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Lord Janner of Braunstone: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord. The noble Lord knows the effect of appeasement on Europe in the past. We should all remember the dangers of allowing a vicious dictator not merely to be in power but to be in a position to impose his will, his dangersand, indeed, deathupon others. As the noble Lord, Lord King, said, there is a new scale and a new nature to the threat. Saddam Hussein must have an absolute certainty that failure to come clean will lead to swift, effective military action.
The other side of the problem is the overflow into other worlds, not least our own. I have in mind the suicide bomber about whom we heard this morningthe man who drove his car into an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya and blew himself up killing 10 other people in the process. There was also the threat today to an Israel aircraft in Kenya at about the same time; happily, the two missiles did not connect.
After 9/11 I remember talking to a senior security person who said that he would be very surprised if we did not have such an event in this country. Among the perfectly obvious targets is the one in which we work
I am a member of the Jewish community, which, I know, is very happy to work with people in the Muslim community in this countrynow numbering about 2 million. It is very important that we should not allow the overflow of problems in the Middle East, from whatever part, to enter the relations between our own communities, no matter what our differences may be. Those of us who remember the successful efforts of the Nazis in Britain before the war will have felt a deep sense of shock that they would win even one council seat last week.
As a Member of Parliament for part of Leicester, where we had, and have, many mixed communities, I remember that the National Front came within 56 votes of winning two seats in a council election in my patch in the early 1980san area of the city that the noble Lord, Lord Bach, will remember well because he was with me at that time. We issued a pamphlet, which said:
The Jewish community understands that if the far Right waxes fat on its attacks on the Muslim community, other minority communities will follow. The Muslim community must understand that if they pick successfully on the Jewish community, they will be next. We are very fortunate to live in this great, decent, and happy land, all of us together, with our agreements and disagreements. We must keep it that way; we must not allow foreign wars to turn into wars in the United Kingdom. That is as vital a message for us in the Iraqi situation today as it is in any other.
The noble Lord is absolutely right. I was commanding a unit in the division that discovered the concentration camp at Belsen. It was three weeks before the end of the war, and I was wounded two weeks later. After that, I spent over a year in hospital
Lord Janner of Braunstone: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his intervention. It is an honour for me to work with him in this House in an effort to prevent such events ever occurring again, whatever minority may be under attack.
Lord Black of Crossharbour: My Lords, I believe that the debate is highlighting the difficulties of reconciling the requirements of internationalism with the existence in the world of one overwhelmingly powerful country, not only militarily but also, in the case of the United States, economically and in terms of its popular cultural influence.
We should bear in mind the fact that the American public and the American Government believe that they have sustained an act of war, and that they are at war. The President of the United States received from both Houses of the Congress far heavier majorities authorising the use of force against Iraq than his father received for authorising the Gulf War.
On 11th September of last year the President of the United States said that the US was at war and that it would consider its enemies to be all terrorists; that it would hunt down terrorists wherever they were; that it would make no distinction between terrorists and countries that supported terrorists; and that it would judge by their actions whether any country, and all countries, were friends or foes of America. I believe that all of America's allies essentially heard and agreed with that position when the President enunciated it. He has been quite faithful to that. In the subsequent weeks, I believe that some of the President's advisers made it clear that, in practice, where there is a legitimate territorial issuesuch as in Israel and in Palestinethat policy can be varied somewhat, but in general the United States has continued to adhere to it.
What the Congress has voted and what has been ratified by the most successful mid-term election in 68 years was tantamount to a declaration of war; to call it otherwise is a distinction without a difference. That is the condition that the United States is in. Given the severity of the provocation, given the overwhelming evidence that Iraq is a terrorist state, given the egregious acts of terrorism with which Saddam Hussein has been complicit, the United States has in fact behaved with considerable constraint, particularly as it has more military power than all other countries in the world put together. It has a casus belli and it has a righteous cause under international law.
When the President of the United States spoke at the United Nations in September of this year, he made it clear that his objective was in fact the reinforcement of international law, to give effect to the 11 to 16 resolutions which the government of Iraq had
I think that it is also to be borne in mind that, while he is a secular leader, Saddam Hussein has set himself at the head of the radical Islamistsof that school of thinking which holds that any form of violence is justified in pursuit of their objectives; that all of the West, not just the United States, is cowardly and decadent; and that the West reposes on no principles whatever except an over-commercialised self-indulgence.
There is no doubt that the Government of Iraq is in defiance of a great sequence of United Nations resolutions and of the terms ending the Gulf War. I must dissent somewhat from the distinction which some draw between the express desire for regime change and the desire to disarm the Government of Iraq. The fact is that we cannot have disarmament of Iraq without a Government of Iraq who wish to disarm. It is illusory to think otherwise. Many preceding speakers have put that point very well and I shall not elaborate on it. However, we should always be mindful of that fact.
The United States possesses a casus belli now. It is behaving in perfect conformity with international law now. The frequently expressed allegations against its unilateralism are in my opinion doubly false: first, it has not acted unilaterally; secondly, it has a perfect right and military capability to do so if it wishes. As has been said, the resolution which we are considering calls upon a process of discussion at the Security Council in the event of considered non-compliance and the advocacy by any of the members for recourse to force. I think that in practice, as my noble friend Lord Powell of Bayswater saidin this as in everything that he said I emphatically agree with himit is very likely that, unfortunately, that is exactly what is going to happen barring a grace of conversion for which I think there is no precedent.
When we get to that point, what will happen is that the United States ambassador will informally discuss with the permanent Security Council members whether they are prepared to approve a further resolution. If they are not, or at least if they are not all prepared to abstain from vetoing it, I think that we will go to the use of force quite quickly. Like all noble Lords, I would regret that in the abstract. In those circumstances, however, we will have no moral or practical political choice.
I very respectfully caution anyone in need of it against conveying to the Americans the impression that they are regarded as equivalent to a great St Bernard dog which will take the risks and do the work while its ostensible allies including Europeans hold the leash and give the orders. It is not by succumbing to such a system that the United States has risen in a relatively short time to exercise greater influence in the world than any other country in the history of the world. It is obviously not a formula that is acceptable to that country. I think that we would do ourselves no favours in trying to advocate such an approach.
In the summer, a very senior member of the Government told me that if the potential action against Iraq were led by China or Russia there would be no great opposition to it in the parliamentary ranks of the governing party or elsewhere in this country or in Europe, but that people were worried by the force of the United States. I am worried by the force of envy. I think that we have nothing to fear, and nothing to do other than rejoice in the fact that the power of the United States resides with a country that broadly shares our values and generally behaves with restraint and a respect for justice in the abstract, and which is all the same not, as I said, an appeasement power. I think that that is a source of great relief to all of us. There are in your Lordships' House those who vividly remember from their own observations the consequences of the leading powers of the West not behaving in the 1930s as the United States is behaving now.
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