Robert Hampton

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23rd March 2003

Entry number 2
Posted by at 3.55pm | No responses | Uncategorised

Just for the hell of it, some thoughts on Iraq.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, Liverpool city centre was brought to a standstill by antiwar protestors. As they staged a sit-in, one of my coworkers who was watching from our office window with me asked what they thought they’d achieve. After all, the war has already started; anti-war arguments have been ignored. Actually, I think there’s a lot to be achieved. At the very least, history will record that not everyone immediately rallied behind our leaders when the bombs started dropping.

I’m not one of these people who believe war is always wrong. Similarly I don’t think it’s the solution to every problem. I DO think it should be the last resort, when all sensible diplomatic avenues have been exhausted.

While the UK government always emphasised weapons of mass destruction, the US made no secret of its desire for regime change in Iraq, citing Saddam Hussein’s record of using chemical weapons on his own people. I don’t doubt for a moment that Saddam is evil, but we are setting a dangerous precedent: if you don’t like a government, it’s OK to launch a pre-emptive strike. And if the real reason for invading is out of concern for the Iraqi people, why are we concentrating solely on Iraq and not on the many other dictatorships which are ruled by tyranny and fear?

People say that we should have got UN backing. That wouldn’t have made any difference to me. The UN seems increasingly irrelevant and out of touch even without the obstructive tactics of Jacques Chirac; UN support for this conflict still wouldn’t justify it in my eyes.

I watched Tony Blair’s Presidential address the other day. He does seem to be absolutely sure he’s doing the right thing. At the end of the day, however, he has spectacularly failed to win the backing of the British people. Maybe if he hadn’t misled and lied to us so often in the past, we would be more willing to trust him now.

The oft-heard retort to war protests is “they wouldn’t be allowed to do this in Iraq”. Sadly they are increasingly not allowed to do it in the US either, for fear of being denounced as “unpatriotic”. Logical argument is replaced by anger and childish name-calling.

Despite my sentiments, I do support our troops on the front-line and hope that the conflict is over as quickly as possible, with minimum casualties — on ALL sides.

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