The Rev Ian Paisley (North Antrim) said in the House of Commons debate for the declaration of the War in Iraq on 18 March: "Underneath the debate lies the burning question of the power of the sword and where it is vested. I happen to believe that it is an ordinance of God given to mankind, and we have a responsibility to exercise the same.
"The Scriptures make it clear; it is vested in proper authority. I believe that the proper authority for this debate is this House, and I welcome the fact that this debate is taking place."
He went on to say, "I prefer this House to make the decision and not the UN. This House should say to the British servicemen whether they are to go to war or not, and not someone else who does not know the ins and outs of the situation.
"I trust that, tonight, when the debate ends and the votes are taken, a message will go out from us all to our servicemen, who are already prepared for battle in the Gulf, that we will be backing them all the way as they do the task that we have appointed them to do.
"The main town in my constituency is Ballymena, which is the headquarters of the Royal Irish Regiment. The Royal Irish Regiment is in the Gulf at present, and members of the Irish Guards are there, as well as many people from Northern Ireland who are in various other regiments of the Army. All of us tonight are thinking of them, and not only of them, but of their wives and families. We sit here and have our debate in relative comfort, but they do not know what the day will bring forth.
"After we have had this debate, and after the voting is over, I would like to think that there will be a clear message: no matter what opinions have been expressed, the House will back those men, as they do the task to which we have appointed them. My prayers are with them and their families, which I am sure that all can echo.
"The Prime Minister stated at the beginning of the debate that some things cannot stop a tyrant. This is very true. Diplomacy cannot stop a tyrant. We can try to buy off terrorists, but they will not be bought off. As Churchill said, if we appease them they will come back for more: it only feeds their appetite. We need to remember that. When we are dealing with a tyrant, as we are doing in this instance, we are dealing with someone who has no conscience, no law and no faith: he cares only for himself.
"We have seen the sorrows, troubles and calamity that he has brought to his country: the woes of the people, the cries of the people and the broken homes and families. When talking to exiles here, they tremble when they are asked to discuss Saddam and where they were brought up: the fear is on them. We should ensure that that is dealt with. It should have been dealt with long ago."
Dr Paisley said, "We need to face up to one thing only: if he is not dealt with now, he will never be dealt with. Things have gone too far. The troops are in the Gulf, and if they were withdrawn, he would have a great victory. That victory would spread, and others would be encouraged to follow in his wake. Let us not bluff ourselves about that.
"The die is cast. It is imperative that this matter goes forward. It is imperative that we do our best to ensure that the bloodshed is not as grievous as it might be, but that is a very difficult task. We are going into a country where the dictator and his four generals will, it seems, fight to the end. If they are going to fight to the end, they will not mind whom they destroy. They will not mind the havoc that is left. If some country has already made an arrangement to take them in, as may be the case, of course, I totally disagree with any suggestions that any Government in the world should make a deal with them and say that they will never be brought up for the crimes that they have committed. They should all be in the dock, and they should all be tried for their crimes against the people.
"I regret that the Prime Minister is not in the House to hear this, but I have said it to his face, to which I am sure that he will be glad to testify: it is a shame that the Government do not take the same view in relation to the terrorist situation in our country. I do not think that there is any difference between an IRA/Sinn Feiner who has killed, maimed and taken a screwdriver and driven it through a man’s eye and the type of character that we are discussing tonight. I am sad at heart that in Northern Ireland we have reaped the dark harvest of attempting to appease terrorism. Where has it go us?"
From British Church Newspaper 4 April 03