Letter: Caging Saddam

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Sir: Since 1945 the declared aim of the international community has been to secure peace by means of a system of collective security, operated through the United Nations, by which any rogue nation will be controlled, firstly by sanctions and secondly by force.

Why is there such opposition to bombing operations against Iraq? Saddam is a monster. If he confined his excesses to his own population, then it would be difficult to justify action against him. He does not, but has attacked his neighbours, using germ warfare against them, and is clearly intent on continuing to develop such weapons and their means of delivery. Not to take action means awaiting the day when Iraq emerges as a fully fledged nuclear power.

If sanctions and air attacks are not acceptable, because of the inevitable suffering of civilian populations, then it would seem that there is no means by which a system of collective security can be enforced. The problem of Iraq is the acid test for the post-war foreign policy consensus, such as it is. There seems to be no replacement in sight.