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Roughyed BS: 1,000 British Soldiers desert (103* d) RE: BS: 1,000 British Soldiers desert 28 May 06

I was involved in Manchester Trades Council (UK), a local trade union organisation during the 1980s and we had a delegate who was involved in CARDRI ( Committee Against Repression and for Democratic Rights in Iraq) and we duly passed resolutions, wrote to MPs, demonstrated etc, against Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. We got nowhere because our government and the US government were quite happy with their friend Saddam. Iraqi officers were trained in Britain.

All of a sudden we are told that he was as bad as Hitler whereas we thought he was a fairly typical American puppet dictator. Saddam's main crime seems to have been going beyond the orders from his American masters. They were quite happy for him to torture and murder while he was acting in their interests but once he crossed them he had to be taught a lesson to keep the others in line - just like Americas former friends Noriega and Milosevic.

In UK terms though, we were told by Blair that the war was not about regime change. Indeed days before the invasion Blair was telling Parliament that if Saddam got rid of his (non-existent) WMD Blair was willing to let him stay in power - murdering and torturing at will presumably. The next day he was lambasting the anti war movement for 'allowing a dictator to stay in power'. In my experience the pro war voices in this country have mainly relied on abuse, shifting arguments and distortions of the truth. The result is a complete mess that the poor Iraqi people have to endure.

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