I OBJECT strongly to DM Martin's letter (February 28) referring to York Against The War as the "save Saddam campaign".

Most people accept that Saddam Hussein is a brutal tyrant, but we do not believe that killing 500,000 Iraqi civilians (the UN estimate on casualties if the war goes ahead) is the answer.

And I find the hypocrisy of the US administration nauseating considering the US funded and armed Iraq during its conflict with Iran.

The US is only interested in going down the UN route if it gets the result it wants. It has stated categorically that it will go ahead with military action regardless of the outcome of a UN resolution.

This shows a complete disregard for international law and the UN security council. And as much as they complain about the likes of France for trying to slow down the march to war, it is the US who have used their veto more times than any other permanent member of the security council We have to put a stop to this war on terror now, otherwise where will it stop after Iraq? Bush has already bunched North Korea and Iran alongside Iraq in his "axis of evil" speech.

Andrew Collingwood, Turners Croft, Heslington, York.

...THE general public ignoring a UN resolution as a means to "justify" war would by no means be a "giant leap on the road to anarchy". It would, however, be recognition of the fact that the UN always has been a sand-pit for the world's largest powers to play in, often at the expense of smaller nations.

I would not be surprised to see America get the resolution it wants; it would, after all, be the best resolution money can buy.

United Nations resolutions should be implemented by the United Nations. They are being implemented - through the use of weapons inspectors.

For a US-led coalition to go to war without the consent of the UN would be showing the same contempt for international law as has been shown by Saddam.

This is not to say that a UN resolution would legitimise the war - far from it. While Bush and co are trying to buy the fig-leaf of a resolution, their attitude has made it clear that such a resolution would be simply a formality and so, ultimately, it would be worthless.

Jonathan Thompson, Skiddaw, Woodthorpe, York.

...IN the 1980s, the Thatcher Government sent several ministers to Iraq. Douglas Hurd, John Biffin and Tony Newton, to name a few, all sought to curry favour with Saddam.

Newton led a delegation to the annual UK-Iraq Joint Commission, "to help British companies to benefit from the trade opportunities".

No concern then for the attack on Halabja in March 1988 when some 5,000 Kurdish civilians were killed by chemical weapons. In that year Britain made £175 million available to the dictator. The next loan was £340 million.

Is the expressed concern for the Iraqi people, Kurd or Arab, any more genuine now? Not in the slightest.

Already Turkey has been told that it will be allowed to enter northern Iraq and take over Kurdish lands.

A huge bribe was also offered for Turkey to allow an even larger build up of military might to be based there.

Blair and Bush may think that history is no concern of theirs, but most people are not prepared to ignore it and don't accept the pretence that the coming war is to protect the innocent from Saddam.

If Serbian war criminals can be taken to court, why not Saddam?

Why should thousands of innocent Iraqis and Kurds be slaughtered by bombing because Britain and America helped to make an evil dictator? It will certainly boost the arms industry but can it be claimed that justice will be done?

Ron Florey, Peaslands Lane, Thornton-le-Dale.

...GEORGE Bush and Tony Blair, on the assumption that at some time in the future Saddam Hussein may, or may not, kill thousands of innocent people, have decided, as a preventative measure, to go to war against Iraq. This will ensure that thousands of innocent people will most certainly die.

In addition armed forces, following orders, will face up to Iraqi armed forces and systematically destroy each other.

This seems to me to be a peculiar way of avoiding the death of thousands of innocent people.

J Smith, Willow Glade, New Lane, Huntington, York.

...IT is becoming increasingly clear that any second resolution of the UN Security Council sanctioning an attack on Iraq will be obtained by US bribes, threats of reprisals, arm twisting, and promises of how the oil will be divided after the slaughter.

Clearly as such a resolution would lack any moral legitimacy, or international authority.

Is not the answer to send in UN observers to ensure that a free and fair vote takes place?

Mrs M Hatfield, Heworth Green, York.

Yes, we must stand up to Saddam...

ALL those who marched in London opposing war with Iraq should think themselves lucky they were able to voice their opinion by taking to the streets. In Baghdad they would have been in fear of their lives if protesting against Saddam's government.

People talk about how Churchill liberated Europe from Hitler but do not recall the years before the war, when he put his career on the line by trying to make Britain and Europe recognise the threat. Had he been listened to, he could have changed the course of history. There might not have been the Second World War or Auschwitz. But people called him a war-monger rather than face the truth.

We are in the same position today. Will we again ignore the warnings?

Colin Henson, Moorcroft Road, Woodthorpe, York.

Updated: 11:31 Tuesday, March 04, 2003