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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Should action be taken against Iraq?
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says "There is a threat from Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction that he has acquired."

However, he says that no decision has been made yet on how to tackle that threat.

His comments came after a meeting with US Vice-President Dick Cheney in Downing Street on Monday.

Mr Cheney will now depart on a 10-day tour of the Middle East, where he will seek assistance in the war on terrorism and views on action against Iraq.

US President George W Bush put Iraq at the heart of his "axis of evil" speech in January, and administration officials have been threatening to expand his war on terrorism to take in Saddam Hussein's regime.

Do you think that the US and UK should take action against Iraq? What form, if any, do you think this action should take? How real a threat is Saddam Hussein's regime to current world stability?

The BBC World Service programme Europe Today brought together George Galloway, the British Labour MP and former UN official in Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell for this Europewide debate.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I trust my Government's judgement

Paul, UK
The reason the ALLIES did not invade Iraq proper is that the mandate was to remove them from Kuwait. Also I am sick of the "I need more proof" brigade, GET REAL you will never see this information, I trust my Government's judgement, and can understand the reasons why we can not know. Let us go back to before Afghanistan was put back on the road to recovery, we had people saying exactly the same things, now I am sure that the people of Afghanistan and Iraq will thank us when this is all over and they have the freedom to say so. And make no mistake if Hussein does not comply he will be removed. To see that all you have to do is "read through the rhetoric"
Paul, UK

Let's see, say a "rogue state" has been stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, has plans for using nuclear weapons. Refuses to allow inspection of their chemical and biological warfare plants. Sponsors terrorists and evil regimes in other courtiers. And all these woooly-tihnking liberals can do is talk about peace! The free world is under threat. Sooner we start bombing the USA the better!
JF, England

Let's just leave the dictator in peace to develop nuclear capabilities

S Smith, UK
Let's just leave the dictator in peace to develop nuclear capabilities. He clearly has a genuine desire to protect his people and will no doubt act responsibly with his new weapons. We know he's been naughty a few times in the past, but let's give the man one more chance. What have we got to lose?
S Smith, UK

Clearly it has been far too long since there was a true war fought on the Western front, and people have forgotten just how hideous the suffering is for all people in such an event. Otherwise there would not be such eagerness to start a global war. This is what people are asking for. Strike Iraq first, before she strikes us. That is saying you are prepared to begin the war. Shame! That isn't what our brave men and women in the first two world wars fought and died for. If the States wants war so much, then let her have it. On her own. Without allies. Has it ever happened before? No. No bully likes to beat up on the smaller kids without company. America will not fight without the skirts of her allies to hide behind when they cock it up.
Meg, UK

I believe that Dubya's policy on Iraq is being led by pressure from the oil companies that supported him during his election. These oil companies are immensely powerful and as such wish to increase their influence in the oil rich Middle East. By getting rid of Saddam Hussein and replacing it with more pro-West government oil can be accessed more easily.
Andy Moss, England

This is not about returning weapons inspectors. There were in Iraq for 8 years. How long do they need, or is that just the UN for you? The US and the UK are adamant on getting rid of Saddam regardless of how many innocent lives are lost. That's the honest truth. Saddam must go but the way Bush and Blair are going about it is completely immoral as it kills innocent people.
Khajil, UK

There are no inspectors in America investigating its weapons programs

Gavin, England
While I admit that Saddam won't rank highly as this century's Most Likeable Person, you have to look at this from all angles. Bush (and by extension America) are demanding that certain countries give them and the UN liberties that the US itself will not give. There are no inspectors in America investigating its weapons programs. It rather seems that the US is desperately searching for a new enemy now that the cold war has ended. A new Great Enemy will justify the massive defence spending that Mr Bush backer's desire. This is a country that has consistently ignored the wishes of the rest of the world and now wants us all to submit to their viewpoint of "cowboy diplomacy". Only a few years ago the Americans were complaining about being the "world's policeman", and now we have a great power throwing its weight around and behaving like a playground bully. The US allows Israel an almost free hand in its attacks on the Palestinians, because "they are a friend". But objects to countries like China simply enhancing their defences because "they are an evil power". If the Americans pursued a slightly more realistic world attitude and made real diplomatic efforts to understand what is happening in the world, perhaps they would not be considered the "Great Enemy" that they are in so many countries and by so many people.
Gavin, England

I am not a supporter of terrorism, it's evil, it's ungodly but please for God's sake the US and its allies should leave Iraq alone because if Iraq is bombed, the poor civilians are to suffer. They have a problem with Saddam Hussein, they should go and settle with him and not bomb the country. They should look for means, probably from inside the country, to remove him from power so that the people of Iraq will not be facing so much untold hardship.
Protus Nwokonna, Germany

Take the sanctions off Iraq and you'll have Saddam out. It is as simple as that.
Rubin, Israel

If President Bush attacks Iraq, I'm renouncing my American citizenship and moving to another country

Kayla, USA
If President Bush attacks Iraq, I'm renouncing my American citizenship and moving to another country. This man is a hypocrite, he's evil, he's incredibly dangerous to America (and the rest of the world for that matter), and he's leading this country down a dark path. Previous world "superpowers" have fallen because of similar ideology and if he continues to spout his rhetoric about the "axis' of evil" and "we'll use nuclear weapons if we have to", it's only a matter of time before history books refer to the US as a "former superpower".
Kayla, USA

Why is the rush to attack Iraq at this time? Enough suffering for the Iraqi people over the last 12 years or so. If the US and its allies were really sincere about ending Saddam's ruling they would have done it. Bush and his administration are just looking for another fight first to test their latest arm technology and second to give the world a reason to stay in the Gulf region to drain more wells of oil. In building up for the attack, The UN (i.e. US?) seems to have "bestowed" upon the Palestinians a resolution for no more than a "vision" of a Palestinian state. This is nothing more than trying to gain Arab support for hurting more innocent Iraqi people. Anyone with a sense of human rights should appeal to stop this murderous show.
Abdessalem, Algeria

I don't think any individual country should act alone without the agreement of the world, specially the US and UK
Po, UK, London

Firstly, why should Iraq be the only country to be inspected? Bush's father made a mess of the whole situation 12 yrs ago where innocent people were killed so what makes the son think he can do better? America and the UK show your weapons first! Then maybe you can than justify asking others to show their weapons! Bush has no right to interfere in other countries business who the hell does he think he is. I for one will not be supporting this war. War on terrorism? What a laugh more like war on innocents.
Naelah, UK

It seems to me this isn't about weapons of mass destruction but more because why Iraq will not bow down to the US and UK

Hasan, UK
I for one wish that Saddam would go, but it seems to me this isn't about weapons of mass destruction but more because why Iraq will not bow down to the US and UK as the rest of the Arab states do. Iraq under Saddam was a friend to the US and UK during the war with Iran and now all of a sudden Saddam is evil? He has always been evil and the UK and US traded with him and helped him against Iran. The US does not care about the people of Iraq or the people in the area, it only cares about its interests period. Israel builds nuclear and chemical weapons (which is should not have under international law) but the US isn't threatening action against Israel.
Hasan, UK

The world would live better without America. Americans are war mongers. If there is a terrorist state on this planet, it is the USA. Americans trained monsters such as Osama bin Laden, Jonas Savimbi, Saddam and all the notorious and fanatic organisations on this planet. Why should the Americans cry? Americans were happy when Iraq used weapons of mass destruction against Iran. They were happy when Osama was fighting the Russians. Now their old friends have turned against them. Whose fault was/is it?
John, Namibia

The most severe threat to the world right now is Bush and his government. Look what they are doing to the world. Think one moment, there is nothing but killing, attacking bombing innocent people under so many different excuses. He wants to try their own weapons of mass destruction in different ways. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Georgia, North name it.
Sofi, Iceland

It seems as though the international opinion on the whole is against attacking Iraq. The Bush administration is desperately running around trying to gather support that other nations don't want to give. Nevertheless, Saddam Hussein is obviously a dangerous dictator with weapons of mass destruction who oppresses all people. What is the best way to protect more people from being victimized by this maniac? I say a massive military assault on Iraq will only exponentially victimize more people in the process. It will be a debacle beyond the proportion of the last Gulf War if the US really does try to remove Saddam. The most likely reason that he was not removed last time is because there was no feasible replacement that could stabilize the state of Iraq. Who could feasibly fill this role now and does the US government really have a plan beyond the mere destruction of more real estate in the Middle East. Such a debacle and so much short sighted self interest. Lets all do what we can.
Paul, USA

Any launch of nuclear weapons from Iraq will most certainly be suicide for Iraq.

Rod, Australia
I don┐t see the big deal with Iraq. If Saddam is building weapons of mass destruction, it is because as a leader of a nation he is obligated to defend his country and his people from foreigners, and therefore he will seek the latest and greatest in weapons technology. To deny this is to deny them the right to defend themselves. Secondly, any launch of nuclear weapons from Iraq will most certainly be suicide for Iraq. Thirdly, the US is building a missile defence system that could potentially withstand a strike from China. So what chance does Iraq have even if it already had nuclear weapons. Finally, I think more than Saddam being "evil" he is criticised and hated for not bowing to US and UK demands as the rest of the world does.
Rod, Australia

Before taking action maybe Mr Bush should look at his own stance. Who refused to sign an international treaty on biological weapons because they didn't want their facilities inspected? Who is threatening to use nuclear weapons if any of their allies are attacked? I'm not saying that Iraq isn't a threat, but personally I feel Mr Bush is just as much of threat to the people of world stability at this point in time.
Keith Brown, Australia

Iraq has refused UN inspectors since 1998. That puts Iraq in direct violation of the Gulf War ceasefire agreement. That alone is justification for Saddam's removal. Why do so many around the world seem content with leaving a man who uses weapons of mass destruction on his own people in power? If the world wants to leave a man like that in power why are UN peace keepers in the former Republic of Yugoslavia or anywhere else for that matter? In regards to sanctions: Has Saddam not been given the chance to help his suffering people with the Food for Oil option? NO. If the United Nations provides the legal resolution to remove Saddam it will be viewed as a liberation by the people of Iraq!
James, USA

I don't believe that the US should engage in armed confrontation with Iraq. The true terror or tragedy is the amount of innocent Iraqi men women and children living under the oppression of Internal and external forces. Many thousands have died yet the regime lives on. How many more need to die before people realize that sanctions that kill is itself a from of terror.
Anwar Abdel-Aziz, United States

What is the sudden rush now to invade?

Roxanne, USA
Why was Saddam Hussein left in power at the end of the Gulf War? That is a question that has never been fully answered. And what has the U.S been doing for the past 12 years? Bombing targets in Iraq, enforcing an embargo that has not toppled Hussein but made him very wealthy. What is the sudden rush now to invade? Apparently he can't be all that dangerous if nothing's been done in all this time. As someone else suggested on this board, I would certainly not mind if some special forces got rid of Hussein and his henchmen, but to think of an unprovoked attack on Iraq is utter madness. But personally, I think that Hussein was left in power 12 years to continue to create instability in the region and give the US an enemy. Bush has proclaimed an axis of evil among three completely unrelated nations, so I guess his first hit will be Iraq. Keep the region unstable, move in on Iraq, grab its oil (remember, Bush didn't get his way about drilling in the Arctic), and what have you. If he attacks Iraq, I plan to leave the U.S.!
Roxanne, USA

Weapons of mass destruction are not to be taken lightly, especially in the hands of radical extremists. If nothing is done, the EU may find itself recovering from nuclear fallout, wind driven death and disease. The current war on terror has plainly shown us that the people who use terror as a weapon have no issue with using chemical, bactericidal or nuclear weapons against innocent citizens anywhere on this earth. They and their weapons must be destroyed. If we try to negotiate with these radicals, I'm afraid we may find terror in a worse form than the 9/11 attack spreading across our landscape.
M. Minor, USA

If action is to be taken it should be done so legitimately with the collective endorsement of the UN, all the evidence should be placed in the public domain. Whilst people are under no illusion about Saddam we will need reassuring that there is a genuine need for military action and that America is not on a power trip looking for more people to bomb in retaliation for September 11.Enough children die in Iraq daily without more bombing driven by American paranoia.
Huw, Wales

Iraq under Saddam is dangerous for world peace. Without any provocation Iraq has attacked Iran in 1980, Kuwait in 1990, and Israel in 1991. Ever since the Gulf War ended Iraq refuses to cooperate with UN weapons inspection teams. There is one possible reason why Saddam's Iraq does so - They plan the next unprovoked aggression against someone.

Saddam's Iraq has to comply, once and for all, with the terms of surrender they had accepted at the end of the Gulf War. Iraq should let the UN inspect for weapons of mass destruction. If the Iraqi people do not like what Saddam is doing on their behalf, they should remove him. If they are unable or unwilling to do so, the Iraqi people can't expect the rest of the world pay the price once more, facing the next aggression. The Iraqi people should expect the worst.
Michael, Hong Kong

Saddam Hussein is just one of many dictators created by Western money and politics

Marco, Italy
Saddam Hussein is a big problem for his own people and for the Middle East as a whole. It could represent a major problem for the rest of the world as well, but before I accept this fact someone must show me how. More importantly, Saddam Hussein is just one of many dictators created by Western money and politics. If the Western world's real first objective is to gain peace and order for future generations, we need to put into practice two simple rules: coherence and international (not unilateral) justice. Anything different sounds too dangerous to me.
Marco, Italy

I don't think action should be taken because it may aggravate the situation further and cause further resentment from neighbouring countries. I think greater efforts should be made to improve relations between the so called axis of evil countries and the West. Military action is not always the best option.
Carla Z, UK

Several points seem to be missing from this discussion. One is the fact that the US in the past could not get rid of Saddam, and the Gulf War was a measured war. Saddam did not learn anything from the encounter. Now, the facts have changed again. The USA is not acting like a bully, it is merely highlighting Saddam's distain for the rules imposed on his regime. He must comply, for the sake of all our safety.

Help the US? You must be joking. What thanks have we got for that already? A 30% tax hike on our steel.
Andy, UK

I don't think action is required. Saddam knows that if he assists terrorists in any way he will be wiped out. The West will know if he has been involved, the intelligence network is in place, I have no doubt. Covert operations would help and also preserve Arab support around the world.
Bill, UK

Where is the Iraqi threat? Their weapons of mass destruction may be alarming to neighbouring states but without an effective delivery system they can hardly be said to threaten Europe or North America. Saddam escaped by the skin of his teeth last time he started a war in Gulf and he knows he wouldn't survive another. Would he load an aircraft with biological agent and crash it on Washington? I don't think so. He may be evil but he isn't stupid. He's not a crazed fanatic like Bin Laden, but a calculating despot too much in love with power to risk everything again. We may not like Saddam but that's not reason enough to make war on Iraq. There are still plenty of tyrants and distasteful regimes around the World - its hard even to imagine the suffering we would unleash if we set out to remove them all by force. Sure Saddam deserves to be overthrown, but that's not our job.
Steve Sholl, UK

I am in the Territorial Army in the UK, my unit would be very unlikely to actually be used in any war on Iraq, but there is certainly no support for any kind of attack among us. In fact the corporal in charge of my section said that if the UK did go ahead with an unprovoked attack on Iraq he would simply leave the army as soon as possible. The double standards the USA and UK are showing in the current situation are absurd, if the west had overthrown Saddam in the initial Gulf War I would have supported it. Attacking countries because you do not like them is a war crime, plain and simple. If the government's aims were really humanitarian why do you think they did nothing to help stop the massacres in Rwanda? The west might use humanitarian reasons to justify wars, but they have little to do with why they are fought in the first place.
Patrick Heslip, UK

The US will lose the support of the 'coalition against terror' - especially from Russia and China.

The recent threat by the US administration to "if necessary" use tactical nuclear weapons against 'the seven target states' is an open invitation to Saddam Hussein to provide weapons of mass destruction (if he indeed has them) to terrorists. And the US will lose the support of the 'coalition against terror' - especially from Russia and China. In short the Bush administration has moved the nuclear war countdown clock several points closer to midnight and all of our assured destruction. American unilateralism, like the other threats facing us, is one we should be very wary of.

Saddam has clearly indicated that he is willing to sit this period out quietly, which also means he does not plan to give in to any inspections. He just wants to drag time. In a match of peaceful world vs. Hussein in the last several years we have seen only losses on our side. And in the light of all this I still expect nothing more from Europe than Chamberlanian 'appeasement' politics. It's about leadership without backbone, with possible exclusion of Britain, but that remains to be seen.
Almantas Jurkus, Lithuania - USA

The plan to attack Saddam Hussein is foolhardy in the extreme, but what is worse is that it is not based on any real threat posed by Iraq, since the longest range of any Iraqi missile is the 400 miles or so that a scud can fly, which is a threat neither to Europe nor to the USA, and an attack on Israel, which is just about possible with his current technology, would result in immediate retaliation, which Saddam Hussein does not want. The real reason for the planned attack is the high ratings Dubya enjoyed when Afghanistan was invaded, and so he is looking for another fight to keep the ratings high.
Tim Green, England

It's not worth a full scale war resulting in more destabilisation in the Middle East

Mike, UK
There has been a lot of talk about who has weapons of mass destruction. However, we should bear in mind these weapons have not been used since 1945 simply for the reason they exist...mutually assured destruction. Even if Saddam acquires a basic nuclear weapon the use of it against a country such as the USA would mean the total destruction of Iraq within hours. Saddam does not have the mentality of a suicide bomber; he enjoys being a dictator too much. Take him out by covert means, but it's not worth a full scale war resulting in more destabilisation in the Middle East.
Mike, UK

Any direct military action against the regime in Baghdad would only serve to further alienate Britain from the Arab and Muslim world. What a fine contradiction that would be - in diametric opposition to the government's recent initiative of trying to improve dialogue between Islamic communities and the West!
Andrew Steele, Nepal

I do not believe the countries of Europe should support the US against Iraq militarily or otherwise contrary to their people's will. But, then should the US feel obligated to protect Europe in any way against attacks that may be backed, planned and supplied by Iraq? If you appease this dictator he is not going to sweep through Belgium to take Paris, he will just vaporise it instead.
Joel, Texas USA

Like so many people here have said, we should take out Saddam and not the Iraqi people. Blair should also get a spine and stand on his own two feet.
Mandy, UK,

No doubt Saddam is an evil person. He has caused too much suffering for his own people. What the international community needs to do is get rid of Saddam and bring democracy to Iraq. But the question is does US want democracy in the middle east? I don't think so.
Metin, Turkey

Has anyone considered that Saddam has two grown sons who would surely not sit idly by while their father was taken out? One of them is known to be as bad as, if not worse than, his father. So what are our options? Military action, which will surely bring more suffering to the average Iraqi, or sending the CIA to take out not one but a whole family of people? Why is the Iran-Contra scandal suddenly coming back to my mind?
Jennifer Ethington, USA

I believe that the US is digging themselves into a deep hole.

Michelle, USA
I believe that the US is digging themselves into a deep hole. The Iraqi people do not need to be hurt in the process of dismantling the Hussain Regime. The dismantlement needs to be done in a different way than bombing. The Pen is mightier than the sword or has the US forgotten that statement already?
Michelle, USA

There are quite a few comments about there being no evidence that Saddam Hussein has acquired Weapons of Mass Destruction. But this is not for want of trying on the part of the weapons inspectors who were shown the door three years ago. Add in Saddam's willingness to use this type of weapon on his own people and his demonstrated aptitude for defiant deception and you have the ideal recipe for a disaster waiting to happen. Bush Senior should have completed the job earlier.

I believe the man should be removed from power, but not by military means. Crippling his government with covert actions would be just as effective and wouldn't put countries that act against him in such a bad light. The people of Iraq are suffering and should be helped. They deserve better than Saddam.
Lars McCarter, USA

Saddam is truly a dangerous man. If he get a hold of weapons of mass destruction, don┐t think for minute this man wouldn't use them. Stop him before it is too late.
Aaron, US

Think for a minute about the consequences of an attack on Iraq. About ten seconds after the first bullets are fired, the oil price will go up - as it did during the Gulf War. A good result for anyone with oil company stock, such as President Bush, his dad and Big Oil itself. They get rid of Saddam (no loss there), back a puppet government who are subsequently so keen to say thank you that they turn on the oil taps to trash the OPEC price-fixing and bring the oil price back down so the States can continue guzzling it. All in all, a tidy profit for the USA. Unilateralist America doesn't care about the oppressed Iraqis or genuinely believe that Saddam poses much of a threat. A war is just a smokescreen to get the black stuff.
Pete, UK

The west has the most formidable force you can imagine and after September 11 we will no longer refrain from using it.

Mr Burbidge, UK
Yes, it's us or them. They would not hesitate to set off a nuclear bomb in one of our cities, and Saddam's rhetoric continues to further bring upon himself the full might of America. When the talking stops we are left only with the universal language of force. And wake up world, the west has the most formidable force you can imagine and after Sept.11 we will no longer refrain from using it. At last the tyrants that can only muster a bunch of bullies to beat their oppressed population are going to be taught that they have totally underestimated America resolve and they will be made accountable.
Mr Burbidge, UK

First of all, what gives us the right to punish other Countries who may have or try to acquire nuclear weapons when we have them ourselves. Who made us Policeman of the World?
Secondly, why are we happy for Israel to have nuclear but are ready to wage war on Iraq, if we even suspect in future they might get them.
Thirdly knowing full well that any attack on Iraq will not harm its leadership, but will certainly mean the deaths of more innocent civilians why are we so happy to go along with this madness?
Fourthly, isn't this more of a personal issue between George Bush trying to finish off what his father couldn't?
Fifth, I think we would regain our credibility somewhat in the Arab World if we started to deal with all countries in a more even handed manner, and stopped picking and choosing who should have nuclear and who shouldn't and who should comply with UN Resolutions and who shouldn't.
Jane Moore, UK

The US could occupy countries like Iraq, along with others like Libya, Syria, North Korea, etc, and replace their despotic and corrupt regimes with democratic and accountable political systems. In the process the World would leap- frog a hundred years of evolution. Conversely they could do nothing and we will see a re-run of the twentieth century but with even greater proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction. The first option is politically incorrect. The second option ..... well it doesn't bear thinking about.
Peter , UK

Anyone that favours an attack against Iraq does not have the interests of the Iraqi people at heart

Mustafa, US/Iraq
I probably dislike Saddam more than anyone else does. He is a criminal of the worst kind. I want Saddam removed from power. However, I do not condone military action against Iraq. I would not mind if US or UK special forces parachuted into one of his palaces and executed him, but I cannot support a war against Iraq. The reason for my views is very simple. Any attack against Iraq will make the Iraqi people suffer. I know Saddam's policies. If a war were waged, Saddam's army would go door to door taking civilians to the front lines. Any civilian that refuses would be executed. Saddam does not care about his people, he only cares about his power. The civilian casualties would be enormous. Anyone that favours an attack against Iraq does not have the interests of the Iraqi people at heart. In short, take it from someone who has been there, remove Saddam from power, but do not wage a war against the nation that will cause massive civilian casualties.
Mustafa, US/Iraq

There is absolutely no need to take action against Iraq. There have been no new changes in the ground situation to warrant an attack. The main reason the allies are thinking of an Iraqi invasion is to test their latest weapons and newly developed attack and defence systems. The Bush administration has spent so much money on defence in the last year or so that it is now forced to use up its stockpile of weapons on someone. What better way than to use public sentiments against Islamic terrorists to attack Iraq? It would be a shame if more innocent Iraqis died because of fresh attacks. This will only create more terrorists.
Ohioguy, Detroit, USA

For 10 to 15 years we have been bombing these people, depriving them of food and basic medical supplies. 1.5 million people are dead due to depleted uranium and sanctions. Do you honestly think that these people will welcome our soldiers with open arms? If someone had done that to my country, I would want a pop at them. Even the opposition hates us because we told them to stand up in 1990 and they were slaughtered when we turned our backs on them! Does this sound familiar - perhaps as familiar as that other masterpiece of diplomacy, Afghanistan.
James Clarke, UK

The best solution to the Iraqi/Middle East problem is to topple Bush and Blair. Their hypocritical belief that they are the world's peacemakers will cost more human life than the world has ever seen. They are more concerned with appeasing their populous at home for political support than human life. The West believes more in oil, diamonds and political power than in the welfare of the countries it pretends to be saving. No genuine peace will ever be achieved until the Western Bush-Blair regime is toppled.
Mwanshi, Zambia

Saddam Hussein is a dictator of the worst kind, but since when it is the business of US and UK to fight dictators? There are many dictators in the world who are as bad as Saddam Hussein and are supported by US and UK. What weapons of mass destruction the US and UK are talking about? During the Gulf war we have not seen any trace of weapons of mass destruction used by Iraq. The only country in the middle east that actually owns weapons of mass destruction is Israel. US owns the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the world, and it used them in abundance on Japan and Vietnam. George Bush's and Tony Blair's hypocrisy and double standards are not fooling any one.
Ahmed, Canada

To Ahmed, Canada: I think you're missing the point. If Saddam Hussein has nothing to hide, why won't he let UN weapons inspectors in? All of this is HIS fault. HE decided to invade a neighbouring country, and he must suffer the consequences. You can bring up America's past all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that Saddam Hussein is oppressing his people and is a constant threat to his neighbours. Yes, the US has weapons of mass destruction, but when was the last time we invaded Canada or used chemical weapons against our minorities? It's obviously a totally different situation and should be treated as such.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

What happens in thirty or forty years when the balance of power shifts to East Asia?

Adam, US
It is easy to suggest war as the preventative medicine for the world's ills when backed by a military of unequalled might. But what happens in thirty or forty years when the balance of power shifts to East Asia? Perhaps the United States should use its present influence to empower and promote the international institutions that it may find need to reply upon when unilateralism fails to be an ally.
Adam, US

Should Europe ally itself in this war against Saddam? If the US has proof that Saddam is building an arsenal of weapons, then why, when the US has been bombarding Iraq since ten years, haven't they destroyed the area of these weapons instead of waiting to invade Iraq?
Can Europe afford to ally itself with Bush given the history of Bush's unilateralism, with one set of rules for Americans and another for the rest of the world? Won't we be piggy in the middle if Saddam retaliates and if he is as dangerous as Bush claims?
Tamzin, France

Since the takeover of power in Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1979, this unfortunate country has seen nothing but bloodshed and repression. Hundreds of thousands of the Iraqi population died because of the wars against Iran and the western alliance which were instigated by Saddam Hussein. Other hundreds of thousands of Iraqi┐s were murdered by the thugs of Saddam including Kurds, Shiites and Army officers. This is a regime that is capable of all atrocities against its own people, its neighbours and the entire world. For heaven's sake, how could the civilized world tolerate such a criminal regime? It is time for the USA and Europe to act seriously by all means to topple this regime and help the Iraqi opposition to build a democratic pluralistic political system in Iraq with respect to its own people and its international obligations.
Aram Kurdistani, Switzerland

Every country has right to have military and related equipment. Most of these are weapons of mass destruction. There is no reason to interfere in the internal matters of other countries.
Khalid, India/UK

If Bush wants to save the world by bombing out Saddam and other evil people in Yemen, Somalia and any other impoverished developing country, then he must do so through the United Nations

Heba Morayef, Egypt, Cairo
Has the world forgotten why the UN Charter was created? Has Bush ever read the UN Charter? Its preamble speaks of the 'scourge of war' not because the allies were the axis of good but because they had realized that mankind had developed weapons that could destroy the world. And that is why the use of force was prohibited by the Charter with 2 narrow exceptions. If Bush wants to save the world by bombing out Saddam and other evil people in Yemen, Somalia and any other impoverished developing country, then he must do so through the United Nations. The only way to fight terrorism is through international law, anything else gives a cause to terrorists and will backfire sooner or later! It is not for Bush or Blair, or anyone else who has watched too many Hollywood films and wants to be a hero too, to determine who they want to beat up next. And anyone who supports them will be just as guilty when the storm breaks.
Heba Morayef, Egypt, Cairo

In earlier times, when the worst secretive enemies could deliver was a boatload of thugs or a gang of infiltrators who could wreck minor havoc and be quickly dealt with, the world could afford to ignore them until they struck, and deal with them in the aftermath. Nice sounding international laws and conventions could be agreed to which laid down the rules of war and just retaliation. In a world where a small band can smuggle weapons that could kill millions in your own country without warning, these laws are a naive anachronism.
Mark, USA

When does your question suggest we act? Now or after they kill thousands of innocent people by carrying out or sponsoring some new terrorist act?
Brian Ashworth, US citizen in UK

The root of all the problems in the Middle East lies in the Palestinian issue

Mustapha Shuman, France
Getting rid of Saddam won't change anything. The root of all the problems in the Middle East lies in the Palestinian issue. Solve that, even it means building a Berlin wall between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and then there will be peace.
Mustapha Shuman, France

The U.S double standards are to blame for all the troubles in the Middle East. How can they support Israel without even questioning its human rights record and illegal occupation of Palestine? If you attack Iraq you should attack Israel.
Jenny, UK

Am I one of the few people who in 1991 heard Saddam Hussein say in a public address/threat, "Wait until the USA experiences terrorist activity in their own Homeland"? Was his comment in 1991 about terrorist activity in the USA just a premonition then? I highly doubt it! What kind of a genius does it take to realise, by his own actions and remarks, he has been involved in this from the beginning, and is probably one of the main supporters of whole current nightmare dilemma?
Marcie, USA

The world is not your ranch, cowboy Bush! You can't just herd people and countries in one direction or another like cattle. Iraq seems to have become the favourite whipping boy of the UK and USA now that Afghanistan's troubles have been solved. While I agree that Saddam Hussein is one of the worst people alive today, military action is only going to make the starving Iraqis suffer more for no fault of their own. If Saddam is to be toppled the only way to do it is covertly.

Saddam needs to be taken out, as long as he has control of that country, he will always endeavour to grow militarily

Dan, Australia
Listen.... as much as I hate violence and believe that most things can be resolved peacefully, this matter is dramatically different. Saddam needs to be taken out, as long as he has control of that country, he will always endeavour to grow militarily, and ultimately who knows, but we do know his track record is very poor and the oppression of the Iraqi people is a direct result of his policies. So, take him out, whatever it takes, the repercussions of this will be great but over time, I believe it is the only option for a long-term peace solution.
Dan, Australia

Israel has weapons of mass destruction, let's start bombing!
TJ Cayman Islands

Imagine that we had a time machine and could go back 5 years and destroy Al-Qaeda before they had a chance to murder over 3000 people. What would our "peace at any cost" correspondents make of that? If they were to stick to their principles then presumably they would object on the grounds that Al-Qaeda hadn't done anything yet!
Clive, Australia

People should consider the copious factual information accumulated about Hussein and his regime. If that's not sufficient talk to some of the many refugees - decent ordinary citizens arbitrarily labelled. He has demonstrated that in negotiation he cannot be trusted. This man does not need the stockpiles of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons for self-defence. These are all weapons of mass destruction that when released often bring uncontrollable results. One should stop him before he destroys many of us.
Patrick Foster, USA

How can we tell the outer counties to stop their weapon program when we go full speed to build ours? We spend more money on it then all the world counties put together!
James A Carr, USA

When are President Bush and Vice President Blair going to realise that they do not rule the world? Bush's father tried this on Saddam and failed to remove him so why should now be any different from then? And as for Blair, there are far too many problems at home that need attention. Right now we do not need Desert Storm 2 or World War 3.
Tony Burgess, UK

If anyone should be giving up weapons of mass destruction it should be America and Britain.

Ivan, Russia
If anyone should be giving up weapons of mass destruction it should be America and Britain. Through their own actions and the actions of those to whom they sell their weapons, the Americans and British are responsible for more death and suffering in this world than any member of the 'Axis of Evil'. What about some coherent, forward-looking leadership from the 'mighty west' rather than bullying and coercion. It strikes me as a little strange that the west decides who can and can't have weapons of mass destruction!
Ivan, Russia

Saddam has proved over and over his unwillingness to be humanitarian in any way. Treating him as a war criminal, for the torture of Kuwati citizens, and put him before a tribunal as his been done with other leaders. If he were captured he could not be made a martyr. If some faction could be supported, as in Afghanistan, in its rise to power; perhaps this would end some problems and allow more humanitarian efforts in Iraq.
Ben Johnson, USA

To suggest that Iraq is a threat to world security is ridiculous. It is a dictatorship, but so are many regimes openly supported by the USA, such as Saudi Arabia.

There is a country that is a real threat to the peace of the world, has weapons of mass destruction, and is guilty of arms proliferation by virtue of it's enormous arms exports. That country is the United States of America.
Paul Lockwood, UK

It is interesting seeing here a lot of pacifist comments. How dangerous are these views? The Iraqi question should be dealt with swiftly and in such a manner that the man himself and his apparatus would understand. Before thousands of us are wiped out in the streets of NY, Sydney or Jerusalem it is only fair that we act first and use any force available to us, including nuclear weapons. We used it once and it worked and there is no reason to believe that it will not work again. As Ariel Sharon said they will not understand until they are totally defeated. This applies to Saddam and others like him too.
Emily, Australia

Simple answer, yes. Saddam Hussain needs to be removed from power quickly. I hope that the people of Iraq can forgive us for failing to do this in the early 90's. As usual the leftie do gooders who do not want an attack appear happy to see countless thousands murdered under this evil tyrants regime.
Doug, UK, London

Any military action on Iraq should be for the sole objective of removing the current leadership and their cronies to be tried for their atrocities against humanity. And replacing it with a democratic, stable government, which represents all factions of the Iraqi people and promotes human rights and economic prosperity under the umbrella of the United Nations. Without this clear objective, any action on Iraq will destabilize the region and impact the world economic situation.
Meshari, Kuwait

The US has antagonized enough people in the mid-east.

Kambiz Shahri, Switzerland
Although Sadaam is a heinous despot, what has been perpetrated towards the Iraqi populace via the sanctions, has only strengthened a peoples' resolve, and further degraded an already battered U.S. reputation, in the region. The U.S. has antagonized enough people in the mid-east. The Sept. 11th tragic event, is a testament to the intensity of the vehemence. Any further antagonism and bully-boy tactics would only make things worse, however righteous and justified the motivation.
Kambiz Shahri, Switzerland

Haven't the numerous UN sanctions imposed on Iraq done enough damage without now waging war against the regime and causing more suffering to innocent people? Yes, Saddam has also caused suffering to the people of Iraq, but put this in to context - How many innocent lives have been lost as a result of the sanctions imposed by the UN? The US needs to think of better ways to remove the regime than by fire-power alone.
Ali, England

What is the difference between Iraq and all the other countries with chemical and biological weapons? Am I right in thinking that China, India and Pakistan, to name a few also have these weapons. Are we to fight them all? What right does Britain and America have to decide what other countries can do or not do? Has anyone considered that perhaps after all this time that Iraq has none of these weapons. The fact that none of the weapons inspectors have seen any evidence could mean that there is none. Maybe they want the west to think that they are equipped as a deterrent! Would it not be money better spent, by improving all of our defences? Keeping out soldiers here, watching the frontiers. Deploying them at ports and airport. We are a tiny Island in comparison, and rather than taking on 'the world' , why not concentrate on our defences. Saving money that pays for the mass destruction that war costs and using it for our own safety? Mind our own business and affairs, and mind them well! It is worth thinking about!
L Hogan, UK

If Bush and/or Blair launch pre-emptive strikes against Iraq, without any justifiable reason, then they should be put on trial in The Hague for war crimes.
Richard, UK

Martyrdom is the goal for Islamic fanatics, and military action against Iraq will only make Saddam a martyr

Peter Alsop, England
I believe there is very little that can be done militarily against Saddam Hussein. During the Gulf war, when Iraqi forces were retreating from Kuwait, a real opportunity to get rid of this man and the evil regime which supported him was there. I'm sure the Coalition forces would've had broad Arab support for such action back then, but nothing happened. Mr Blair and President Bush will have little sympathy or support from the wider world community at their threat of action to remove him today. Martyrdom is the goal for Islamic fanatics, and military action against Iraq will only make Saddam a martyr to many more fanatics. Iraq probably has stockpiles of biological, chemical and nerve agent weapons still undiscovered, and given the chance Saddam would use them against the west. They were used during the war against Iran during the 80's and against innocent people in Iraq at Saddam's will. It's the most likely way Saddam would hit back in my opinion. These weapons are not that expensive or difficult to produce and they're very effective! Remember the Sarin attack in Japan a few years ago, and very recently the spread of anthrax in the United States? The US can then look forward to possibly another September 11th and so might we here in the UK after 'carpet bombing' Iraq once more. The solution really lies in getting co-operative Arab support to help the people of Iraq who are trying to survive in a country with very little. The same could be said of the Palestinians too. Only then can Saddam be shown up for the tyrant he is amongst his fellow Arabs and removed from power.
Peter Alsop, England

I am sick and tired of intellectually challenged Western leaders such as Blair and Bush treating me like some mindless moron, and purporting to do things in my name. I have only one message for them. If it comes down to killing more of the Iraqi population, then I can do without the oil. I have a bike and a horse. Please don't tell me that it's anything other than oil either. If it's a matter of trying to inflict democracy of the Iraq, then I suggest that they start on Saudi Arabia, which in my own personal experience is far more brutal and undemocratic than Afghanistan or Iraq.
Patrick, Ireland

I do not support any military attack on Iraq just like I do not support Saddam's dictatorship on the Iraq people. Let's not be fooled in justifying an aggression on the Iraq people in the name of ridding Saddam's regime, for we will be justifying mass killing of the already suffered innocent people. An attack on Iraq will definitely harm the innocent people and not Saddam and his regime. Other intelligence means must be used to dislodge Saddam and not force, as he is not an immediate threat of weapons of mass destruction. If anything Saddam was once bombed by the USA and it's allied forces and never reacted by use of the so-called weapons of mass destruction. However the USA is on record as having reacted immaturely to Pearl Harbor bombing and dropped atom bombs on the Japanese people. So who is the real threat of weapons of mass destruction?
Kunda, Zambia

Removing Saddam is necessary; his well-documented actions speak for themselves. But the intentions of the US/UK are not for the good well of the Iraqi people. If that were the case this would have been done 10 years ago. Someone like Saddam in the region provides the perfect excuse for the US to move deeper into the oil wells of Saudi Arabia. I don┐t defend Saddam in any way, but some numbers are worth a thought: In the year before the Gulf war, there were less than 500 child deaths in Iraq, during the 10 years of sanctions more than 600,000 child deaths... Saddam was as bad a dictator before the Gulf war as he was after - so what┐s the difference? There will be peace throughout the Middle East (for all including Israel) only when there is justice. Or when the oil dries up!
Zack, Canada

The threat of an Iraqi attack against the U.S. is ridiculous. There is no nation on this earth with the economic capability of even remotely challenging the Americans. Once again we see the spin doctors in the white house using all sorts of scary talk to drum up support amongst an already paranoid populous. They did it during the cold war and they're doing it again now.
Eric, Canada

Attacking Iraq is unnecessary and makes it seem to the world that the US is trying to flex its muscles in the region

Gabriel DeSanctis, USA
There is no direct proof that Iraq has supported Al Qaeda except some unconfirmed "reports" of meetings between Bin Laden operatives and Iraqi intelligence. Attacking Iraq is unnecessary and makes it seem to the world that the US is trying to flex its muscles in the region and guarantee a steady flow of cheap energy to the west. While the US and UK may be concerned about "weapons of mass destruction," they should stop being hypocritical and look at countries like Israel, Pakistan, India, and other allies which have advanced nuclear weapons programs. While the Hussain regime may not be the most savoury, there really is no need to escalate the issue further and put more lives at risk. It just stinks of imperialism.
Gabriel DeSanctis, USA

An attack on Iraq will be required at some point. That point is not now. The first priority in the fight against terror should be to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Once this is resolved, it will strip away the terrorist excuses used to justify attacks. When the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved, "freedom fighters" who refuse to disarm will be seen as terrorists. This will make it much easier to identify terrorist groups and the countries that support them. Once they are more clearly identified, they can be isolated and destroyed. Diplomatic steps must engage Arab governments, and give them a stake in peace. The US and UK have proven their commitment to war. It is now time to commit to peace so that the next military action will be seen as necessary and just.
Paul, USA

Many Arab states will not like an attack on Iraq. The previous attack on Taleban can be slightly justified by September 11th. Saddam had nothing to do with September crimes. If you want to get rid of the regime, do it by any other way than wars that leave hundreds of innocent causalities and tons of hatred.
Tarek, Egypt

I have no illusions about the cruel regime of Saddam Hussein, but I also don't believe that Iraq has done anything to warrant military attack. Remember that the US president cannot declare war himself - that power rests with the Congress. Hopefully the Democrats will grow a spine and cooler heads will prevail with a multilateral solution to the Iraq problem.
Scott, USA

I can't think of a better way to unite the Arab world and turn Saddam in to a hero. If, the Americans and British attack Iraq and remove Saddam from power, how will they ensure that his replacement is any better? An army of occupation, perhaps? That didn't work in Northern Ireland or Vietnam, or anywhere else for that matter. What's more, Britain┐s forces are stretched to the limits now, so how does the government propose to resource this adventure? I think Tony Blair will find that any involvement in this flawed and quite frankly, dangerous plan will rip both the Labour party and the country apart. Caution should be the only buzzword here.
Nigel Tregoning, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.

I am an Iraqi, and I hope that action will be taken against Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein. I believe that all Iraqis feel the same.

Hussein Ridha, Iraqi refugee in UK
I am an Iraqi, and I hope that action will be taken against Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein. I believe that all Iraqis feel the same. Anyone who objects is not speaking for the suffering of the Iraqi people. If action is taken and Saddam is toppled, then Iraqi hands will be lifting the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes in celebration and the objectors will be silenced by the sound of those celebrations. I will then go back home.
Hussein Ridha, Iraqi refugee in UK

If Iraq had any serious capability at harming America surely it would have instigated some measure of response during the early phase of the American attack on Afghanistan. This would have been its only half hope of a chance at a strike against America. Now I fail to see how Iraq has amassed any recent capability to change that picture, if as we are told it is bent on the destruction of America and its allies.
Jon, Australia

I do not agree with an attack against Iraq. I agree with an attack against Saddam Hussein. The differentiation has to be made and has to be taken into account when choosing targets in Iraq. I do not agree with the view expressed by Domini Connor (below) that Saddam is 'genuinely quite popular' with Iraqis. If you believe the charade of demonstrations supporting him in Iraq, then you'll believe anything. They are all orchestrated. As an Iraqi, I know this for a fact. It's time the West finishes the job they started in 1991 and clear up the mess they have helped to create in Iraq. However, if the attack is going to be another show of US military superiority whilst leaving Saddam in power, then Britain might as well not bother.
Yamama, UK

The world has seen the contempt that Saddam Hussein has for regional stability and peace on more than one occasion. Yet we sit idly by while this man builds up his strength again. It is time to act and Saddam should know that his days are numbered. If an invasion is impractical, then the West, including Britain, should give its full financial, political and military backing to the opposition Iraqi National Congress. September 11 has surely taught us the folly of delaying action against enemies. To act against Iraq would soon be accepted by Arab countries as a positive step towards securing the region's stability. Saddam casts a shadow over the West's relations with the Arab world and it is clear he must go.
Tom, UK

Is no-one thinking about the Iraqi people in all this?

A Turner, UK
Is no-one thinking about the Iraqi people in all this? Not only do they have to put up with the disastrous effects of sanctions on their daily lives but now with the threat of an unprovoked attack! How is this justifiable? Yes, Saddam does probably have piles of weapons, but so do other countries. Are we going to attack them too? When is the US going to wake up and realise that the reason it is so unpopular in non-western countries is because it insists on acting as independent law enforcer. The saying 'Might makes Right' would in this case seem pertinent. If another less powerful state launched an attack on Iraq, would this not be condemned? But of course the US can stand up to its own hypocrisy by simply throwing money and spin at the problem! And anyway who cares about collateral damage, after all they are only Iraqis? Right?
A Turner, UK

The BBC's Emily Buchanan
"Few doubt Bush's desire to complete his father's unfinished business"
Robert Baer, former CIA field officer in Iraq
"The ex-military officers are the only ones who can hold the country together"
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12 Mar 02 | Politics
11 Mar 02 | Americas
24 Feb 02 | Middle East
23 Feb 02 | Middle East
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