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.