Chris Hunter  writes: Re. “Doug Cameron joins Labor Left rally to support Julian Assange” (yesterday, item 3). Andrew Crook’s piece on Julian Assange reveals a panicked Labor party, “A whole-of-government-takforce” had been told to investigate whether Assange and WikiLeaks had breached any Australian laws.

I find it continually laughable how quickly governments react when protecting their backsides. Imagine if there’d been a whole-of- government-taskforce looking into our mindless involvement in Afghanistan. Or perhaps a whole-of-government-taskforce look into the depleted public health system, or the reality of being a young black in urban Australia.

No, let’s just stick with the “fear of the constituents finding out” as the trigger for any urgent action.

Keith Perkins writes: If nothing else the “WikiLeaks” have enlightened me to the fact that the Australian government believes(d) that we are fighting an un-winnable war in Afghanistan.

My recent reading of Obama’s Wars leads me to believe that if not a majority, then a great number of US politicians, also hold similar opinions. What a shameful and hypocritical age we live in.

Imagine what the outcome of World War 2 could have been had Churchill, Roosevelt or Stalin harboured such opinions and doubts. Had any one of them done so it is likely that the greatly reduced numbers of Australians remaining today would be speaking Japanese and pulling rickshaws?

The punishers and the straighteners:

Andrew Lewis writes: Re. “Mungo: WikiLeaks principle critical, but contents … oh well” (yesterday, item 13). How enjoyable it was to read Mungo MacCallum revive the late Manning Clark phrase, “the punishers and the straighteners”. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure whether it was supposed to be “straiteners”, and a Google search only clarified that both spellings have been used, but I digress.

The pithiness and worthiness of the quote is legend. Although Prof Clark was undoubtedly an eminent scholar, I know not much more about him than this phrase. (OK, he basically wrote the definitive History of Australia). Since hearing it many years ago, from a still potent Paul Keating, I have often looked at people with this dichotomy in mind, the enlargers versus the P’s & S’s.

Since the election of John Howard so many years ago, I have been convinced that the P’s & S’s are winning, and have the enlargers overwhelmed by sheer numbers if nothing else.  I live in hope that we will once again see the enlargers taking over. I certainly count Mungo in the former group.