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Panorama has broadcast a special global interactive programme with a special international panel including Richard Perle and Edith Cresson.
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The UN is a forum for small countries like ourselves - our only forum . Do our views on the war count for anything ?
Bush only seems to worry about preserving and promoting the American way of life while Chirac would rather ask pro-American European countries to 'shut up'. In such a world, I can only admire Tony Blair for recognizing that the world needs a balance and his efforts towards that goal.
I would like to ask all the other countries and protestors who are so against this war, as I was at first, why don't you want Saddam out of power knowing he is such a monster that he killed 30,000 of his own people for not wanting his regime in 91' when attacked his brothers in Kuwait? He is another Hitler and if his people could of ousted him they would of or other countries close by would when they were attacked, but they called who? This monster has no regard for his people or life for that matter, as we all have heard from who? Iraqi people who now live in the UK and USA. Get real you people, do you all live in the movies or what? We Americans were told we turned a deaf ear to what Hitler did when he killed millions of Jews. Do we do this again and again get the blame for not doing something sooner because we are the super power? Freedom comes at a price, our sons and husbands! That is a large cross to bear. But as a super power who is it everyone calls on when they need help or have a crisis?
Edith Cresson was hardly a credible spokesperson for the French position given the fact that she is not a member of the government and is currently facing charges of corruption relating to her time as an EU commissioner. Even so, John Reid's performance was disgraceful. Ignoring Mme Cresson's unambiguous statement that the best outcome of the war was a rapid victory for the coalition forces, he repeatedly made jibes about the French government being pro-Saddam. His matey double-act with Richard Perle was excruciating: Dumb and Dumber. Is this really the level to which UK cabinet ministers have sunk?
How can a government official in US say that they hope the Shia community wtll rebel. This really shows the mentality of US administration. If the muslim population think in a similar way and plot black against white or roman catholic against protestants and so on what would be the result. The very same Bush who wants to make this world safe has this in mind it is danger for safety of humanity itself.
I found this 'special' edition neither informative nor fair. It didn't
really address the questions put by a portion of its globally
interactive audience, let alone offer fresh insights. It did, however,
provide a platform for the smug and mutually congratulatory statements of Richard Perle and John Reid; and it served anti-French bias as Edith Cresson was rudely relegated to the sidelines. There was no attempt at subtlety.
Last night's (30 Mar 2003) Panorama was a somewhat better and well balanced presentation than others of late, which brought out a number of key issues. Including the disparity of views across countries, the French inconsistency following Kosovo, the inability of the UN to deal with issues that arise within a countries boundaries, but nonetheless threaten to have a global effect and last but not least the pivotal issue of Palestine recognition. I hope that this standard can be maintained and appreciate that it must be much more difficult to research, organise and present than one which is focussed, but dominated primarily by one view.
Having said all that, I am apprehensive of the subject matter that has been chosen for next week. In the last few seconds of the programme I believe it was stated that you would be looking at the issues related to the planning of the Iraq war. Given that we are now committed to winning a war in very difficult circumstances, that is mainly driven by events consistent with minimising civilian casualties, rather that rigid and expedient timescale, I would challenge the usefulness of such a programme with its negative theme at this time.
We are constantly hearing conflicting views on whether the invasion of Iraq by the Allied Forces is legal or illegal (by international law). This has to be the most fundamental question about the war so why is it not being answered? If we are avoiding this we cannot use phrases such as a "moral war", as we are just playing games and not facing reality.
I've just seen Panorama for the first time this evening, and I love it. It's one of the best television news magazines I've yet seen, more thoughtful, wide ranging, and deeply searching with a very satisfying 'your questions' format than virtually anything made for US TV. What a pleasure.
Who can stop the so called "Super-Power" ? Now we see the US led coalition's invasion of Iraq, what happened if one day China bombed Taiwan and told the Useless Nations (UN) that this is a 'family dispute ' and that the World had no right to intervene ?
This programme was meant to be an international debate. It had four live participants. Richard Perle from the US, a right wing supporter of the war. John Reid from the UK, a member of the British War Cabinet. Edith Cresson from France, against the war. Prince Hassan of Jordan, seamingly in favour of the war. This is not a balanced and representative panel however you look at it. The one person opposing the war was French and so already marginalised in many peoples eyes. She was also the only woman. She was cut short on many occasions. Prince Hassan of Jordan does not reflect the mood of the Middle East where there is overwhelming opposition to this war. The summary of public opinion around the world at the end of the programme was rediculous. The questions asked in each country were completely different therefore negating any sense of comparison.
At the onset the question was weapon of mass destruction then later regime change and liberation of iraqis. But how can we be convinced while there's intentional destruction of civilian infrastructures.
I was disappointed by the way in which survey results were presented on last night's Panorama. The BBC seemed to be using the data to make a particular point, rather than letting the statistics tell their own story. For example, of course a high proportion of Brits think that now the war has started, it's best to see it through (I think the figure was about 85%?). It would be very difficult to argue otherwise. It would have been much more revealing to see how many people in this country think the war is wrong, or shouldn't have been undertaken in the first place. We also needed to be able to compare opinion across different countries, rather than being presented with random 'snapshots' according to the whim of the producer.
Maybe with their closer affinity to the Moslem world, through Algeria & Morocco at least the French had the foresight to see that maybe war in Iraq maybe likened to putting one's hand in a bees nest. After the US has given Iraq Saddam, given him gas to use on his own people you can hardly blame them for not trusting an American general to bring peace or justice to the people.
My wife and I have just sat and watched your latest programme with increasing annoyance at the lack of time given to the French and Jordanian participants. We both felt that Mr Perle was given much more air time. We would like to see a change of regime in Iraq, but believe that it is up to the neighbouring countries to exert pressure. What gives Britain the right to invade Iraq? Do the leaders of all the other countries in Europe not see Saddam as a threat? It appears that we are unique in Europe, otherwise every other country would be sending troops over to get rid of Saddam.
Why, now that there is open conflict don't the UK and the USA publish the damming evidence that has been claimed as the justification for conflict. Or will it stay under wraps in case the world gets to see what countries and who's name are on the invoices?
Post-war contracts given to US companies constitute aid to the US and should not be included in the figures of US aid to Iraq. Contracts should be managed by the UN and preference should be given to Iraqi companies - that is Aid!
At first British and US troops were supposed to be disarming the Iraqi regime of it's "weapons of mass destruction". Then they were supposed to be overthrowing the regime by killing Saddam. Now they are supposed to be "liberating" the Iraqi people. To paraphrase the old song..."What are we fighting for?"
Have just seen Panorama. a very one sided affair. Richard Perle, a right wing zealot supporter of the war given a free run. John Reid had the centre stage. Edith Cresson couldn't express herself properly and the other chap from Jordan, a country which is afraid to speak up and has just expelled five Iraqi embassy staff. Where is Panorama's impartiality.
What about the 'New American Century'? Who has asked the American Administration what they're really up to? Can they be trusted if we don't really know?
I think people should support Mr Blair's decisions stop the protests and support the soldiers fighting in Iraq! Mr Blair in my opinion is a fine statesman and has handled this current crisis in a appropriate manner, our thoughts and prayers should be with our troops.
What worries me the most about this conflict is that we in the west do not understand how people in the Middle-east think. We have no term of reference to use. If we are not careful, we will be drawn into a long term conflict. It is not clear why this war was ever started, the story has changed almost daily - now we are freedom fighters. But what price are we prepared to pay for what is in essence a war started to save face for Mr Bush.
We were led to believe prior to the start of the war in Iraq, that the vast majority of Iraq is opposed to the rule of Saddam and wants him out of power. so then why is it that more and more Iraqis are taking up arms to fight off the coalition forces, and not lead an uprising, as we were tricked into believing would happen?
Dr John Reid is absolutely correct. You, the media are fighting Saddam's war for him. You are undermining, constantly, what the war is about. Who the heck do you believe, Saddam or our Government? You should get on a plane and go join Saddam. It is quite obvious the people of Iraq are too frightened to rise up at this point as there are too many henchmen to kill them. Ditch the French, they are only worried about oil contracts they have already signed up to. We will win this war and liberate the Iraqi people.
I am an Iraqi living in London. As much as I despise Saddam's brutal regime, I am faced with a choice of lesser of the two evils. I do not welcome US rule in my homeland and I would almost certainly defend my country and honour from this invasion force.
Sad to see your unbalanced Panorama debate today with warmongers like Perle and an old British politician using the opportunity to continue their arrogant and destructive attack on the French, who's representative was the voice of reason and good political manners, given all too little time.
It is indeed shocking to hear all those politicians like Mr Reid and Mr Perle comparing the invasion of Iraq with that of Kosovo, which was also without the UN Security Council support. And, they continue to conveniently ignore the brutal 'ethnic cleansing' by the government of Mr Milosevic. How could that be compared with the situation with Iraq?
I think Mr. Bush has done a great job by attacking devils like Saddam Hussein. When top leaders of the world selected to be silent on Iraq issue, Bush demonstrated the rare courage and attacked Saddam. Just imagine, if Bush would have selected to remain silent then devils like Saddam would go unabated and unchecked.
I would like the world to know that tens of millions of Americans oppose this war and are as frustrated as you are. Keep in mind that a majority of Americans voted against George Bush and he was placed in office by the supreme court by a 5-4 split. America is sliced down the middle with the informed and educated on one side and the backward, ill-informed on the other.
Is this war not exactly what the terrorists responsible for September 11 wanted? Have they not, therefore, won?
Some say stop the war. We say stop Saddam. 30 years he starved his people. He lives in palaces. Has billions in Banks for himself. Why the world is so blind??
We all know Saddam is a sadistic leader. He has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. So why has he not used these weapons to defend himself and his regime. I am sure he is not worried about being branded a war criminal.
Regardless of military victory, the USA and UK are losing the respect of millions of people in the World. They are winning a lot of hatred. At the end this will increase terrorism. So what is the point of war that kill thousands of civilians?
I am ashamed of my government after hearing John Reid attack the French. We sound like school bullies.
The Americans have labelled those Iraqis who fight in civilian clothing as terrorists. Does this mean that the French Resistance in World War Two were terrorists for attacking the German whilst not wearing a French uniform?
John Reid and Richard Perle have confirmed that the purpose of the invasion of Iraq is the removal of sad dam Hussein and not the legal reasons given in the un resolutions
It was quite clear from tonight's programme that public opinion around the world is still very much divided over the current conflict with Iraq. Public opinion, in my view, has not been taken into consideration enough and our voice and thoughts should have been considered more before we went to war. Many of our MPs are against the war still, some are very prominent, and their views should have been listened to by the government as the MPs are representing their constituents. Now that we are at war it can only be hoped that it will be concluded soon with as few casualties as possible. Yours
How can we claim to be seeking the long term best interests of Iraqi people while we are dowsing the country in depleted uranium? We are turning Iraq into a radioactive waste dump.
I just want to thank really sincerely the democratic governments and the forces of United States, United Kingdom and Australia for the sacrifices they are making for humanity. I am ashamed that the New Zealand government is not supporting our true friends.
Saddam Hussein gases 5000 Kurds and people are against this war, coalition forces misses with a laser guided bomb and they are the devil. Put aside the WMD, Do we not owe it to the Kurds and the many people Hussein has murdered to see him punished.
I believe that one of the main reasons that the world is not united in acting against Iraq is the timing. If the weapons inspectors had been allowed to proceed with their investigations with no pressure they may have been unsuccessful yet international opinion would have been building against sad dam due to his lack of co-operation. under these circumstances and the humanitarian situation the French and Russians may have been forced to concede that Saddam needed removal. In this scenario a UN resolution may have been achievable. I blame the Americans for trying to force the world to dance to their drum beat. what would a couple of months more months of weapons inspecting have cost them? it would have gained them a lot more credibility as a reasonable peace loving country.
Richard Perle should have been confronted with what he wrote in an article in the Guardian last week which was headlined: "Thank God the UN is dead". If it is, then the assassin was the Bush administration. I agree with the closing comments of Mm. Cresson. She had it spot on.
I find Mr. Perle's arguments most hypocritical. He questions the French support for the Kosovo campaign without a UN resolution. That argument is specious at best - the French supported it because there was active genocide taking place and there was broad support across the spectrum for this action (barring the Russians). I don't think the French are asking for non-action in this case, there was an inspection process in progress (unlike Kosovo) and it should have been allowed to play out. The inspectors asked for more time and Mr. Bush was second-guessing the UN inspectors and constantly undermining that process, and then single-handedly terminated it. So the comparison to the Kosovo campaign is ludicrous at best.
Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and did not show any evidence that they were destroyed. Saddam Hussein is mortal, he could be toppled by some "revolutionary" movement which could easily turned Iraq into terrorist state within months and endanger not only the near east but Europe as well with all these weapons.
If America is so keen on telling us they will rebuild Iraq after this invasion, why are people still living in bomb craters and ruins in Afghanistan?
One of the main problems with this war is that because of the level of coverage the level of expectation of the public is being raised. Each reporter seems to be setting themselves as both military critic and also armchair general. The real generals should be left to do their jobs.
Richard Perle is a hypocrite. The Americans consistently block and undermine all UN attempts to extend its mandate, in exactly the manner he claims are necessary, as threatening US sovereignty.
I am ashamed of my country; I agree with the French that we should have allowed the inspectors more time. This war killing innocent civilians will only cause more hatred. George Bush is a catastrophe for the world. We should have worked together within the united nations. Who can believe all the propaganda coming out of the mouths of politicians at the moment.
Could the US and British forces cope with a wave of suicide bombers if the war stretches into months? Surely, this option is to be expected when defending one's homeland against colonialist power.
The coalition and its action in Iraq is vital to demonstrate to the other terrorist supporting countries, that peaceful nations in the west will not tolerate terrorism. Terrorism is by far the greatest threat to civilisation and must be stamped out.
The invasion is definitely causing much more harm, misery and anguish to the Iraqi people than their despot Saddam or any other dictator ever will. War is unnatural and vicious.. Let nature take its course; the Iraqis themselves will correct their wrongs. Nature is much wiser and gentler than any invasion could ever be.
A war is never just. Whether the war aims are justified depends on whether their are justifiable for the public. Tony Blair believes
that the war is just because it aims to bring justice to Iraq. His belief is just even if the war isn't.
The war is a just war. It is being fought in a professional way because the coalition forces are observing all the Geneva Convention in respect of prisoners of war and humanitarian situations. Post war Iraq must be a democracy where decisions to invade a country and many others would not be that of one man, but a democratic process whereby many people would take part. Post war Iraq must also be a country that would be a respecter of international law and human rights for its entire citizenry.
This is not a just war, but just an oil and capitalistic war. I think Saddam and Bush with Tony Blair are figures forgotten and disappeared in just a couple of years from now on. Saddam is blamed for being a dictator, Bush for foolhardy arrogance and Blair for the lack of an outlook in history.
Although I do not believe this to be a just or Justified war I am both surprised and pleased that there has not been a bomb anything that moves mentality to the conflict. To put it simply this is the best possible approach to an undesirable event.
I think that the people of Iraq will be grateful for the removal of a stifling regime. I think the oil money that can be generated from Iraq will help them to become one of the worlds wealthiest nations - as long as the money doesn't just go to a few fat cats and well paid executives like it does in the states. Just because people in the Western world are greedy enough to expect wages that would happily keep a family in Iraq for a few years, doesn't mean that people in Iraq are! We have an historical opportunity to show the rest of the world that we (the western world) do care about the rest of the world.....
Basically, I trust the British Prime Minister. He is thoughtful, a leader, a man who is more in the "know" than so many of the arm-chair generals that criticise. I trust that his judgement to engage in this war is in the long-term interest of Britain and of the world. The new element in considering this a "Just War", is the idea of legitimising a pre-emptive strike. The risks of not acting in a pre-emptive manner are now too great in terms of the death, destruction and injury capable of being inflicted on our society, aka Sept 11.
U Trivedi, India
I am bewildered and saddened that even after two world wars, for all our money and genius and creativity, humanity still resorts to violence to solve conflicts. We don't condone violence in our relationships and communities, why do we allow it on a global level?
It is very difficult for the USA and UK to be in this war with so much TV inside the battle. The images can give you a totally different idea in any moment, I think that no news should be given until Saddam is in JAIL. Sorry but some times too much information is not too good. The task must be done and done but quietly - once it is then information should be given. War is not a CNN or BBC programme.
This is an illegal, immoral and unjust war. George Bush and his administration are an embarrassment to this country. I am so sorry for the pain they are inflicting on innocent people around the world and for the damage they have done to our relations with other countries.
War in TV, radio, press, everywhere, like bloody reality show... Looks and sounds as negative film, super unrealistic. This world appears too easy. Who really cares?
MSNBC reports, as of yesterday, 5,000 Iraqi men gave returned to Iraq to fight for their nation, I see angry people in the market place of Baghdad showing their anger and resolve as a result of their market place being bombed, I see no one welcoming the coalition troops, are we possibly looking at a long siege of Baghdad, I recall the Germans and Moscow, could this turn into such a disaster?
If USA does not follow international law, then where is the democracy that USA was build upon? No matter how cruel Saddam is, this is not the war for justice and freedom, this is war for money and oil!
When the Iraqi soldiers knocked on my door in Kuwait (over 12 yrs ago), to ask for food and water, they gave me the same message the American forces are giving the Iraqi people; "we have come to liberate you". How could two different armies from two different nations be so misguided??
We in USA know our government is not perfect and some policies even towards our own people could be considered "unjust". Our history shows what we have done for the rest of the world. We have created a society and way of life that has much to be proud of and I believe most Americans are good, caring and contributing members of our planet earth. Godspeed to all troops in the Gulf War
The main problem in this war isn't the known problems related to wars in general, but the decision of USA in to carry out this war without approval. Who will be next target? Brazil, because we are not very careful in preserving our Amazonian forest?
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