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British politician backs India's stand on Iraq
Shyam Bhatia in London | September 24, 2003 20:59 IST
India's reluctance to commit peacekeeping troops to Iraq without United Nations backing has won the endorsement of a respected British politician.
Lord Hurd, who as Douglas Hurd served as foreign secretary between 1989 and 1995, is deeply critical of the US-led invasion of Iraq, saying, "The main reason given by ministers for starting a war was wrong. They deceived themselves and then us. It appears that there were no significant chemical or biological, let alone nuclear weapons poised to attack us or Iraq's neighbours within minutes or hours or days."
Hurd is among a growing number of cross-party opinion formers in the UK who now believe public opinion was bamboozled into supporting the invasion of Iraq for which there was no justification.
"US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair say the world is better off without Saddam Hussein (at the helm in Iraq). But this is not itself a strong enough argument for sending missiles, bombs and troops to kill Iraqis," he writes in a commentary for London's Evening Standard newspaper.
His solution is to support a UN Security Council-supervised timetable for a three stage process beginning with an Iraqi constitution, elections and withdrawal of occupying forces.
Pending the final withdrawal of foreign troops, a US General would continue to remain in command, but would be answerable to an Iraqi security council on which the UN, the US administrator and Iraqis from the governing council would be represented.
"Some such structure might bring in new troop contributors such as from India, Turkey and Pakistan, who seem understandably keen not to repeat our government's mistake by subordinating their troops entirely to the Americans," Hurd concludes.