The Kurds have long struggled for more autonomy in the regions of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran where they have a majority.
In response they have often been ignored or fiercely persecuted by those countries.
The West has used the Kurds to support its interests on occasion, but done very little to support Kurdish autonomy, and often betrayed them.
In Iran they have some autonomy. In northern Iraq, in Saddam's time, they were protected by western air power and they set up a stable, flourishing, democratic regime, still an example to the region.
Over the past half-dozen years these admirable people have led the fight against ISIS in northern Iraq and Syria, with western support of course.
The Turks, who have long battled the Kurds in the mountains of southern Turkey, have recently invaded northern Syria, and are regarded as an existential threat by the Kurds there.
A handful of US special forces has served to deter major Turkish incursions against the Kurds.
But now President Trump has ordered US troops out, against expert US advice, and the Turks are preparing to greatly increase their forces there.
No good will come of this move despite some twitter warnings to the Turks by the president.
We are faithful allies of our American friends, but if this is how one valuable ally is cast aside under Trump's regime, how can any ally be completely confident of US protection?
Neville Exon, Chapman
As a South Sydney fan who would have liked nothing more than to see the Raiders, notwithstanding how they made it to the grand final, give Easts a good hiding, I cannot share the outrage of Raiders fans at the referee's decision to change his decision to restart the tackle count.
Putting aside that there was no guarantee the Raiders would have scored from a subsequent set, given their inability to score from the multiple repeat sets in the lead up to the incident, the simple fact is the initial decision to restart the tackle count was wrong.
Do Raiders fans genuinely believe that it would be okay for them to win from an incorrect call?
Stephen Jones, Bonython
How to win
So "Shorten owns shock election defeat" (canberratimes.com.au, October 7), but not the political catatonia that has followed.
The media has, as usual, ignored the Greens, because it wants conflict, not policies.
We are told that Labor is devising a new "platform", when the main lesson from the last election was that policies are not required to win an election; only the backing of Murdoch and Palmer.
The only policies that might win an election are firm plans to ban all polly donations and establish an independent federal ICAC, and to attack the LNP constantly.
Adrian Gibbs, Yarralumla
Downer for Downer
In the federal government's unseemly haste to throw Alexander Downer under a bus it seems to have overlooked the usual legal formalities in the Mutual Assistance Act and Australia's Mutual Assistance Treaty with the United States.
If the United States government truly believes that Alexander Downer has committed, or has evidence of, a US criminal offence then, like every other country, it should submit a formal Mutual Assistance Request through the proper channels.
Luckily for Downer Australia doesn't yet permit extraordinary rendition. If it did Downer would probably be in Guantanamo Bay by now.Bruce Taggart, Aranda
Luckily for Downer Australia doesn't yet permit extraordinary rendition. Because if it did Downer would probably be in Guantanamo Bay by now.
Bruce Taggart, Aranda
Some detail please
It has been a few weeks since the ACT government approved its business case for stage two light rail.
But we have seen no commentary on it. Is this because the government is hiding it?
Many of us are anxious to see the extent to which our present Woden Valley landscape is to be changed for the worse.
We are also interested in finding out what better alternatives were discussed, and the reason for their dismissal (other than Andrew's penchant for trams).
Chris Mobbs, Torrens
The Binalong Chapter of the Flat Earth Society meets every morning at 09.30am on an east facing verandah overlooking the village square.
The members discuss matters of state.
On Monday it was agreed, without dissent, "that Australia should discontinue daylight saving immediately because of its harmful effect on global warming".
Steve Grimsley, Hon. Sec, Binalong
What an attitude
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston made a telling admission last week. She believes increasing the Newstart allowance would do nothing except "give drug dealers and give pubs more money".
With an attitude like this minister has displayed, reflecting an outright contempt for social security recipients, there will never be a fair allocation of funding for those in need, those who are striving daily to find any kind of job or those whose efforts for supporting themselves on such a meagre allowance are a daily challenge.
She should apologise to the great majority of needy people. In any decent government, by showing such a cynical, uncaring attitude, she should be made to resign.
Rex Williams, Springwood, NSW
Dutton a despot
If the High Protector of Sovereign Borders (and everything in between) maintains that the jobless cannot search for work in the morning and express their political preferences in the afternoon on pain of incarceration, then what price freedom?
How ironclad are rights whether one is employed or otherwise? How serious is our Protector and can we take him seriously?
Francis Bucknell, Greenway
Vale Howard Carew
My dear father was a keen urban design commentator, and human rights advocate for many years. His favourite platform was the letters pages of The Canberra Times.
He grew up in Melbourne during the Great Depression without a father due to the war.
He lived in extreme poverty and suffered abuse. As a result he was a passionate defender of people against all forms of abuse.
I was inspired by his human rights advocacy, and was one of the foundation members of Council of Civil Liberties with Barrister Laurie O'Sullivan.
As Howard lacked the confidence to do university to be a lawyer, I have now done six years of a double degree in Law and Justice Studies.
I saw my father as a brilliant mind trapped by the lack of confidence due to a tragic beginning, always feeling different, but never really understanding why.
Julie Carew, Griffith
Home for Christmas
Christmas Island was refurbished at big cost, to accommodate a rush when the Medevac Bill was passed. It did not happen.
It looks suitable for our women and children who are living, and could soon be dying, in a camp in Syria.
They could be brought to Christmas Island for food, shelter and medical attention while the powers that be decide what to do with them.
Auriel Barlow, Dickson
The danger season
It is very clear from the fact that the fire season has started so much earlier this year, this September being referred to as the worst in history, and the fires are so much more intense, that we need to reassess how bushfires are going to be fought in the future.
In my opinion, it is just too much to depend almost totally on volunteers anymore, because:
(a) it is too dangerous and
(b) there are never enough of them.
It's time the Federal government realised that the Defence Department should be refocusing on the very apparent dangers within, rather than just the possible dangers without.
They should be using some of their budget to purchase assets that can be used to fight fires.
These would include diggers to help with firebreaks and water-bombing planes.
I've pointed out in the past that with the overlap of the fire seasons in the North and South hemispheres it will be very unlikely we will be able to help each other out with manpower or assets. So we have to accept responsibility for our own firefighting; to train military personnel and provide equipment to support the volunteers, instead of expecting support from overseas.
Margaret Lee, Hawker
TO THE POINT
RECOGNITION IS DUE
One would have thought the Chief Minister would have organised something to show the government's recognition on behalf of the city of the brave efforts of the Canberra Raiders and the wonderful enthusiasm of the thousands of green army supporters who shook the rafters of the Olympic Stadium and did the City of Canberra proud.
David Fisher, Curtin
CALL IT A DRAW
Commiserations to the Canberra Raiders and their supporters who were robbed, not once but twice, by the bad calls of the referees. In the interests of justice and a fair go, the NRL should announce the game be called a draw and both teams declared the winners.
Richard Kavanaugh, Tweed Heads, NSW
CIVIC RECEPTION PLEASE
We watched the NRL Grand Final from afar, first with excitement, then with dismay. Given the extraordinary circumstances of their loss, Ricky and the team should be accorded the civic reception and parade that our ACT Government and Raiders fans would surely have given them had they won.
Allan Williams, Forrest
Raiders, you are winners, no one in this town believes you lost anything on Sunday except the label "underdogs". Hold your heads high.
John Howarth, Weston
ALY IS OVERDONE
I see Waleed Aly as likely to come to a similar end as Rove McManus; both unfunny and silly with an unlikable twist.
Mokhles K Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
HANGING TO GOOD
As one privileged to witness 1210 and another of its marque haul a train to Canberra to deliver it and celebrate Canberra Day, with an oration from the Honourable C.S. Daley, I say crucifixion for those malefactors who lit the rail fire, not women surely, and were hell bent on destroying our rail history.
Stuart J. McIntosh, Isabella Plains
I'm glad Bill Shorten has admitted Labor pursued taxation restructure in the last election the country did not accept. Labor should have put more emphasis on jobs. The country also needs the changes proposed by Labor. But they must come gradually.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
If you want to hire an apologist you can't do better than an ex-Labor premier: Anna Bligh for the banks and their egregious behaviour, Peter Beattie for ARL referees who make a mockery of grand finals. That's why superannuated Labor premiers, preferably from Queensland, are in such hot corporate demand.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
Isn't our coal loving, Trump lite, PM the head bubbler in the Canberra Bubble?
R King, Melba
BRADY IN DENIAL
Howard Brady (Letters, October 8), you are a climate denier. The "evidence" you cite for your beliefs has already been contradicted and disproved by an overwhelming majority of scientists from every field capable of contributing to it.
Paul Wayper, Cook
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