PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 12:00am

I am not a pacifist and if a single silver bullet would accomplish the dual objectives of removing Saddam Hussein and eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, I would be all for it.

However, starting a war with a plan to pulverise the country with large numbers of cruise missiles and bombs is tantamount to condemning thousands of civilians to certain death. This is a horrendous price to pay for removing a threat that may be only too obvious to America, but not to the rest of the world. It is especially true when the US has failed to substantiate the connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

It appears that UN weapons inspections are proving to be effective by curbing the open development of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, thus reducing its ability to deploy such weapons as long as the inspection process continues. I accept that the inspectors will not remove Saddam Hussein or affect a regime change in Iraq, but Saddam, without his weapons of mass destruction, will cease to be as big a threat to the world, as some people perceive him to be at present. The cost of continuing the weapons inspections will be peanuts in financial terms (and in terms of potential loss of lives) compared with the cost of waging war.

I cannot help but wonder if US President George W. Bush would be as gung ho if his invading force was to suffer casualties of the magnitude that will be sustained by the Iraqi people.

Any commander-in-chief who does not count the cost of human suffering in war does not have the moral authority to start one.


Happy Valley