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An exact reversal of Christ's stated mission on earth

It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.
David Hare
12 January 2003

I supported the United States in 2001 when it had a clear right to pursue the murderers of 3,000 of its residents and citizens. To me, the invasion of Afghanistan was justified and inevitable.

Shortly after the assault on his own country, President Bush made an explicit promise that he would work to help reinforce the move towards democracy for the Palestinians, and to reinforce security for the Israelis.

Since the beginning of the second intifada, nearly 3000 people have also been killed, over two-thirds of them Palestinian, a majority on both sides, like those in the Twin Towers, innocent victims of a violence in which they themselves had no part.

President Bush has since reneged on all his promises. By his failure of purpose in the Middle East, he has sanctioned extremists who pursue mayhem and murder in pursuit of ultimately unobtainable goals – on one side, continued occupation and expansion ; on the other, an end to the state of Israel.

He has been, thus far, the most self-righteous, dangerous and inadequate President in American history.

No exponent of American foreign policy has been able to explain why one UN resolution – that voted through recently against Iraq – should be made a matter of military urgency, while another, far more pressing resolution – the one which demands the withdrawal of Israeli troops to pre-1967 borders – has been allowed to stand for thirty years, unenforced, mocking Western claims of impartiality and justice.

I cannot understand a species of Christian zealotry prevailing in the White House which seeks only to prioritise the strong over the weak and the rich over the poor – an exact reversal of Christ’s stated mission on earth.

An unsanctioned invasion of Iraq has no legitimacy. Its arbitrariness is a hearty gesture of encouragement to terrorists all over the world. Like everyone else, I wish an end to dictatorship – in Pakistan and in Saudi Arabia, in Burma and in China, as well as in Iraq. But, most of all, I wish for an American government which has the guts and the vision to imagine a policy for justice and peace in the Middle East.

Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.

See also Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 2.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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