Sunday, February 16
Millions show this is a war that no one wants
INDEPENDENT Leader, 16 February 2003

In London and in cities around the world the message yesterday was clear: "Don't attack Iraq". The extraordinary marches, attracting millions across Europe in protest at a possible war, represented the views of a broad range of voters across the political spectrum, views that have been largely unheard until now.Finally, before it is too late, the voters are having their say. In the past the Prime Minister has paid an obsessive attention to focus groups and opinion polls. Now he should listen to the marchers, unmediated voices expressing thoughtful opposition to an unprovoked attack on Iraq, raising many of the points argued by The Independent on Sunday over the past few months. If Tony Blair goes to war now he risks alienating the country and tearing apart his own party.

The Prime Minister's persistence in the face of widespread opposition can be seen as an example of brave leadership. Sometimes it is braver to stand back and think again. [...]

The propaganda for war produced by the British and US governments has been laughably amateurish. The attempts by Messrs Bush and Blair to link Iraq with al-Qa'ida have not been convincing. So far the senior UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has not come across weapons of mass destruction. Even if he does, The Independent on Sunday would not support war.

The key question in relation to weapons of mass destruction is whether Saddam would use them in the certain knowledge that such an act would provoke a war that would destroy him. We believe that deterrence still works [...]
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