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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 09:57 GMT
War on Iraq: Pinter vs Wesker
All this week, the BBC World Service's World Today programme is bringing the views of various people on the case for war with Iraq. Here, playwrights Harold Pinter and Arnold Wesker present contrasting opinions.

Harold Pinter
Pinter spoke at the Anti-War March in Hyde Park
Harold Pinter is the author of 29 plays, including The Birthday Party and The French Lieutenant's Woman.

The US and the United Kingdom are trying to make a moral case for this war.

It is to be waged for the sake of the Iraqi people, apparently.

But in fact they couldn't care less about the Iraqi people. They've been killing them for years, through sustained bombing and brutal sanctions which have deprive hundreds of thousands of children of essential medicines.

Many of them are dying or are dead from the effects of depleted uranium used in the Gulf War.

The West has shown total indifference to these facts.

What is now on the cards is total mass murder.

To say we will rescue the Iraqi people from their dictator by killing them and by destroying the threadbare infrastructure of their country is an insult to the intelligence.

We have no moral position in this matter whatsoever.

The impending war is about testing new weapons of mass destruction - ours - and control of oil.

The arms manufacturers and the oil companies will be the beneficiaries.

The United States will be making a giant stride towards controlling the world's resources.

The whole thing is about 'full spectrum dominance' - a term coined by the United States, not me.


Arnold Wesker
Wesker's words were part of an open letter
Arnold Wesker is the author of 42 plays, among them Roots, Chicken Soup With Barley and his most recent, Longitude.

If I were Saddam Hussein, I'd be glowing with pride and pleasure - to say nothing of relief.

Here I am, a tyrant who has usurped the sovereignty of his own people - who has murdered many of them, who has invaded two of his neighbours - and look, I've turned the world upside down.

Oppressors could never have had it so good
Arnold Wesker
I've divided Europe, I've put Nato into disarray, I've got American and British forces on my doorstep wasting billions of dollars to do nothing.

The stock market has fallen to its lowest in ages; the American economy is faltering, and the UK is not doing too well either.

I've got the leading artists and intellectuals in Europe to march and sign petitions, helping me to perpetuate the tyrannical oppression of my people.

I've got lovely people from all over coming to Baghdad to act as human shields against military attack, so I don't need to waste Iraqi lives doing it.

And best of all, I've got both Osama Bin Laden calling for suicide attacks against my enemies, and Harold Pinter writing verses against my enemies.

Oppressors could never have had it so good.



WATCH AND LISTEN
Harold Pinter
"What is now on the cards is total mass murder"


Arnold Wesker
"If I were Saddam Hussein, I'd be glowing with pride"



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