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Rt Hon Tony Blair MP
10 Downing Street
21st November 2001
Dear Mr. Blair
In common with many others, members of Christian Ecology Link are profoundly disturbed by your uncritical support for the American military campaign in Afghanistan.
1) We condemn absolutely the terrorist massacre in New York on September 11th. We recognize with sadness that among the dead were citizens of many nationalities and faiths, including our own and including Muslims.
2) Like you, we believe that it is essential that the problem of international terrorism is now firmly addressed. Terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda must be exposed and dismantled. Terrorists must be brought to justice before properly convened, universally recognized and respected international tribunals.
3) It is far from certain that this will be achieved by the current military campaign. The act of terrorism is essentially a criminal matter. By resorting to aerial bombardment with the use of cluster bombs and the 'daisy cutter' bomb, many innocent people have been killed and injured. In supporting such action we appear no more morally consistent than the terrorists we condemn.
4) Use of the word 'crusade' and the phrase 'dead or alive' by President Bush was most unfortunate, causing needless offence to our Muslim neighbours and revealing an attitude of arrogant contempt for justice.
5) Our concern as Christians is for common humanity, true justice and care of the planet that we all inhabit, whether Christian or Muslim, American, British or Afghan. Warfare inevitably causes great damage to the environment and is seldom an instrument of justice. We deplore the increase in the arms trade which it occasions, the waste of materials and destruction of infrastructure, the profligate use of oil and the disruption of civic amenities. Above all, we condemn the loss of innocent human lives.
6) You may ask, rightly, for an alternative to the present campaign.
i) The strengthening of security measures, immigration controls and the expansion of intelligence and surveillance, both at home and abroad.
ii) We applaud your support for a peace settlement in the Middle East. This has been shown to be at the heart of the problem. We would advocate further support for the Palestinians in their quest for a secure and viable homeland.
iii) We recommend that the root causes of world poverty be resolutely and effectively addressed. The World Bank, I.M.F. and W.T.O must be held to account for much of the consequential despair, which is another root of terrorism.
iv) At home, we would strongly advocate the development of non-nuclear sources of alternative energy in order to lessen our dependence on oil and thus on governments whose record on human rights is dubious.
v) We welcome friendly relations with the United States, but to "stand shoulder to shoulder" with President Bush puts Britain in a dubious position. We must not forget that he continues to abrogate the Kyoto protocol and advocates a 'Star Wars' programme which puts at risk nuclear non-proliferation.
Tim Cooper (Dr)
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