temperate tone of his reply; m but I a not now clear as to the drift of his argument. That "indiscriminate bomb ing" and "wanton destruction" s not to he are rare seem the vase, to judge from reports in the American Press. The Herald-Tributre headline, quoted by Paul Johnson in the current Nt'14' Sia/CAnitai, "Searched Earth Policy (GIs Raze Homes, Crops, Where Reds Are Aided". suggests something fairly systematic.
He does not defend the tor
ture of prisoners, something that admittedly occurs. His general stew seems to be that since there is great danger of a Chinese take-over in this area (a danger immensely increased. in my view. by the character of the war in Vietnam). pretty rough tactics can't decently be complained about.
Perhaps I could quote the
statement of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, published in Cominionwealon December 10. "Minimal human justice requires that during a war the innocent and non-combatants be protected. and that the least possible violence he inflicted on the enemy. These basic moral principles are consistently violated in the war ... entire families are incinerated, prisoners of war are tortured, indiscriminate bombings erase all distinction between the innocent and the guilty . . Crops have been chemically defoliated or put to the torch. Under suspicion o f collaboration or sympathy with the enemy, men have been condemned to death and publicly executed without trial. The war in Vietnam has thus unleashed weapons and tactics which are in violation of natural law and of the Gospel. We believe that men of conscience can therefore neither defend nor support such a war." This statement is signed by a great many distinguished priests. men and women religious, and laymen. Among the signatories are five members of Fr. Cushner's Society. think this does great honour to the Society in the United States.
(Professor)J. M. Cameron University of Leeds
Sir.Whatever one thinks about the morality of American intervention in the affairs of the Vietnamese people. it seems doubtful if we as Christians. or basically as human beings, can accept the pitiful results.
I alsorecognise the brother
hood of man. and therefore abhor to know that any people of whatever creed or political beliefs are being tortured, maimed, orphaned or killed. It seems evident that the futility of two major world wars has still to dawn on us, Where is the brave free world which world politicians assured us would be the outcome of wholesale slaughter and murder. twice in our cen• tury?
Even if I believed that the North Vietnamese Government were completely mistaken in their beliefs. I see no reason to think that by sesheer weight of oppression and pain, they would learn to believe in any other way of life. Rather it would seem logical that they would become more deeply convinced of their beliefs,and be resolved to fight back with added strength,
ferocity. and cruelty, One hardly expects to teach others about humanity, if our methods are barbarous.
The only way in which we. as Christians, will convince any people who want to be Communists. that our way is more fully human. is by being fully human ourselves. and recognising Christ in every man.
Pat Cbute London S.W.I0.
Sir.—Surely the father of five quoted in Ann Kimmel's article ton the Americans' attitudesto the Vietnam war) has summed up the whole business, not only of this but of all war. Hesays: "If you let men decide yo when and where they fought you wouldn't have army." my." Precisely. It is not peoples, who go to war with one another: it is governments. And it is the murderous orders issued by governments and obeyed by ernment's orders to kill, then war will go on and people like the ordinary Vietnamese villagers will continue to suffer.
Andrew King Slough, Bucks
s. soldier that result in the waging of war. Until we haVe every potential soldier burning his draft card (or the equivalent) and refusing to obey his gov