Wed, Mar 27, 2002 - Page 8 News List


Act on frigate scandal

It is disconcerting to read about continuing obstacles to the investigation of the 10-year-old Lafayette scandal, which has involved the murder of a supposed whistle-blower, sentencing of several French contractors and billions of dollars in losses from embezzlement, but no forceful or serious legal proceedings in Taiwan.

The defense ministry's reasons for excluding former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) from criminal investigation are hardly supported by his claims to have nothing to hide. The ministry's only interested in protecting itself, whereas it is entrusted with vital duties in defending the nation. Should self-interested plunderers really be Taiwan's first line of defense under these politically sensitive circumstances?

Several of the French suppliers connected to this case have already been tried and sentenced. Why have their testimonies and the assistance offered by the French government to clarify their dealings not been actively pursued by Taipei? The government's lack of headway in the matter raises question about its commitment to investigating the case.

To the extent that Taiwan tries to portray itself as a part of the developed world with regard to justice and human rights, how does this protection of a culture of graft in arms procurement presume to permanently avoid the truth? Taiwan might as well claim no interest in the rule of law, along with the Philippines and in natural partnership with China, thereby casting doubt on the authenticity of the cross-strait conflict and leaving countries lsuch as Japan and the US weary of Taiwan's military intentions.

Douglas F. Miller

Springfield, Massachusetts

Democracy threatens sanity

I agree with your article ("Nuc-lear bluff damaging to the US, Mar. 17, page 9). Alas, the US is a "democracy," which means that the wisest minds will not always be in control. In the wake of the Sept. 11 outrage, I have heard many of my fellow citizens say that a nuclear bomb should be dropped on some Islamic population center, simply to "teach them a lesson." The gross inhumanity of destroying some several hundred thousand, or even millions, of lives is simply overlooked. After all, they "hate us anyway" and therefore "deserve what they get."

US President George W. Bush has unleashed a war against evil, but who shall bear the label of "evil" will more likely be decided by a Gallup poll than by rational thought. One can only pray that saner minds will prevail.

Thomas Foster

Los Angeles, California

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