Letter: Uncovering the dangers in Iraq

Sir, There have always been two main areas of uncertainty relevant to current policy towards Iraq (letters, February 8, etc). First, how much weaponry of mass destruction (including means of delivery) does Saddam Hussein possess? Secondly, how much damage can he do with an arsenal of such weapons?

The first is a matter for the intelligence services and the United Nations inspectors to form their best judgment on. The second, though, is largely a scientific question. Is it true, as President Bush has contended, that “it would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known” (report, January 30)?

With the odd exception, the silence of British scientists in the current policy debate over Iraq is deafening. It allows the most scientifically melodramatic and credulous assertions to pass unchallenged; and makes more likely a war which will be justified on the basis of scenarios worthy of James Bond films.

Yours faithfully,

ROBERT SKIDELSKY,

House of Lords.

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