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PC6: Iraq
Extended for a further 3 days to 30 June.
Steve | A-Team
While I have already voiced my reservations about the United Kingdom taking part in the military intervention in Iraq, one thing has to be made clear: the Government has got every right to act independently in this matter and is definitely not obliged to ask the House of Commons for permission, as implied by the Labour Party. Of course, war is always an extreme measure but it is the Government who has got the mandate to decide. I believe that this Government has been open and transparent regarding the situation and while I do disagree with the decisions made, they have been made in accord with the democratic process of this country. I encourage the disagreement being voiced as appropriate but demanding parliamentary debates and votes that ultimately make no sense whatsoever in this context is not an appropriate way.
Iraq's decision to invade Kuwait has no meritorious basis and showcases the true colours of the Hussein government, despite their attempts to obfuscate their reasons for the invasion. Just take a look: Dozens of nations are committing to fighting back against this unlawful invasion, and thanks to the actions of the Foreign Secretary, the United Kingdom are among those on the vanguard. This fight includes counteracting Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction and its genocide against the Kurdish people. So far, the actions undertaken by Kuwait's allies in turning back the invasion have been effective, and I'm confident we can see a decent resolution before too long.
Contrary to the statements of others, there is plenty of precedent for Parliamentary debates and votes on military action. The Second World War, Korean War and Suez Crisis all saw the Government come to the House of Commons. These were not to ask for permission to deploy, but instead to secure the support and approval of the House for the current course of action.

This mirrors our present situation. The Government has deployed troops using the Royal Prerogative, as it has the absolute right to do. Now, as the strategy evolves, Parliament ought to be able to express its view. While not strictly required for the deployment of troops, certainly the Government should want the approval of Parliament for its actions. All Governments should have sufficient confidence in the rightness of their actions so as not to fear parliamentary oversight. Such oversight allows parliamentarians to have their say, and ensure the decisions of our government are made for the benefit of Britain.
I am delighted that our troops have managed to dislodge Saddam from Kuwait in 48hrs for fewer than 70 combined casualties, now we must go one step further and dislodge Saddam from Iraq altogether.
Today the United Kingdom and the world showed we will stand up against tyranny no matter where the lines need to be drawn. The world joined Kuwait in pushing back against the forces of Saddam Hussein, and it's a testament to the ability of our armed forces that the liberation of that country could be accomplished in so short a time and with as small a loss of life as it has been. So many in Kuwait now have a freedom restored that was taken from them, and it was the forces of the UK, working with other like-minded countries, that made this possible. I'm proud of our contribution in this. As we work to rebuild the peace and as we work to take a stand against the use of weapons of mass destruction, it's clear that this Government was and is on the side of right.
I am delighted to hear of the breakthrough that our brave troops, and our Coalition allies, have made on the ground in Iraq, with minimal casualties. It may be something of a controversial view, but I'm of a belief that we in Western countries don't only have the means to intervene when we see injustice being inflicted upon another country, but we have a duty to do so. Martin Luther King once famously said that "injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere," and that is the view that I and this government hold, and it is the one that assures us in our course of action in Iraq. Saddam Hussein is evil, there are no two ways about this. Before he uses weapons of mass destruction again, before his regime of state terrorism is responsible for another innocent death, and before he can complete his ultimate objective, a modern day Holocaust against the Kurds, we must intervene, we must crush his regime, and we must free the people of Iraq. 
The silence from the Labour Party on Iraq is deafening.  Our armed forces are doing a superb job and that should be recognised. It is no wonder that a party which called for a reduction in our armed forces, who were prepared to weaken our military is just so ashamed to congratulate our service personnel on a job well done.
On matters of defence and international justice, parties must promote statesmanship over partisan politics. However, the role of the Opposition is to provide scrutiny of the Government in the public interest. The Government were very quick to enter into this conflict and without hesitation, went to the UN and requested a military solution.

The Labour Party's belief is that controlled, measurable standards must be set for determining military action. The Labour Party laid out, in the House of Commons, three measures of acceptance in asking should Britain take military action in Iraq; morality, legitimacy and practicality.

The Labour Party is an internationalist party who believe in democracy, equality and justice around the world. The morality of the invasion of Kuwait was never in doubt: we oppose entirely the unprovoked invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.

While we cautiously support the Government in their decision to force an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait because the UN have passed a resolution backing the action, we strongly believe the Government should have submitted mission objectives to the House of Commons to ensure transparency and accountability.

The Labour Party is a fundamentally internationalist party. We take seriously our commitments to democracy, equality and justice around the world. We agree that Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq is horrific and dictatorial.

However, clear standards and measures must determine Foreign Policy. The Labour Party was consulted on the expanded mission in Iraq and we made it clear to the Government that the operations should only be expanded to include regime change if the following measures were met:

There is a UN resolution specifically with a mandate for regime change;
That there is clear evidence of human rights abuses;
That the evidence indicates regime change is the best possible solution;
That there is UN involvement and leadership of the mission
That the mission is an international one involving more than just the UK
That mission objectives, with measures, are presented in the House of Commons;
That there is a commons debate and non-binding motion to support regime change;
That a clear withdrawal timetable is presented that is regularly updated to the House.

We are disappointed that the 4th and 6th through 8th measures have not been met. As such, while the Labour Party accepts the need for regime change in Iraq, and wishes our Armed Forces every success and fortune, the Government's transparency and accountability has been lacking.

I was appalled by William Croft's statement on Question Time that he was "excited" by the mission in Iraq. It is clear that some Tory MPs see the horrors of war as an orientalist adventure. The fact there is now a military conflict in Iraq involving British Armed Forces, putting their lives on the line and their families at risk of losing loved ones, is not exciting. It is a tragedy and a failure of international efforts to stabilise the region and demilitarise international affairs. Being a supportive yet critical colleague is a far cry from whatever boyhood fantasy of playing solider Mr Croft is playing out.
Gruffydd Rhys Morrison MP
Labour and Cooperative
Member for Easington
Formerly Shadow Foreign Secretary
Biography  | XP: 5| Traits: Safe pair of hands
Issue Champion: Britain’s place in the world
I am ecstatic that our boys and girls in uniform have, together with their international colleagues, pulled off such a tremendous victory. History will regard the operation in Iraq as an overwhelming success, where British forces, together with our allies, prevailed in defense of a friend.
Hussein's dastardly foray into the sovereign nation of Kuwait has been rebuffed, and with aplomb, by British soldiers. We rejoice in this, their victory; which is a victory not just for Britain, not just for Kuwait, but for freedom-loving countries everywhere. The message is clear: whoever would threaten the freedom and sovereignty of a friend of Britain will pay dire consequences. What more is there to do but to congratulate the British forces, and to remember the sacrifice of some 70 coalition troops who gave their lives for freedom?

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