Just conclusion 1

September 19, 2003

Sir Harry Kroto believes the war against Iraq was illegal (Opinion, THES , September 12). This judgement is highly disputed among specialists in international law. Experts disagree, as did the government's legal advice prior to the war.

The alternative was not "no war" but the continuation of the low-level war, called "containment". But there were strong arguments against this.

First, its effectiveness had become seriously undermined. Saddam Hussein had developed ways to circumvent sanctions. There were also serious moral problems. Containment abandoned the Iraqi people to their fate indefinitely under a murderous dictatorship.

Such a cold war would have prevented the economic revival of a potentially great and prosperous nation, the emergence of democracy and a country's reintegration in the international community.

If truth be told, containment kept Saddam in power. It was his greatest weapon against his own people.

Those who have studied Iraq always expected that the greatest problems would arise after the war. But think about Iraq ten years from now as a prosperous, modern nation. Compare that with an Iraq under the rule of Saddam and his murderous sons. What was the moral path to choose?

Christoph Bluth
School of Politics and International Studies
University of Leeds

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