A FORMER soldier from North Yorkshire today spoke out strongly against any attack on Iraq - while his soldier son prepares for war with the British Army in Kuwait.

John Ward, of Tollerton, said he was "worried sick" about Royal Engineer son Simon, 21.

Mr Ward said there was no justification for war in Iraq, and called on leaders George Bush and Tony Blair to think carefully about their next moves.

Mr Ward, a single parent, said: "Simon spent three-and-a-half months in Afghanistan last year. We felt that was justified because the Taliban were running riot.

"This time though neither he nor his comrades feel this is justified. In Afghanistan, they knew what their role was, but this time no one seems to know, although he has said he could be up there with the infantry.

"It is very distressing for me as a father to have him out there."

Mr Ward took part in his "first and last" march at last month's massive anti-war demo in London.

He said Simon was grateful when he told him he had demonstrated.

"He said: 'Thank you so much, it means a lot to us out here.' Even among the front-line troops there is an element of anti-war feeling.

"Bush is confusing terror with Saddam Hussein, he has not got the ability to hurt the West, and look where he got many of his weapons from - America.

"The whole thing is unbelievably two-faced and hypocritical."

Mr Ward said he wanted to see Saddam Hussein removed from power, but "going in and bombing the country to bits" was the wrong way to do it.

Continuing with containment, pressurising Saddam and working to help Iraq's people was the way forward, he said.

He added: "The CIA have been running around the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. If they really wanted rid of him surely they (the CIA) could do it."

Mr Ward said he has had two letters from Simon, one of which said he was short of basic kit such as soap and toothpaste.

"When he was in Afghanistan I was sending him magazines, this time I am sending him basic stuff he should be provided with anyway.

"That cannot be good for morale."

An MoD spokesman declined to comment on Mr Ward's views on the war.

He said both American and British soldiers were supplied by the same local contractors and there had been "no problems" with food or water supplies.

But he added: "On one occasion supplies for two camps were delivered to just one, leaving one camp short for a day. That situation was put right within 24 hours. It could be what has happened here."

Updated: 09:09 Friday, March 14, 2003