(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Malaysia should cancel invitation to the United States Air Force (USAF) to participate in 2001 sixth Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) as a strong protest against US and British air strikes near the Iraqi capital in reckless disregard of civilian lives and international law.
The LIMA organisers recently announced that America’s famed USAF aerial aerobatic squandron Thunderbirds has accepted the invitation to the LIMA defence exhibition, from Oct 9 to 14, to perform death-defying stunts - marking the USAF's first participation in the event.
The LIMA organisers said that the highly skilled USAF pilots will taxi in F-16 C-Models, “the same make used by frontline USAF pilots in their defence set-up” and expressed the hope that “the US will send its biggest ever range of aircraft to be displayed, with the number estimated at 20, consisting of the latest fighters, transport, surveillance and multi purpose aircraft”.
The Malaysian Government must send a clear message to President Bush that the USAF is not welcome to LIMA in Malaysia after the dastardly air strikes against Iraq near Baghdad and his callous contempt for humanity and international law when he could describe the biggest air strikes in more than two years involving two dozen attack planes armed with precision-guided missiles and which killed two civilians and wounded more than 20 others as a “routine mission” and a "self-defense measure".
It is most reprehensible that instead of co-operating with the international community to end the US/UN sanctions against Iraq, which has caused the death of more than a million people since 1990 and the reason why every month some 7,000 children in Iraq die from easily solved ills such as malnutrition, lack of medicine and contaminated water, Bush decided to issue his first order for military action since elected as President to show that he could be as warlike as his father.