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From the Eastern Daily Press, Wednesday, February 19, 2003.

Iraq should be closely watched

Gilman Road, Norwich.

What do we learn from Saturday's peace marches?

First, over a million people marched in London and in Rome. Far fewer did so in Paris or Berlin. Why the difference? It suggests Europeans will not support governments; like the UK and Italy, that are seen to be at the beck and call of the present US government.

Second, we learn why this is so. The people of the world do not want .to be dragooned into wars that are started by politicians, not by their people: All praise to the one major party leader to stand on the platform in Hyde Park and say so

Third, it is clear that none of the marchers were trying to defend Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Tony Blair must be off his head if he really believes protesters think Saddam Husseixi should be allowed to carry on as before. They don't.

What they do ask is that Saddam should be kept in his kennel, and that his country should be closely watched by inspectors, perhaps even with policing troops as well; until it is running as a citizen-friendly country and is able to deal amicably with the rest of the world.

Of course that would be expensive; of course it might, over the years, cost as much as a war; of course no presidents or prime ministers would be able to puff out their chests and say: "Look at the war I just won! Vote for me!" We no longer whip or hang criminals; but we do confine them, and we do accept that there is a price to pay for doing so.

On the other hand we sleep safe in our beds, knowing that we've stirred up no vengeful hornet's nest, and knowing our consciences are clear.

UN undermined

Town House Road, Norwich.

The reason so many people are appalled by Tony Blair's stance on Iraq is not because we do not appreciate and pity the suffering of the Iraqi people, but because he is supporting the US in acting as though the United Nations are in place to sanction the wishes of one global superpower, the US.

This sets a horrific precedent in international dealings. Where will this type of action end? I find the attempt to blame well meaning people who express their concern through marching for deaths in Iraq despicable. Do you find us more blameworthy than, say, Donald Rumsfeld who sold Saddam many of his weapons in the first place?


From the Eastern Daily Press, Tuesday, February 18, 2003.

Many readers on peace march

Home Close, West Runton.

After taking your paper for nearly 40 years I am almost moved to cancel by your editorial (Feb 17) about the rallies in cities all over the world against war in Iraq.

I find it extraordinary that a paper with traditions shaped by the likes of Tom Copeman should resort to such simplistic insulting condemnation of sincerely held views by a wide range of its readers.

Many letters have been printed explaining why this war is such a dangerous departure from previous understanding of international law.

America and Britain are parading a mass of weapons and arguing for a pre-emptive strike against an enemy already weakened by previous arms inspectors.
Massive bombing may miss Saddam Hussein again, yet kill thousands of the population.

Save the Children's website reports that 79pc of children have no clean water and 23pc
are chronically malnourished.

"War will make a bad situation worse for these children.

"Almost half of the Iraqi population is under the age of 14 and children are particularly vulnerable to death, starvation, disease, displacement and trauma as a consequence of war," says the website.

Those who fear a legacy of new terrorists with nothing to live for should be demanding our leaders make diplomacy work.

The wars against Hitler, Serbian genocide and Afghanistan Taliban were judged by the some of those who rnarched to be legitimate.

But this time we have seen no vote in Parliament, ill-founded propaganda, bullying and bribery to stop debate and diplomacy.

Protest was a largest seen

Church Road, Sea Palling.

So you consider that the largest protest this country has ever seen is marginalized on account of the absence of the remaining 59 million Britons?

I do not recall you using that argument with regard to the much smaller Countryside Alliance march last autumn.

Proud of this 'rag-bag'

Conesford Drive, Norwich

I was proud to be part of what you call the "rag-bag coalition" which marched against the war on Saturday., but I don't recognise myself or anyone I marched with in your list of stereotypes.

In fact, the people on the march were an amazingly diverse bunch, including hundreds of thousands who had never been on a march before. Of such coalitions, al historic, popular, political movements are born.


And two from people who seem to have swallowed Baler's propaganda hook line and sinker:

A good example of backbone

Hall Rd, Hainford.

Thank you for a clear, balanced cogent view in your leader column (Feb 17). It was such a contrast to the rabble-rousing claptrap of other papers - and the BBC. Please send a copy to the French and German governments to indicate backbone requirement.

One Iraqi girl showed : the real courage

Burgess Way, Brooke.

On Saturday, a lone Iraqi girl stood against a million shouting Britons and told them they were wrong to stop the war in Iraq. All the moral courage and strength displayed on that day belonged to her.

The march's logic seemed to be that it is more evil for the Iraqi people to be liberated by America than to continue in bondage to Saddam Hussein, despite the fact that the Iraqi people desire liberation.

I find no morality in such reasoning. If we fear the war because we fear repercussions from Muslims other than Iraqis, we should admit this.

If we are not brave enough to help the Iraqi people, the decent thing is to remain silent- not dress up our fear in woolly anti-Americanism and then claim some high moral ground. It seems we Europeans are still masters of hypocrisy. ......


And, finally a question from me (ECA)

Can anyone find in the Charter of the United Nations where it gives the right to wage war except when attacked?
The full charter is at United Nations Charter On the UN website. UN web-site

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