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IRAQ NOT A 'SERIOUS AND IMMINENT THREAT' SAYS TORY A leading Conservative MP has reiterated his opposition to war on Iraq even if weapons of mass destruction discovered. Douglas Hogg says the 'majority' of Conservative MPs have 'very serious reservations' about the planned war. 1) Partial transcript of interview with Douglas Hogg MP on Radio 4 Sunday 12 January 2003. 2) Transcript of speech by Douglas Hogg MP in the House of Commons, 24 September 2002. INTRODUCTION Douglas Hogg, Conservative MP, a former Cabinet Minister under John Major, a Privy Councillor, and a leading lawyer - a Queen's Counsel, or 'QC' - opposes war on Iraq even if it is established that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. In January 1991, during the first Gulf War against Iraq, Mr Hogg was a British Foreign Minister with responsibility for Middle East policy - on one occasion answering questions regarding the war in the House of Commons on behalf of the Foreign Secretary. (Please note that Mr Hogg offers the argument that the war could be justified if there was a threat to Britain's "interests". This is not a position recognised in the UN Charter or in international law more generally.) 1) Partial transcript of interview with Douglas Hogg MP on Radio 4, The World This Weekend, Sunday 12 January 2003. Interview conducted by James Cox. Radio 4: 'Mr Duncan Smith [Conservative leader] is not supported by all of his backbenchers. The senior Conservative and former Foreign Office minister Douglas Hogg has expressed and repeated his doubts about the moral and strategic justification for war against Iraq. I asked him how many of his Tory colleagues agree with him.' Douglas Hogg: 'Very difficult to say, but I would have thought the majority have very serious reservations.' Radio 4: 'The majority?' Douglas Hogg: 'Yes.' Radio 4: 'When Parliament was recalled last September the 24th, you made a significant speech in which you said, and I quote in part, "Facing the facts as they are known to the House today, I have come to the conclusion that war is not justified." The facts have not in your view changed, and your view has not changed?' Douglas Hogg: 'Not at all. You see the real problem is this, it seems to me, that if you're going to go to war, you've got to identify a good moral basis for war. That has to be the case or you're not justified in going to war. The only moral basis that exists in the modern world is self-defence. Now you can give self-defence an enlarged meaning, but ultimately it has to be a serious and imminent threat to yourself, your allies or your interests. And I do not myself believe Saddam Hussein poses a serious and imminent threat to those interests, and therefore I don't think self-defence runs, and therefore there is no moral basis for war.' Radio 4: 'You instanced a number of cases where you thought there had been that evidence: Pearl Harbour, the Falklands, the whole of the Second World War, and the last Gulf War - when you were a Foreign Minister of course.' Douglas Hogg: 'Indeed, absolutely.' Radio 4: 'The real problem, it seems to me, is the interpretation of the weapons inspectors' assessment. Dr Blix has said there is no "smoking gun". On the other hand he says there are difficulties, there are gaps between what Iraq has admitted and what it may have. American and indeed British intelligence say, "We know he has these things. If the weapons inspectors can't find them, well that's because they're not being very efficient." At that point, who do you believe?' Douglas Hogg: 'I don't know whether I have to believe either of them. I'm perfectly prepared to assume that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction or alternatively is capable of making them. But that surely is not actually the direct question. The real question is not whether he's got weapons of mass destruction, but rather whether - if he has got those weapons - he is a grave and imminent threat to the rest of us. Now, there are lots of other countries in the world that do have weapons of mass destruction, or are likely to acquire them, but we don't necessarily conclude that they are a grave and imminent threat sufficient to justify war. So even if he had these things and I'm perfectly prepared to assume that he's got them for the purposes of this discussion, unless he's a grave and imminent threat there isn't a moral basis for war, because the doctrine of self-defence isn't properly invoked.' Web address for Radio 4 The World This Weekend (requires RealAudio): http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/worldthisweekend/ 2) Transcript of speech by Douglas Hogg MP in the House of Commons, 24 September 2002. House of Commons Debates (Hansard) 24 September 2002 : Column 49 Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham): As my right hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) said, the central question that the House has to face is whether we are prepared to authorise war or a course of action likely to lead to war. I recognise that we can only make a judgment on the facts as they are known today. Those facts may change, and if they do, as individuals we must be ready to change our conclusions. Facing the facts as they are known to the House today, I have come to the conclusion that war is not justified. My principal conclusion and the reason for that conclusion is that I do not think the threat we face is either sufficiently grave or sufficiently imminent to provide the moral basis for war. I shall develop that argument in a moment, but first let me say that I believe there are a number of practical, military, political and diplomatic objections to war, many of which were touched on by my right hon. Friend the Member for Devizes in the questions that he posed. I would like to illustrate the nature of those problems by raising a number of questions which I do not purport to answer today. First, what is the military strategy, how many troops will be engaged, where are the bases and what are the military risks? Secondly, will the Arab states rally behind the purpose and provide bases for a coalition? Thirdly, what will Prime Minister Sharon do if Iraq attacks Israel? Fourthly, would Iraq survive as a unitary state, and if it seemed likely that Iraq would collapse, what would be the impact on regional stability in the middle east? How long would coalition forces have to remain in Iraq after an attack and, perhaps most profound 24 Sept 2002 : Column 50 of all, what is the likely impact on middle eastern opinion or perhaps on our wider relationship with the Islamic world if we commit ourselves to war? I do not know the answers to those questions, but the probable answer to most of them raises a powerful case against war which only the most powerful arguments in a contrary sense would surely displace. My real objection to war is a moral one. I do not believe now, looking at the evidence that we have, that there exists a moral justification for war and I do not wish to sanction a range of policies likely to lead to that event. I am not a pacifist. I am a strong supporter of American engagement in world defence. I accept too that war, even pre-emptive war, can be justified. Proportionate self-defence accords with one's notions of international and national law, personal morality, and indeed, common sense. For obvious reasons, I have to concede that at the time of the last Gulf war I was the Foreign Office Minister of State immediately responsible for departmental decisions concerning the middle east. In that capacity, I supported and participated in decisions that resulted in war. However, we must always keep in mind how terrible war can be. We have been extremely lucky in the conflicts of the past 20 years. In the Falklands, in the Gulf, in Yugoslavia and in Afghanistan the costs have been remarkably low, but when we authorise war we sanction action that may result in the deaths of thousands or in injury to many thousands of our own troops and citizens, but also to the Iraqis, in this case, many or perhaps even most of whom will be wholly innocent of blame. If the concept of self-defence is to provide a moral justification for the giving of such authority, the state against which that military action is being taken must either have embarked on an act of aggression or there must be compelling evidence that such a state poses a grave and imminent threat of aggression either within its region, to its neighbours or to ourselves and our friends and allies. We had to fight the second world war because of the German acts of aggression. The attack by what is now North Korea justified the action in Korea. We were right to use force in the Falklands, Kuwait and Afghanistan. To use another example, had the United States been aware of the Japanese carrier fleet sailing towards Pearl Harbour a pre-emptive strike would have been justified. Surely the nature of those illustrations where self-defence was invoked indicates how rare the cases really are. Surely we have to adhere closely to the proposition that one can invoke self-defence only when we face an act of aggression or it seems likely that one is imminent. Here we have to make a judgment and I am the first to admit that judgments in this sphere are extraordinarily difficult. Saddam, as the dossier makes plain, is an evil, wicked man, an aggressor and a killer who has acquired weapons of mass destruction and has no moral inhibitions about using them. However, I do not think that he is irrational. He must know, and I believe he does know, and he must understand, and I believe that he understands, the consequences to Iraq, himself and his regime if he uses force against his neighbours or the western alliance. Throughout the cold war we based our security on the concept of deterrence. Ultimately the Soviet Union collapsed. In this case, too, we should base our security on a concept of deterrence, not on a pre-emptive strike. 24 Sept 2002 : Column 51 I have two final points to make. First, in a democracy public opinion will sustain a war only if the justification for it is overwhelmingly clear—so clear that the public will view the horror shown on their television screens being done in their name and comment, "It has to be done." I do not believe that public opinion will be satisfied that war in Iraq is justified. To lead a country into war without overwhelming public support seems not just wrong, but profoundly dangerous. Secondly—this point follows on from what the Father of the House said and from what I have articulated here previously—in a democracy no Government should commit forces to war without the authority of this House expressed on a substantive motion, so that those who oppose war can seek to change the policy by their vote. To commit Britain to war relying on the royal prerogative and without the explicit authority of this House seems to be an affront to democracy. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/cgi- bin/ukparl_hl? DB=ukparl&STEMMER=en&WORDS=J0douglas+J0ho gg+iraq+war+justifi+&COLOUR=Red&STYLE=s&URL =/pa/cm200102/cmhansrd/cm020924/debtext/20924- 14.htm#20924-14_spnew4 ENDS Milan Rai ARROW, www.j-n-v.org Voices in the Wilderness UK www.voicesuk.org _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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