Melanie Phillips believed that the British media does the enemy's work by "regurgitating propaganda from the third world" and assisting in the academic deconstruction of truth, so that different opinions are presented as having more validity than an objective truth. The post-invasion debate over Iraq has been focused in terms of 'we were lied to over weapons of mass destruction' - a gross oversimplification - and this will hinder future efforts against international jihadists in Iran, Afghanistan, and Palestine who are currently waging asymmetric warfare against us.
John Sloboda outlined a new Oxford Research Group project, which aimed to create a universal record to document all the dead and injured from armed conflict throughout the world. War memorials are important lists of combatants in national cultures, but morality requires that civilians and enemies killed and injured in war should be remembered in respect of everyone's humanity.
Andrew Rigby gave a personal reflection on pacifism and observed that it is impossible to intervene in a conflict and at the same time remain above it. There is a need to explore alternative unarmed forms of intervention as an alternative to military force.
Our group felt the conference was more useful than we had anticipated. It was an opportunity to hear proponents of war justify their position and an opportunity for those against war to be seen and heard in an atmosphere conducive to thoughtful listening. We suggest the following titles for future Cumberland Lodge conferences: ‘A Just Peace’ on preventing war, and ‘Should Trident be replaced?’ on British nuclear weapons policy.
We are grateful to the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation for funding the NIS Peace Delegation.