Wednesday, March 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Iraq: road to nowhere

Apropos of Mr Hari Jaisingh’s front-page editorial “The road to nowhere” (March 21, 2003), the war launched by the USA against Iraq is quite unjust, violative of international law and against international behaviour. Diplomatically, the USA failed to carry the UN Security Council with it. Right-thinking persons know well that the USA practises double standards when in name of promoting democracy it protects various ruthless dictatorships around the world.

A civilised society of the 21st century must not have the jungle rule of “might is right”. Humanity will never forgive the US government for playing with the lives of innocent people of Iraq. Even in the USA itself, mothers, sisters, wives and children of American soldiers deployed on war, can be seen weeping.

This is happening because, they know this war is un just. The common men all over the world feel tense and horrified. Who is responsible for the huge loss of human life and other material resources? The major purpose before the USA is to control the world physically or psychologically.

All peace-loving countries should intensify protests through peaceful marches, meetings or conferences/ rallies to oppose the war and express solidarity with the victims. The Government of India has taken a correct decision theoretically, and the next step is to act practically. All the political parties and other organisations should unitedly condemn the war and force the USA to resolve the issue only through the UN.



USA’s real aim

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s editorial “The road to nowhere” (March 21). Even as the USA marched towards war on Iraq, it seemed the last thing the world wanted. That much of Europe had deep reservations about a military attack on Iraq has ben obvious, with France and Germany openly opposing the move, and ordinary people everywhere including those in America taking to the streets in protest. In short, anti-war feelings the world over were far greater and more widespread than the USA would have us believe.

It is not easy to comprehend why the White House rushed to a bombing option that is rife with dangerous political potential. It could have tackled the problem of Mr Saddam Hussein’s penchant for making weapons of mass destruction without having to inflict undeserved punishment on the innocent civilian population of Iraq.

A more effective and easily enforced strategy would have been to shut down Iraq’s lucrative contraband coastal oil trade which provides a hefty portion of Mr Hussein’s current revenues. Choking off that money spigot would have drastically reduced the hard currency hoard available to him and limited his ability to develop new weapons.

If the US concern is about weapons of mass destruction, it also has to look further afield. At least six West Asian nations have built chemical and biological weapons and have been improving their ballistic missile capabilities with the help of North Korea and China. Israel’s possession of such nuclear weapons in conjunction with its fortress mentality, does not seem to worry Washington.

President Bush has proclaimed that the USA would prefer to deal with a successor regime in Iraq because Mr Hussein is a brutal dictator who oppresses his own people. But there is no guarantee that the US bombing would, as if by magic, produce a new Iraqi leader who will respect human rights and will have the milk of human kindness flowing through his veins. In any case, is Mr Hussein all that different from many deadly Third World dictators, past and present, that the USA has tolerated?

In the past, too, the UN Charter had been perverted to the ends of American militarism. Neither Security Council Resolution 678 of 1990 nor 687 of 1991 had sanctioned war on Iraq. It was not a UN war. An ambiguous resolution becomes a power of attorney for the USA. In 1991, the real aim was establishment of US power in the Gulf. Now it is unilateral world domination through absolute military superiority.


Lincoln & Bush

Mr Hari Jaisingh has rightly averred that a war against the “evil forces” is sometimes necessary, otherwise arrogant Kauravas, power drunk Adolf Hitlers and oppressive anti-people rulers have gone down in history as killers of humanity and civilisation.

The USA produced Abrahim Lincoln who defined democracy as a government of the people, by the people and for the people. But now President Bush redefines American democracy as the government of Bush, by Bush and for Bush. His obsession to capture Osama bin Laden, alive or dead, and now his deadly aim to eliminate President Saddam Hussein at any cost has threatened world peace.

HARI SINGH, Kheri Jat (Jhajjar)

Congrats, Bush

Mr Hari Jaisingh has criticised the USA for launching an offensive against Mr Saddam Hussein. However, I congratulate President George W. Bush for his bold step to fight terrorism. As a super power in the world, it was the sacred duty of the USA to protect other nations from weapons of mass destruction, which could have easily gone into the hands of Jehadis and Islamic terrorists through Iraq/ Saddam Hussein.

Leftists and seculars in India are least concerned about the security of India and are denouncing the USA to appease Muslims. Even Pakistan TV did not denounce the USA so hardly, as Indian seculars are doing. Removal of Mr Saddam Hussein would certainly weaken Islamic Jehadis and terrorists. Therefore the step taken by the USA will help India in combating terrorism. Criticising the USA is not in our national interest and is against world peace. Just as Shivaji is our national hero, George W. Bush is world’s hero and we should praise him.

Mr Bush should issue a time-bound warning to Pakistan to end exporting terrorism. Apparently, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has been forced to criticise the USA by the so-called seculars.


Who cares for them?

People all over the world are protesting against the US-led attacks on Iraq. In today’s world of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons war in the worst thing one can imagine. My concern is mainly for the dreams, that I can imagine to see, in the eyes of millions of children not only in Iraq but also the rest of the world. What ambitions are they going to nurture within their beings when death and uncertainty stare them in the face? What smiles can we hope to see on their faces when the clouds of doom loom large over the soil on which they play?

I feel for every little child who is going to be affected physically and mentally by this war on Iraq. I feel for every little heart that has the ambition to do something big for their country; who is closely knit to their family, brothers, sisters and friends — for it is somewhere that I, too, identify my sentiments with the children of the world.

My UNICEF campaign brought me even more closer to children. I dug up pictures from “Life”, “Span” and newspapers for my posters. Pictures showing pathetic state of children — a newly-born being taken out of a rubble, a baby girl (all covered with debris) drinking thirstily out of a glass handed over by an officer, and several malnourished babies who died minutes after their photographs had been taken all to justify how wrong the governments are in waging wars. It is really touching to see UNICEF posters showing children of all nationalities lighting up firecrackers in joy — with the hope of a better tomorrow.

I am against war of any kind. I follow the footsteps of my pop icon Bob Dylan, the US revolutionary singer, in condemning wars. In fine, I pray to baby Jesus not to let innocent smiles and little feet be trampled under the mighty forces of guns and battles.


Govt ignores ecology

I am dismayed to find that the policy announcement by the new Himachal Government hasn’t unfolded any tangible programme for saving the hill state from the imminent ecological disaster. At least, the sense of urgency to put in place a cogent scheme for preserving the fragile Himalayan ecology and orienting our developmental strategies accordingly, initiating effective steps to prevent the rapid spread of denudation of the Himalayas threatening even the pristine wildernesses has not been in evidence so far. The menace of pollution so tellingly brought out by an investigative report by The Tribune in February on the “ecological rape of the Beas by state machinery” seemed not to have cut any ice with the previous or the new government.

The new government must keep environment and pollution foremost on its agenda for development and say goodbye to setting up of intrinsically polluting cement plants any more. The use of polythene and plastic must be stopped by introducing innovative and firm measures and by roping in NGOs for creating public awareness and for its active participation. Suitable and affordable technologies need to be standardised and made available for public use for earth-proof constructions, disaster-management and for harnessing renewable sources of energy such as the sun, water and wind that this state is richly endowed with. Technical expertise from the IITs and/or international institutes etc could perhaps be procured towards formulating action plans.



Rebuilding post-war Iraq

President George W. Bush has ultimately unleashed his Operation Iraqi Freedom. The so-called coalition is nothing but a bandwagon of US stooges. It is a naked aggression over a weak and impoverished nation by a superpower launched with the single objective of regime change. The UN stands utterly split or otherwise sidelined. Mr Kofi Annan does not have the moral courage even to condemn it while Baghdad is being strangulated. Even an insane knows that the invasion of Iraq by the US coalition is in gross violation of the UN Charter.

Let me applaud France for their lead role in taking an unambiguous stand against use of force to disarm Iraq. They continue to be consistent in their stand from the beginning, in public and in UN Security Council over the Iraq imbroglio. French President Jacques Chirac, during the recent EU Summit in Brussles, has rightly questioned the suggestion of participation of the world in the reconstruction of post War-Iraq while the USA alone is responsible for that country’s ruin. The argument is valid as the USA has initiated military action without obtaining international legitimacy. France, perhaps, would even be justified if it lobbies on this theme.

Isn’t it intriguing to hear the UN Secretary General and leaders of other nations in the UN Security Council pleading with the world community to help remake post-war Iraq which is being devastated by the USA and its allies? The Security Council member nations were either voiceless or their voice was brutally brushed aside during pre-war parlance in the UN. Ironically, these very countries on one side are licking their wounds and are yet desperately trying to make mends with the USA.

Obviously, principles, national prestige and pride are meaningless in the opportunistic world of today. One way to help reconstruct post-war Iraq is by dealing directly with the post-war Iraqi regime devoid of the so-called USA coalition. Indeed, time is just right to expose the US coalition to isolation. Nevertheless, the beleaguered Iraq ought to be helped and rebuilt. And this may be undertaken on a timeframe when the US coalition has exhausted its efforts and moved out of Iraq.

Lt-Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Mohali


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