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http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20030312/COBLAI R//?query=J%27accuse J'accuse: Why Tony Blair has to go By TAM DALYELL Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - Page A19 The Linlithgow constituency association of the British Labour Party has put forward a motion recommending that Prime Minister Tony Blair reconsider his position as leader of our party if Britain supports a war against Iraq without clearly expressed support from the United Nations. I agree with this motion. I also believe that if Mr. Blair goes ahead with his support of an American attack without unambiguous UN authorization and without a vote in our House of Commons, he should be branded as a war criminal and sent to The Hague. I have served in the House of Commons as a member of the Labour Party for 41 years and I would never have dreamed of saying this about any one of my previous leaders. But this is a man who has disdain for the House of Commons and international law. This is a grave thing to say about my party leader. But it is far less serious than the results of a war that could set Western Christendom against Islam. Mr. Blair is a lawyer for heaven's sake, but a growing number of dissenters within our party have concluded that he seems to have no understanding that his decision to sanction military action in Iraq without proper Security Council authorization is illegal under international law. The UN Charter outlaws the use of force with only two exceptions: individual or collective self-defence in response to an armed attack, and action authorized by the Security Council as a collective response to a threat to peace. At the moment, there are no grounds for claiming to use such force in self-defence. The doctrine of pre-emptive self-defence against an attack that might arise at some hypothetical future time has no basis in international law. Neither Security Council Resolution 1441, which Mr. Blair bleats on about, nor any prior resolution, authorizes the proposed use of force in the present circumstances. Mr. Blair does not seem to understand that before military action can be lawfully undertaken, the Security Council must have indicated its clearly expressed assent. It has not done so. And Mr. Blair's assertion that, in certain circumstances, a vetoed resolution becomes "unreasonable" and may be disregarded, has no basis whatsoever in international law. I don't think Mr. Blair really understands the horrors of 21st century war. In 1994, I visited Baghdad (all expenses paid by me) and saw the carbonated limbs of women and children impregnated against a wall by the heat of just one cruise missile. In the coming war, we are told that 800 cruise missiles will be launched just to soften up the enemy. Canadians should not be astonished at the growing opposition to Mr. Blair in Britain and within his own party. Many of us in the Labour Party believe he has misunderstood the pressing danger. It comes not from Iraq, but from terrorism. If there is a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, it is this: Osama bin Laden hates Saddam Hussein; on at least two occasions his organization tried to assassinate him. The wicked perpetrators of Sept. 11 were not Iraqis. They were Saudis and Yemenis. Their bases were in Hamburg, perhaps in London, and certainly in the U.S. itself. Even bombing Afghanistan was of dubious value. Intelligence and bribery would have had a greater chance of apprehending Osama bin Laden. Why then unleash war against Iraq -- unless, of course, it is to fulfill plans hatched as long ago as 1991 for a pre-emptive strike to gain control of Iraq's oil reserves? I am not anti-American. I was a member of the executive of the British-American parliamentary group. I share at one remove four times over, a grandmother with one of the American presidents, Harry S. Truman, and hope to accept the invitation to attend celebrations of Mr. Truman's birthday on May 8 in Independence, Missouri. But many of us in this country think the United States has been hijacked by extremists within its government. They have used the support of a British Labour prime minister as a fig leaf against their critics and against opposition to war in the United States. It is useful for them to say to opponents: "But a British Labour prime minister supports us!" If Britain had made it clear months ago that we would not be party to a U.S. attack on Iraq, that the United States was acting entirely on it own, I think American public opinion itself might well have stopped this war from ever being contemplated. Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow since 1962, is the longest continuously serving member of the British House of Commons. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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