Your analysis of the US tragedy was wholly devoid of human kindness

<em>Letter of the week</em>

Your leader on the horrific attacks on America (17 September) was an insensitive, crude and largely irrelevant analysis that relied upon spurious moral formulae. It was wholly devoid of any human kindness for the thousands upon thousands of victims of many races and from many nations who have not determined the character of America's often spectacularly blind and brutal foreign policy.

To link the plight of the desperate people at the hard end of the impositions of globalisation and unthinking American foreign policy to an act of terror imposed by the religious vision of privileged men from cruel US client states is, as Le Monde wrote, "monstrous hypocrisy". Perhaps the typically self-elected and self-interested kleptocratic "leaders" of the poor countries might be just a bit complicit in the misery of their people, too?

Never mind the casually condemned "American bond traders", whose common humanity you deny; what of the hundreds of public sector employees slaughtered in the heroic exercise of their collective duty? As Noam Chomsky, no apologist for American imperialism, wrote, "the primary victims, as usual, were working people: janitors, secretaries, firemen, etc".

You dislike the ideology that they voted for, if they voted at all. I agree that it is often a selfish, decadent and hypocritical one. But what of the ideological conditioning imposed by the media and other institutions upon the citizenry? What of the fact that US policy in almost any arena is openly based upon the wishes of well-financed lobbying groups, rather than the popular will?

John Sorrels
London NW3

This article first appeared in the 24 September 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The war that Bush cannot win