Crisis In The Gulf


A chara, - With a military attack on Iraq looking more likely each day, may I take this opportunity to express the earnest hope that the Irish media will accurately report the situation?

For example, let us not pretend that a military attack, if one occurs, is designed to protect democracy, prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, discourage armed aggression or punish defiance of the UN. The one country in the area known definitely to have weapons of mass destruction, and to have violated more UN resolutions than any other, and to have invaded and occupied more of her neighbour's territory than any other is Israel, and she receives tens of billions of dollars in military aid from the US each year.

If the US and Britain attack Iraq they will do so for the reason that they, and all powerful nations, have always resorted to military aggression: because it is judged politically expedient to do so.

May we also have no talk of "collateral damage". If an attack goes ahead and innocent civilians are killed, they will have died as a result of (to paraphrase John Major) "the use of violence to achieve political ends" (which, of course, he said was "absolutely unacceptable"). They will be just as dead as the victims of IRA bombs, LVF bullets and Hezbollah suicide attacks. It would be an insult to human dignity and to the sanctity of life to seek to minimise or excuse their deaths through obfuscation or euphemism.

Could we also avoid inaccurate generalisations? So, no talk of Saddam defying the "whole world", or accounts of what "everybody" believes, knows, feels, etc.

Most of all, may we be consistent in our attitude. If the killing of innocent civilians in pursuit of political ends is unacceptable, then it is unacceptable for all. Let us not pretend that the killing of civilians with missiles, however smart they may be, is somehow different from the killing of civilians with car bombs. - Is mise, Brian MacGabhann,

Knockieran Lower,

Blessington, Co Wicklow.