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Chairman’s corner

From Northern Ireland to Iraq, you have to talk to the bad guys

By Derek Coombs   September 2005

The violence by Sunni insurgents in Iraq seems unstoppable. US troops frequently cannot distinguish friends from enemies and sometimes overreact. According to the Iraqi health ministry, up to twice as many civilians have been killed by US military action than by terrorist bombs. This breeds recruits for the insurgency at a faster rate than they can be killed.

The country is verging on civil war and the coalition needs to take a step back and consider other alternatives.

When I was in parliament in 1972, I was asked by Willie Whitelaw, then secretary of state for Northern Ireland, to maintain…

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