Just say no to war in the gulfWhy should the American...

the Forum

December 06, 1990

Just say no to war in the gulf

Why should the American people pay $25 billion to finance a war in the Middle East?

George Bush states that he wants to promote a "new world order." Behind the moves and behaviors lie the logic or the lack of logic that Bush's "new world order" is based on: to defend an oil corporation, disguised as a nation, that was violating OPEC regulations, stealing oil from its neighbor and then refusing to negotiate a settlement; to continue our addiction to oil while giving U.S. oil executives an excuse to push through legislation that will set the environmental movement back 20 years; to send Americans to their deaths for the "noble cause" of expanding the rights of oil corporations to control markets and reap gluttonous profits while Bush prods our Supreme Court to deflate the rights of women and African-Americans; to preserve feudal monarchies that deny women the basic rights to travel freely, to vote and to dress as they choose; and to pour more money into the pockets of defense industry executives while thousands of Americans are homeless and without health care.

Under this "new world order," the rich get richer, everyone else gets poorer, the rights of women and people of color take a back seat to corporate profits and the environment gets trashed. Americans and the people of the world will not be given an opportunity to vote on whether to accept or reject Bush's plan for their future. Only by uniting with other like-minded people and protesting publicly can Americans put a stop to the bloodshed and the injustice of this "new world order."

Mary Ellen Grue

The writer is a member of the Baltimore Coalition Against U.S. 1/2 Intervention in the Mideast.

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Most of the people opposing war in the Persian Gulf region talk the folly of jeopardizing American lives for the sake of cheap oil and George Bush's political future. I agree, but I should like to point out that there are far more Arabs than Americans over there, including millions of children. They are like children anywhere else: innocent, playful, sometimes a little naughty but basically well-meaning, loving those who care for them and living almost entirely in their immediate present, without knowledge or understanding of laws and governments. They are too young yet to have volunteered for anything but life, and if instead they were to be maimed and slaughtered, that would be truly obscene.

Forget the dehumanized terminology of military strategy, forget the bombastic rhetoric of politics, and think instead of the anguish and incomprehension in the eyes of mangled children, because that is what George Bush is pushing us toward. We must say no. There are no interests that could justify causing such suffering.

`Katharine W. Rylaarsdam

Baltimore

A privileged crew

A lot has been written lately about the treatment members of the merchant seamen have or haven't had due to their service during World War II.

If my memory serves me right, the crews of the merchant ships were working at the going union rate, plus time and a half for overtime, and in some instances received bonuses for certain areas.

Guess who comprised the gun crews who were assigned to help protect them, in addition to different types of warships in a convoy?

The gun crews at the early part of the war consisted mostly of apprentice seamen and other enlisted men and a few officers. The pay rate of the seamen was $21 a month and on up through the other pay scales the highest of which wasn't near what the merchant crews were getting for spending most of their time at sea on the bridge or in the mess hall drinking coffee.

Sure, some went down with the ships that were sunk, but the gun crews went down, too. Besides, some joined the Merchant Marines to escape being drafted.

Very few members of the services saved anything while they were away and were bypassed for promotions.

Joseph W. Hunt

Reisterstown

Cool it

A war between the United States and Iraq two heavily armed nations with huge armies could well lead to political, economic and environmental disaster, to say nothing about the tens of thousands of lives lost. Who is to say that such a war wouldn't soon involve Israel and its nuclear weapons? Who is to say that such a war wouldn't last for years, given the fighting experience of Iraq's army?

What the United States needs to do is cool the rhetoric, tone down our military threats and prepare for the long haul. President Bush very effectively helped the United Nations put into place an oil boycott of Iraq and a universal program of economic sanctions against Iraq. If we just give these actions enough time, they will ultimately force Iraq to pull back from Kuwait and give that country its independence once again.

We should start rotating our troops home from Saudi Arabia keeping only enough troops there to safeguard that country while the sanctions slowly take their effect on Iraq. Such a course will eventually solve the problem and have the added benefit of strengthening the United Nations and its role in our collective international security.

ndrew T. Wiley

Columbia

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