To Hassan Al-Haifi:Let’s contribute positively [Archives:2003/631/Letters to the Editor]

April 14 2003

Charles Gaynor (Chuck)
[email protected]

I've been reading your editorials for some time and wish to say the following. That most of what you say about Mr. Bush is true, at least from where I sit. I would disagree with the tone, anger, angst that you exhibit, though, by using such words as criminal as well as some of the connections you make i.e. that because civilians were harmed, therefore they were targeted.
There is no doubt that the reason for our nations attack on Iraq is dubious at best. That Mr. Hussein had chemicals and has used them is a historical fact. If you were as well connected with your Moslem brothers in Iran, you would not only know this – but have actually done something about it before. Since you haven't, I can only come to the conclusion that you are a hypocrite.
When Saddam gassed Iran, that was de facto proof that he had chemical weapons, wouldn't you agree?
Perhaps Iran's army consisted of Christians and that is why you, therefore, have no anger or opinion about when Iraq's forces used chemical warfare on those people, since it's apparent from your editorial that you only pledge consequences when Moslems are harmed. After all, as you say, “the affinity that Arabs and Moslems share towards each other. The first one being of blood kinship, while the second is a spiritual kinship…” and I assume from these words that there will be a price to pay for anyone who does harm to Moslems illegally. Since I haven't heard you say anything about those attacks, or Saddam's attacks of chemical agents against the Kurds, they must be Christians as well.
But I wonder, when Milosevic was mass murdering Moslems in Bosnia etc., where were you then? No where, sir. It's for these observations that I call you a hypocrite.
Truth is truth and when you set a standard to judge another by, first look in a mirror.
Now, that's not why I wrote. The message I wanted to write and say was – what good can we, all of us, make from what is there now? How can we, all of us, make a positive contribution?
I'd be interested to hear your words about that in your column, rather than words of death and hatred.

Dear Charles and other YT readers disappointed in Al-Haifi's writing,
Thank you very much for your interest in the YT and your recent attraction to my articles.
I am sure that if you have been reading my articles for many years back you will find the following facts:
1) I was and continue to be a staunch opponent of the regime of Saddam Hussein (and of most of the oppressive regimes in the Middle East and rest of the world), while you and most Americans were even unaware of where Iraq was located.
2) I was a staunch opponent of Saddam's war against Iran, in which, by the way, the United States had a big hand in and may have even prodded Saddam to initiate the attack against Iran, not to mention the hardware, software and chemical ware, they supplied Saddam to used as he liked.
3) I applauded President Clinton, may God keep him, for his actions in both Bosnia and Kosovo (that was what I call a genuine US Presidency, if we ever saw one!) and praised the United States for such commendable initiative, which was solely done for humanitarian reasons, and not mesmerized in a lot of hogwash to disguise hidden suspicious motives, are already beginning to surface in the case of the “liberation of Iraq”.
4) I have never called for a holy war on Christians or any other ethnic group. In fact, you might be enlightened by previous articles I have on the need for peaceful coexistence between Moslems and Christians, some of which are as recent as last Christmas.
5) If the US was so interested in doing any positive actions, in the Middle East, the Palestinians are there waiting for years for the White House to just reenergize the well-intentioned efforts of President Bill Clinton again, where final settlement was underway just before his term of office was over. But instead, the White House turned its back, even when the Israeli Army literally crushed an American peace advocate by a Caterpillar Tractor. You might also look at the record of atrocities, which the Israelis have inflicted on the Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians and of course the Palestinians. Some of those atrocities are of an equal, if not worse par than that of Saddam Hussein.
6) We must bear in mind that just because “victory” has been achieved, this war should not be seen as having become correct and called for, by any legal, moral or ethical standards.
7) I should not forget to mention that the undersigned also strongly condemned the tragic events of 9/11 (I was a New Yorker for a considerable part of my life), but you know and I know that such horrendous acts provide no basis for the unilateral action against Iraq, but rather represent an evil misuse of events to serve more narrow minded dubious intents.
8) I trust that I have clarified my character and attitude in a manner worthy of your continued trust in my intentions.
Hassan Al-Haifi