USA calls on Geneva Convention it defies in Cuba

WE HAVE been faced with images of American troops who have been taken prisoner in Iraq and George Bush pleading with their captors to follow the Geneva Convention in their treatment.
   It may be a good time to ask Mr Bush about the soldiers who were taken prisoner in Afghanistan and thrown into cages in Cuba.
   Their only crime was to attempt to defend their homeland.
   Are they being treated as per the Geneva Convention?   GRAEME WIGG, Marangaroo. -- The West Australian, Tuesday March 25 2003, p 14

[Picture of Donald Rumsfeld]
Mr Rumsfeld
I ENJOYED seeing US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calling on the Geneva Convention when US prisoners had been taken. What a humbug.
   The US has been holding hundreds of fighters it caught in Afghanistan and from other places for more than a year, with no trial and no ordinary prisoner of war rights.
   Under its present management, the US is an unsafe ally.   JOHN MASSAM, Greenwood. -- The West Australian, Wednesday March 26 2003, p 24
This sentence that had been in the e-mail was omitted:
Isn't he the same man who visited Saddam Hussein in December 1983,* so that his business mates could sell him poisons and the materials to make missiles?
* Sydney Morning Herald, "Reaping the grim harvest we have sown," , by Anne Summers, Feb 3 2003

Appalling propaganda
THIS violent invasion and its slaughter and destruction go against everything I have every stood for as a human being. This is a war about not sharing. We will have a place . . . in . . . the American empire. . . . we will live under its policymakers' declared goals of endless and total war . . . Only the powerful elite will rule . . . the hypocrisy and double-speak are so obvious . . . These "national interests" are not my interests. JANET LEIVERS, City Beach. -- The West Australian, Thursday March 27 2003, p 14
WHILE I hope that all the coalition troops in Iraq come home safely, I find it contradictory that the US is asking the Iraqi Government to abide by the Geneva Convention and follow appropriate laws for the treatment of POWs.
   How can the US expect Iraq to comply with these rules when the US has shown a disregard for rules and laws as set out by the United Nations and invaded a country illegally?   ADAM SONG, Nollamara.
SO, Karen Jobson (Ban them, Letters, 25/3) wants to ban demonstrations. What will be next? Should we also ban freedom of speech? How about banning books that have different opinions?
   If we lose the right to dissent, what will make us any different from fascist regimes of the past or dictatorships of the present? Our civil rights are already being eroded by draconian anti-terrorism legislation.
   Only small sections of the media have questioned the invasion of Iraq and the free-trade agreement with the US poses grave dangers for Australia's sovereignty.
   But maybe the best way to deal with things is not to think too much, wave our flags and goosestep behind whoever is our leader.   GARAN LEWIS, Coolbellup.
WILL the peace activists who were so quick to try to thwart the allies' efforts to rid the world of the madman Saddam now move on to an area that really needs them?
   The Kurds, sorely abused by Saddam, have worked hard and bravely to reconstruct their homeland in the north of Iraq. They now face further suffering at the hands of the invading Turks, seemingly bent on subjugating them.
   Let's see the true colours of these so-called peace activists. I'm willing to bet none of them will be brave enough to support the Kurds in their just cause to become self-governing.   MAL ROSHER, Bentley.
   THE war in Iraq is not what I fear -- it is alienating Russia and China that frightens me. ROSEMARY RICHARDSON, Forrestfield.
Stop making excuses
SIMON CREAN'S political suicide broadcast live on TV on Friday night was one of those rare occasions where we could enjoy the spectacle of a man falling on his own sword.
   I was going to analyse the speech, but where would I start?
   Basically, Mr Crean's principle seems to be that if we are not in the immediate sights of terror and evil then we should keep quiet and hope the world passes us by, ignoring everyone else.
   He says the war is unjust because the UN hasn't sanctioned it.
   In this respect, the UN represents the interests not of humanity but the narrower parochial views of its members, like the Russians who would like to be involved but are irrelevant these days and the French who have deals to make and weapons to sell. France is, after all, the courtesan of the world.
   Wait until the cells of Baghdad are opened and the horror stories surface and see what Mr Crean and his anti-war protesters say.
   Mr Crean sounds more like the President of France in his apologetic cringing, excuse-making and America bashing than any possibly Australian leader. An embarrassment to us all.   DAVID CROOKES, Craigie.
Move on
FOR all those Australians who have spent the past few months protesting against the war, you gave it a go. You were fighting for a cause you believed in, and why not?
   For a while John Howard may just have listened. No one was fighting and I doubt that anyone would really have been offended by you expressing your opinion.
   But now we're at war. It's here and it's not going to stop until John, George and Tony complete their mission, which won't be very long.
   More protests are not going to stop a war now. All they will do is to show disrespect to our troops who at this moment are risking their lives to do their job for Australia. So now the war is here, instead of marching around all day, send an e-mail of encouragement to our troops, get a job and move on ... please. P.THORNTON, Edgewater. --
-- The West Australian, Thursday March 27 2003, p 14
Link: The West Australian   Letters to the editor
[COMMENT -- HYPOCRISY, and CENSORSHIP: Western television channels had previously shown Iraqi prisoners in Allied hands. Once the US prisoners were shown on Arabic and Iraqi TV, in the West an outcry was promoted, and the US authorities "requested" the TV channels in the U.S. to stop showing it., ( ), an internet news site, was shut down, supposedly for an hour on March 24 2003 because they showed about six pictures of US prisoners copied from Al-Jazeera television, but the shutdown still existed on March 26. However, an affiliate website was displaying the pictures at
   In neither case was cruelty or mistreatment depicted. The Iraqis had been shown being searched, and there was some illegal questioning of the Americans. COMMENT ENDS]
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