Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Seventh Report


238. The war against terrorism is an unplanned and unsought conflict. But when the first hijacked airliner struck the World Trade Center, war became necessary and, once entered upon, war must be pursued vigorously and with all appropriate means.

239. We believe that the international coalition leadership, especially that of the United States and the United Kingdom, has performed remarkably well. Resolve and determination have been tempered with restraint and sensitivity. The political leaderships of both countries deserve support and understanding.

240. The military campaign is likely to be long and may spread beyond Afghanistan. Coalition forces directly engaged in or supporting the campaign are performing a difficult and dangerous task with the skill and dedication which has come to be expected of them, but which is greatly appreciated and admired.

241. We concede that the great advantage of hindsight is that it allows us 20/20 vision of the precursors of war which were previously unseen, misinterpreted, or ignored. If one lesson comes out of our consideration of why the attacks of 11 September 2001 were able to succeed, it is that priority must be given to the gathering, assessment and use of high-grade intelligence information. Without that information, this country and its allies are appallingly vulnerable.

242. But to 'know thine enemy' is not enough. We also need to determine how the conditions that have contributed to the development of terrorism can be removed, or at least reduced. The answers to those questions will provide a far safer world than even the best intelligence and preparedness can provide. As the war against terrorism proceeds, this country and its coalition allies must seek out those answers, and must learn about and deal sensitively with the causes of terrorism.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 20 June 2002