Update to the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [6]

Session date: 
September 19, 2001
Question By: 
Darren Johnson
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

On behalf of the Green group, I also very much support and welcome the message of condolence that you sent to New York - and the practical support you have pledged and your condemnation of the racist attacks which have been sparked off in London. We very much welcome your very strong condemnation of that. Will you also join us in urging great caution about how these attacks are dealt with, and remind people that reprisals and bombing attacks on Afghanistan would result in the loss of more innocent lives, which would not right the terrible wrongs we saw in the United States last week - that they could exacerbate rather than diminish the potential for terrorist attacks in the United States, Britain and elsewhere, and also possibly exacerbate racial tensions in this country and elsewhere? As you have done in the past, will you speak out against indiscriminate bombing which would lead to the loss of more innocent lives?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Update to the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [6]

Answer for Update to the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [6]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I thank the Green party for those words. I apologise for having to cancel my appearance at the Green party conference because of the service at St Paul's last Friday.

I have a friend who spent six months on refugee work in Afghanistan about three years ago. Her view is quite clear: there is nothing left to bomb in Afghanistan. You can try to hit one or two of the terror camps; you can finally demolish what remains of the airports; but even in the capital there is hardly a building above two storeys high. The Russian invasion ravaged the country for 10 years; then there was the most vicious civil war. It is a society already living in mediaeval conditions. The real danger is that a lot more innocent people could be killed.

I took the view during the Gulf War, as someone who was opposed to the nature of the western response, that it would have been much better to send in the SAS and take out Saddam Hussein rather than relentlessly beating the Iraqi people, who never had a chance to decide who their leaders should be.