In proposing the motion, Stephen Farry stated:
“Alliance is not a pacifist party. We do accept that there are some circumstances in which the use of military force can be justified in the last resort.
“Alliance is an internationalist party, a pro-international rule of law party, and a pro-U.N. party.
“War, and the other use of military force is a blunt instrument with substantial humanitarian, financial, and economic costs, and often many other unintended consequences.
“The time may come when the use of further force against Saddam Hussein is justified, but the threshold for justification has not been reached.
“The main reason advanced for war is the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. This has been brought into focus by September 11, particularly in the eyes of the U.S. Saddam Hussein may well have weapons of mass destruction. However, there has been no real evidence of intent to use them, or any links to international terrorism. Containment has worked to date, and questions as to why containment cannot continue to work have not been answered.
“Indeed, there are questions as to why other countries in possession of weapons of mass destruction such as North Korea, or indeed India and Pakistan are not also on the agenda.
“The removal of Saddam Hussein from power, so-called regime change has been added to the war aims. This is an objective with which I would have substantial of sympathy. Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator who is responsible for causing much suffering. International humanitarian law and norms of humanitarian intervention are rapidly changing. However, it is difficult to morally justify the level of human suffering that would be involved in war effort to remove Saddam Hussein.
“I do fear for the consequences to international law and international multilateral institutions from crisis. The United States is a major sponsor of our peace process. And when the U.S. acts in concert with others in defence of common values, it has an enormously positive impact internationally. However, at present there is a real danger from U.S. unilateralism, fuelled by a lethal cocktail of conservatism and fundamentalism.
“Equally, France and Germany should be condemned for threatening the very integrity of NATO by balking at offering Turkey collective defence. In conclusion, I would appeal for the international communities to work together. Let’s not give Saddam Hussein the last laugh.”