Ex-colonel points to service opposition to Blair-Bush war

Kevin Cranston, a former colonel who organised helicopter support for
the British army in the 1991 Gulf war and now the Green Party's military
policy advisor, has drawn attention to unrest amongst British service
personnel about the impending "unjustified, futile and
counter-productive" attack on Iraq.

Kevin Cranston said today: "The use of British troops in a futile act of
aggression the like of which has not been seen since Suez and the
colonial wars at the start of the 20th Century is undermining morale and
changing the ethos of the British army.

"Tony Blair is pushing for a war which three-quarters or more of the UK
population oppose. In 1991 there was support from across the Middle
East, now there is virtually none. Saddam is not a threat to Britain,
either in military terms or as a terrorist. Since the Gulf War he hasn't
been able to re-equip his forces and there is no way he could invade
anyone else. An attack would be immoral.

"A lot of soldiers are deeply concerned about the current situation.
They joined to defend Britain, not to mount unjustified attacks on other


The 50-year-old former helicopter pilot, now a Green Party councillor in
Stroud, Gloucestershire and an environmental consultant, continued: "As
a British soldier the Northern Ireland experience taught me that you
could never beat terrorism by military means alone - and that less
aggressive means, including negotiation, the building of trust and
confidence gradually pay off."

Mr Cranston stressed "There is no connection between Saddam and
al-Qaeda, however much George Bush and Tony Blair might try to con
people into believing there is. The truth is that Saddam is a virtual
atheist in a secular country, while bin Laden is a Muslim
fundamentalist. They are less likely to cooperate than Ian Paisley and
the Pope.

"Even if Saddam were sponsoring terrorism in Britain, there would be no
point in bombing Iraq. At best it would be futile. At worst it would sow
the seeds of hostility against Britain for decades to come and provoke
terrorist attacks on this country.

"The UN is left with the unpalatable options of appearing to side with
the bullies or being unable to restrain them."

He concluded "It seems all too likely that this war is going to happen,
probably in a few weeks time but there is still hope. This is why I will
be marching on Saturday and urge as many people as possible to join us."