In the Cover Story "Anti-war upsurge" (March 14, 2003) Aijaz Ahmad has lucidly brought out the anti-war sentiments all over the world against the United States' plans to invade Iraq. Bush would be naive to assume that anyone would buy his argument that the war is being directed at Iraqi terror and weapons of mass destruction in order to make the world a safer place. No one has any doubt that the war is aimed at getting a stranglehold on the oil that would give the U.S. total control of the global power game. It is for this reason that Russia, China, France and Germany have lined up against the U.S. venture and not because of any love for Saddam.
Protesters in the U.S. and the U.K. deserve praise for their effort as they are doing so with the full knowledge that at the end of the war their countries may have a lot to gain. They appear to be truly moved by the sufferings that the Iraqis have undergone, having lost over a million children to hunger. Also, Americans are aware that the destruction of Iraq would produce many more Osamas, which would give rise to terrorist violence beyond imagination. It is home opinion against the war that would hold President Bush back, and therefore the demonstrations are a welcome development.
However, Saddam Hussein is no saint. He must not only destroy the Al Samoud 2 missiles that he is holding back contrary to U.N. restrictions, but also cooperate proactively to produce all evidence of having destroyed the materials used for the production of biological and chemical weapons that Iraq is known to have possessed. Time is running out for Iraq, and any more delay on Saddam's part will lead to an erosion of the support he has garnered against the U.S. war effort.
V.K. AgrawalDehra Dun
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I read with interest your cover story. No one claims the U.S. is a saint in this world. What is the objective situation on the ground? Saddam has proved again and again that he has no compunction about invading other countries. First Iran, then Kuwait. It was because his Kuwait experiment badly backfired that he has been silent for the past 12 years. No one can guarantee that if Saddam comes to a position of strength, he will not misuse it.
That is what Bush is trying to avoid. He does not want to be a clone of Chamberlain. He wants to stop Saddam before it is too late.
All anti-war protests have failed to take into account the kind of person you are dealing with. He has no principles, no moral compunctions. He had no hesitation to kill his own generals and people simply because they refused to obey him. With such a person at the helm, a disaster is bound to happen sooner or later.
Anti-war protesters are simply trying to postpone a war that cannot be avoided.
Vinoo RamakrishnanNew BrunswickNew Jersey
The Muthanga clash
The bloody clashes, police firing and deaths in the Muthanga range of the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary in Kerala ("A conflict in the forest", March 14) has attracted national attention.
It was because the government could not vacate the influential non-tribal encroachers that it entered into a pragmatic agreement with the tribal people in October 2001, promising them alternative land. Then it was hailed as a big success. But the scheme ran into difficulties.
But violent methods are not a solution to the problem. It is unfortunate that the tribal people's agitation under the leadership of the Adivasi Gothra Sabha (AGS) should have taken a violent turn. At the same time, the United Democratic Front government and Chief Minister A.K. Antony should have dealt with the problem in time and not allowed it to reach such a stage. He should find an amicable solution without causing further hardship to the people.
A similar problem affecting the tribal people inhabiting the forests of the Western Ghats is in the offing, with the Tamil Nadu government's move to declare the entire Kanyakumari forest division a wildlife sanctuary. It was reported that the proposal could lead to the displacement of about 10,000 families and deprive them of their land and livelihood.
A. Jacob SahayamKarigiri, Tamil Nadu
In the article "A new head for the Akademi" (March 14), it is stated that Gopichand Narang was "propped up by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) to assault the autonomy of the Akademi". The next sentence says - "Pitted against him as the defender of the Leftist faith... "
May I ask how the replacement of an acknowledged Leftist becomes an assault on the autonomy of any institution?
The Left has controlled all educational and cultural forums of India, to the point that this is portrayed to be the "natural" state, and countering it is an "assault on the autonomy" of any institution!
India is not the domain of a single ideology. It is time to acknowledge other points of view and give them their place in the sun.
The riots case
This refers to the "Acquittal of a politician" by Naunidhi Kaur (Frontline, January 17, 2003). The purpose of my writing this letter is that I want to put the records straight. Naunidhi Kaur has mentioned my name two or three times, as if I have been involved in the 1984 riots, and that I have been acquitted by the honourable courts.
The truth is that my name has never been mentioned in any FIR; nor in the Report of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, nor by the People's Union for Democratic Rights or the Citizens' Justice Committee. And, by the seven other commissions, not even once was my name given anywhere.
It is true that in a case filed against a police officer, an affidavit was produced against me and the case was referred to the CBI. After talking to the women who were supposed to have signed the affidavit, the CBI came to the conclusion, and it was proved, that the very affidavits were forged. This is what the court decided, and action was taken against the lawyer with whose help the signatures had been forged.
The media and my opponents in the BJP have painted me in such a bad manner and even now, after 16 years, the records have not been set right.
This is just an attempt to set the records right.
Jagdish TytlerNew Delhi