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Regarding Leonard M. Orosco’s Dec. 24 letter, “Caving in to U.S. pressure“: I would have thought it blindingly obvious from my Dec. 13 letter that British Prime Minister Tony Blair, after having ignored the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the British people not to go to war in Iraq, forfeits any claim to be acting as a democratically elected leader.

Maybe this, ipso facto, explains why Blair succumbed to U.S. pressure, especially as the U.S. administration seems to be turning away from due process, habeas corpus, freedom from arbitrary arrest, and all the rest of the trivial libertarian baggage that crossed the Atlantic from Britain.

Orosco can call Britain’s leaders “blinkered fools,” too, to his heart’s content — it doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is his inability to see that the continuing foolishness of the U.S. “superpower,” in its dealings with the Arab and Muslim world and in its military strategy, raises the distinct possibility of, to reiterate, an all-out, possibly nuclear, war with Iran in the future. I can only hope that Orosco’s adolescent view of Middle East politics isn’t shared by a majority of his countrymen.

As for his rather lame criticisms of Britain’s economy (the fourth-largest in the world, soon to be the third) and Britain’s sacrifices for freedom, I’d like to remind him that Britain was in both world wars years before the United States ever was, and that if Britain had gone under in 1940, Hitler would have had a war on one front, not two, and would undoubtedly have controlled the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Middle East with all its oil. Japan would then have been emboldened to attack the Soviet Far East with the result that Stalin could not have switched 250,000 Siberian troops to the defense of Moscow.

The war dead of the Western allies pale by comparison with those of the Soviet Union (20 million), but 400,000 U.K. war dead (including civilians and merchant seamen) out of a population then of 40 million compared to a similar figure of 400,000 U.S. war dead out of a population then of 150 million does indicate a proportionally greater sacrifice on Britain’s part.

Post-1945, Malaysia would undoubtedly have become a Communist country if not for Britain’s successful counterinsurgency campaign (1948-60), a success the British (and Australia and New Zealand) wish the Americans could have emulated.

barry a. ward

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