11 JANUARY 2003, Page 23

Hit, and miss

From Mr Miles Hudson Sir: Rod Liddle's article ('Why not kill

• Saddam and spare Iraq?', 4 January) poses the crucial question about assassination — would it help? My book Assassination concludes by agreeing with Disraeli when he said, about Lincoln's murder, 'Assassination has never changed the history of the world.' After examining 18 prominent assassinations, from Julius Caesar to Yitzhak Rabin, I concluded that in more than half of the cases the result was the exact opposite of what was intended, and that in only one case (Trotsky) could it conceivably be argued that assassination had achieved its objective and even that was doubtful. Assassination is virtually always a vastly oversimplified and perverse reaction to a highly complex situation.

Miles Hudson

Hook, Hampshire