Parallel lines

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 December, 2003, 12:00am

A country invades another country. Having successfully defeated the vastly inferior armed forces of the enemy, it installs a puppet government, declares the conflict over and labels anyone who fights against it a terrorist. Vichy France? Iraq? The answer is 'yes' in both cases.

The difference is that, in one case, the world did not remain silent in the face of tyranny. An extreme example, it must be confessed, but how can the US label Saddam Hussein or other Iraqi captives as 'not being prisoners of war'?

Their country was invaded with total disregard for international law. It is essential that every individual, however despicable, is accorded fair treatment under the law. The law exists but it is being flagrantly disregarded in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. Is this the empire that will last for a thousand years?

JOHN BRUCE, Shau Kei Wan