The Guardian January 22, 2003

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Letters to the Editor:

The world waking up

Despite the fact that the UN inspectors have found no Weapons of Mass 
Destruction (WMD) left in Iraq and that the US, Britain, Australia and 
Israel have not a shred of evidence, these countries continue to promote 
and prepare for war against Iraq over this issue.

According to former United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) chief 
inspector Scott Ritter, "Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no 
meaningful weapons of mass destruction".

This absurd situation clearly shows that these so-called leaders of the 
democracies have lost all semblance of principle in their political 
positions and are left with only propaganda to pursue their aims.

The world anxiously waits for the next pathetic act from Bush and company 
as they play their dangerous game, trying to find just one WMD in Iraq to 
justify another war. Many independent observers estimate that a million 
Iraqis have already died since 1990 as a result of sanctions and US and 
British bombings.

The world's leading possessor of all the WMD is the US, which has over 
10,600 nuclear warhead stockpiles and refuses international inspections of 
these and other WMD.

The world is starting to wake up to the blatant hypocrisy, deceit and 
bullying of the USA. Not so long ago Iraq and the fundamentalists were 
useful friends of the USA, in containing Iran and the USSR respectively.

In the 1980s the US supplied Iraq with most of its weapons, including 
chemical and biological weapons.

It's just not good enough for the likes of Bush and his Australian 
spokesman to look for any excuse to start a war; rather war should always 
be the last resort. Especially when the list of foes makes the conflict 
look like the beginning of an endless war.

The world is in this present dire situation because of the arrogant 
intervention and interference of the USA in the affairs of other countries 
over many decades.

Despite what the US says about the other side, they don't have a monopoly 
on fanaticism, terror or injustice, as past and present US foreign policies 

Steven Katsineris
Hurstbridge, Vic

Gulf War more depleted uranium casualties
As the Howard Government prepares to hurl our troops into another Gulf 
War, they keep silent about the use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons and 
the thousands of veterans and civilians suffering from the mysterious Gulf 
War Syndrome which may be linked to DU ingestion.

Lord Gilbert, responding to a question on DU contamination in Kuwait, 
states that 50,000lbs of DU tank ammunition alone was released with the 
potential to cause 500,000 deaths.

"Obviously this theoretical figure is not realistic, however it does 
indicate a significant problem ... if DU gets into the food chain or water 
then this will create potential health problems ... a further concern is a 
political one of leaving significant quantities of uranium around Kuwait.

"The problem will not go away and should be tackled before it becomes a 
political problem created by the environmental lobby. It is in both the 
Kuwait and the UK interest that this is not left to rear its head in the 
years to come." (UK Parliament Hansard, 2 May 1998).

It is inconceivable that Australia can contemplate participation in such a 
massive assault on humanity and the environment and for what exactly?

Please explain Mr Howard.

Gareth W R Smith
Byron Bay, NSW

Legislation required on handouts to CEOs
The obscene salary packages of CEOs and senior executives are in the 
public eye again following the revelation that Mr. Brian Gilbertson can 
expect a severance payment of up to $30 million for his six months at BHP-

The usual reprimands of politicians won't do anything to curb this 
institutionalised and legalised robbery.

While the obvious question needs to be asked who has been so incompetent at 
BHP to frame a contract for Mr. Gilbertson which makes this possible at 
all, no sanity will emerge unless a political party is prepared to tackle 
this trend head on in legislation.

Obviously, in this regard too, the famous market mechanism simply doesn't 
work either. It is PLP policy to aim for the net remuneration of senior 
executives to be no more than five times average wage.

We think that is quite generous especially when we know from research that 
there is actually no positive correlation between performance and 
scandalously high packages of senior management.

Klaas Woldring, Media Officer
Progressive Labour Party, NSW

One bushfire
Now that John Howard has seen the results of the conflagration in the 
ACT where 400 homes, public health laboratories, a fire station, a sewerage 
treatment plant and a high school have been destroyed perhaps he has 
developed an awareness of what is about to happen to Iraq.

On January 17, 1991, the first day of the Gulf War, Iraq was hit by the 
explosive equivalent of one Hiroshima atomic bomb, and by war's end 140,000 
tonnes of high explosives (7 atomic bombs) had been slammed into mainly 
civilian populated areas.

Three hundred tonnes of this contained poisonous and radioactive depleted 
uranium which got into the air, soil and water.

It is this battered and bewildered country that one of the largest invasion 
forces in history is now poised to pulverise with the Howard Government, 
but not the Australian or American people, an enthusiastic participant.

John Howard has seen what bushfire can do, it's time he withdrew from 
inflicting hellfire on innocent people.

Gareth W R Smith
Byron Bay, NSW
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