Letters - How Bush galvanises the left

I agree with those quoted in John Pilger's article ("The warlords of America", 23 August) who say that a Bush re-election is the lesser of two evils. At least with Bush and his cronies in power, we know what to expect - warmongering, cuts in social spending. John Kerry would carry out similar policies but, like Bill Clinton, have the intelligence and subtlety to deceive a mass audience that he is somehow a progressive. With a Kerry win, the cultural and political climate of the second half of this decade would be like that of the second half of the 1990s - callous and complacent as regards the state of the world. With Bush in power, we have a galvanising figure of hate for the left/centre. He will provoke the masses and lead to great debates like that of the prelude to the second Gulf war.

Daniel Kelly
Dublin, Ireland

John Pilger lists some of the invasions launched by the US against countries that posed no threat to it. Yet he omits the biggest invasion of all - that of France in 1944, when the US provided three-quarters of the troops and about the same proportion of casualties. It didn't need to do so; it was Japan not Germany that had attacked the US, and the Germans posed little threat to the American homeland.

That war was the consequence of a world with no superpower but several great powers. The world of two superpowers that followed came close to all-out nuclear exchange. We now have one superpower, and that risk has diminished to almost zero. It is surely indisputable that a world with one superpower is safer than one with many. And for all its faults, is it not equally indisputable that the US is preferable as the sole superpower to any of the alternatives that might have emerged had events turned out differently? Would any of the others - Germany, Russia, Japan, China? - have had a constitution that allows a Michael Moore?

David Terry
Droitwich, Worcestershire

John Pilger describes those fighting in Najaf, Basra and Fallujah as "nationalists defending their homeland". Would he use the same description of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the early 1970s and the Afghan mujahedin in the 1980s? Today's heroic resisters can become tomorrow's genocidaires.

Barry Gilheany

John Pilger writes that "the missile gap" was invented by John F Kennedy's liberal New Frontiersmen. It was in fact the projection of the post-Sputnik National Intelligence Estimates of 1957, and was legitimately used by Kennedy in the 1960 presidential campaign. John Newhouse, referring to that year in War and Peace in the Nuclear Age (1989), writes: "Although the case against the gap was there to be made, it wasn't made. The CIA began to hedge, but most of the other key players (aside from the army and navy) clung to the missile gap."

Michael Meadmore
London W12

This article first appeared in the 06 September 2004 issue of the New Statesman, The happiness industry