US military footprint a big threat to global security

EMMET Dunphy’s flawed analysis of the situation in Georgia (Letters, August 13), and his consequent petty attempts to take a swipe at anti-war activists, should not pass unchallenged.

I know it’s tedious but necessary to keep repeating that the US invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law, was based on deliberate lies about ‘weapons of mass destruction’, was seen as an opportunity not to be passed up to gain a permanent military foothold in an oil-rich but militarily weak Middle East state.

Saddam Hussein was perfectly acceptable to the US when he was ‘their’ dictator, as are all the other present-day dictators that they support across the globe — witness Saudia Arabia, Pakistan and, in particular, Uzbekistan which was used by the US as a rendition centre with the connivance of the dictator, Islam Karimov, who might even leave Saddam in the shade if the full truth ever emerges.

To be critical of America’s overt and covert military activities is not to be anti-American since if that were true, many Americans would have to be called anti-American too.

Furthermore, the situation in Georgia bears no comparison with the US invasion of Iraq or indeed with any of the dozens of invasions that the US has perpetrated since the end of the Second World War — witness in particular its

activities right across central and South America from Panama to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Chile, Venezuela, Grenada and Haiti, just to name a few. In Georgia there are two breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, each of which claims the right to self-determination. On the other hand, based on the principle of territorial integrity, Georgia claims them both.

This very same clash of two fundamental principles underlies many other potential conflicts — Kashmir, Kurdistan, Taiwan, East Timor, Kosovo, Catalonia and the Basque region and Tibet, to name some of the more obvious examples. Of course these potential conflicts are also exacerbated by culture, history, natural resource considerations and the ‘self-interest’ of the great powers and their lackeys.

Since the break-up of the USSR, South Ossetia and Abkhazia have enjoyed a semi-autonomous status. Georgia would have been better advised to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ instead of attempting militarily to assert its ‘rights’ over South Ossetia.

The continual provocation involved in US attempts to make Georgia and the Ukraine members of NATO, to place nuclear missiles in Poland and advanced detection systems in the Czech Republic is seriously endangering the long-term security of these countries — thankfully their peoples fully recognise this even if their politicians don’t.

Having said all that, I can think of no moral justification for the indiscriminate bombing of cities which as has become the norm since the Second World War.

Thus it is wrong for Russia to bomb Gori or Tbilisi in order to ‘protect’ South Ossetia just as it was wrong for the US to bomb Belgrade in order to ‘protect’ Kosovo in 1999 and just as it’s wrong for Georgia to bomb Tshinvali (own people?), the immediate cause of the current crisis. Unfortunately, and it may discomfit Mr Dunphy to hear this, the pattern was established primarily by the US and Britain during the Second World War with the firebombing of Dresden,

Hamburg and Tokyo followed by the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — all of these actions were crimes against humanity for which no one will be held accountable.

Any initial moral qualms about aerial bombing were quickly discarded once that archetypal imperialist, Winston Churchill, decided that bombing the villages of southern Iraq (what’s new?) in the 1920s was the ideal way to terrorise the natives.

As a final point, I would say Russia’s behaviour in Chechyna is incomparably more vile than anything they will do in Georgia, but you won’t hear the US talking that up — remember the Chechens are ‘terrorists’.

On balance, however, US behaviour across the globe, as its military footprint testifies, is the greatest threat to the security of humanity. The US will continue to suffer ‘blowback’ unless it really changes direction in its dealings with the rest of the world.

Con Hayes

Kerry Road

Tower

Blarney

Co Cork

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