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'No' to US request for UK Troops in northern Iraq

I opposed the request by the United States for UK troops to be sent to Northern Iraq, in order to free up US troops for their planned attack on Fallujah.  I signed two Early Day Motions, reproduced below, to make my opposition clear to the Government.  EDM 1769 was an attempt to pressurise the Government to give MPs a vote before the decision was taken, but this was not granted and regrettably on 21 October '04, the Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, made the formal announcement to the House that the decision had been taken.  

EDM 1755 expresses my opposition to the policy decision.  No convincing reasons why the US cannot cope in northern Iraq without UK assistance have been given and I am very concerned that UK operations in the southern part of the country will be adversely affected.  Given the extremely negative track record of US operations in Fallujah, the likely consequences for civilians of a renewed US attack are dreadful.  UK troops may be put in even greater danger by the association that has been created with US command, despite the UK’s more measured and sensitive approach.  I will continue to do all I possibly can to express my deep reservations on these matters. 

I do not see why the UK acquiesced to this request whilst promises from George Bush to the Prime Minister, that the US would use its influence to help bring peace and justice in Palestine/Israel, have been flouted.

EDM 1769








That this House notes the United States Administration's request to send British troops into areas currently patrolled by American-led forces; is aware of the statement by the Secretary of State for Defence that he is inclined to comply; believes that such a move would significantly increase the danger to British troops in Iraq; and therefore calls for a vote in the House before Her Majesty's Government takes a final decision on this matter.


EDM 1755







That this House recalls that the last time an American administration put pressure on a British Labour government to provide troops to back the United States' plans to escalate an ill-judged war was in 1970 over Vietnam; remembers that this House debated the request on 5th May 1970, on a motion proposed by a former leader of the Labour party, the then honourable Member for Ebbw Vale. Michael Foot, who put the argument that day that the escalating events can have the gravest consequences for us all; notes that he pleaded that in his opinion it was 'sheer despair for people to say that nothing that we can do or say can have much influence on such distant occurrences and keep our mouths shut, and possibly keep our eyes closed as well', Official Report, 5th May 1970, column 208; agrees with his prediction that 'the military machine of the United States can create a wilderness and desolation, but it can never win a victory in Vietnam', Official Report, 5th May 1970, column 214; and therefore calls upon the Prime Minister to follow his predecessor's example from 34 years ago and refuse to co-operate with American plans to escalate this immoral and illegal war in its planned siege of Fallujah.


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