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CEL home > News and Archive > Letter to Tony Blair about Iraq - Aug 2004

From Christian Ecology Link


The Rt Hon Tony Blair MP,
Prime Minister's Office,
10 Downing Street ,
London SW1A 2AS.

18 th August 2004 .

Dear Mr Blair,

Further to our letter of January 2003, saying that pre-emptive military action would cause death and suffering to Iraqi civilians, and harm their environment, we are writing to request, as a matter of urgency, that an arrangement be made to implement independent monitoring of radioactivity resulting from the use of depleted-uranium munitions by Coalition forces. Our view is that the use of depleted-uranium-enhanced shells inevitably fails to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants and should, therefore, be classified with landmines and nuclear and biological munitions, as immoral. In Iraq damage has been done, however, and we must address the consequences.

The environment in Iraq is at risk of long-term despoilment from radiation. We understand that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has reported that there is a risk of inhaling uranium dust, with large doses of potentially dangerous radiation within 200 yards of buildings and vehicles hit by British and American munitions. Radioactive poisoning means that children are liable to be born without limbs, eyes and noses, or with cancer. The report from UNEP would seem to confirm that there is, contrary to denials, potential for serious collateral harm from depleted uranium munitions.

The principles of a 'Just War' propounded by Augustine and modified by Aquinas, state that war should only be waged as a last resort, be proportionate, undertaken by a legitimate authority, and avoid injury and death to non-combatants.

We invite you to pledge that your Government will, in future, in considering any proposed military action, at the very least, abide fully by the 'Just War' principles. We believe that a further clause should now be added, as follows, to take into account the potentially long-term nature of damage, caused by modern warfare:-

'No war is justified if it is liable to cause damage to the environment, including all living creatures, that will last for generations.'

The recent speech about the importance of environmental issues by the Archbishop of Canterbury lends weight to this proposition.


Yours sincerely,


Dr Tim Cooper (Chairman of Christian Ecology Link)).

Iraq Jan 2003 Letter to Tony Blair
Feb 2003 Press Release
Aug 2004 Letter to Tony Blair
Nov 2004 Press release about Aug Letter to Tony Blair on "Just War" commitment and monitoring radioactive levels in Iraq.




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