May 11, 2007

Self-Delusion


ST Forum May 11, 2007
Singapore stance correct on global war on terror

I REFER to the letter, 'Singapore's stance may offend friendly nations' (ST, May9), by Mr Retnam Thillainathan. The writer is alarmed at Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressing his strong support for the United States' continued presence in Iraq, as he is afraid of a backlash from other countries against the occupation.

As a dynamic and pragmatic politician, PM Lee will surely be well acquainted with the reasons put forth by President George W. Bush to justify the rationale for war. These include ending Saddam Hussein's almost 40 years of human rights abuse; his track record of waging wars against his neighbours such as Iran and Kuwait; his production of weapons of mass destruction; his use of chemical weapons on Kurdish and Iranian civilians; his proven contacts with terrorist groups in the past; and warnings from Russia that Saddam was planning terrorist attacks against the US before 2003.

Among the other reasons are protecting the United States' allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; helping Iraq's transition to democratic self-rule; ending sanctions against Iraq (which hurt civilians the most); and delivering humanitarian support after the end of these sanctions.

The invasion of Iraq was touted by the US as part of the global war on error, launched as a result of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks. As a staunch ally of the US and knowing that Singapore, an iconic global city, is an attractive target for terrorists, PM Lee has clearly made his stand on the war on terror.

In Iraq, the government, police and military are unlikely to restore law and order any time soon. Bombings, murders and kidnappings continue to take place daily. A complete pullout of US soldiers will surely plunge the country into anarchy and civil war.

A fledgling nation's transition to self-rule, already in motion, will take time after nearly 40 years of tyranny.

I applaud our PM for boldly coming out in support of one of our staunchest allies. It sends a strong signal to the international community that Singapore is a sovereign nation, which does not bend in the direction of the wind generated by other friendly countries, and we have a leader who is not afraid to speak his mind.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock


Should the US stay on in Iraq? And should Singapore express support for the US, if the US chose to do so? You could argue these questions either way, and either way, there is room for reasonable, intelligent arguments. Edmund Khoo's arguments, however, are severely misguided.

If I were PM Lee, I'd cringe. I would prefer to have no readers writing to the press to support me, than to have a reader like Edmund Khoo writing to the press to support me with such embarrassingly mistaken arguments.

I feel a bit exhausted looking at Edmund's letter. It makes so many errors I don't know where to start correcting them. History is so badly twisted in his letter that it doesn't even feel like history anymore, more like a tale from a parallel universe in a science fiction novel.


I feel like a teacher confronted with the ultimate F essay, an essay written by a student so stupid it's wrong to want to smack his head. I think I'll take the easy way out and let Jimmy Mun do the talking.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, they say, to have the best gauge of a country's citizen's intelligence is to read the "Letters to the Editor" of any popular newspaper in that country. To tell you the truth, the general intelligence of a Singaporean when it comes to anything "political" is simply pathetic.

I do read quite a bit of online newspapers across the world and honestly no one writes as lousily as a Singaporean. They are probably the best at "carrying balls". The most inane complains are mentioned in the Straits Times and surprisingly, they are even debated upon for days to come.

Some of the worst letters to the editor have appeared in none other than the Straits Times.

Yes, iam a foreigner. I have been living in S'pore for the past 10 years and this comment is based on what i have read in the papers over this period.

Am sure to be flamed. Sorry, but truth hurts.

Anonymous said...

Edmund Khoo: "A fledgling nation's transition to self-rule, already in motion, will take time after nearly 40 years of tyranny."

Is Edmund referring to a fledgling nation closer to the equator? Ha ha ha, some things are so bad, they're really good :-D Like spoofs!

j said...

The WMD is now in IRAN. Iraq's neighbour. 3,000 centrifuges."David Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector, said 3,000 centrifuges would be enough to build a nuclear warhead within a year." And yes, a good defense is a good offense.

Ray said...

The invasion of Iraq was touted by the US as part of the global war on error, launched as a result of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.


hahahhhaha....

Anonymous said...

The US is the most powerful country presumably since the first atomic bomb was used on Hiroshima(Japan) during the Second World War as the Straits Times and Singapore Leadership liked to acknowledged> But to Vietnam< Cuba< China and some other nations that is just figment! The President of US is also acknowledged as the most powerful man in the world< but this layman thinks the current one is just a cowboy< at most a leading cowboy as he is a rancher< that is about it> Why the Singapore Leadership is in a position to advise him on his business to deal with other nations is also probably the Singapore Leadership views him no better than I do!

Anonymous said...

Am sure to be flamed. Sorry, but truth hurts.

May 11, 2007 8:19 PM

I agree with you! I do read online newspapers across the world & keep track of the news in S'pore. This is the attitude of the 1st world country.

Anonymous said...

The invasion of Iraq was touted by the US as part of the global war on error, launched as a result of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.

Did he really wrote that to the press n they actually printed it out ??

Anonymous said...

Would intelligent letters pass the ST editors? Imagine good forum writers are much better than the ST journalists.

So, the editors cannot choose very well-written letters because as a "highly numbered" ranked newspaper, it would lose its current world ranking. Singaporeans must not be aware that there are better writers than the ST journalists. Why? Because the good writers do not align with nation-building MSM.

Anonymous said...

Taken from The Sunday Times

Asked about the pressures Mr Bush faced, Mr Lee said that the President told him that he did not care about opinion polls.

“What he is interested in doing is to make sure in the next 22 months he sets in place a policy that will continue to be forward looking and continues to assure American’s security for the long-term. And I think that’s the right attitude. He’s used to pressure, I don’t think it fazes him.


Hmm. How come I get this feeling that LHL was indirectly referring to himself?

Anonymous said...

Remember 2003? Jayakumar of MFA said "disarming Saddam was in Singapore's best interest" in public approval of Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

Four years later, everyone honest enough knows the Saddam-WMD pretext for war was based on fabricated lies.

Even 9/11, which sparked off the 'global war on terror' is based on lies and deception. Google up WTC-7 and 9/11. Inside job is the truth; the official version of events is conspiracy.

With anti-war sentiments at an all time high in America and throughout the world, the Lee father and son have, on more than one occasion, urged Bush to continue with the Iraq war.

Big arrogance, big mouths of small-minded individuals of a small country. They must be thinking themselves gods with their astronomical salaries.

-----

Foreign guy who made the first post: it's quite an established fact and no secret that 'carrying balls' give your letter a much better chance of being published in the Straits Times. Otherwise you will only get a 'sorry, no space' reply from the editors. And even if your letter got published, it might be butchered and mutilated beyond recognition.

Anonymous said...

in response to -- "to have the best gauge of a country's citizen's intelligence is to read the "Letters to the Editor" of any popular newspaper in that country."


letters to the editor go through selection and much edition. so that section is merely a gauge of the vested interest of the newspaper. highly-intelligen, sharp, insightful and strong-opiniated letters do not get through st cos st has hidden censorship rules they abide by.


--------------

mr wang, your posts are insightful and intelligent, but, it would be appreciated if you could do away with the emotive and loaded expressions. unless, of course, your blog is meant to be mere rants (albeit intelligent) and not political analysis written in a tone as objective as possible. thanks!

Anonymous said...

/// Am sure to be flamed. Sorry, but truth hurts. ///

To the first poster - sorry, you are wrong so far. Not all Singaporeans are unthinking or blindly "patriotic". As you can see, so far most of the posters agree with your observations...

Turth hurts, but no flaming so far...

Anonymous said...

/// Am sure to be flamed. Sorry, but truth hurts. ///

To the first poster - sorry, you are wrong so far. Not all Singaporeans are unthinking or blindly "patriotic". As you can see, so far most of the posters agree with your observations...

Turth hurts, but no flaming so far...

looking back said...

Saddam already said he had no weapons of mass destruction. The US claimed he lied. The US then invaded Iraq. Basically they tore Iraq apart, and then realised that Saddam was speaking the truth. He no longer had any weapons.

Bush then quickly said that he was attacking Iraq because Saddam had terrorist links. Of course this was nonsense. Bush started spouting this new line only AFTER he had invaded Iraq and could not find any WMD.

Anyway, no clear evidence was found of Saddam having any links with the Al-Queda. In fact, the destruction of Iraq did not weaken or reduce terrorist activity around the world at all.

Unable to discover any links between Saddam and the Al-Queda despite the fact that by this time, US forces could basically go wherever they pleased, all areound Iraq, George Bush then adopted his 3rd excuse. He said that oh, actually he was attacking Iraq because of Saddam's poor human rights record. By this time, anyone who believes Bush is a fool.

Edmund makes lots of ridiculous points. For example, he says that Singapore supporting the US shows that Singapore is against terrorism. This is nonsensical. The United Nations was against the US attacking Iraq in the first place - is Edmund trying to say that the UN supports terrorism?

This Edmund person - talking cock.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"it would be appreciated if you could do away with the emotive and loaded expressions. unless, of course, your blog is meant to be mere rants (albeit intelligent) and not political analysis written in a tone as objective as possible."

I didn't think that this letter deserved my "political analysis". I would have thought that its glaring errors were self-evident. I was just disturbed by the newspaper editor's decision to select such garbage for publication.

But I thank Anon May 12, 2007 3:13 PM for the effort in pointing out some of those glaring errors by Edmund.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the Edmund letter was a classic example of the typical S'porean apathy. It reminded me of one incident when a friend told me online that blogs are a waste of time and we should go through proper "feedback sessions"! =P

From what it seems Edmund has been reading almost 100% ST or mostly very pro-American sources that are very nationalistic and supportive of Bush. His words almost mirrored the language used by Bush and his cronies in perfect display of the effect of American media influence of the most apathetic of our lot. I wonder how many of his statements could be punctured easily with a poke of reality:

"As a dynamic and pragmatic politician, PM Lee will surely be well acquainted with the reasons put forth by President George W. Bush to justify the rationale for war:

...his production of weapons of mass destruction...is proven contacts with terrorist groups in the past...helping Iraq's transition to democratic self-rule; ending sanctions against Iraq...n Iraq, the government, police and military are unlikely to restore law and order any time soon...A fledgling nation's transition to self-rule, already in motion, will take time after nearly 40 years of tyranny..."

Btw, I could also say... a fledging nation transition to political maturity and self-identity... already in motion... will take time after nearly 40 years of apathy...

Have patience with Edmund!

yuez

Anonymous said...

Maybe the saddest thing is that the ST wouldn't publish any rebuttal of Edmund because it would be counter to the Sporean govt's stand. Edmund would go away thinking " hey... no rebuttals... I must be right in my comments!"

le radical galoisien said...

"Am sure to be flamed. Sorry, but truth hurts."

A state-controlled newspaper is *always* an accurate gauge of public sentiment, yes yes yes.

simplesandra said...

anon wrote: "I do read quite a bit of online newspapers across the world and honestly no one writes as lousily as a Singaporean."

That's because this isn't writing - it's regurgitating, and you find plenty of that in the Letters section of the Straits Times from "intelligent" pro-PAP Singaporeans. And occasionally, even from "intelligent" foreigners like a certain Mika Johannes Sampovaara from Finland.

Those deemed "unintelligent" by the Straits Times editor are never published. :-)

As for this Edmund Khoo, hope he didn't just crawl out of his hole to write this. No WMD in Iraq after four years, no Saddam links to Al-Qaeda (in fact, the opposite) etc, and he doesn't know?

HaveAHacks said...

Yes, the average quaity of letters to the editor in ST nowadays is lousy. That's because all the intelligent commentary has gone to the web.

There was actually a brief period in the late 90s when the ST deliberately decided to open up on the Letters page, and there were in fact some arguments on public policy carried through this page. This was a strictly commercial decision because readership had already started to decline and they were desperately trying to user this as a means of building reader community.

Unfortunately, the government's response to 9/11 changed this and there was a clamp-down on political letters in favour of municipal my-estate-is-too-dirty type letters.

More importantly, the web happened and suddenly the letters page became irrelevant. Who needed to write to the letters page when they could blog or podcast on their own without worrying about what the editors would do to their letters ?

One of the side-effects of this was that only the Guardians would be left to write to the ST, because only Guardians would get a thrill from being published in an establishment mouthpiece.

yh said...

'It sends a strong signal to the international community that Singapore is a sovereign nation, which does not bend in the direction of the wind generated by other friendly countries, and we have a leader who is not afraid to speak his mind.'
really?
i look forward to pm lee criticizing US policies when Hillary wins in 2008 and a democrat-controlled white house begins to right all the wrongs.

Anonymous said...

WMD is the pretext used to invade Iraqi without UN sanction. News have shown that Iraqi suffering is much greater than before. Most countries support US in the war have either pulling out or reduce their presence. I am very shock to hear what PM had said in US. I would hope he had said nothing about this than to be seen as if there was no misjudgement made from the very begining.

Very often that political leaders do not acknowledge mistakes made while in office. The admission will only come reluctantly when they step down or not at all. When Japan premier made Yakuni shrine visit and at odd with China, one of our leader advise Japan to own up the history and move on like German. I think this is a good advice but.........

Anonymous said...

do see the attack again:

http://www.straitstimes.com/portal/site/STI/menuitem.c2aef3d65baca16abb31f610a06310a0/?vgnextoid=f832758920e39010VgnVCM1000000a35010aRCRD&vgnextfmt=vgnartid:3daaeb83e5492110VgnVCM100000430a0a0aRCRD:STForumArcDate:1179353293890