Letters: Yet another ‘intervention’ in the Middle East

These letters appear in the August 12 edition of The Independent


The bombing of Islamic State forces by Obama is yet another foolish course of action by the US supported by Britain.

The turmoil brought into the Middle East by Bush and Obama has meant death and displacement for millions and untold future deaths. The 40,000 Iraqis  stranded on a mountain top without water, awaiting death at the hands of the IS, are there because of US/UK meddling.

The consequence of Washington and London’s reckless interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria has been to unleash evil. The various sects that lived in peace under the rule of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Assad are butchering one another, and a new group, IS, is in the process of creating a new state out of parts of Iraq and Syria.

The reality in the Middle East stands in contradiction to the stage-managed landing of George W Bush on the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to declare “mission accomplished” on 1 May 2003.

The mission that Washington accomplished was to wreck the Middle East and the lives of millions of people and to destroy America’s reputation in the process.

Blair and Clinton’s attack on Serbia set the pattern. Bush upped the ante with  naked aggression against Afghanistan. Britain and America brought ruin, not freedom, to Afghanistan. After 13 years of blowing up the country, they are now withdrawing.

The policy of “humanitarian intervention” is a fraud which has killed far more than it has helped. It should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Alan Hinnrichs


The United States and Britain should both be warmly congratulated for standing up against the newly emerging bully of the Middle East, calling itself the Islamic State. The atrocities and the genocidal agenda of this terrorist group are not only an attack on the magnanimous principles of Islam; they are an attack on all our brothers, whether Christians, Jews, Yazidis or others.

The magnanimity of the Prophet Muhammad can never be in doubt and should serve as a lesson to all those who claim to follow his Sunna or path. He emphatically and publicly forgave all his enemies (including those who had murdered his own uncle) upon his conquering Mecca in a rare bloodless victory in AD 630.

The first ever “Islamic state”, the Umayyad state (661-775), and the Abbasid state (750–1258), were equally well-known for providing conditions in which Jewish and Christian communities flourished and prospered in peace and security.

Whether in Iraq, Syria, Gaza or Israel we should all stand firmly against the politicisation and manipulation of civilians’ plight. Given its historical ties to the region, we should stand firmly behind a United Kingdom which serves as a beacon in its decisive moral orientation – delivering the message that we in Britain will never waver in asserting the equal rights of Christian, Jewish and Muslim children who, together with children of all other ethnic and religious denominations in the Middle East, deserve a better and more secure future.

Dr Lu’ayy Minwer,  Al Rimawi
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire


Mark Holt (letter, 7 August) asks when we are going to adopt an ethical foreign policy in relation to Saudi arming of Islamist rebels. When we are no longer reliant on their oil or other resources.

Mike Lynch


Dangers of laughing gas

While the article about the dangers of using laughing gas recreationally correctly states that users face the danger of oxygen deprivation, it fails to point out that one of the most alarming consequences of inhaling nitrous oxide is that it severely depletes the user’s Vitamin B12 (“Councils warn about dangers of using laughing gas”, 9 August).

People with pernicious anaemia are unable to absorb B12 from food and therefore know only too well the consequences of B12 deficiency. The symptoms are wide-ranging and insidious, often taking many years to develop before the user will feel continually tired, undergo personality changes, lack concentration and ultimately suffer serious and irreversible nerve damage.

While the deaths mentioned in your report were more or less instant, the long-term effects of B12 deficiency caused by inhaling nitrous oxide will take many years to develop before manifesting themselves as a long list of symptoms, some extremely serious, before the B12 deficiency is identified as the cause of the user’s malaise.

Members of this society are unable to produce B12: to destroy your B12 by inhaling nitrous oxide for short-term euphoria is sheer folly.

Martyn Hooper
Chairman, Pernicious Anaemia Society, Bridgend


Indian soldiers in the great war

In the commemorations of the centenary of the First World War, it was hugely disappointing that the role played by soldiers from the Indian sub-continent has been largely ignored. 

More than 1.2 million Indians, including those from what is now Pakistan, volunteered to fight for king and country in the conflict. More than 74,000 were killed and 65,000 wounded in the line of duty. These were Sikh, Hindu and Muslim soldiers, dedicated to the cause and receiving 13,000 medals for gallantry.

By acknowledging the great sacrifice made by Indian soldiers, sailors and airmen, including members of my own family, in both World Wars, perhaps we can move towards greater acceptance of each other’s differences and recognise that there is a shared history that must not be forgotten.

Javed Majid
Yarm, North Yorkshire


What an ‘Israel-free zone’ means

Simon Ben David (letter, 9 August) asks what George Galloway’s “Israel-free zone” means and whether he can visit his grandmother’s grave in Bradford. I suggest it means a politician’s rhetorical point. No more.

He will of course not be prevented from going to the cemetery, unlike the millions of descendants of Palestinians ethnically cleansed in 1948 from their historic homeland who very definitely cannot go to their ancestors’ graves in Palestine, let alone have the right of return and their stolen lands and houses back.

Richard Twining
London SW11


I would like to express my support for British Jews who have recently become the target of hatred from certain groups protesting against Israel’s actions in Gaza.

I don’t believe that this vocal minority represents the feelings of the majority of British people towards either the Jewish people or the state of Israel.

There is an unpleasant undercurrent of anti-Semitism among certain Muslim and right- and left-wing groups which any right-minded person should speak out against.

Andrew Brown


A magnificently mad trombone

The saxophone has always been contentious, viewed as either a bona fide musical instrument or a fashion statement. What it has never been, though, is a member of the brass family.

One of the photographs accompanying your article on the bicentenary of Adolphe Sax (11 August) is captioned as “a variation on his invention”.

It could do with rotating just a tiny bit towards the viewer. This would reveal the cup-shaped typical brass mouthpiece of the magnificently mad trombone à sept pavillons, or seven-cylinder trombone, which had a valve, tubing and bell flare to take the place of each of the slide trombone’s seven slide positions. Sort of seven separate mini-trombones rolled into one. 

Heaven alone knows what it weighs, but it never caught on. The instrument is indeed by Sax and resides in the excellent Brussels museum.

Roger King
St Ives, Cambridgeshire


Don’t be blasé about abortion

Gillian Orr’s article of 5 August implies that abortion is quick, painless and easily recovered from. I am no anti-abortionist, but I suggest she reads the section on the NHS Choices website entitled “Abortion: how it is performed” and she will see that it can potentially be a long, painful and distressing experience.

Fine to be so blasé about it if performed with no complications at less than nine weeks; a very different story for someone enduring the procedure at 20-plus weeks.

Sue Allen
Glastonbury, Somerset


Sport that tolerates vicious play

If a footballer were to make a wild two-footed lunge on an opponent, it is promptly red-carded. If a boxer hits below the belt, he is instantly penalised. The same kind of rules exist for most sports.

So why is it, only in cricket, that bouncers, which are intended to hurt and maim, and bowled with deliberate vicious intent, are encouraged?

Ramji Abinashi
Amersham, Buckinghamshire

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