Iraq War: Humanitarian Aspects Should Not Be Forgotten

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), March 27, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Iraq War: Humanitarian Aspects Should Not Be Forgotten


Byline: Martin Smyth

THE arguments over the war in Iraq have too often been portrayed as the "hawks" versus the "doves". That is an over-simplification. There are supporters such as Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, who are more enthusiastic about military intervention.

However, there are also others like Ann Clywd, the well-known MP from the left of the Labour Party, who can hardly be described as a "warmonger".

At Foreign Office Questions on January 21, I joined with Ann in pressing the Government on the lack of progress in bringing war crime indictments against the Saddam regime.

Ann has long been working to gather evidence on the human rights abuses committed by Saddam's regime to allow this to happen.

She has told the Commons of horrific examples and, in January's debate, she summed up her support for war by asking: "Who is to help the victims of Saddam Hussein's regime unless we do?"

The anti-war protestors claim the monopoly on the moral and ethical arguments but there is an humanitar- ian case for this war. Saddam has deprived the Iraqi people of the benefit from the country's wealth and supplies, and denied them human rights.

They will be much better off without him. Humanitarian aid will follow our troops into Iraq and, the sooner those resisting are quelled, the easier it will be to establish and maintain strong supply routes.

Cynics of this, especially once the war is over, can be assured that there are many in the Commons, including myself, who will be pressing the Government to ensure that our post-conflict responsibilities are not forgotten.

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