Friday, April 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Was it a war for peace?

The USA is adept at creating mind-boggling stories out of anything and everything and always stands committed to its self-assessment to avert the “impending disaster” to humanity. In a way, American leaders of late thrive on foreign affairs, foreign soil and foreign enemies. The Iraqi invasion in the name of “liberty” is history descriptive of “of the evil by the evil” and no amount of justifying and colossal utterances from the Powells and the Bushes can re-write it.

Take for instance Mr Collin Powell talking about suspecting Syria; or Donald Rumsfeld calling the post-regime-anarchy, loot and atrocities on Iraqis as untidy. He says that “free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things”. Or for that matter, Mr Bush shedding crocodile tears over his state’s obsession to liberate the Iraqi civilians. And CNN concluding the rejoicing of a few hundred Iraqis (may be, thousand) justifying America’s invasion.

No doubt, the US is No 1 in military might. But each act of America displayed till date amounts to only one thing: a big-screen act in Hollywood style, typical of Bond 007, great fuss, tremendous excitement, highly emotive, truly patriotic and the show cast in a hi-tech background with Mr Bond winning hands down. So did the American President and the Secretaries.

The US accused Iraq of possessing WMDs (weapons of mass destruction), not undermining the fact that America’s cluster bombs (WMD, in a way) destroyed thousands of Iraqis. And WMDs inside Iraq? The US is still searching for them. The US pledged to liberate Iraqi civilians from Saddam and now they remain mute spectators to hooligans’ looting and dissembling of the nation’s history! The US also vowed to eliminate Saddam and his coterie; but is still looking for him! On the other hand, the US did not say that it is there for the world’s second largest pool of oil fields. The USA also did not say that it is liberating Iraqi civilians to be ruled by the Americans; now they are doing precisely that.


From Iraq of the Saddam era, it’s now Iraq the prospective clientele of the US. New civil and electrical contracts, new business scope in control over the world’s second largest oil wealth, a strategically advantageous army-base in the Gulf, which would mean more aggression into other Gulf states, with walking over Syria and Egypt a distinct possibility. But these were not revealed or uttered by any of these American leaders. Finally, they called it a war; not for the cause they spelt out, not for their actions they did not reveal; was it then a war for peace? Or is it a master plan by US Inc. to enable exponential growth in its businesses?

At this rate, the UN, which was a great tourist spot for holiday during the war, would now look to help the US achieve its aim by intervening to conduct the affairs of Iraq. Like in the past, the US now has destroyed the wealth of a proud country minus Saddam and the UN’s offer of post-war humanitarian assistance to that country is like painting the UN as a sewerage department. The US washes its dirty linen in public and the sewerage department goes there to clean it!

For a Pajama attack like this, the US does not deserve a mention; let alone support! If other big nations couldn’t do anything to save innocent Iraqi civilians’ merciless killing during the “war”, they would do a world of good to keep their mouths shut rather than pretending to offer humanitarian assistance. Iraqis would weather the storm themselves.

V.A. KRISHNAN, Chandigarh

IAF: what’s wrong?

What, one may ruefully ask, is wrong with the running of the Indian Air Force? Look at the MiG aircraft repeatedly crashing one after another.

It is not just a question of loss of costly machines and, at times, of very precious human lives. What is equally disconcerting is the blow to the morale and national psyche such accidents invariably deliver.

Is the grounding of the MiGs, which form the bulk of the combat aircraft in the IAF, the ultimate bitter option? We have the knack of getting into between-the-devil-and-the-deep-sea predicaments and, with Advanced Jet Trainer for the Air Force still nowhere in sight, following penny wise pound foolish policies. Do we have a chance?

Our pontifical commanders, all-knowing omnipotent bureaucrats and free-wheeling politicians need to set things right fast enough or make way for others. The situation brooks no further delay. The security of the nation relative to highly motivated armed forces equipped with the most modern weapons systems is of supreme importance and cannot be compromised.

S.C. KAPOOR, Noida

SARS: a big conspiracy

The SARS hoax is a massive conspiracy hatched by the USA and the UK to divert the attention of the world from the thousands of deaths that will occur soon due to the respiratory disorders in Iraq and its neighbouring countries as a direct result of the war. The USA and the UK can easily put the blame for all those respiratory disorders on SARS, which they have widely publicised as the Chinese disease. The Americans and the Britishers have created a readymade excuse to blame China for the epidemic of respiratory diseases that will strike Iraq and its neighbours in a massive way.

Have the USA and the UK deliberately engineered the civil war in Iraq between different communities, and also the looting, to make the Iraqis kill one another and thus get drastically reduced in numbers? With their “divide and rule” policy, will it not be easier for the USA and the UK to successfully occupy Iraq and fill it with more and more Americans and Britishers just as they had done to colonise America and Australia in the past?

Millions of Iraqi women and children have already died due to the severe shortages of food and essential medicines resulting from the enforcement of the UN sanctions against Iraq for the past 12 years. How long will this genocide of Iraqis continue just because the USA and the UK want to occupy and rule Iraq to grab its oil worth trillions of dollars?



It’s on-line gambling

Apropos the editorial “It’s on-line gambling” (April 11), although your comments against the on-line lottery to be launched by the Haryana Government are theoretically correct, I would like to present my practical views. People of Haryana are addicted to lotteries and gambling in the same way as their counterparts in any other state or in any other part of the world. We have learnt a bitter lesson on gambling from Mahabharat, but still we go in for it for earning easy money. Presently, people of Haryana gamble through local gamblers who are in business till they earn and vanish, leaving people high and dry. Another way of gambling is by purchasing other states’ lotteries or on-line gambling run by other state governments.

You cannot stop people from gambling as a matter of fact, then why not run a clean gambling business yourself? It would ensure that they are not cheated. Haryana has burnt its fingers through prohibition in the state. It is a known fact that during prohibition, liquor was freely available in the state with a difference that people had to pay a higher price and the state government did not get any revenue from it. The same is the case with lottery. I do not think it is bad if the state government earns at the cost of gamblers. The public, in any case, is losing money at present and will continue to do so.



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