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Eastern Daily Press, Wednesday, 29th January, 2003

Iraqi war would be a local issue


West Parade, Norwich.

What may look like a national or international issue is also a profoundly local issue, if we really believe we live in a democracy.

I believe it would be morally and politically wrong for us to go to war against Iraq for two main reasons::

This view has recently been supported by the Church of England House of Bishops, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Are we really prepared to die, for wives to be widowed, for hundreds, possibly thousands, of innocent Iraqi civilians to die, because our Prime Minister - for reasons not clear to me, and without a popular mandate or a vote in the House of Commons - seems determined to support George Bush, come what may - as though we were still a world power, or faced with imminent invasion?

Many readers may feel disturbed that a Labour Prime minister particularly is taking such a hawkish stand, but also feel helpless to influence events. But Tony Blair may have to take some account of the growing unease among many Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs.

The only way our Norwich MPs, Charles Clarke and Ian Gibson, both men of considerable standing in the Cabinet and House respectively can be made fully aware of the opposition to Blair's policy is if all who share my view write to them immediately. [My emphasis, ECA]

It could make a difference. I also propose that lifelong members Labour voters like myself should say - and should mean it - that this issue is so important that we are prepared to vote Liberal Democrat at the next election, should Blair lead us into war.

A battle for oil, not principles


Framingham Earl Road, Yelverton.

Your correspondent Harry Lees (January 24) argues that we should invade Iraq in order to defend "our ideas and principles".

He also, perversely, quotes Vegetius, "Let him who desires peace, prepare for war". It is surely crystal clear that President bush wants war, and the sooner the better. Is this defence of "ideals and principles"? No, millions will die to satiate the greed of Corporate America for - need it be said - oil.

It is generally assumed the US will win the Battle of Baghdad, but will they win the "War against Terrorism"?

In this case we shall be subjected to guerilla warfare, an area where America's track record has been one of unremitting, spectacular failure.

As for Prime Minister Blair, before he commits Britain to war, without the consent of Parliament or people, he should heed the admonition of one of Britain's greatest Prime Ministers, Sir Winston Churchill: "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.

"The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."

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