Sir, - I share Niall O'Dowds exasperation at the unbalanced criticism here in Ireland, particularly in this newspaper, of the US response to the September 11th attacks.
Those of us with pro-US sympathies are not trying to stifle free speech - the very notion is anathema to us. What concerns us is the failure to recognise both the enormous good deeds that the US has done for the world and the full intent of the atrocity committed against it. Its role in two world wars and in the defeat of Soviet communism should at the very least obviate some of the suspicion which every US action generates here.
As most of the criticism I read here takes little or no account of the American view, its history in the promotion and defence of freedom (and not just its failures in this regard), and the true nature of the terrorist attacks, I am left to conclude that it is driven by an anti-American agenda. Moreover, glib assertions about America's ability to impose governments of its liking on Middle Eastern states is pure barstool logic: why has this magical power failed in Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc?
Criticism heavier on condemnation than analysis only encourages inaction, something Europe seems rather good at. What has Europe done for peace in the Middle East? In the former Yugoslavia? In Northern Ireland? America was not found wanting when the freedom of Europe was at stake and it shames me to see Ireland deficient in its support of the US at a time of crisis. I welcome justified criticism of the US actions, especially where it is accompanied with workable proposals to improve the security of the US and the regions affected. America is imperfect (how can it be otherwise?), but it is still the most benevolent superpower the world has ever known. - Yours, etc.,
Declan Staunton, Maple Court, Terenure Road East, Dublin 6.