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Scoop Feedback: Foreign Policy, Iraq, Iraq & Iraq

In this edition:
American Politician Under Fire for Attacking Bush's Iraq Policy
The Iraqi Prisoner Scandal's growing stain
Iraq
US Citizen Concerned by Prisoner Abuses
US Citizen Advocates Law of Jungle
NZ Foreign Policy in Relation to Current US policies
Article on the Dominican Republic

Scoop welcomes reader feedback please send you news and views to editor@scoop.co.nz

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American Politician Under Fire for Attacking Bush's Iraq Policy

Letter to the Editor

Not only does the emperor have no clothes, the emperor has neither judgement, experience, nor knowledge to effectively represent the American people, this nation, and peace-loving people throughout the world.

Rep. Pelosi's considered, thoughtful remarks have sent hope to millions of Americans who believe as she does that the only sure way to effectively end the occupation of Iraq and restore sanity to our foreign policy is to remove President Bush from office--in November 2004, or sooner by impeachment.

Rep. Tom DeLay was not correct when he said, "This nation cannot afford the luxury of her dangerous rhetoric.'' What he should have said was, "This nation is indebted to Rep. Pelosi for stating the obvious."

Rep. Pelosi's tone and the substance of her remarks will restore faith and hope to those Americans whose patriotism expresses itself in a desire for peace.

The Bush administration's insistence on staying a disastrous, illegal, and immoral course imperils our soldiers, Iraqi citizens, and world peace.

Robert Rabbin Mill Valley, CA

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The Iraqi Prisoner Scandal's growing stain

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir, The current debate on the reported activities of coalition forces personnel in Iraq while seemingly justified, is emotionally charged and neglects to recognise or accept the very thing that puts human beings apart from other animals - sadism (brutality, callousness, cruelty, call it what you will). No other animal has this capability to exact vengeance on another for no good reason. All other animals will attack and kill for one of two reasons, in defence of themselves or their territory or for food.

All humans, on the other hand, have this largely suppressed natural instinct and ability to inflict the utmost pain and suffering on another. What triggers this instinct into action in some and not others remains a mystery. We have all been guilty of it to a greater or lesser degree whether it be bullying at school through to the type of activity we are reading about today.

Before all those good, law abiding people out there start beating their breasts in disbelief and horror at this heretical outburst, consider the dark history of the human being, it is littered with accounts of their inhumanity to one another.

Most recent and well documented (although in no way limited to) are the activities undertaken under the auspices of the Holy Roman Empire, Genghis Khan, the 100 Year War, the Spanish Inquisition, Oliver Cromwell, the 7 Years War, Boer War, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, The Arab League, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Milosevic, Sadam Hussein and many, many others.

In all cases, it was not necessarily one person but a hoard of followers. Followers who, in normal circumstances, would probably not have hurt a fly but in the anonymity of numbers or in the guise of religious conviction or ideology, their more basic instincts came to the fore and they committed (and are continuing to commit) the most horrendous of atrocities.

None of this is mentioned in justification of what is reported to be happening in Iraq and elsewhere today, there can be none, but to encourage people to recognise the simple, incontrovertible fact that human beings are what they are, warts and all. There is no changing that.

So yes, the perpetrators (whoever and where-ever they are) should be brought to justice in a fair and legitimate way but, before we condemn all others out of hand, let us also not forget: "Let he who is not guilty cast the first stone".

Mirek Marcanik WELLINGTON NZ

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Iraq

For a murder and suffering of even one innocent victim the leaders of so called "democratic" war to "free" iraq must be held accountable. Last time I heard, the punishment for taking one life is at least a life in prison.

All of the idiots responsible for this war must be punished. Once the IRAQI warships attack US and land on its shores, by all means US has the right to defend bravely this land, not before that. WMD did never existed.

The 9/11 was accomplished from within US due to very poor security, no others are to be blamed except US themselves. This "war" or rather attack on soveraign nation is turning into a GENOCIDE and torture of innocent population.

Peter Pecek
ADDRESS UNKNOWN

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US Citizen Concerned by Prisoner Abuses

Letter to the Editor

I am a devoted citizen, very loyal to my country, the United States of America. I must insist that our Congress begin immediate action of restrain the powers of our Commander-of-Chief of our Military, George W. Bush by the method that our constitution allows.

We must then drastically convert the Iraqi War to a project of peace and pay the price of rebuilding Iraq. We must pay to settle lawsuits brought by prisoners of way who were injured. They must be given the right to sue for settlement and receive monetary compensation for pain, suffering and emotional damage.

We have harmed God's children and we must stand accountable. Honor is not maintained by lying and denying we have done wrong. Honorable countries admit their errors and pay restitution to those they have harmed.

Melinda Sue Wallace US

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US Citizen Advocates Law of Jungle

How DARE the US detain captured enemy combatants. Instead of burdening US taxpayers with the costs "detaining", these people should be dealt with PRECISELY in the fashion that they, themselves employ.

Caesar Gott Alamo California UNITED STATES

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NZ Foreign Policy in Relation to Current US policies

Letter to the Editor John Gallagher

Current developments in Iraq provide us with opportunity to think seriously about our foreign policy options and investments.

The commonly vociferous lobby that wants New Zealand to work in very closely with the United States in its military engagements is notably mute at the moment. Quite understandable. New Zealanders need to ask in this situation, what would our military be facing right now had we "gone all the way with the US of A"? Who in New Zealand would really want this right now?

We currently have some military engineers working under the British in relatively quieter areas of Iraq, for instance helping to restore water supplies to grateful schools. Fine, but are any of our decision-makers asking about how to get the best return for our investments in personnel, training and equipment in terms of helping deal with international problems, while also building high-level international connections and achieving a higher profile?

The big lesson of Iraq is that the United States itself needs, not more military allies who will go wherever its military goes, but skilled and well-connected diplomatic peacemakers who can be useful to the United States and to others because they can be seen as independent. These could be available, on request, to give added help with talks that the United States currently wants with belligerents, as well as the retrieval of hostages, and with the facilitation of a relatively graceful United States exit from Iraq when this happens. Then assistance could well be needed to help forestall, mitigate or shorten, a potentially very bloody Iraqi civil war.

New Zealand could now be doing such valued and important work with diverse concerned parties had it prioritised investment in mediation and negotiation training, and building a track record in these. This investment and training could be for people in or destined for Foreign Affairs, and available also to non-governmental groups and others interested in helping with these kinds of skills.

Good Islamic linkages also need building, including via the United Nations supported, Iranian centred "Dialogue of Civilisations" movement. That would be particularly valuable, as Iran is always going to be a major player in the region. It and the West need to learn to talk to each other if the constructive lobby within Iran is to be properly understood and to able to prevail.

There seems to be little hesitation about investing in training and equipping the sort of people we currently have in Iraq (and Afghanistan, for that matter). Why not feel equally comfortable about investing at least comparable amounts in training peace negotiators and getting them to build up a good track record? Our country needs politicians, officials, academics and civic groups with the vision and planning abilities to prepare this country for these kinds of constructive international roles from here on out.

John Gallagher ADDRESS UNKNOWN

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Article on the Dominican Republic

Letter to the Editor

I have to write and tell you, in a fury, that your article on Fraud in the Dominican Elections is so poor that the author got the parties mixed up.

The PRD is the party in power, the PLD and Leonel Fernandez is the ex-president. Not the other way around. The PRD is offering bribes, new cedulas and motorcycloes to people who vote for them - NOT the PLD.

Your writer needs to be reprimanded for a shoddy job and disseminating mis-information!

Ellen Burr Samana
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

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