An unjust war

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.
Muqtedar Khan
12 January 2003

The war on Iraq may well be the first disaster of the century. This war, regardless of the rhetoric from Bush, Blair & Co., is an unjust war. Ironically if preemptive strikes are justifiable then Iraq at the moment may be justified in attacking the US and the UK who have been threatening to attack it for the last six months. Saddam has had access to chemical and biological weapons for over two decades, he used them against Iran (without any criticism from the US or UK) and he has used them against the Kurds, but he has never passed them on to any terrorists so far. It may sound strange but it is true, Saddam's record is his best defense.

An unjust war and prolonged occupation (direct colonialism) will generate intense anti-west sentiments, will alienate the US and UK and make them the most hated nations all over the world. As it is, anti-Americanism has become as global a phenomenon as Britney Spears.

The people of Iraq have suffered enough at the hands of Saddam Hussein and the US-UK sponsored sanctions. It is difficult to say who has killed more innocent people, Saddam or sanctions. I hope that all decent people in the world will stand up against this unjust war and let the war mongers know that the civilised world is not with them.

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



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.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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