Ex-Verve star joins the likes of Damon Albarn in opposing the potential conflict in the Middle East...

RICHARD ASHCROFT has joined DAMON ALBARN, [a][/a]’s ROBERT ‘3-D’ DEL NAJA and ELBOW‘s GUY GARVEY in supporting the CND-backed ‘STOP THE WAR’ campaign.

As reported in last week’s NME, ‘Stop The War’ intends to foster and publicise opposition to any proposed British involvement in the intended US military effort aimed out driving out Saddam Hussein from Iraq. While not specifically signing up to the campaign, Ashcrofttold NME he empathised with the sentiments: “I think any war against Iraq at the moment is just not a legitimate war. We all know that, it goes without saying. It’s quite obvious and it’s quite scary.

“I think we all know what it’s about, we all know the reasons and we all know that God and oil are probably the two biggest causes of fucking war in the world and always have been for a long, long time. What can we do about it? What we can do is pray for peace and pray that the Americans don’t start a war.”

Hundreds of NME.COM readers have also contacted us over the last few days following last week’s story. One, Andrew Derho, wrote: “I’m chuffed to hear that (they) spoke their minds about the current situation regarding Iraq. It should be no secret that the US decries Saddam Hussein because he has something they want (oil), but overlooks it when their allies or puppet governments are guilty of the same things Iraq have done. I hope people open their eyes to reality and everyone can have a serious discussion about the real cost of war, and if it is justifiable.”

Another believes self-interest in the Bush administration would be the root cause for any action. She wrote: “As a Muslim born and raised Canadian I, like the rest of the world, was appalled by the events of 9-11, but the more Bush talks about the ‘Axis of Evil’ and attacking Iraq the more it seems that its less about eradicating terrorism and more about keeping his popularity in his own country up.”

However, not all are opposed to military action. One reader said he wanted to boycott the bands’ records for speaking out, while another wrote: “Saddam Hussein would just as easy choose Britain to unleash a chemical or biological attack on its innocent people and not care about UK rockers and their opinions. This is not a regime we can sit down with, discuss our problems and find a solution. What should we do? Does anyone remember Neville Chamberlain? Our countries have always been there for each other through good and bad and what we do now is for the future of our children and grandchildren. Remember 9/11 is an act of war! Are you with us or with the terrorists? Our governments represent the best of the civilized world, we will not purposely murder innocent men, women and children! Can we say that of our adversaries?”

Chris Brudzinski wrote: “I lost a friend in the attack on the World Trade Center. I also knew people who died in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. It’s easy for people who weren’t forever affected by what those bastards did to criticise the American government for all of its missteps in response to the terror attacks. I wonder where Damon would stand had some British landmark been attacked and he had lost friends or family?”

The Stop The War coalition supported by a CND demonstration starts on September 28 at 12.30pm at Embankment in London, ending in Hyde Park.