In the real world …

Henry Rosenbloom, Scribe publisher, writes: Re. “Crikey says: beware of planting crops together ” (yesterday). Don’t be such a smartarse. Rudd is a prime minister, not a speeded-up scriptwriter. I’m no fan of his, but his performance on Q&A was the best I’ve ever seen from him. Your comment does you no credit, and seriously undervalues his grace under pressure.

Obama’s so-called moral authority

John Richardson writes: Re. “How Australia should use the UN to lead on Syria” (yesterday). Bruce Haigh exercises remarkable restraint when he says that “Obama’s moral authority against a leader who has allegedly used sarin gas is diminished when set against his administration’s use of drones over the past six years in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, which have killed as many if not more civilians, including women and children, than the Syrian nerve gas attack.”

No embarrassing reminders about our “special friend”’s fondness for secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, torture, extrajudicial killing on an industrial scale, capital punishment, Orwellian surveillance or cluster munitions.

Of course chemical weapons are horrible; has everyone forgotten about the fuel-air explosive, white phosphorus and napalm, regularly deployed by Western politicians on their foreign adventures? Has history’s page really turned on our efforts to soak North Vietnam with the toxic Agent Orange, annihilate the populace of Fallujah with white phosphorous or contaminate the entire country of Iraq with radioactive depleted uranium?

And certainly no embarrassing reference to the French, British and American governments who profit by peddling their toxic capabilities to governments the world over.

So please call it as it really is: just business as usual for the world’s biggest and most accomplished, self-righteous and hypocritical thug.

Abusive language

Andrew Reid writes: Re. “Cut and run from Brisbane while calling out Abbott” (yesterday). Usually enjoy reading Crikey and appreciate its robust approach to news and current affairs. However, I would like to lodge a complaint about Guy Rundle’s recent article, in which he refers to a member of the Q&A audience as a “convenient Jesus-freak doofus”.

I appreciate the article is a straight talking analysis of the Rudd election campaign, but this is personally insulting to a member of the general community who shares a view that is consistent with traditional Christian teaching. It is fine for Rundle to disagree with that view. It is not fine for him to use abusive language.

It not only insults the audience member but by association insults other Christians who share the same views.

I would invite you to consider the outcry if the questioner had been Muslim, and Rundle called them a “Muhammad freak” or similar term.

Lex Romanorum

Beryce Nelson writes: Re. “Veni, vidi, sensi” (yesterday). The Romans did have elections at a number of levels and in particular had a type of local council system where officials were elected, not appointed. If you want an idea of how nothing has changed read the novel Imperium by British author and historian Robert Harris. It describes the rise and fall of Cicero through the eyes of his slave Tiro — you know, the one who bought us shorthand — and who assiduously made notes at all his meetings. I read it during the council election campaign here in Queensland in 2008, and it was just like reading the daily newspaper.