Slavishly adhering to outworn tactics

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 November, 1997, 12:00am

American citizens in Hong Kong should feel a sense of shame and revulsion on reading the headline, 'Clinton insists US must keep landmines' (South China Morning Post, November 25).

As any right-minded person knows, landmines designed to maim and kill personnel are some of the most hideous weapons invented by military scientists. They have been planted by the millions in trouble-spots around the globe and daily take a heavy toll, with innocent men, women and children becoming victims long after a conflict has ended. For this reason, strenuous efforts have been made by various nations and advocacy groups to eliminate these 'weapons of terror' from the military arsenals of all nations, with this year's Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the campaign organisers. Why is President Clinton so opposed to this eminently desirable goal? Why is he so slavishly adhering to the outworn tactics of his militaristic supporters? President Clinton alluded to the problem of North Korea, stating that the Pentagon needed landmines to prevent incursions into the South. This argument must be rejected in the strongest way, because the prolongation of hostilities between North and South Korea is a product of both nations' military cliques, supported by China and the US. It is high time their destructive games were ended and that there was a move towards peace.

Everyone knows that military men are inherently cowards; they prey on the weak, the smaller, the undefended, the unsuspecting. Military-controlled scientists have given the world poison gas, deadly bacterial weapons, not to mention the A-bomb, the H-bomb, the neutron bomb, and who knows what other forms of mass destruction. No wonder they love landmines which can blow off an unsuspecting child's legs or arms years after they themselves have departed the scene. No wonder people of morality oppose these weapons and demand their elimination.

Any effort to reduce the malignant influence of military men in international and national affairs must be promoted and it is shocking to have an American president so unwilling to support the anti-personnel mine elimination treaty. Why the kow-towing to the Pentagon? We in Hong Kong can support peace-loving people around the globe by showing our disgust at Pentagon planners and our rejection of the militaristic ethos that permeates US culture.

In the past, Hong Kong welcomed US military personnel and US warships. I believe this welcome is no longer a desirable or wise thing. It gives the wrong message and prolongs a harmful linkage to the Pentagon. If President Clinton does not support the anti-landmine campaign and the Nobel Peace Prize laureates, why should we support or welcome his Pentagon backers and their terror weapons? Will the US Consul-General please forward copies of this letter to the State Department and reply to these comments? J. GARNER Kowloon