'Crude lies' used to justify war on Saddam

Veteran left-winger Tony Benn has accused Britain and America of "utter hypocrisy and crude lies" to justify a war against Iraq.

The retired Labour MP says America's threat of war with Baghdad is motivated by its desire to gain control of Iraqi oil rather than any concern over weapons of mass destruction or human rights.

Speaking in Cardiff [in early August 2002], Mr Benn said Britain and America are telling "crude lies" to dress up a "criminal" war over Iraqi oil as a justified crusade.

"We are on the eve of a war of a terrifying kind," he said.

"The proposed war in Iraq is more to do with Iraqi oil than Saddam Hussein," he said.

He said western powers had armed Saddam and had far more weapons of mass destruction than the Iraqi dictator.

"Right up until he invaded Kuwait we were arming him. This is utter hypocrisy to justify America getting control of the Iraqi oil."

He said he was dismayed at the "crudity of lies they tell us".

"The main motive is not concern with human rights but concern with imperial power. I am very, very nervous about empires taking the law into their own hands."

Mr Benn, who met Saddam in Baghdad in 1990, said the Iraqi leader was a "brute". But he said the only way to get rid of him was "internally".

Copyright © 2002 Ananova Ltd

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