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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 17:13 GMT
For and against: 'Without war, the UN will lose face'
Colin Powell puts the case against Iraq to the UN
This week we ask Britons from a variety of walks of life for their view on war with Iraq. For many - among them IT manager Jerome Davies, 39, of Inverness - backing war has been a tough decision to take.

The UN has been too patient with the Iraq regime. It is quickly coming to the point where action must be taken if the UN is to retain credibility.

If Iraq becomes stronger, the only way to disarm the regime will be by using much greater force than that currently required, causing far more casualties.

Jerome Davies
Jerome Davies is minded to back the use of force
That is why I lean towards a military solution. Yes, I did struggle with this, for the issues are not black and white. I think war is just about the most appalling thing that human beings do. My wife disagrees with me and so do many friends.

But the whole Middle East situation has been handled so badly for so many years, war is inevitable. 1441 is not the only UN resolution that needs to be upheld - I'm thinking of the Israeli/Palastinian situation of course.

And "proactive self-defence" does rather smack of the Vinnie Jones School of International Relations (Get your retalliation in first).

Iraq dilemma

Is there a threat? Almost all informed authorities believe Iraq has chemical or biological weapons, or at least had them and no evidence of destruction exists. Whether or not these could be used against the UK - or our allies - is the $64,000 question and is largely unanswerable.

Saddam Hussein's record is not good. All his actions to date indicate somebody who wants more power and control over the region. My personal belief is that deliberately, accidentally or through corruption, these weapons will find their way into the hands of terrorists.

Osama bin Laden and his followers may not think that Saddam is a good Muslim, but can we be sure that is true of his entire regime and those who have access to these weapons?

Who to trust?

The information we have to make these decisions goes through a lot of filters.

British soldier
A British soldier loads a tank bound for the Gulf
While everyone from the intelligence community to the US and UK governments have their own agendas, I'm absolutely sure that I don't trust Saddam Hussein. Or rather I trust him to mislead and dissemble. Even if he does cooperate with the weapons inspectors, what is to stop him starting up again when things have cooled off?

It seems to me even if Iraq disarms - or is disarmed - such weapons are easy enough to make that we will surely be back in this position in a few years.

It would not hurt to give the weapons inspectors a little more time to see if a change of heart has taken place, but that should only need weeks.

What is the humanitarian cost of maintaining the status quo? Quite apart from the civilians killed accidentally during exchanges of fire between Iraqi military commanders and the planes patrolling the no-fly zones, in the past 12 years more than one million people have perished due to hardships imposed by economic sanctions. Most casualties are children who starve or fall prey to diseases that would not have killed them, had they not lacked food and medicine thanks to Saddam transforming the oil-for-food program into an oil-for-palaces program. Bitter though it is to contemplate, better 1,000 more innocent dead from a short military conflict, than one million more from a prolonged economic one.
Derek Robinette, US

Bush's axis of evil speech was a naive embarrassment and contributed to the reckless behaviour of North Korea. Now the White House's playground name-calling against the French and Germans further damages the Americans, this time in Europe.
Paul Lloyd, Thailand

The UN has to be seen to be taking affirmative action. Over the years it may have got away with threatening to take action, but now it appears Saddam has called the UN's bluff, there seems to be no option. Once the security council passed resolutions to force Saddam to co-operate FULLY, it knew that if he didn't, there was going to be a war.
Paddy Thomas, UK

Perhaps if the trade sanctions were lifted, a middle class could emerge and hence a powerful enough populous to overthrow Saddam. Targeting oil as an alibi is too narrow a justification for what Team Bush are doing. How about detracting from a mudslide of an economy, corporate corruption, an embarrassing hunt for bin Laden. And the fact that Saddam tried to take Daddy out. We're now being told we can't march in front of the UN in NY on Feb 15 for "economic" reasons (paying police overtime) and to stock up on plastic sheets and tape to wrap our apartments in in case of a bio-chemical attack. All trying to deter people from rallying this weekend...
Kate, US

The UN has never had any credibility, in my opinion. Israel has occupied parts of the West Bank for decades, in direct contravention of UN resolutions. And the support by the West for murderous regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein himself in the past, has a long and inglorious history. Indonesia, Chile, East Timor, all these were allowed to continue because the West felt they were "our kind of guys." It's long been clear that the UN can just be bypassed when powerful nations want to do so.
Christopher Slater-Walker, Watford, England

My belief is that George W Bush just wants to have a fight with Iraq. Maybe its because he is sponsored by the oil companies or maybe he's trying to clear up his daddy's unfinished business. Whatever the reason, if the excuses and evidence produced so far are justifications for war, then we should be at war with half the world.
Jo, UK

What is strange to me is why the issue of Iraq came up just before midterm elections last Nov. As a result of that election, the conservatives now have control over all three branches of government. Consequently, I fear 09/11 will be used to keep fear high in America to warrant more wars. It is not going to end with Iraq.
Bob, US

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We ask Britons from a variety of walks of life for their view on war with Iraq

See also:

11 Feb 03 | Politics
12 Feb 03 | Politics
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