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Letters May 2 2005 - Daily Telegraph;sessionid=OUBL0D0Z0POXBQFIQMGCNAGAVCBQUJVC?menuId=1588&menuItemId=-1&view=DISPLAYCONTENT&grid=P8&targetRule=0

Blair showed cowardice, not courage

Sir - Charles Moore (Opinion, Apr 30) extols Tony Blair's leadership qualities in his preparation for war.

Had Mr Blair, in late 2002, pronounced that regime change in Iraq was desirable - morally, geopolitically and to maintain ties with our oldest ally - and had he then persuaded Parliament and the country of this - laudable - aim, then I could concur that Mr Blair showed qualities of "courage" and "persuasiveness".

Mr Blair, however, chose to persuade by misleading the nation. As for the legal ambiguity, committing our troops to battle when there is the slightest doubt that they could be subject to war crimes charges, shows cowardice, not courage.

Steven Finighan, Richmond, N Yorks

Sir - With regard to the Attorney General's advice, if the Cabinet did not have the full information about the legality of the war before it, how could a reasoned decision have been reached?

Of even more concern is the fact that not one member of the Cabinet is recorded as either noting the omission, being concerned at it or demanding that it be remedied.

If the Cabinet was prepared to be so supine on as serious an issue as taking the country to war, it raises the question of whether any sensible discussion or debate has occurred over the past eight years on lesser issues placed before it.

Robin Harman, Farnham, Surrey

Sir - To maintain an alliance with Washington is not a reason to go to war. Mr Blair may or may not have been a liar, but he has certainly been economical with the truth. Lord Goldsmith advised that "regime change cannot be the objective of military action". To go to war is the gravest decision any prime minister can make.

The invasion of Iraq has involved the mass bombing of Iraqi cities, resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children, the deaths of more than 1,500 American and 80 British service personnel, the brutal killing of civilians by the insurgents; and the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison: a high price to pay for the removal of Saddam Hussein.

After two years, Iraq is in turmoil, with coalition forces trying to keep the peace between the Kurds, Shia and Sunni Arabs, with no end in sight.

We need a prime minister of the highest integrity, whom we can trust to be honest with the electors.

George Smith, South Shields

Sir - Your correspondent (Letters, Apr 28) thinks that Tony Blair is a liar because he is a lawyer. Some years ago, I bought a voice recognition system for my computer. When I told it the word "lawyers", it came out "liars". Being a solicitor, I concluded that the system had been tampered with.

Luke Grant, Pensax, Worcs