Letters from our readers

11 February 2010

On “US to launch Fallujah-style attack in Afghanistan

Hello,

Thanks for an excellent article on the US plans for a “Fallujah-style” attack in Afghanistan. I thought I might point out that more war crimes were committed during the siege by the US—for example the closing of Fallujah Hospital, where patients were thrown out and doctors and nurses were tied down on the floors. That’s obviously against the Geneva Conventions. According to the New York Times, George W. Bush excused the war crime by saying that the doctors hat been inflating numbers of killed civilians—a shocking crime indeed, if it was true! At any rate, the NYT did not even comment on the fact that it was a war crime, and a breach of the US’ own War Crimes Act.

Furthermore, during one of the sieges of Fallujah, the city’s inhabitants were told to leave before the attack. Of those who chose to or were strong enough to leave, young men were actually sent back into the city before the siege. According to FOX news, the official reason was that they could have been warriors. So US troops were sending civilians back into the city, knowing that they shortly afterwards would do what they could to kill them.

Best,

Tom C
Denmark
6 February 2010

On “Rio Tinto Borax locks out 570 California mine workers

I am a member of ILWU. We’d heard a little bit about the possibility of a Rio Tinto strike late last year. What was organized here by the local was a Drinks for Miners event at a local bar to raise contributions to a strike fund. We got no further news from our local on this.

We certainly did not hear about the current situation from union sources. In fact, the article on the WSWS is the first I head of the lockout. I’ve been at work nearly every day since the 31st, had full access to the emails the ILWU send out—and nothing. Not one word.

In the weeks preceding and following the event, I tried to find any information about the mine and what was going on. There was nothing on the ILWU home page. There were no links to any news stories, nothing. The closest thing I found was a statement from a local in Australia in support of the miners. What kind of unity is this?

Once again, the rank and file has not been informed of the plight of their fellow members. This is not the first time this informational freeze-out has happened. We have repeatedly not been told of actions being taken in our own area, so given no chance to show up in solidarity. The word “solidarity” is itself a joke when it comes to unions; there is a complete disconnect between the so-called leaders and the rank and file workers.

Christie MS
Oregon, USA
6 February 2010

On “What’s at stake in the Canadian intervention in Afghanistan?

Excellent report! The connection between the attack on democracy and increasing inequality in Canada are presented in a very understandable way. The use of the map was helpful to understand the geopolitical and natural resource interests of the US in the area surrounding Afghanistan.

Especially clarifying is your exposure of the motives behind the Daily Mail’s recent opinion pieces. You note the paper’s continuing defense of the much more dangerous suspension of Parliament in December 2008 to avoid a vote of no-confidence. In what is only superficially a volte-face, they criticize Harper for suspending parliament again in January 2010.

The recent suspension was designed to stop the inquiry into Canadian armed forces complicity in torture in Afghanistan and was clearly seriously reactionary. But you note, “While the bourgeoisie is quite willing to countenance and support a break with traditional democratic and parliamentary forms in the case of a major crisis, it is mindful that to do so simply to help the Conservatives get out of an uncomfortable political situation only undermines public support for, and illusions, in the current political set-up.”

The facile and misleading slogan advanced by opposition parties and trade union bureaucrats at demonstrations against the January 2010 prorogation sound like some anti-tax slogans used by the Tea Party in the US. The Greens, etc. admonish parliament to “Get back to work!”

A historical reference here. I believe that when Liberal Canadian Premier Trudeau imposed martial law in Quebec in 1970, this was a radicalizing influence on thousands of young people in the US, just as were the Kent State murders in Ohio. Both were part of the anti-democratic measures and political repression being imposed then, and imposed by liberal as well as conservative politicians.

The repercussions from the shift in Canadian politics today that you describe have not yet fully developed. Your speech, and Keith Jones’ earlier articles, go a long way in alerting people to the political dangers and to help us navigate the complex political terrain now and in the future. Thank you both for your efforts.

Debra W
8 February 2010

On “Bank executives get multimillion-dollar bonuses

The Obama administration will do everything they can to protect the American financial aristocracy. Wall Street’s financial parasites main job is to keep the workers of this country chained to indentured servitude. This financial oligarchy of reckless racketeering will collapse.

Don J
Arkansas, USA
9 February 2010

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