DUBYA’S WAR

I couldn’t agree more with the editorial (IC Apr 2003). Today this country is rejoicing while watching the clip of statue of Saddam being toppled. Did anyone see the size of the crowd there? Considering our claim how tyrannical Saddam’s regime is, I saw a very small crowd there. There are already suggestions that the next stop would be Syria and Iran. I heard Ari Fleischer say that first we went to liberate people of Afghanistan and now we are succeeding in Iraq. What does this mean? Does the U.S. feel that the U.S./Christian way is the right way? For now it is Muslim countries. Who will be next? With this Iraq war, the U.S. has established a precedence. Now, they can wage war against any country that is run by a tyrant.

I think we should be very careful in supporting such acts by this government. That is why I do admire the Russians, French, and Germans for staying firm and challenging the U.S. in its act.

Ravil A. Desai, Fremont, CA

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HAND OVER TO THE U.N.

President Bush said that the war is to disarm Iraq and remove any chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Once Iraq is subdued, he will have achieved this end. But in the process, he has made billions of people mad at him. Like battling the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, smashing one danger may only create thousands more angry Muslims. The most important resource terrorists have is anger, and anger can only be created by their enemy. Without anger, terrorists do nothing.

If Bush is truthful that his aim is to avoid future terrorism, he must stop when he has won and turn over Iraq to the U.N. or another neutral body to help it to become a democracy. He should support Iraq’s recovery with money only, not troops or administration.

Once the world sees that President Bush was honest, that he leaves Iraq after achieving his stated goal, only then will the world realize that the U.S. did the best thing and believe in U.S. morality.

But if the U.S. stays in Iraq and takes all the contracts for U.S. companies, then the world will realize that Bush’s ideal is not democracy, but oil, and that his God is not Jesus Christ, but Mammon.

Tom Trottier, Ottawa, Canada

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CULTURAL GENOCIDE

Soon after America launched its war against Iraq, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld crowed that the oil fields in Iraq had been secured by American forces. Yet soon after America “liberated” the Iraqi capital, American forces stood by silently as looters pillaged the Baghdad National Museum, a priceless repository of treasures documenting important eras in human civilizational history.

The Geneva Convention, about which the Americans made such a brouhaha when their POWs were paraded on Al-Jazeera, requires the conquering force to safeguard areas under its charge. The Baghdad museum now lies in ruins in the wake of vandals, thanks to American callousness. The American media, slavishly pandering to its government’s line, has papered over this atrocity but the rest of the world has taken notice: Bush will long be remembered for his complicity in this cultural genocide. America ought to stop posturing as the moral adjudicator for our planet and take a good look at its own tainted soul.

Rajan P. Parrikar, Mountain View, CA

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BOLLYWOOD ISHTYLE

I loved the article “Masculinity Bollywood Ishtyle” by Meredith Mcguire (IC Apr 2003). I love Hindi movies and just returned from Fiji (where half the population is Indian) and there are a lot of Hindi movies. Wish they were plentyful here in San Diego, but they are not. I enjoy your magazine and forward it to friends in Fiji after I read it.

Ruth Storr, via the Internet

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CONDEMN KILLINGS

I am appalled at the massacre of 24 Kashmiri Pandits including women and children at Nadimarg by unidentified gunmen. It is clear that the killers were interested in undermining the “healing touch policy” initiated by the Mufti Sayeed regime, setting back his initiatives to bring back the Pandits who fled the Valley in a massive exodus in 1990.

I am heartened to see that Kashmiri Muslims rallied in support of their Pandit brethren and held large protest demonstrations; the entire Valley shut down on Mar. 25 in response to a call for a strike by the Hurriyet Conference, thus sending a clear signal to the killers that Kashmiri Muslims do not approve of the killings of their Hindu brethren and that Kashmiriyat—the composite culture with the glorious traditions of communal amity, tolerance and compassion—is still flourishing.

Innocent Kashmiri civilians, both the Muslims and the Hindus continue to be brutalized in the crossfire between the militants and the security forces. The numbers speak for themselves: An officially estimated 19,866 people had been killed in Kashmir in the period 1990-1998, including 982 Hindus and Sikhs; civilians have paid a huge price: 6,673 civilians killed by the militants and 2,477 civilians killed by the Indian forces. In addition, renegade militants used by the security forces have perpetrated excesses and continue to be the most dreaded group.

Kashmiris have long demanded an impartial inquiry into similar unresolved incidents like March 2000 Chattisinghpora Sikh massacre and 1998 Wandhama killing of 23 Pandits; Despite repeated demands, inquiries were never held or shelved.

It is imperative that all sides renounce violence and put and end to human-rights violations: Pakistan backed militants and the Indian State. The appalling security lapse in the Nadimarg massacre must be investigated and corrected. The Sayeed government should continue the healing touch policy. In the larger picture, the longstanding Kashmir issue must be resolved by unconditional dialogues including Kashmiris. As Moti Lal, one of the Nadimarg survivors pointed out, “such killings cannot be stopped unless the Kashmir issue is resolved. How can our Muslim brethren ensure our security when they are themselves dying?”

Akhila Raman, Berkeley, CA

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IT’S STILL OSAMA

In your editorial (IC March 2003), you understate the threat of Saddam Hussein. He has used chemical weapons on his own people and the Iranians, shot missiles at the Saudis and Israelis, and invaded Kuwait. The man is undoubtedly dangerous—he has shown the willingness to attack civilians, and continues to hide weapons of mass destruction.

You state that Saddam has not directly targeted U.S. interests, but fail to point out that he tried to have former President George H.W. Bush assassinated in 1993. Furthermore, we cannot wait to be attacked. September 11 taught us that we have to be vigilant, and defend ourselves before we are attacked. If we fail to act, Saddam will be able to acquire nuclear weapons, thereby making him virtually invincible.

The war in Afghanistan has not been “a complete failure.” While a stated goal was to get Osama bin Laden dead or alive, it was not the main objective. The Bush administration had said that capturing bin Laden alone was not critical to winning the war. The Taliban has been driven out, al-Qaeda has been denied a safe breeding ground for its terrorists, and the leadership is on the run. Also, Saddam’s position is not sanctioned, contained, and compromised as you put it—he continues to give $25,000 to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Does that not count?

And why is it necessary to think that Bush, or for that matter America, has to be doing this for any personal gain such as domination of the Middle East, or oil? The U.S. has often in the past, i.e. Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina gotten involved militarily for the common good. Furthermore the costs of the war in Iraq and rebuilding the country would far exceed any benefits from oil. And after stating that many people oppose this war, you say Bush is going to war for votes; how can that be possible? With the number of people opposing it, this war could very well hurt Bush. I would rather use terms such as demagogue for thugs like Saddam—President Bush is trying to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.

Anuj Chibber, Berkeley, CA

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