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a personal view from Erithacus
22nd March 2003
I received an e-mail today.
"Peace and Love", it said, and "What do we want for our children?"
It was, of course, a petition against the war in Iraq.
It set me thinking, which is an unusual effect from a "junk" e-mail which would normally face instant deletion without even touching the sides of the recycle bin. Perhaps I was in a particularly thoughtful mood. Perhaps I was worried at the actions of the U.S. and the UK military as they already batter parts of Iraq with unimaginable ferocity. Perhaps I was unconvinced either by President Bush’s unshakeable faith he is in the right, or by Prime Minister Blair’s well-argued speeches that managed for once to rise above the usual slimy, two-faced rhetoric of a long-practised politician. Or, perhaps, it was the picture in the e-mail of very young children with guns in their hands that struck a chord.
I looked at my children this afternoon. I watched them play, run around in the garden shouting and throwing a ball without a real care in the world and almost totally safe from any danger. I wondered, for a moment, how I would feel if my garden had been in Baghdad.
And as I watched them, I realised why it was that my overriding instinct had been, and still is, that whatever the bloodshed and carnage the invasion of Iraq may bring to the people of that country, whatever the political consequences for Britain and America to have mounted this attack without the full approval of many of their own neighbours and even without the approval of more than a slim majority of their own people, whatever the wrongs of going to war when there is no imminent threat to any of us, it is completely right for me that we are doing it.
Yes. WE are doing it. I, me, and everyone like me. We have decided to remove a man, Saddam Hussein, and his associates not particularly because he is evil and not particularly because he may threaten his own people and his own neighbours, but because he threatens us and our children.
We will be shocked, no doubt, as we see pictures from Iraq of innocents who have been killed during this war that surely cannot be concluded without many, many civilian deaths as well of the deaths of many of our own soldiers and perhaps thousands of Iraqi soldiers most of who are doubtless not bad people themselves and many of who, like me, have children and families of their own.
We will be stirred, without question, by the thousands who demonstrate against the war. We will be touched by the petitions and gripped by a desire to stop the killing and have the insanity of man once again destroying man now and forever put behind us.
Yet, as I look once again at my children now sleeping peacefully, I ask myself again the question posed by the e-mailed petition: "What do we want for our children?"
And, "What do I want for my children?" It needs no further thought. I want men like Saddam Hussein not to be any part of my world. I want men who support terrorists who might strike near my children to be stopped. I want the world rid of men who arm terrorists, or who may develop weapons for them.
The answer to the e-mailed question is simple:
"What do we want for our children?"
"We want Saddam Hussein destroyed, and all like him."
22nd March 2003
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