The true dilemma
Sir-- I would like to comment on Tarek Atia's "Rocks in a Candy Store" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 28 October - 3 November). I would like to say how, from an American perspective, I see the candidates for election in the United States. I think that those Americans who support George Bush do so out of fear. Through a campaign of television commercials, he has convinced many Americans that the Al-Qaeda terrorists are a very large threat to the personal security of all Americans and that only he can keep us safe from another incident like the fall of the twin towers.
He has also convinced many Americans that he has attacked Iraq because Saddam Hussein was helping Al-Qaeda and also that the Iraqi people wanted the United States to save them from him.
However, many other Americans see through these lies and support John Kerry not because he seems like a good choice, but because he is not George Bush, and he doesn't seem so committed to Israel.
Many of us don't understand why our government would support such an aggressive nation. However, there are many Americans who simply have no exposure to foreign media, since our government keeps us very isolated, and don't know what to believe.
Also, many Americans support George Bush because they are Christians and George Bush portrays himself as a very pious Christian and John Kerry as a man who is not a good Christian.
I think that the true dilemma in my country is that many are uninformed of what the rest of the world, especially the Arab world, really wants from us, if anything.
Also, though we vote, our votes don't actually reflect who gains office sometimes, such as when George Bush took the presidency in 2000, although our votes did not say that he won. Also, we are not allowed to vote on actual decisions, only on who will make them.
Really we have less control than many think.
War crimes in Iraq
Sir -- A group of US scientists has just published an article in the top British medical journal, The Lancet (October 2004), that found 0.1 to 0.2 million civilian "excess deaths" in post-invasion Iraq; that mortality increased post-invasion; and that violent death increased dramatically post-invasion.
This US study is consonant with UN and UNICEF data. According to UNICEF, in 2002 the under-five infant mortality was 1,000 in Australia, 108,000 in Iraq and 283,000 in conquered Afghanistan (up from 277,000 in 2001) noting that these countries have populations of about 20, 24 and 22 million, respectively.
From UNICEF data it can be conservatively estimated that the post-invasion under-five infant mortality has been about 0.2 million in Iraq and 0.9 million in Afghanistan.
Using UN and UNICEF data it has further been calculated that total "excess mortality" (excess death, avoidable mortality) in war-ravaged Iraq since 1991 has been 1.5 million (with under- five infant mortality totalling 1.2 million) and that the "excess mortality" has been 1.2 million in post-invasion Afghanistan (with the under-five infant deaths totalling 0.9 million).
The ruler is responsible for the ruled. A formal complaint has been lodged with the International Criminal Court citing Coalition war crimes in Iraq, specifically the illegal invasion of a remote, non-threatening country and horrendous post- invasion Iraq civilian deaths in that Coalition-occupied country.
Sir-- Is it any wonder that so many in the Arab world see no alternative to armed struggle when faced with the continuing obscenities perpetrated by the Zionists.
We in the west are becoming more aware of the crimes against humanity committed by Sharon, it is now only a matter of time before a change in stance is forced upon our enfeebled Governments. The righteous cause of the Palestinian Nation is seen more and more as the most crucial impediment to the establishment of good relations between our Nations.
The US and its British poodles have no right to be inflicting continuing pain on the peoples of Iraq. I am ashamed that my passport states that I am a citizen of this so called "Great Britain."
The Arab Nations are in our thoughts and prayers.
Will they ever know?
Sir-- 'Leaps of logic' by Hani Shukrallah, ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 14-20 October ) ought not go unnoticed because it gives a rational analysis of the "civilisational fault line". It is "leaps of logic" that enables the average US citizen to believe that what George W Bush is doing by sending over one thousand young men to death is "self defense", a "counter-violence", to defend and protect the United States.
In his tape Bin Laden says the opposite "leap of logic". He says that 9/11 was "counter-violence" to the Israeli invasion and half a century of violence against the Palestinian legitimate residents of Palestine.
The US media does not provide the voters with this interpretation. The New York Times may allow an article by Thomas Friedman admitting that the war on Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11 but all the media made the single "leap of logic", that "counter-violence" is justified and that we stand blameless in defending ourselves against a monolithic Muslim world which hates us.
This is the kind of "leap of logic" that wins elections. Our media considers the notion of a rational liberal thought inadmissible. Most commentators do not consider the role of Israel since its inception to be related to the rise of fundamentalism Christian and Muslim. They invoke the Old Testament that it is the will of God to kill the evil Bin Laden and his fundamental jihadists. "Where have the flowers gone...When will they ever know?", as the Peter, Paul & Mary song goes.
Sir-- Regarding Nermeen Al-Mufti's article 'Terrorists in Falluja?' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 21 - 27 October), yes it is always tragic when civilians die during a war. Notice I left out innocent civilians; this is because these are the same Saddam Sunnis who killed over one hundred thousand Shias. Yet there was no article written by Al-Mufti about the genocide by the Sunnis at the time it was occurring.
During WWII when the Nazis committed massive genocide of the Jews, Russians, and other peoples of non-Arian blood, the German people were taken to the concentration camps and made to remove and bury the bodies. When asked how they could have let that genocide happen the German people said they had no idea that was occurring in the camps, yet the smoke and stench of death filled the towns around them.
I imagine that if you asked the Sunnis in Falluja how they could commit or ignore the genocide of Shias, they also would say they had no idea this was being committed by their fellow Sunnis.
People who talk about voting for Kerry remember this; Kerry said he participated in the commission of War Crimes himself.
Covering the truth
Sir-- With regards to your editorial 'The central issue' ( Al- Ahram Weekly, 28 October - 3 November) , I beg to differ with you on one point. For the most part, and the fault lies with the US media, Americans are not aware of what is really going on in Iraq. In spite of the 11 September report -- now suppressed by Bush until after the election -- the majority of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was connected with the happenings of 11 September 2001.
Most of the US media has lost its journalistic integrity, allowing itself to be subjected by dictates from the government. And right now, the Bush regime is certainly NOT interested in letting the Americans know the truth.
Sir-- In their desperate bid to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, Britain, France and Germany have offered to give Tehran "valuable nuclear technology" if Tehran suspends all uranium enrichment activities. As far as I can see, the only valuable nuclear technology is a nuclear bomb. Everything else are just some radioactive toys!
And just look at these European "peace brokers"; two out of these three countries have hundreds of nuclear warheads and they have the nerve to tell Iran not to acquire nukes?
What a bunch of racist, hypocrite bullies. First they put political pressure. Then they use economic pressure and threaten with sanctions. If that doesn't work they then start threatening with bombs and missiles. Finally if nothing works and if you eventually do become a nuclear power, they just shake hands with you -- as they did with Pakistan.
The reason they shake hands is that if they couldn't stop a country from becoming a nuclear power then why not bring that power on your side by being friends and allies? This is exactly what will happen with Iran.
As soon as Iran becomes a nuclear state we will see these same hypocritical Europeans welcoming Khatami with red carpet. The cowards of the West never take on anyone who has more, or even equal, military might.
They, with their American friends, always take on the defenseless countries. This is how these cowards work.
Tehran must not fall into this trap. It should do absolutely everything it can to develop nuclear capabilities. Its survival depends on this. Of course, the option for complete suspension of all nuclear programmes is always on the card; as long as UK, USA, China, Russia, France, India, Israel and Pakistan are willing to do the same.
Either that, or these hypocrites should mind their own business. It is as simple as that. IAEA has no jurisdiction whatsoever to threaten Iran while ignoring terrorist states like Israel.
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