Monday, October 10, 2005

Stability of the mass grave

Quote from Jalal Talabani, the President of Iraq, in the Times Online via Melanie Phhillips's Diary:
'The lesson of the ghastly drumbeat of terrorism, the rioting in Basra and the vile murder of the leadership of the Iraqi Anglican Church is that the battle of Iraq cannot be won by retreat or compromise, but by the vision and determination for which Britain is renowned. Above all, Britain owes no apology for delivering the enslaved people of Iraq from the hands of a callous tyranny.

‘The challenge is to show fortitude in the face of horror so that we can finish the job that began in 2003 of uprooting dictatorship and implanting a democratic government. Reforming Iraq, restoring a society distorted by fascism, was never going to be easy. The alternative — to pretend that sanctions were working and that Saddam Hussein was contained — was an illusion. As has now been established, the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme was corrupt in root and branch. Saddam manipulated Oil-for-Food to become his personal chequebook for a campaign of international bribery and a trough from which his psychopathic progeny supped. Saddam’s regime openly declared in August 2001 that the sanctions had collapsed. Indeed, in 2003, as Saddam proclaimed his innocence to the world, his envoys were in Syria to negotiate the purchase of North Korean long-range missiles.

'The Baathist regime, guilty of aggression and genocide, was overturned because Britain and the United States had courageously enforced the UN Security Council resolutions that others would barely support with words. Today the painstaking effort to enable Iraqis to express their views freely is also grounded in international legality. Foreign troops are in Iraq on the basis of a Security Council resolution, just as Iraq was liberated through the enforcement of 17 such resolutions that Saddam chose to flout.

‘Those who preferred the stability of the mass grave to liberation, and who raised their voices to save Saddam, but not his victims, have spuriously claimed that the war was fought to discover stocks of weapons of mass destruction. But Rolf Ekeus, the first head of the UN weapons inspectors, has argued that stocks were not the issue. Saddam could always re-create his stocks and until the end he could restart mustard gas production within months and nerve gas production within a couple of years. Moreover, Saddam used chemical weapons casually, gassing 5,000 Kurdish civilians at Halabja in 1988 and then using chemical bombs against Shia Arab civilians in 1991 — after the Gulf War ceasefire.'

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