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PC6: Iraq
"Is the government taking the correct course of action?"

Closes 27th June 2020, 11:59pm

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Britain has a duty to the world, as it always has, and that duty means that we have to step-in when the reasons are right. It is overwhelmingly clear to me that the reasons for intervention in Iraq are right, are fair, and - perhaps most importantly - are done with the good of the whole international community in mind. We cannot lie idly by as tyrants such as Saddam Hussein believe they can roll the tanks into neighbouring sovereign states - intervention here is nothing but just. War is a horrible thing, but for the right reasons, we have no choice - it is our duty as a democratic nation to defend the international order. Every penny spent, every drop of blood spilled, and every word spoken by Ministers must be scrutinised to the extreme here. But intervention is the right decision all the same, and I commend the Government for making a difficult call correctly.
I have to say I do not agree with this decision. I have been an active officer of the Royal Navy for many years, I have not only seen war but I have taken part in war, just to clarify my position. I am not afraid of war. Yet, it is my firm belief that it does make sense to wage war when it's in the best interest of the British people, whenever the United Kingdom is threatened, whenever it is either a question of self-defence or honour to make the dramatic step and wage war. And must say I don't really believe this is the case. It is an invasion that is perhaps in the interest of the United States, perhaps just a dramatic gesture they want to make. We don't have to do this. We don't have to be a part of this. I am watching the news and, again and again, I must ask: cui bono?
The last time I checked the United Kingdom was still a Parliamentary democracy. The lack of effort to keep parliament informed and up to date regarding military action in the Gulf is scandalous. Goodness knows what the government's strategy and plan of war is. For all we know they don’t even have one. Perhaps if we are lucky someone in the government shall be kind enough to leak us such a plan, so we can know about it.  Having British soldiers die thousands of miles away in some desert in the middle east is utterly pointless and unnecessary.
I find it bemusing that some in Labour would bemoan the lack of Parliamentary accountability when it came to the situation in Iraq when I have literally come from a Parliamentary statement, made by myself, on this very subject. The fact of the matter is that the Government is bending over backwards to keep Parliament as informed as we can whilst simultaneously prosecuting military action against a hostile foreign invader with no respect for international law. I take Parliamentary oversight very seriously which is why I continue to engage with the Shadow Foreign Secretary in the Chamber and via other authorised channels so as to keep the official opposition fully informed of the work of our brave soldiers as they prepare to liberate Kuwait.

This Government is absolutely taking the right course of action in restraining the despotic Saddam Hussein and his villainous Iraqi regime from running roughshod over international law, rules, and norms in their illegal occupation of Kuwait. We have followed all of the proper processes and protocols, received the blessing of the United Nations Security Council for this action, and begun to show all despots everywhere that you cannot solve your problems with invasions. It didn't work for Argentina in the Falklands, it won't work for Iraq in Kuwait.
The Democrats are in full support of intervening in Iraq, and to stopping the invasion of a sovereign state by a despotic warmonger. We have always been a nation that is proactive abroad, I see no reason why that should change, especially just to make more time for domestic partisan squabbling. Put simply, the internal party political bickering of the Conservatives cannot distract us from our duty in the Gulf, a matter of huge international importance. We need a full and clear respected international strategy, and the Government needs to refocus it's efforts on ensuring that we have just that. Britain cannot be a laughing stock internationally, we have to do our bit.
I was disturbed today to read in my daily briefing that Saddam Hussein has threatened consequences for allied nations if we do not end our attempts to restore international law and order by removing Iraq from their illegally occupied territory in Kuwait. NATO and our allies will not be kowtowed to the threats and ramblings of despots and dictators so I will say this very clearly, if Saddam Hussein uses his array of chemical and biological weapons on allied forces, his neighbours, or his own people then he will be met with an appropriate response. I am resolute in my belief that this egregious departure from international law should not be allowed to stand should it occur and this Government will take action to protect our troops.
While I support the Government's decision to participate in allied airstrikes against Iraq, I think you have to question why the Foreign Secretary refuses to allow a confirmatory vote before Parliament to authorize any potential use of ground troops. The British people deserve to decide whether or not our soldiers, our fellow citizens, are sent into an armed conflict where they will be asked to risk their lives. We live in a modern, Parliamentary democracy. We have a system of Government that places Parliament, as the direct representative of the British people, as the political authority of the nation. The British people, through their respective Member of Parliament, have the right to have a say over whether or not we should risk the lives of our servicemen. 

The cost of defending our values abroad must not be surrendering them here at home. I urge the Government to respect our democracy and let the British people be heard.
Today I outlined to the House the case for war with Iraq, explaining why the mission has now changed to one of regime change. Saddam Hussein has walked a bloody trail which arguably should have been stopped sooner but the use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction to target innocent civilians is a new and terrifying low. He has forfeited all right to govern and must be toppled immediately to protect lives and stabilise what remains a very volatile region of the World.
Today I gave an order that no Foreign Secretary ever wants to give when I ordered out troops to advance into Iraq and Kuwait in line with the Resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council regarding Kuwait, and the United Nations General Assembly regarding Iraq. I do not take this action lightly but not only is time of the essence but we are facing an adversary who has a proven compunction for deploying weapons of mass destruction against civilian targets and routinely engages in the practices of ethnic cleansing and genocide against his own civilians. We will remove Saddam from power, we will liberate Kuwait, and then we will rebuild Iraq to ensure that this is a one and done affair stretched over multiple years rather than a multi-time deal spread over multiple decades. We must stay the course, we must be prepared to put the work into rebuilding, the United Kingdom will honour its obligations.

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