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Letters to the Editor:
Looking in the wrong place
In Iraq, the conventional war is over, but the search for weapons of mass destruction continues. They are looking in the wrong place. We can identify better places to find the "smoking gun". Firstly, in the Iraqi Government's weapons declaration made in December 2002. The declaration listed 150 American, British and other foreign companies that in the 1980s supplied Iraq its nuclear, chemical and missile technology. That arsenal never got off the ground, due to the blockade imposed upon Iraq in the 1990s. But the declaration is nevertheless an important indictment of the pushers that supply weapons of mass destruction. The only problem is, the US Government has confiscated 12,000 pages of the declaration, saying they contained "sensitive information" which needed "a little editing". Secondly, in the USA — an aggressive state with an unelected leader, which regularly vetoes UN resolutions against the use of nuclear weapons. The USA claims — through its State Department, and through a Congressional vote in 1999 — that the use of nuclear weapons is lawful. Its got thousands of them. In 1945 the USA nuked two Japanese cities. It remains the only nation state to have used nuclear weapons. It developed the first H-bomb (1952), the first intercontinental bomber (1948), the first intercontinental ballistic missiles, the first nuclear submarines (1954), the first multiple independently targeted warheads (1970), the first neutron bomb (1978), and the first cruise missiles (1980s). In the 21st century, the Bush Administration is again talking about a "winnable nuclear war". It has given the Pentagon the green light to develop a new nuclear weapon, called the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. Finally, look at Australia, which is an important player in the world nuclear arms race. After WW2, Australian PM Chifley formed a partnership with Britain for the development of nuclear missiles. This led to nuclear test explosions at Monte Bello and Maralinga, and missile testing at Woomera. In the 1960s, Australian PMs Menzies and Gorton tried to acquire nuclear missiles. Australian governments from Fraser to Howard have exported uranium. Some of it has reached the Pacific nuclear power France. In 1984 Australia's Defence Policy adopted the proposition that there could be "winnable nuclear wars", because the southern hemisphere would cop less fallout (reassuring thought!). The Australian Government pretends the Lucas Heights reactor is a "research" facility. In reality, the reactor primarily serves diplomacy, not science. Australia maintains the reactor so it can parade itself as a "nuclear power", and participate in international forums on uranium and the arms trade. The Australian Treasurer has just budgeted to spend $14 billion per annum on non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction — more than Indonesia, Malaysia, and Libya combined. So there! Now the weapons inspectors know where to look. Eric Petersen
The authorisation to US military personnel in Iraq to shoot looters reported in the press today must be rescinded immediately. Neither the laws of war, nor peace, or any legal definition of "American Justice", authorise soldiers, or police to shoot looters. Any soldier who shoots a looter has committed armed assault if injury results and murder if death results. You must not put this Iraqi blood on the hands and conscience of young American soldiers. During the racial turbulence of the 1960s, there was "Much loose talk of shooting looters". As Attorney General I said, "this talk must stop!" "If America has a conscience we had best awake from this wild talk of shooting looters and face reality." "Far from being effective, shooting looters divides, angers, embitters, drives to violence... Is this American justice?" Deadly force, including firearms, can be employed only as a last resort when necessary to stop a direct and immediate threat to life. This new authorisation to shoot looters compounds the excessive use of force employed against the people of Iraq by the shock and awe aggression already committed. It means the US does not respect the lives of the people of Iraq and will use its armed might to kill them as it chooses. Only your immediate action can prevent more deaths and greater hatred toward our country. Ramsey Clark
former US Attorney General
"Paddy" Armstrong, from Belfast, said in the Daily Telegraph that he is proud of the war medals of his Irish forebears who died fighting in the British Army. Paddy can't understand why Sinn Fein and Irish Republicans don't go up to the pawn shop and buy a chestful of British war medals. There's plenty in there, from the heroes who came home, only to be left in the cold. The slogan of the Irish Republicans, in 1916, was "We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser, but Ireland". The same sentiment was felt by many in Australia, and expressed by Percy Brookfield, the Member for Broken Hill, when he said "Not one drop of Australian blood" should be shed for the British Empire. Within our lifetime, Ireland will be re-united, and "Paddy" will be free to visit his forebears' war graves in France, and Sinn Fiin ("Us Ourselves") will continue to erect, all over Ireland, monuments to Irish men and women, who fought for Ireland and not the British Empire. Denis Kevans
Wentworth Falls, NSW
Cutting corners on manufacturing practice Jim Selim has drawn the first prize that such an entry can bring. Looking at the results of hundreds of workers directly and many thousands of others — customers, health food store workers and the major chains supplied. It might be asked how you sleep with yourself? (That is not to mention real estate sales). The questions to be asked should include are there sufficient machines for the output? Was enough time included in the process to allow proper mixing of the drugs or herbs? The greed here is less excusable in the fact that there was no book debt and its finances were in evidently good order. Bert HeinemannBack to index page