rather than a military solution and I would like to take this opportunity to enquire whether you will be signing the Pledge of Resistance, pledging yourself to exclusively non-violent resistance to the government should it decide to pursue the agenda laid out by the government of the USA. As you are no doubt aware, any such military action would not only be immoral but also illegal. Your decision to sign would also be in keeping with your democratic principles as you would be upholding the opinions of the 56% of British people who say that they oppose a war with Iraq. I look forward to hearing from you. With best wishes Diarmuid Fogarty _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk