Letter: Rattling sabres at an attractive target

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The Independent Online
Sir: Surely I am not the only one disgusted by the eagerness of the leaders of the United States, Britain and France to resume military action against Iraq, rather than use the limited resources of their countries to extend such relief as the starving people in Somalia need.

If those leaders are not interested in humanitarian matters, and are determined to bomb and destroy, why do they not get their priorities right and select targets that threaten the peace of Europe and the world? Saddam Hussein is no threat to the Middle East, much less to the world. It seems to me that his refusal to tug at his forelock simply exasperates those leaders.

For the same leaders to pretend concern for the Kurds and Shia does not merit discussion. None wants the Shia strengthened, except, possibly, to increase instability in the Middle East.

The sober onlooker must suspect that the desire to humiliate a discredited President Saddam explains the current sabre-rattling. He cannot fight back, is quite rightly regarded with loathing throughout most of the world, and therefore constitutes a most attractive target.

But more interesting to the aforesaid leaders is the belief that their decisiveness in undertaking a risk-free operation to validate UN orders (issued originally at their behest) will make them look like world leaders.

Yours sincerely,

CHARLES F. O'NEALL

London, NW8

18 August

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