Nobody should be in any doubt that Saddam Hussein's tyranny bears comparison with the worst of the 20th century.
Will there be a significant rebellion of Labour MPs against a war in Iraq? The conventional wisdom is that there will not, that MPs in general are more sheeplike than ever before.
Although American strategists preparing for an attack on Iraq have yielded few clues to their plans, there is little doubt about one assumption they hold.
There were times in history when the issues confronting the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which has just ended in Johannesburg, might have seemed soluble.