Hypocritical peace movement

If John Pilger is disappointed that so few people are protesting against the attack on Afghanistan ("A war in the American tradition", 15 October), he might reflect on the failures and hypocrisies of the anti-war movement in the west over the past ten years. The greater part of this movement failed to demonstrate against Saddam Hussein's suppression of the Kurdish uprising in 1991, against Slobodan Milosevic's aggressive wars in Croatia and Bosnia in 1991-95, or against Yeltsin's and Putin's destruction of Chechnya since 1994.

Marko Attila Hoare
Robinson College, Cambridge

Only a week or two after the notorious freezer lorries were fished out of the river near Belgrade, the Observer published a letter from John Pilger in which he insisted that no mass murders had been committed in Kosovo. The following week, the Observer published my rebuttal, in which I likened him to the David Irving of Balkan holocaust-denial.

So, in his scheme of things, when a few hundred Afghan Muslims are killed by US bombs that could have slaughtered tens of thousands had the Americans really intended to target civilians, that is a mindless, egregious war crime. When 200,000 Bosnian and Kosovan Muslims are butchered by the regional Pol Pot, it serves these expendable "un-people" right for wanting Uncle Sam to rescue them.

Pilger's article last week confirms what I wrote in my Observer letter about his agenda. It is driven above all by an anti-Americanism so visceral that it would be a distinct advantage when applying for a job with al-Qaeda.

Michael Petek
Brighton, Sussex

This article first appeared in the 22 October 2001 issue of the New Statesman, A plan for the world