WAR AGAINST IRAQ - Irrespective of Hans Blix's reports, George Bush is dragging Tony Blair to war and sees himself as the saviour of the Iraqi people. Unfortunately, his vision for the country's future is doomed to failure. The Arab nations have deeply distrusted us ever since we colluded in dividing Palestine against the wishes of its people.

How the Kurds must have prayed for divine intervention from their famous son Saladin when, after having helped the allies in the last conflict, they were cruelly abandoned when hostilities ceased, to await their fate.

Saddam was the darling of Britain, America, France and Germany in the 1980s, spending billions of dollars on arms and chemical weapons in the conflict with Iran, and no eyebrows were raised then.

Did we take action against Josef Stalin or Pol Pot for the merciless extermination of millions of their own people, or denounce America for extensive use of napalm against civilians during the Vietnam war? No.

Post-war Islamic retaliation would hit hard for years with the eye for an eye cliche carried out to the last letter. - Kevin J Noble, Crook.

SEVENTEEN resolutions and 12 years ago, Saddam Hussein was ordered to destroy his armaments of mass destruction. This led to the recent final demand in Resolution 1441, issued by the United Nations.

Like all of the others, Saddam has ignored this demand and treated everyone with contempt.

Since the war years, our relationship with America has worked tremendously; countries like old Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Kuwait are all safer places. The might of Germany and Japan could not have been defeated without the resources of America during the last war and Churchill was fully aware of this.

Given the chance, Saddam would take out his wrath on Israel and the West and create havoc. His defecting close relatives have warned the free world what armaments he possesses and what he was capable of. Reports coming from Baghdad state that a great deal of ordinary people look forward to liberation and freedom from the mad man and his regime of terror. - Bernard McCormick, Newton Aycliffe.

WHO couldn't predict the outcome of a war with Iraq? Casualty figures will have already been estimated; that is our side's (the West) casualties.

On paper Iraq's military machine is no match for the West's. And isn't the West taking full advantage of this?

Notice that America isn't even contemplating attacking North Korea, itself a military force and armed with nuclear weapons. In this case it pays to negotiate things; and not to exert military might - as in some cases.

No, America is making Iraq her business mainly because of its huge oil reserves. - Alfred H. Lister, Guisborough.

THE moral high ground forms no part of the real world and it is on the moral high ground that the Government's critics, with their constant bleating about the children of Iraq, are regularly to be found.

If these people really cared about the children of Iraq they would be aware those children are already dying in their thousands; that the victims of state terror there include appalling numbers of children.

The relevant publications are available from Amnesty International and if the people I am thinking of had bothered to read them - not a pleasant experience - they might be less ready to provide such vociferous comfort to the Iraqi dictatorship.

In providing that comfort they are prejudicing the interests of all the children of the world, for whose sake it is essential Anglo-American policy should proceed to its logical conclusion. - T Kelly, Crook.


AS a Sunderland fan for more than 70 years, I have never seen the club in such a mess. They must be the biggest joke in football and where Bob Murray finds these managers I have no idea.

Peter Reid was bad enough, but Howard Wilkinson is ridiculous. He says some funny things. He is convinced Sunderland will not go down and, although they are bottom of the League, they are not even in a relegation battle.

I think Mr Wilkinson is a better comedian than Bobby Thompson. I will be surprised if Sunderland get another point and in three years time they could be playing Hartlepool and Darlington in derby games. - W Lamb, Ferryhill.


JUDGE Fox's condemnation of CCTV (Echo, Feb 27) may have been factually correct, but what good does his outburst serve?

Those criminals who may have been deterred by the sight of cameras have just been given the all clear.

It is no wonder a large majority of the general public feel many judges are out of touch with society.

Judge Fox's comments reinforce these thoughts. Judge Fox, please tell the Home Office and the police - not the criminals. - Robert Bridgett, Shildon.


IT is all right for Network Rail to be criticised for not swiftly removing their own trackside rubbish. However, the rubbish pictured in your paper (Echo, Feb 27) has obviously been fly-tipped by non-railway vandals.

Swift removal by Rail Network would clearly indicate to illegal rubbish dumpers that the site was an ideal place for them to dump their rubbish as it would be quickly removed. This would enable them to continue with their desecration ad infinitum.

Here, in this lovely village of Great Lumley, fly-tippers come from all over to use it as a dumping ground. For example, for at least the last 15 years fish boxes containing sealed packets of raw fish have been dumped in beauty spots around the village. The packets eventually burst and are soon infested with clouds of bluebottles. The smell is awful. To date, this culprit has not been identified.

What we really need is a campaign to identify fly-tippers and then make sure they are severely dealt with.

All rubbish dumping should be 'absolute top priority' wherever it takes place. - Peter Scholey, Great Lumley.