By George, it’s a shame
Sir — The defence minister, George Fernandes, has the habit of shooting his mouth. But the theft of computer hard disks containing defence secrets seems to have left even our sharp-shooter defence minister at a loss for words (“Defence leaves secrets open”, Oct 11). Fernandes has often indulged in spectacular feats, ostensibly to increase the morale of his armymen. Remember his stunt on a MiG or his days in Siachen' Yet, sadly, despite such heroic deeds, his ministership seems destined to go down in history as one of the most controversial and disreputable stints in the military history of India. The theft of information may severely impair coding operations of the army, intelligence units and the foreign ministry. How did the Defence Research and Development Organization even think that it can manage to pass off the case simply as a burglary' Instead of trying to cover up the lapse, the defence minister and ministry should try to unearth the moles they are shielding.
Kumar Mukherjee, Calcutta
Why we hate Maria Shriver
Sir — Rupali Ghosh’s attack on Maria Shriver in “Mrs Arnie” (Oct 12), including the catty comments on her age and looks, is in line with feminists’ assault strategy against any woman who breaks rank. It is akin to Nazis calling liberal-Germans “jew-lovers”, zionists terming anyone protesting against their crimes on Palestinians as “anti-semitic”, and the sangh parivar calling secular-minded people “anti-Hindu”. Shriver comes across as a decent woman with a strong commitment. Who, in the genuine post-Fifties’ liberal tradition of America, doesn’t necessarily equate sexual adventures with unfaithfulness. But the feminist lobby, the Trojan horse in the liberal camp, is on the same absolutist moral platform as the American religious right. Or for that matter the shariat-ruled countries. It may even be worse because while the religious camp is consistent in its beliefs, the feminists take stands based on completely partisan and sinister motives.
Even in Bill Clinton’s case, Hillary Clinton was pilloried for a host of evil things. She just “had” to be an ambitious political opportunist since she refused to walk out on her husband. Incidentally, she too represents the original liberal ethos of the Democratic Party in the United States of America. But our “femi-Nazis” won’t grant her the benefit of doubt that she might genuinely hold permissive beliefs on sexuality. The pattern of orchestrated feminist lynching of popular figures, particularly where money is to be made, is sickening. From Clinton to Shane Warne to Arnie now. Even though I didn’t particularly like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s candidature or his personae, the fact that the feminist racket has been decisively trounced by the Californians, is surely a positive sign.
Sandeep Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sir — Why is Maria Shriver suddenly the target of Rupali Ghosh’s scathing attack in “Mrs Arnie”' How is she any different from the thousands of Indian naris or women who, despite knowing that their husbands are “gropers”, confirmed womanizers, and sometimes rapists, faithfully support their political roles' One may argue that Indian women have been conditioned to suffer the malevolence of their male counterparts, but then one may also argue that women all over the world are wise enough to know the prizes to be had from such support. Which is why despite Bill Clinton’s adulterous liaisons, Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to remain his loyal wife. And Shriver will continue to remain Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, that is until Arnie remembers to compensate her for the purpose she has served.
J. Singhvi, Calcutta
Sir — Rupali Ghosh is right. Maria Shriver is the quintessential Kennedy woman who has always backed the political career of her husband while turning a blind eye to his pecadillos. The sexual exploits of the Kennedys are legendary, which probably explains why Shriver takes her husband’s gropings so lightly.
M. Srivastava, Calcutta
Sir — The fact that Maria Shriver became Arnold Schwarzenegger’s trumpcard in the recall elections shows the hollowness of his candidature. Schwarzenegger seems to have had nothing to recommend himself to his voters other than his wife’s attestation of his fidelity. What is most surprising is that instead of finding out if the actor were more corrupt than the man he was replacing, California’s electorate thought it more important to believe in Shriver that her husband was neither “stupid nor sexist”. But which wife ever thought her husband was either of the two, or both'
K. Mohanty, Calcutta
Now or never
Sir — The suffering of the people in both Afghanistan and Iraq has created a lot of fear among common people like us. I believe the world has taken a road that might lead to total destruction of mankind. Unfortunately, some people across the world do not feel that way. Such vested interests had led the world to two previous world wars. Yet we refuse to learn from the past. It is impossible for a state to save the world from the present crisis. This can be ensured by the collective will of nations. Only the United Nations can help mitigate the situation. It has to act now, or perish.
Moulinath Biswas, Bardhaman
Sir — The American president seems to have forgotten that a major tenet of democracy is protection of people’s interests. George Bush had forced his army to go to war against Iraq. Now repeated guerrilla attacks continue to claim the lives of his men in Iraq. Financing the Iraq operation has also taken a heavy toll on the US exchequer. Will Bush’s spin doctors be able to manage the crisis'
Ashok Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
Sir — Reports by the Central Intelligence Agency goaded the American president to go to war against Iraq. The CIA’s speculations were way off the target. This premier intelligence outfit was also powerless when terror struck on 9/11. The incidents have punched gaping holes on CIA’s credibility.
Bryan Thompson, New Jersey, US
Sir — After taking control of Iraq on flimsy grounds, the American leadership is now eyeing greener pastures. George Bush’s defence of the Israeli attack on Syria confirms suspicions about US expansionism.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta