IoS letters, emails and online postings (06 December 2009)

Share
Related Topics

It's an interesting idea put forward by Crispin Black, that the British people, rather than a few politicians, should decide whether the nation should fight a war ("Voters must decide when we go to war", 29 November). He suggests that the public debate would elucidate the most important principle of war: selection and maintenance of the aim.

Desirable as this might seem, I should like to ask what aim could possibly justify the means. Modern warfare inevitably involves killing, maiming and devastating the lives of vast numbers of people, mostly non-combatants, many of them children. It also damages, rather than enhances, the prospects for a genuine peace.

It is high time that the "just war" was acknowledged to be impossible, and its doctrine discarded in favour of the many other methods of settling disputes. The answer a civilised population should give when asked under what circumstances we should make war ought to be the same as when asked under what circumstances we should use torture: "Never".

Sue Gilmurray

Ely, Cambridgeshire

***

In "The really disturbing question about Iraq" (29 November), John Rentoul writes of "the deaths of perhaps 150,000 Iraqis" during the Iraq war. Three years ago, The Lancet informed us that about 600,000 Iraqis had died. The website Information Clearing House continuously updates that figure, which now stands at 1,339,771. The vast majority of these deaths are civilians and many are children. The number of injured will be much higher and millions have been driven from their homes. There are many disturbing questions concerning the Iraq war and one of these is the failure of the British media to inform the public about the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Jim McCluskey

Twickenham, Middlesex

***

They still don't get it! I refer to the Iraq inquiry and the constant refrain that the invasion was successful and it was the post-event planning that was found wanting.

Surely the point is that, over many years, Saddam had contained a myriad of conflicting interests by severe repression and that, once that cork was out of the bottle, no one knew what would happen and/or how it could be contained. This obvious unpredictability was why the invasion should never have happened, as the number of post-invasion scenarios was infinite.

David Poulter

Easingwold, North Yorkshire

***

Some of the online comments on "New poll says Labour has closed the gap on Tories" (22 November) attack Gordon Brown as a member of "the party that took us into an illegal war". There was a principled parliamentary opposition to the war, and on 22 January 2003, 44 Labour MPs forced a vote on a technicality. Without the near 100 per cent support for the war from the Tory MPs, this hard-fought-for vote against the war would have succeeded. Anyone for whom Iraq is a major factor in determining their voting intentions should reflect on the fact that the consistent and sizeable opposition to the Iraq war-crime came from those courageous Labour MPs.

Eddie Dougall

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

***

You report that the falling value of the pound against the euro has not only enabled UK drug manufacturers and dealers to make more profit by exporting than by selling to the NHS, but has also made once cheap drugs from Spain and Greece too expensive ("The £360m trade that robs British patients of their life-saving drugs", 29 November).

The pharmaceutical industry has to be profitable, or there will be no drugs, and free-market principles apply at all times in the EU, not only when it suits us. Also, if you have a trade deficit and a falling currency, and we have both, manufacturers must be encouraged to take advantage and export. Finally, if NHS drugs are expensive, that is an unavoidable consequence of a weak currency. UK drugs manufacturers cannot fairly be blamed for not meeting NHS needs at below free-market prices. Free markets and Stalinism do not mix.

David Smith

Clyro, Powys

***

There must be many thousands of retired insurance claims personnel, like me, with a vast degree of knowledge built up over the past 40 years or so ("Lost or missing insurance policies leave asbestos victims without compensation", 29 November). Have they been asked to help these victims of mesothelioma? I can remember most of the firms I visited in dealing with employer claims, and I feel sure that, given some memory-jogging, some of the missing pieces of the jigsaw could be discovered.

David Frodsham

Cirencester, Gloucestershire

***

My response to reports of a print by Warhol fetching a vast sum: Warhol's works of arts are not by Warhol. They are prints of photos taken by others, run through printing presses by others. One may as well pay $30m for a printed T-shirt.

Tony Culver

Bath, somerset

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@ independent.co.uk (with address and no attachments, please); fax: 020-7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2009/December/6

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Planner

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen withi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

Recruitment Genius: Existing Customer Telephone Consultants

£13000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Every day they get another 1000...

Recruitment Genius: Contract Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the endless and beginningless election campaign goes up and down

John Rentoul
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

What the advertising world can learn from Zoella's gang

Danny Rogers
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor