Dear friends, in my judgment, your heading for Hanna Newcombe's article, "The U.N. is Finally Operating As It Was Designed To Operate BUT DO WE LIKE IT?" was unfortunate.
What we saw during the Persian Gulf Crisis was the U.S. usurping the role of the Secretary-General and acting in contradiction to the rules of the U.N. Charter. Article 33 of the U.N. Charter lists eight steps that must be taken in "Pacific Settlements of Disputes," none of which was pursued by the U.S.-led coalition. Even the Security Council vote on permission to use force is open to question, because China, one of the five permanent members, did not vote but instead abstained.
As the Coalition States snapped to attention, we realized that their cooperation in most instances resulted less from moral commitment than from U.S. bribes and threats.
The lesson learned from the Iraq war is not that the U.N. is working as it was meant to work, " to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." Rather, it is that high tech weaponry provides instant solutions to difficult problems.
Carolyn Lacey Kline, Vancouver
In the "Yellow Ribbon Syndrome" panel discussion of the May/June 1991 issue of PEACE Magazine Maxime Faille asks; "How long do we negotiate when Saddam Hussein is occupying a sovereign state?" I will tell Faille how long we have to negotiate with Hussein: we negotiate with him just as long as we have been prepared to negotiate with Israel. What's the rush with Hussein? It is very clear-Israel is our friend and serves U.S. geopolitical interests in the region and therefore we'll negotiate. But Hussein does not serve our interests so we'll destroy him before we risk negotiating. Why do the other panelists not address the issue of our geopolitical interests?
Faille implies that because Hussein broke the law the U.S. had to be called in to enforce the law. This is a specious effort to withdraw, but withdraw with justice, and it was this demand for justice that the world's self-appointed policeman refused to accept. Why have the panelists avoided all talk of Hussein's legitimate grievances which led him to resort to aggression after all negotiations had failed? Why does Faille assume that Hussein's aggression has nothing to do with his grievances but that it stems from his innate evil? Surely this is a prescription for war and still more war under the guise of peace-war to redress injustice against Kuwait and to perpetuate other injustices that serve our predatory interests. A serious failing of the panel is requiring redress if peace is to be secured. Indeed, international law is a hodge-podge of self serving arbitrary rules set up to prevent the "have-nots" from emulating the "haves."
I suggest PEACE Magazine should appoint a forceful moderator to prevent panelists from wiggling out of facts unpleasant to them, in any future panel discussions.
Boris Aldanov, Ottawa.