A Letter From

Dear Ryan Sproull

I am just writing to briefly acknowledge and thank you for your message supporting my recent statement regarding the commitment by United States president George Bush of further troops to Iraq.

That there are parallels between the situation in Iraq and the previous debacle in Vietnam seems to me to be simply common sense, and to suggest otherwise displays a refusal to recognise the lessons of history. I may of course be wrong, but if I am then at least I am in good company; I am sure you will have noted that even prominent members of George Bush’s own Republican party are of the same view.

But I also think that it is important to be mindful of the broader loss which we have experienced as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Although the cynical would no doubt argue otherwise, we have made a great deal of progress since the Second World War in creating a framework of international law which is based on the belief that wars not only ought to be, but can be, avoided, and that there are better ways of resolving conflicts. New Zealand, I am proud to say, stands at the forefront in this, in eschewing the use of armed force other than as a means of peacekeeping. In fact, I think that we do not always give ourselves sufficient credit for taking that position.

The actions of those who took part in the invasion of Iraq (and we should not forget that this was not an action of the United States alone) did the cause of international management of conflict no favours, and set back the progress we have been able to make by quite a measurable distance, which is, at the very least, regrettable.

That notwithstanding, I continue to have faith in the ability of humanity to recover that ground before too long and to make further advances along the same lines. One needs only to look back on human history to see how far we have come since the days when no-one could sleep soundly for fear of attack. Your support for my statement bolsters my faith in the common sense of New Zealanders, and is much appreciated.

With best wishes
Yours sincerely

Jim Anderton
M P for Wigram and Leader of the Progressive Party

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