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[casi] Re: 'Herod, oil, Saddam'


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.'

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)

(1) Financial Times, 1 August 2002, p. 7.
(2) Independent, 25 September 2001, p. 6.
(3) Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2001, p. 10.

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