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Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
War against al-Qaeda or Iraq?
We discussed Iraq in our phone-in programme, Talking Point, on Thursday 17 October. Our guest was Dr Mohammad Mudhefer Al-Adhemi, a prominent MP in Iraq, and a long time ally of Saddam Hussein.

  Click here to listen to the programme.

Iraqi officials say President Saddam Hussein has won 100% of the vote in a referendum on whether he should rule for another seven years.

There were 11,445,638 eligible voters - and every one of them voted for the president, according to Izzat Ibrahim, Vice-Chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council. Saddam Hussein was the only candidate.

This comes at a time when US President George W Bush has received full backing on Capitol Hill to use force against Iraq.

An opinion poll in The Guardian newspaper in the UK found that 42 percent of respondents backed action against Saddam Hussein, a 10-point jump since last week.

It was carried out on Monday - after the bomb attacks in Bali.

Can there be a war against Iraq and al-Qaeda? Is a war against Iraq now inevitable? Is al-Qaeda more of a threat than Saddam Hussein? Do you think they are linked?

This Talking Point has now closed. Thank you for your comments

How can the authorities in Iraq claim to have a 100% poll in support of Saddam? This means nobody was sick and nobody was working too far away to vote. This vote is statistically the equivalent of going round the golf course and getting a hole in one at every hole. Even 98% would be statistically incredible. Surely making such an absurd claim does nothing for the credibilty of Iraq and its president and after such a statement how can we take any statements from Iraq seriously?
K Budden, England

What do you mean, "Iraq or al-Qaeda"? Does anyone seriously believe that al-Qaeda is just a bunch of rogues in a cave, acting without top secret backing and funding by a coalition of countries such as Iraq? In my opinion, Iraq is only the first nut we're going to have to crack.
Tom Burrows, UK

I fear that it is the decent, ordinary people of Iraq who will suffer

Greg, Australia
If George W. wants to justify such a war he needs to state his reasons in a much more convincing manner. If he has damning evidence against Saddam, he should produce it. I fear that it is the decent, ordinary people of Iraq who will suffer, not the perpetrators of the atrocities in New York and Bali. The thugs will get what they have been agitating for - chaos, blood and the destruction of innocent lives.
Greg, Australia

Let's get in there and get the job done. We've all talked about it for too long and now it looks like we're posturing. I don't want or like the idea of war, but let's do it, and do it properly this time.
Tim, USA (expat)

Now that North Korea has admitted having a nuclear bomb, doesn't it make the US hypocritical not to go after them too?
Susannah, Australia

A key word has been missing from all posts and is the motivation behind the rush to war by President Bush and military and economic advisors... and that word is GREED. It is the greed of the consumer and profit driven economic systems that drive decision making.
Herbert Lindsay, Fremont, Michigan, USA

Americans have always felt it their the destiny to overthrow corrupt regimes

Nathan Lassig, Salt Lake City USA
People constantly say that this is about greed and oil. I don't think so. Americans have always felt it their the destiny to overthrow corrupt regimes and bring democracy to the world and that is really the heart of the issue. Critics say that Iraq is targeted for oil. True, but that doesn't mean it's about greed. You should never make too many enemies at once, and it makes sense to take out the ones that can get the best stranglehold on us first. North Korea, Turkey, the rest of the Middle East will all be dealt with in time.
Nathan Lassig, Salt Lake City USA

Why should the whole world be democratic? Is it the only system that works? Was it not the same democratic US that went to Vietnam? Is it not the same US that deposed the only ever democratically elected leader in Congo-Kinshasa? Look what happened after that! Do not impose your ideas on other people! Did nature intended everybody to think the same?
Mary K, USA

Iraq must pay for the pain and suffering it brought to my wife, my son and I during its illegal occupation of Kuwait

John, Mansfield, UK
Iraq must pay for the pain and suffering it brought to my wife, my son and I during its illegal invasion and occupation of Kuwait. War is a must so that those who committed crimes against humanity are brought to justice. Why are the Iraqis being given a way out? They should never have been given that option.
John, Mansfield, UK

John from Mansfield - How many innocent Iraqis will you see die to get the justice you crave? Surely that is no justice at all?
James Davey, UK

If Saddam loves the Iraqi people so much, why doesn't he step down and take away Bush's excuse to attack Iraq and kill many Iraqis?
Yaser Shaban, Washington DC, USA

A country which has 11 million voters voting for the one candidate is not a good example of a democracy. Is it possible that 11 million people were too afraid not to vote?
Des Currie, Umdloti, South Africa

I am not absolutely convinced that war with Iraq is absolutely necessary; however how can one individual, Saddam Hussein, claim victory in a poll in which he is the only candidate for president of a country which he rules with no place for any opposition? In addition, the damage wreaked in Kuwait by none other than Saddam does not show that he is a man of peace. I would put it to Saddam that he is a war criminal in more than one count and to end the suffering of his own people, he should simply step down/move aside and allow for a real democratic Iraq.
Stephen Innes, Fenwick, UK

What does the UK gain by launching an attack on Iraq? Didn't the idea of containment under the Clinton regime work? Mr Blair was Prime Minister during the latter days of the Clinton tenure and he didn't propose attacking Iraq. Why now?
Hans Robert, USA

Go to war to establish peace?

Bahama Man, Rawalpindi
Not a chance - war will happen. It has been blown up too much, media-wise, for the US to step down now. If the UN accepts the prospect of war then I'm not sure what the purpose of the UN is. It's supposed to maintain peace... but maybe this is Bush's version of peace. Go to war to establish peace? Oil is the real reason that is veiled behind the artificial farce of searching for peace.
Bahama Man, Rawalpindi

Even the CIA has stated that Iraq is not a threat to the US at this time. To think that this beaten down Third World country would attempt to attack the US is inane. The reasons given by the Bush regime for this war make no sense at all. Beside the obvious real reasons of oil, politics and personal grudges, there is one more: empire.
Bob Aldo, Taos, USA

The inevitability of war on Iraq is completely within Saddam's control. He has two choices. He can wisely choose to comply with existing UN resolutions, disarm, step down from his office and save his country the pain of war. Sadly his more likely choice will be to maintain the status quo in Iraq and bring about his demise and his country's short term suffering but long term rebirth.
Bill, Ft. Collins, USA

War can only be averted through weapons inspections under enhanced regulations

Iain Robinson, UK
War can only be averted through weapons inspections under enhanced regulations. However, recent events have surely taught us that such inspections will only take place if war is threatened. "To be prepared for war", as George Washington said, "truly is one of the most effectual ways of maintaining peace."
Iain Robinson, UK

If the US wanted to invade and rule Iraq, it could do so with one carrier group and a detachment of Marines on their lunch hour. President Bush sought and got congressional approval and he also sought stronger UN resolutions. If the US just wanted to invade - we could have done so long before now.
Lee, USA

People must be real ignorant to think that this is about oil. This is not what this is about. Saddam has had 11 years to comply with UN regulations, and what has happened? His people are starving and dying while he rebuilds his military and builds more palaces. That's why we must do something. The United States does not want this war, heck my dad's in the army and there's a pretty good chance he'll go, but it's the right thing to do. It's very easy to condemn an attack when we in the West sit in our homes and watch T.V. while the Iraqis struggle to get by day-to-day.
Ryan, Texas, USA

War will happen and probably before the end of the year.

Richard, Manchester, England
War will happen and probably before the end of the year. Although I would like to see Saddam go, there must also be two other actions occurring afterwards. Firstly every country in the world who is a potential target of international terrorism should aim to track down and remove the sources of funding for terror attacks wherever they are. Secondly, the UN should act like a peacemaking body and convene a top level international peace conference on the Middle East post-Saddam with powers to impose a binding settlement. This would probably mean concessions from Israel in return for guaranteed end to terror attacks. If Bush is just content to walk away from the Middle East peace process after removing Saddam then we are all in trouble.
Richard, Manchester, England

Oil - the one word which explains the current situation. George Bush himself and most of the US top administration have been or are still in the oil business. This explains their love for it. Saddam is sitting on one of the world's largest reserves, and the US is just itching to get hold of it. In fact, they are willing to sacrifice many lives, American and Iraqi. What next? Will the US venture into Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia to complete its conquest of the Middle East?
Tarek Elsayed, Cairo, Egypt

The blanket statements in this forum regarding the US attempting to "gain control of more oil" are a little off base. Numerous advancements have been made in the US (and other countries) for alternative fuels including ethanol and hydrogen powered vehicles (credit to Japan's Honda Company). Numerous states already have state department vehicles running on 90% ethanol fuel and the state of California has already agreed to lease terms for the hydrogen powered vehicles to be used as state department vehicles. As soon as these technologies are refined (the next 20 years most likely) the Western countries need for foreign oil will plummet and the "oil-rich" countries can splash around in their worthless black puddle all the want.
Eric, Missouri, USA

To all those seeking a diplomatic resolution. Where have you and your pacifist opinions been during the last 10 years? Just how long should a diplomatic solution take? And, what form do you see this solution taking that prevents Saddam from continuing his evil regime?
Rod Sturgeon, USA

It is, simply because a decision in favour of an attack was made long before any discussion or opinions were aired on this topic. Whether any country agrees to it or not, the USA is going to attack. And if it has set itself on this goal, then there is no option left. War becomes inevitable because one party wants it.
Mira, USA

Of course it isn't inevitable. That's why we have the UN - to make war a last resort, rather than, as Bush is demonstrating, something you do when you can't be bothered to negotiate; when you are the biggest bully in the playground and the Arab kid has new trainers like yours, you just steal them or spoil them, right?
Sarah , Reading, UK

Much of the opinion expressed tends to be that War is a bad thing, and we all agree on that

Jonathan Harford, Belgium
War certainly remains an inevitability as long mavericks such as Saddam Hussein, continue to threaten with chemical biological or nuclear weapons. Much of the opinion expressed tends to be that War is a bad thing, and we all agree on that, but should a catastrophe occur, where a nuclear bomb wiping out 1000's of Israelis was to be chucked over from Iraq, I guarantee that 85% of people who are now against any US/UK action will suddenly be for it.
Jonathan Harford, Belgium

Throughout history, nations have disagreed with each others' ideals and regimes... sometimes unilaterally taking action against the thinking of others. It is not new and will happen continually long after Saddam, George and Tony have gone from power. Law of the jungle!
Andy H, Lacock, England

I think the human race has an obligation to defend each other against tyranny.

Abu Athmar, Iraqi in Denmark
I hope the American administration stand strong to their beliefs that unless the regime is changed in Baghdad, Saddam will continue all his violations of human and international laws. I think the human race has an obligation to defend each other against tyranny. There should be some way to hold these rulers accountable for all the disasters inflicted by them on their own people
Abu Athmar, Iraqi in Denmark

War is almost certain because Bush and Blair want better ratings at home, but nobody is deceived by their justifications. If we are looking at past records for aggression, we come out far worse than Iraq ever has - so let's not pretend we're so clean, yes? The USA alone has used the Atom Bomb (twice), and in Vietnam it used Napalm (repeatedly) and Agent Orange (still causing problems thirty years on).
Mike R., Norwich, UK

I think this has gone on long enough it has been an on going fear that this mad man has weapons of mass destruction and if he is not stopped then he will see it as a way to strike fear into the minds of ordinary people, the time for action is now and the sooner this is all over the better
Nick Strawson, England

The luxury so many people throughout the world have is that they can afford to take the so-called "high road" with respect to terrorism in general and Iraq's goals in particular, knowing full well that if they are wrong the USA will once again bail them out.
Edmk, Los Angeles USA

I would just like to respond to Mike from Norwich. Whilst I do not condone this possible war - I think it is a complete folly, I do get annoyed with constant dredging up of history to try to knock the US. The use of the atom bomb was to end (I admit open to debate) the war in Japan. Agent orange was deployed to strip foliage in the Vietnamese jungle. This was to try to get the upper hand (unsuccessfully) against the communists. Every country involved in warfare uses 'ungentlemanly' conduct. This is different to using these weapons and agents in terrorism.

If Bush goes to war with Iraq he will unleash the full wrath of all the suicide terrorists that are currently primed and ready to go against the West. Does he have any idea what he is doing?
Rich, UK

You people talk of peace, but have no idea that SOMETIMES peace comes with a price.

Natalie, Youngstown, USA
I think that most of you are coming down way to hard on Bush. Have you all forgotten that Saddam did this to himself. He disobeyed the treaty. He did not allow inspectors in. If he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction then what is he hiding from. Look what is happening around us. You people talk of peace, but have no idea that SOMETIMES peace comes with a price. This has nothing to do with the oil industry at all and to say that is a slap in the face. Bush walked into a bad situation. We didn't ask for 9/11. This has been an ongoing problem with the middle east. Why is everyone so shocked that we might have to go to war. And to remind everyone, Bush didn't need the support of Congress to wage war on Iraq.
Natalie, Youngstown, USA

It's time for the US to rethink its policies

Prasad Metta, Hyderabad, India
War is not inevitable. I hope better sense will prevail in Washington DC. The entire world is against this war and especially the Islamic world. The huge gains made by Islamic extremists in Pakistan's elections can be directly attributed to Bush's warmongering. It's time for the US to rethink its policies.
Prasad Metta, Hyderabad, India

The constant war talk from Washington is to make it seem like war is inevitable, to soften the world up to its planned invasion. I just hope Blair has the strength to stay out of it.

President Bush has said that a war against Iraq is not unavoidable. The solution lies in a new UN resolution agreed upon by the UN Security Council as soon as possible. The possible use of force is always a last resort through the UN.
Jaime Saldarriaga, Colombia

They are setting off a wildfire

Mike Aziz, Vancouver, Canada
Bush will go to war with Iraq no matter what. What they don't know is that they are setting off a wildfire that will engulf the entire region and no-one will be able to put it out easily.
Mike Aziz, Vancouver, Canada

War us inevitable because the most powerful country in the world wants to also control the world's oil.
Louise, Sydney, Australia

To Louise from Australia: your comment shows your ignorance. If the US wanted to control the world's oil, or anything else for that matter, we would be doing so. The US does not conquer, it liberates. Did we keep Japan or Germany after WWII? No. We set up democratic governments where they had never existed before, and then got out of the way. If the US truly wanted to control everything, we could have then, when no one was in a position to stop us. The Iraqi people will soon have the freedom that all people deserve. Remember, rights are not given to us by governments, but by Divine Providence. Men such as Hussein, Milosevic, Hitler, and Mugabe take away those rights.
Steve, Charlotte, NC, USA

War will come unless Saddam and his ilk leave power and that is unlikely. Bush is doing what any responsible leader would do - protect his nation against a possible devastating attack from an aggressive regime.
Michael, USA

Bush has basically been given a license to kill

Chuck Kulig, USA
Yes, war with Iraq appears inevitable. With the hurried passing of the resolution, Bush has basically been given a license to kill. Our Constitution clearly states that only Congress has the right to declare war. There's a reason our founding fathers did not place this power in the hands of the executive branch. We are witnessing history in the making - the making of tyranny. Just because it is "legal" does not make it right. All of us, however, are to blame. 100 years from now history students will raise their hands and ask: "Why didn't anybody stop this?"
Chuck Kulig, USA

I think war is inevitable because I think the decision to go in was taken a long time ago. The last couple of months has just been manoeuvring so the US (with its "me too" sidekick, the UK) are not seen to be acting alone.
Simon, UK

I'm sure it can be solved peacefully. Saddam knows his number is up, he could never survive another war, he knows the Americans will need their trophy. Saddam does not want a war, the Iraqi people don't want another war, the Middle East doesn't need another war, and most of Europe doesn't want more war. The motivation for a peaceful settlement exists and must be pursued.
Dermot Cahalan, Ireland

The time to take Saddam out is now

Daniel Petrie, USA
To quote Edmund Burke: "There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men." Saddam will continue to play the world for suckers until he is ready to unleash death upon the innocent. The time to take him out is now.
Daniel Petrie, USA

War is not inevitable, in fact, it's not even likely. The purpose served by the House and Senate resolutions is to give notice to Saddam that we mean business. He will get the message, drag his feet, and finally let the inspectors have unfettered access to even the presidential palaces. There is a difference between war mongering and resolute statesmanship.
Chris, USA

This is just a diversion

Martin, England, UK
Iraq had the same leader and the same capabilities when the US supported them against Iran. Other countries have flouted UN resolutions for longer without a peep from the US. So it appears that the only core thing that has changed is that the US doesn't like them anymore and needs a scapegoat. The fact that the US would consider ignoring the UN in order to "enforce a UN resolution" should make it clear to anyone that the reason given is just a diversion.
Martin, England, UK

I believe and certainly hope that Bush's apparent lust for war with Iraq is so much bluster. By appearing hell bent on a confrontation he likely would rather avoid, Bush is attempting to show Saddam that the US is serious and will not tolerate the sort of prevarication we've witnessed over the last decade. And by making it clear that he will act unilaterally if needed, Bush is endeavouring to pressure the UN to adopt the strictest possible inspection regimen or risk irrelevance.
Greg, New York, USA

This vote was not for national security but for national interest.
John Lazoglou, Australia

War against Iraq has been inevitable ever since G W Bush started rattling his sabre last year. He has absolutely no intention of settling this matter diplomatically, because that would not serve his purpose of extending US military power and influence in the oil rich Middle East.

This Talking Point has now closed. Thank you for your comments

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See also:

29 Aug 02 | Politics
28 Aug 02 | Politics
28 Aug 02 | Middle East
21 Aug 02 | Politics
19 Aug 02 | Politics
24 Jul 02 | Politics
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