x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Fallacies about protecting the US Constitution

James Zogby's opinion article US rhetoric strays far from America's founding values (March 1) has to be rebutted.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of blowing up an aeroplane over Detroit.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of blowing up an aeroplane over Detroit.

James Zogby's opinion article US rhetoric strays far from America's founding values (March 1) has to be rebutted. First of all, al Qa'eda in the Arabia Peninsula, who trained the underwear bomber, released a statement after the failed attempt saying: "We tell the American people ... we have come to slaughter you [and] will strike you with no previous warning." That's a threat to our constitution, I think. A senior counterterror official told the New York Daily News three weeks ago that the belief that Umar Abdulmutallab was "the only one trained to execute a plan would be incredibly naive".

Second, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were undertaken by a president who actually (rightly) believed that the highest duty of the office is to protect and defend the American people, so no, it is not clear at all that these were not wars to protect the US Constitution. Third, I don't recall Umar Abdulmutallab was ever a resident or citizen of the US and therefore protected by the constitution. In reality, he is an enemy combatant who, in violation of the Geneva Convention, did not wear a uniform and hid among innocent civilians in order to attempt an act of war. Giving him constitutional protection would therefore undermine the Geneva Convention since its purpose is to protect the innocent from violations of the rules of war. It is indeed important that Americans study their history and founding documents, for even a brief overview would highlight the flaws in Mr Zogby's argument. Ted Baxter, Abu Dhabi

The article Cabbies quit over 'false promises' (February 28) was a good story. Over all, the conditions, both working and contractual, for taxi drivers across the country are appalling. At a time when the Roads and Transport Authority is supposed to be making roads safer, they could start by ensuring that those who spend the most time on our roads and who are responsible for the safety of others are given at the very least a fair and safe deal. Zak Tempest, Dubai

We recently visited a coffee shop at the top of the tower at Marina Mall and were gobsmacked when we received our bill for two iced coffees. The bill included a 20 per cent surcharge for the view. When questioned further on this, the staff told us that it was to pay for the lift.  We scrutinised all menus, advertising and notices at the top and the bottom of the tower, but nowhere was there a mention of a viewing or lift surcharge. Isn't this just a service charge by stealth? Obviously, we refused to pay it. Maggie Hannan, Abu Dhabi

In reference to the article Winter is over, so India has a party before the monsoon (February 28), finally a group has taken up the lost cause of Indian classical music in Dubai, music which the world takes notice of but we Indians don't bother much about and thus get trapped in the process of losing our identity. Thanks to the Malhaar Choir for giving our young children exposure to the rich cultural heritage of India. I attended their performance once and it was really soulful. It was interesting to find not only Indians but people from all over the world joining in on the Indian traditional beats. Indrani Bose, Dubai

According to the article Crime? Not on our streets (February 23), 97 per cent of the population feel safe in UAE. So, three per cent don't feel safe. That's a huge number. I'm one of those. I moved to Dubai 1995, and my house was robbed in October 2008 while I was on vacation. No one has been caught. When I lodged an official complaint in writing on my arrival in Dubai, I was told by the concerned police officer about 20 cases of house break-ins registered in 15 days. Only two cases were solved. For me and my family, Dubai is not a safe place to live as it was prior to 2000. There need to be strict guidelines to landlords to make their properties safe by providing adequate security in the buildings which are rented out. Sanjay Bhadkamkar, Dubai

In reference to the article Dubai's new Mexican wave (February 16), why do none of the "Mexican" restaurants here make fresh salsa? In Mexico, the waiter will make your salsa to your specifications at the table. It is normal in nice restaurants there. It's small personal touches like this that are lacking in most restaurants in Dubai.

Phoebe Eden, UK