Nagging doubts

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Series Details Vol.7, No.36, 4.10.01, p11 (editorial)
Publication Date 04/10/2001
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Date: 04/10/01

America and the European Union could not have done more in recent weeks to convince the world of the legitimacy of the military action that now appears to be inevitable and imminent. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's whistle-stop tour of the Middle East and Tony Blair's flying visits to Pakistan and Oman would suggest that the 'riposte' is all but hours away; their missions do not have the air of a last-gasp attempt at avoiding a strike against Afghanistan.

The Taliban have been given fair warning to hand over Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda terrorist network. Blair and NATO chief George Robertson have seen "incontrovertible" evidence that bin Laden's organisation was behind the attacks on New York and Washington.

But nagging doubts remain. For one, the Taliban claims it has not seen this evidence and their religious code of honour prevents them from handing over those who have sought their sanctuary.

The European public, whilst clearly demanding a response to the appalling events of 11 September, must accept the word of Bush and Blair that their classified information proves bin Laden is guilty.

It is not just the Greens who feel uncomfortable about the prospect of military action which will inevitably result in innocent lives being lost. The EU's leadership, which has spoken with one voice against terrorism until now, should be united in demanding that more compelling evidence is put before the public before a shot is fired.

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