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Sir: The Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler, asserts that if there are weapons of mass destruction 'squirrelled away in Iraq' and they are not dealt with 'by war or other means', then 'another set of innocent victims appear - random bystanders in any city on earth targeted by terrorists'. (Tom Butler, 'King Herod, oil, and Saddam's power games', Independent, 24 December 2002, p. 9) Informed opinion disagrees. Former chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler supports war, but he testified to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July: 'I have seen no evidence of Iraq providing [weapons of mass destruction] to non-Iraqi terrorist groups. I suspect that, especially given his psychology and aspirations, Saddam would be reluctant to share with others what he believes to be an indelible source of his own power.' (1) In this newspaper, Robert Fisk has pointed out that, 'Mr bin Laden hates Saddam Hussein, regarding the Iraqi leader as a Western-created dictator - a not entirely inaccurate description.' (2) An unnamed former CIA officer added last year that, 'Saddam is a secularist who has killed more Islamic clergy than he has Americans. Saddam is the ultimate control freak, and for him terrorists are the ultimate loose cannon.' (3) Steering a 'clear moral path' becomes easier when we set aside spurious fears and confront the real issues. One critical issue is whether Iraq is an immediate threat to any other country. Proving this means demonstrating that Iraq has the *intention* to use its weapons aggressively, as well as demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that Baghdad simply possesses weapons of mass destruction. Another critical issue, alluded to by the Bishop, is whether the inspection process can deal with this threat. While Tom Butler offers no opinion on this vital matter, world opinion is confident that the inspectors can succeed - if President Bush and Prime Minister Blair allow them the opportunity. Milan Rai Author of War Plan Iraq (Verso, 2002) Notes (1) Financial Times, 1 August 2002, p. 7. (2) Independent, 25 September 2001, p. 6. (3) Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2001, p. 10. _______________________________________________ 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