Letter: Washington's record on human rights

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The Independent Online
Sir: While there are doubts about British involvement in Ulster, the interference by the United States is unfortunate, as it puts itself under the spotlight.

Over the past 20 years the list of abuses of human rights by the US administrations include the blanket use of napalm on villages in Vietnam (a prima-facie case for a war crimes tribunal as in the former Yugoslavia), the lack of remorse or abject apology for shooting down an Iranian airliner, the killing of Panamanian civilians to arrest General Noriega (which appears to have been simply an act of revenge), the appalling massacre on the Basra road in the Gulf war and the mining of waters in South America, which was condemned by the International Court of Justice but ignored by the US administration.

It is surprising that human rights groups such as Helsinki Watch do not look first at their own country; their activities seem to lack consistency. The United States has many pressing problems of its own and should content itself with solving them before making moral judgements about others.

Yours sincerely,

N. D. DUNCAN

Burbage, Wiltshire

24 February

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