Letter: Military action against Iraq strengthens Saddam

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The Independent Online
Sir: 'Give Saddam a good spanking and teach him a lesson'. This attitude, straight from the playing fields of Eton, is reminiscent of 1914 when generals played God with the lives of millions of young men. It camouflages the truth, namely that for three solid hours Britain, France and the US dropped 1,000lb bombs on Iraq, causing, in the words of Malcolm Rifkind, 'serious damage'. The official figure is 22 deaths and many more casualties. The real figure is likely to be much higher.

Reference to UN resolutions is spurious. The 'no-fly zones' have been imposed without UN authorisation and against the UN Charter. They are a White House creation, without even the support of the Gulf war coalition. The Arab world, whose memory of colonialism is still fresh, sees them as interference aimed at undermining a sovereign state, the first step towards the dissolution of Iraq and the introduction of 'divide and rule'.

The Iraqi people are left to wonder why they must die in order to humble Saddam. Wednesday's bombing almost certainly strengthened the Ba'athist regime. The real lesson is that freedom, unlike colonialism, cannot be exported or imposed. The principles of non- interference and self-determination are as valid as ever. The lesson is ours to learn.

Yours sincerely,




General Secretary

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

London, N7