New Forest East



Southern Daily Echo – 31 January 2003

With convoys of men and materials heading for Marchwood Military Port, it is timely to consider why the threat of military action against Iraq is both timely and necessary.

It is not very often that I agree with Tony Blair, but on this issue he is right. As he said at Prime Minister’s Questions recently, if we do nothing about rogue states which have consistently tried to develop weapons of mass destruction, sooner or later they will make them available to fundamentalist Islamic terrorists who would not hesitate to use them.

Saddam Hussein has even gassed his own people with deadly chemical weapons as well as lying time and time again about his attempts to build a nuclear bomb and manufacture lethal germs.

Of course, there can be no guarantee that United Nations inspectors will find chemical or biological weapons stocks. Saddam threw the inspection team out of Iraq in 1998. This gave him more than four years to create stocks of chemical and biological weapons which could be hidden in any cellar or hole under a rock in the desert. The plant which manufactured them could have been dismantled or destroyed long ago.

If September 11 has shown us anything, it is that the democracies dare not sit back and wait to be attacked. Osama Bin Laden and his followers and imitators combine a vicious religious-based fanaticism of a sort not seen in Western societies for several hundred years with an awareness of the potential of modern technology to cause destruction.

They, better than anyone, appreciate the potential of the weapons Saddam has so determinedly been trying to acquire. They will stop at nothing to obtain them if they can.

By disarming Saddam of mass destruction weapons, we will maximise the prospect of frustrating that terrible objective.