Letters to
Please send your letters to Backtalk editor Sam Koritz. Letters become the property of Antiwar.com and may be edited before posting. Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Antiwar.com.

Posted February 3, 2003

Regarding 'Balkanizing the World' by Nebojsa Malic:

Thanks for raising, once again, the tragic but undone story of Yugoslavia, including the intense demonization of the Serbian people – and linking it to the threatened war against Iraq and attempts to topple the government of Venezuela. I just wanted to bring to your attention a parallel situation in the Caribbean country of Haiti. There's been an ongoing – now the second – U.S.-backed attempt to oust the elected government of President Bertrand Aristide. This is true despite the fact that Aristide has become more conciliatory and tilted towards appeasing the U.S., in stark contrast to when he was a priest – during and after the U.S.-backed Duvalier dictatorship – advocating for the rights of poor Haitians and inspiring them to action. He was first deposed in a U.S.-instigated military coup in 1991 – sound familiar? – and sent into exile after winning a landslide election that took some people, especially Washington, by surprise. The US is always screaming about "democracy" and holding elections. Except if the candidate they back loses we get "regime change." As I'm sure you know, there are many examples of this in history with all its tragic consequences for human development. The struggle, however, continues. I visited Yugoslavia not long after the bombing. It was heartwrenching to see the devastation– physical and psychological. Many scars – even shock – remain. But I am confident, as was said during the antiapartheid struggle which finally triumphed, that "truth crushed to the ground shall rise again."

~ Pat Chin

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I knew that Haiti had similar problems, but I was not aware of their similarity to this degree. Thank you for bringing this to light. As for the Empire's victims in the Balkans and elsewhere, I can only hope they will be able to rise again and reclaim truth, justice and dignity. Without those, they can never be free – and without freedom, they can never prosper.

The similarities between Clinton's war on Serbia and Baby Bush's war on Iraq are too numerous to be coincidental. Nebojsa Malic's article omitted the use of armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds that can, and will, ravage the health of people for generations to come. Also, the principle beneficiaries, Albania and Israel, respectively, can carve out new territories as a consequence of US conquest. There may, however, be a tactical difference during the Iraqi campaign. Since the boy emperor has demanded a new toy, the world may witness the first use of mini, bunker busting, nuclear weapons by the US

~ Ron Kovcin, Ohio

Nebojsa Malic replies:

My apologies. There was no good reason to exclude the mention of DU weapons, which are very toxic and produce long-term harm ('Gulf War Syndrome,' etc.). As for the much-heralded new weapon, all I can say is that there is no such thing as a 'tactical' nuke when it comes to fallout and lingering effects. Only a complete idiot would ever use nuclear weapons as anything but a deterrent. The very fact that such use is being contemplated – in the name of fighting 'weapons of mass destruction,' no less – is telling.

Great article, Mr. Malic. My father returned to Serbia recently after nearly 20 years. Its truly a sad, demoralized place. But it won't last forever. All empires fall and their victims often recover. When he was there, he heard that people in Kosovo's capital are about to erect a statue of their heroes Madelline Halfbright and Slick Willy. Have you heard anything about this? Maybe you can look into it – it sounds like an interesting story with interesting implications.

~ Milrados

Regarding 'Ethnic Cleansing: Some Common Reactions' by Ran HaCohen:

I find your arguments quite stirring in light of the fact I have just recently sourced some information via my university degree on the establishment of the Israeli State.

Your comments on ethnic cleansing and the comparisons of the Nazis, even thought dissimilar, do share some frightening similarities.

If your arguments can make people think that all humans have a right to live in peace, harmony and their worship of individual gods, people would be swapping guns for bread and offering to share their holy lands.

~ Michael Murray

Your smart scientist and political analyst Ran Hacohen is quoted on four Palestinian web sites that ask for extermination of the "Zionist Entity" (Israel). You do not believe me? Go look: http://alaqsaintifada.org/analyses/ – is one of them. ...

Mr. Hacohen, you miss something very simple: they will put you in a gas chamber first as they did in 1940 when all "loyal" German-Jewish journalists where executed with the highest priority. Go read Der Sturmer – in 1935 the majority of them were quoted by that "objective" newspaper. Go to http://hamas.org – they quoted you but at the same time they want you dead! Go learn simple lessons.

~ Michael S.

Regarding 'Our Reds, and Theirs' by Justin Raimondo:

Thank you for reminding me that Miller is a piece of beton. In my shocked state, on hearing that Poland was supporting those despicable, brainless, white house windbags, I had completely forgotten about Miller's track record. Thanks for reminding me. Your analysis, as always, brilliant, funny and spot on.

[Regarding "Beware the Ides of March":] Please do keep watching EastEnders! In the UK, still alas very much a class ridden society, it's considered "frightfully uncool" to admit to watching this programme. Next Sunday afternoon, when I will be watching the omnibus edition, I will raise a glass of excellent red wine to: your good health!

~ Elizabeth W., Antiwar.com volunteer researcher

Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:

Just don't tell us what happens. We're a few years behind. Over here, Tiffany just died last week.

I just couldn't resist commenting on Glenn Reynolds' daunting accusation of "ickiness" directed at anyone who participated in recent peace marches organized by folks whose politics differ from his:

As a middle-aged person, I must say that a fear of ickiness hasn't been a driving force in determining my choices since perhaps junior high school. And just look at the excellent company that we icky folks are in, folks who also attended the peace marches: those nasty people from the National Council of Churches of Christ, as well as vile Quakers, shameless United Methodists, disgusting Unitarians, creepy Mennonites, hideous Brethren, slimy Presbyterians, repulsive Episcopalians, festering Catholics, and grotesque Lutherans, all under the banner of the chief sicko of them all, Jesus Christ the Peacemaker – the big pinko. And think of the eyebrows that can be raised from keeping company with the likes of Veterans for Peace and Amnesty International, who were also present. It's enough to make one want to wash one's hands profusely to get the germs off, isn't it?

~ L. Cabirac

Regarding 'Beware the Ides of March' by Justin Raimondo:

Great article. Bush reminds me of the insane boy emperor in the movie Gladiator. This administrations proposal of the "shock and awe" military strike against Iraq is very disturbing to say the least. I suppose they aren't considering all the children that will die because of this strike and we then have the audacity to label other countries as rogue terrorist nations! Amazing hypocrisy.

~ Joe H.

All good, except your apparent dismissal of the "peace movement."

I don't know what you think the average citizen should do do try to get the attention of the Administration, of Congress, of the Media and the rest of the people who are mesmerized by their TV – but I think we should be out in the streets.

Email and snail mail and phone calls to congress are ignored. The media is the whore of the international corporations and seems to be frothing for war – for some unfathomable reason. Who are they going to sell their stuff to when the world goes up in smoke?

We need to be out in the streets. If people think ANSWER is "Maoist" or not "on message" or whatever – so what. I am not a Marxist or a Stalinist or whatever because someone else who may or may not be is out there with me.

Three and more cheers to General Schwartzkopf. And do you suppose General Schwartzkopf would be saying the things he said if he didn't think the people of the USA were sympathetic to his views?

We need to be out in the streets. That is the only thing other than money that the administration and congress will listen to!

~ Tom Duncan, Astoria, Oregon

I've been reading the net writers for a while and always enjoy those who break new ground. I believe it is good that the Internet gives thinkers who don't get their ideas reported in the mainstream a podium.

Unfortunately, in my estimation, too many let their bias and personal animosity become the main thrust of their observations and while passion has a place in writing it too often obscures the message. 'Beware the Ides of March' by Raimondo, I believe, is a good example of bias making reason unclear. The writer quite obviously detests the president and his administration but gives no credible evidence (other than anecdotal) to justify his hatred and distrust of the president's plans to protect this nation, relying instead on the choir (readers) to hum along in syncopation. Few soldiers, including the good General Schwarzkopf like war. A war with Iraq would most likely bring out the worst weapons mankind has ever produced. People would die, many of them innocent children. But, like it or not G. Bush is our President and it is he that has to deal with the depressing realism of the new century. Not too long ago our nation lost thousands of lives in a terrorist attack. We were vulnerable then and still are. Iraq is a rogue nation that aids and abets terrorism. Saddam Hussein, its dictator, hates us and will stop at nothing to bolster his power while diminishing ours. He would do this by destabilizing the Mideast. It follows that a loss of mid-eastern oil would send us and much of the rest of the world into a terrible depression.

Meanwhile, to pile it on, at home Bush is stuck with his handshake agreement with V. Fox to keep Mexico non-Communist. (Remember Fidel? Fox does and plays that tarot card well!) Consequently our southern border is allowed to leak like a pasta drainer, leading to all sorts of unpleasantness for those whose lives are impacted. The Prez's war on terror has added further problems. Those who are not braindead hate the loss of freedoms we took for granted just a few years ago and we make our anger known. Meanwhile, as I see it through my bias, too many of our piggy pols, Rep. and Dem. alike lift their slime covered faces from the pig trough just long enough to grunt their annoyance at the interruption, caring little for the nation except what power and treasure it can supply them. Every day and in every way corruption continues to grow around us. But, it's only "deja vu all over again", same old food chain progression. The big pigs eat everything beneath them.

Never in our history as a nation have we enjoyed a government that didn't have it's own agenda, helping the people only as an afterthought. I doubt we ever will. That does not mean we should wring our hands in despair, it just means that we have to grow stronger and longer teeth and like javelina pack together and bite the hell out of those big, fat swillers above us. Of course we may be fighting only a holding action but our targets will for sure spend more time sweating what they have swinging beneath as they bury their snouts in the slop.

~ Mike Casper, Tucson, Arizona

After hearing Bush speak last night, we cannot wait until February 15th for the next large protest. We need to go to DC now and stay there. I'm willing to stay for as long as it takes. We need to start the movement in front of the capital and stay there! Bring your tents and warm clothes! Any takers?!

~ KND Cain

Backing Al Qaeda

I am confused as to why you believe in no war. The only way to true peace is with war. America must carry a big stick. How can you watch what happened during 9-11 and not believe in this cause? And to say that Iraq was not involved is crazy. You can't put together an operation like that without major backing, major financial and intelligence backing. A man in a cave can't do it alone. To think that is childish. Stop living in the '60s and join the real world. Stop holding onto the past and look toward the children's future. You people have way to much time on your hands to waste it on full time protest. Grow up.

~ Nate L.

Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:

We are in favor of going after the perpetrators of 9/11. However, there is no evidence linking the fundamentalists of al-Qaeda with their archenemy, the secular Sunnis of Iraq.

The director of the CIA has stated that there is no connection, and there was an article yesterday by the leading expert on al-Qaeda, Peter Bergen, who says that there is no connection: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,885140,00.html. If you are looking for big terror money you are looking to the wrong country.

Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:

I haven't seen any evidence that Iraqis have funded al Qaeda. On the other hand, in the past year the feds have shut down dozens of organizations that have allegedly (these claims are all according to federal prosecutors, so insert your own allegeds from here on in) been raising funds for al Qaeda in the United States. This week it was revealed that one of these organizations, Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), channeled funds from some of the largest US corporations to al Qaeda. (See "Top companies gave to Islamic charity linked to al-Qaeda" Financial Times, January 31, 2003.)

The BIF ties to al Qaeda may go beyond fundraising, however; BIF's former leader had authorization from bin Laden to act as his representative – even to sign bin Laden's name to documents. Also, founding documents (circa 1988) of the al Qaeda organization were found in BIF's Bosnian office during a raid last year. (See "US ties Arnaout, bin Laden," by Curtis Lawrence, Chicago Sun-Times, January 30, 2003 and Treasury Department press release po3632.)

Perhaps most shocking of all, BIF's president tried to buy uranium for an al Qaeda nuke! (See "Syrian-born man accused of role in suspect charity," Associated Press, January 31, 2003.)

Seems hard to believe, since their assets are frozen, but BIF's website claims that donations are still tax-deductible.

The US and Saudi governments used private sector Islamism as a semi-plausible deniability tactic against the Soviets in Afghanistan. BIF, a Saudi private sector organization with ties to al Qaeda and other Afghanistan Islamists, moved its headquarters to the United States in 1992. That's the year the US armed Bosnian Muslims in violation of a UN arms embargo, while BIF channeled tax-deductible donations from Americans to Bosnian Muslims (as they would later fund fighters in Chechnya). US officials can plausibly deny knowing of BIF's arms funding programs; as far we know, though, Iraq never gave tax breaks to the bin Laden nuke program.

Free on the Internet

Letters against the war by Tiziano Terzani, one of the best Italian journalists, was "censored" in the Anglo-Saxon world. The book, with his pacifist message, is a bestseller in Europe. In Italy, it is at the heart of the new antiwar mass movement. "Strangely", all attempts to find a UK or a USA publisher for the book have miserably failed.

In the English speaking world, nobody, except an Indian publishing house, has dared touch it. Tiziano is now making it available for free on the Internet As Tiziano says: "This is the time to think, to raise our consciousness and to save ourselves. Nobody else can do it for us". The book will be available in the "classical" version, in February, 2003, on the site www.tizianoterzani.com.

~ Max T.

Does Anyone Know Who We're Bombing Today?

Evidence is gone with melted flesh, bones turned to dust, villages disappeared, cries of pain lost in clouded explosions, generations flow faded to crumbled hope, does anyone know we fill nights' sky, targeting the untargetable, did any of us get to vote on this homicide, are we the shadow of violence, slipping into dark corners, scalpel in hand, choosing victims for the cut of death, are we the locust that consumes human fields, does our hunger covet this earth, does anyone know what's going on, we are armed and ready, stealth is a dance we know so well, under cover of flag we are genociders, media puppets are fed on schedule, they throw up a killer's meal, masked to hide the stench annihilation,

does anyone know who we're bombing today, who we bombed yesterday, who we have in mind for tomorrow, what do the killers tell their grandchildren, do they give them toy guns with live ammunition, hide them in lead lined shelters, explain to them why they have no playmates, why air is poison, why windows are plastered with secrets, ghost committees of oil drinkers, munition makers, earth thieves, meet behind our troubled eyes, we don't realize a need for vision of discovery, to question unknown moves of elected liars, walking blind in patriotic mist, over mass graves covered with plastic flowers,

does anyone know who we're bombing today, do we accept there is danger of our execution, do we let this deceptive shade fall across our heart, does any one know extinction will be our gift, chain reaction of false leaders hate, their quest for power and elusive crowns, what do we tell our grandchildren, what do we say when they ask for toy guns and live ammunition,

does anyone know who we're bombing today, does anyone no where, are we so sure our leaders don't have us in their sites, does anyone know, does anyone know.

~ Phil Goldvarg


Just found your site today have been reading quite a bit, found it very fascinating and interesting, and very alarming regarding all the bombing that the US and UK have been carrying out in Iraq since the Gulf war. God damn it, this is the year bloody 2003 how can countries like the US and UK get away with this? This is bloody criminal, to go on bombing a country for practically no sensible reason.

And now we suddenly have a country that was bombed to shreds in 1991, that has been under constant sanctions since then, including regular bombings, how can it be suddenly a threat to the world, especially the US?

~ Mo Iqbal, London, UK

Iraq: A View and a Summary

As support for his war starts to fall, Bush is trying to push for the inspections to end so he can order his attack. No real threats or weapons of mass destruction where found by the inspectors. It's all speculation and fear mongering rhetoric. The people know something is amiss. Support for the war is at an all time low.

If Saddam is not taken out then the war on terror, and all that it implies (USA PATRIOT Act etc.), will be questioned furthur. The president will lose face and there will be little chance of being reelected so he can continue to manage the people as he sees fit.

The "need" to attack Iraq has almost nothing to do with oil and everything to do with the so called "war on terror" It's about bringing home a trophy buck so people can think that this "war" is actually doing some good, and blindly support it furthur. No American likes Saddam Hussein. We all want him out of power. So they are exaggerating the threat, and continue to claim evidence that no one else has seen. Iraq is not a new issue: they where supposed to be disarming since the Gulf War's end. It is an exaggerated issue, a distraction, and a test.

It's a test to of Bush to see how far he can go. He's been doing a good job twisting people's arms so they go along with the way he views things. In a world that is globalizing this is no way to practice diplomacy. In the short term he may get what he wants but I can't help think that the arm twisting will come back to haunt us.

Saddam Hussein is a danger, but there is no need to rush to war. Not now that we have to whole world's attention on the issue. Let the inspectors. work, share the evidence, keep everyone focused, and have patience. If Saddam has his weapons there is no way he can hide them under such mounting pressure. There will be no need to make a case if what they claim becomes apparent to all. If not then who knows what the seeds of doubt will blossom into.

~ Ryan Erickson

Eight European Nations

With the majority of European polls showing the lack of support for war with Iraq, I wonder what the leaders of these nations have been promised in the way of foreign aid or the spoils of war. To call them whores would be an insult to that noble profession; whores only sell their bodies, their souls are their own.

~ Sandra Dente

War – Neither on Iraq or Elsewhere

A campaign against war with Iraq looks likely to take off as soon as the unofficial leaks about Tony Blair's agreement with Dubya Bush on the matter are turned into public announcements. It could rival the intensity of the opposition to the Suez adventure of 1956 and is likely to spell big trouble for the Labour Party. It could even open the way to a revival for the Tories.

The fitness or otherwise of Saddam Hussein is hardly at issue. It is clear that he is a murderous psychopath who is a danger to people in and around Iraq. To have him out of power – and preferably put on trial for at least some of his crimes – would be a boon to many of them. Few could make a case for anything in the way of easy treatment for him or his regime. However, there are several reasons for opposing such a war.

First, it can be considered unjustifiable, since one can argue that whatever 'evidence' of Iraqi preparation for nuclear warfare is adduced, it will pale in comparison with the known capacity of the United States and other avowedly nuclear powers. Nor, judging by the willingness of Sharon and the Israeli government to ignore international law and use massive violence, is there much reason to believe that Israeli nuclear weapons are in safe hands.

Second, there is the belief, held by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, among many others, that any attack on Iraq must be preceded by United Nations decision. That, of course, is what Tony Blair – but few others – thinks is already given by earlier Security Council resolutions. But since the British government is unwilling to return to the Council for confirmation of those resolutions, and is prepared to seek a ruling from the World Court on the matter, more unprejudiced opinion is unlikely to concur.

Third, a pacifist view holds all wars to be wrong and therefore not to be supported. This, although intellectually having merit, fails to convince majority opinion and has the weakness that it does not, amongst ordinary people, offer an alternative way of enforcing law that appears meaningful. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the outcome of wars is never what their initiators intended or predicted, doing nothing, which is what might be the alternative to waging war, is not regarded as feasible.

Fourth comes a world federalist objection, which is,basically, that if there is an intention to uphold international law, then it should be done by an international force, one not directed by national governments which inevitably mix their own state's interests (and often their own personal stakes) with the supposed drive to correct the abuses they are seeking to end. Federalists go further and declare that although the world is so far only equipped with a partial and undemocratic Security Council bearing responsibility for upholding international peace and security, this is quite inadequate.

Not until the Security Council is at least reformed sufficiently to give it a democratic legitimacy, could there be any question of supporting a military attack on Iraq. And in principle, upholding international law requires, not a military response, but a police action. Not a bombardment and massacre, as in the Gulf War, but a series of measures of peaceful compulsion within a legal framework: sanctions against the Iraqi government, the sequestration of assets, public and private, the arrest of named leaders, control of imports of all military supplies and equipment.

That this is what has been happening to Iraq for the past ten years, ineffectively, is untrue. The frontiers of Iraq have not been policed by any properly international force; instead, the American and British air forces have been practicing their skills by regular assaults upon selected installations. The sanctions have been applied, as usual, by states that cared or could be bribed or bullied to join in. The proper legal framework of a police operation has always been lacking, because the Gulf War and its successor actions have been accompanied by the covert disquiet and occasional hostility of the rest of the world and particularly of the Arab neighbours.

It is clear that the objections to a war with Iraq can equally be transposed to a war against any other enemy. Indeed the demand to shift any attempt to enforce international law (as seen by the protagonists) by nation-states to a democratically accountable international forces is applicable to all areas of tension that can lead to violence. In fact, it amounts to a demand for an abolition of war, an abolition that can only be brought about by replacing national armed forces with properly responsible international police.

~ John Roberts, Littlehampton, UK


The whole business of a possible threat from smallpox should be a concern for everyone. All of the known instances of the smallpox virus are either in the possession of the the US or Russia. Some say that small quantities have gotten out, possibly into the hands of terrorists, but no real evidence has surfaced to substantiate this claim. Thus, it must be assumed, that if an outbreak of smallpox occurs, then it would have to had come from either the US or from Russia.

When one compares the threat of a smallpox attack with the Anthrax attacks that occurred in 2001, one has to wonder what is really going on. Initially the Anthrax was blamed on Arabs and then on Iraq specifically. The Anthrax, it turned out, came from an American military laboratory. Is the smallpox threat really a threat from Americans? If a smallpox attack occurs, are the first targets going to be newsmen and liberal politicians as was the case with Anthrax? Will it Iraq be blamed? I don't know but it all sounds kind of fishy to me.

~ Edward H., Colorado

Five Letters For Peace

In my support for the antiwar movement, I've been mailing a few letters here and there – hey, every bit helps – and I had the thought that, with so many people around the world actively protesting the impending war against Iraq, if a lot of us wrote to the same small group of high-profile politicians (along with whatever other mailing and communicating we're doing) as a part of a targeted peaceful mailing campaign, it could add up to a monster – maybe even record-breaking – pile of letters, making for yet another media-attracting little event highlighting the depth and breadth of global antiwar sentiment.

This minor idea may not amount to much, but I'm going to share it anyway with some like-minded citizens of conscience, like my fellow antiwar readers, and – who knows? – maybe that mysterious spark of web enabled viral spread will happen, and the message of peace will find yet another channel in which to be loudly expressed. Imagine a million antiwar letters piled three stories high in Paris, London and New York – it would be something to see.

I sent my "Five Letters" earlier today, and the very modest and simple (I'm definitely no webmaster) webpage for the proposal is set up at www.fiveletters.com.

~ Miles M. Smoljo

Regarding Halil Hasic's letter posted January 29:

I follow Antiwar.com with enthusiastic interest, and respect your comments on the intemperate screed submitted by Mr. Halil Hasic.

I turned to the very useful tenc.net to check transcripts/translations of Milosevic's speech of 28 June 1989 at Kosovo Polye/Gazimestan. It appears with some useful comments by Francisco White Gil (University of Pennsylvania), detailing some of the incorrect, and I think fraudulent and mendacious interpretations by NATO propagandists. The 'kill the Turks' phrase does not appear, nor anything remotely like it. On the contrary, it is a multiethnic and multicultural speech throughout. Mr. Hasic has dealt his bona fides a serious blow unless he can reference his allegation precisely to an unimpeachable source.

Nor does Mr. Hasic seriously question, let alone refute, the Decihmann/Living Marxism critique of the depiction of the, apparently tubercular, Fikret Alic at Trnopolje in the ITN coverage. Though ITN successfully sued LM for libel (under the repressive English libel laws), the trial judge, Morland, pointed out that the reporters had not told the truth about the fact that Mr. Alic was in fact outside the wire.

Nor do I see how Mr. Hasic could personally have witnessed the torching of a thousand minarets etc., not to mention the myth of the Serb rape camps (see Diana Johnstone in tenc.net referring to Nora Beloff). General Rose's memoirs provide material that is corrective to tirades such as Mr. Hasic's – he instances the reduction to tears of an American propagandist reporter by the simple demonstration that every single allegedly Serb atrocity had been committed by other parties.

Not to mention the fact that the nonsectarian Fikret Abdic beat the Islamist Alija Izetbegovic for the presidency of BiH in, I think, 1990. 'Bosnians' (by which I think Mr. Hasic means 'Bosniaks' i.e. those who are in civic terms defined as Muslims) did, and one might hope still may do, value a peaceful democratic and liberal BiH over 'the promotion of their own culture' by which I take it Mr. Hasic means Izetbegovic's Islamist Declaration. I understand the the office of the NATO Reichskommissar is censoring classic Serb culture from state schools under the plea that it is sectarian (i.e. it celebrates Serb resistance to the Ottoman Empire. Perhaps he would also censor the culture of the American colonists who rebelled against the British Empire!).

Lastly, the mere exposure of the lies with which the Empires cloak their policies is itself work which helps to reduce or contain the interventionists. Domestic repression runs into the obstacles set by the forces of civil society; but imperial interventionism needs constant critique, otherwise only the venal Hill and Knowlton and Ruder Finn and their expatriate associates have a say on foreign policy. Thought, inquiry, factual accuracy, audi alteram partem are inherently noninterventionist.

~ Ben Cosin

Regarding the Backtalk editor's reply to Kenneth Sterling's letter, posted January 21:

Ah, the joy of a great argument. I really do enjoy arguing over just about any subject, including the subject of a possible war with Iraq. In the first letter of mine that you posted you made several replies that I wish to contest. However in the interest of not looking like a total obsessive compulsive over the issue I will try to be as brief as possible.

Starting from the bottom. You told me to read the constitution and even were so kind as to include the "congress shall declare war" part. You failed two mention two things. One, we can't really declare war on a group of people with no set nationality. We have no legal entity with which to be at war. The war on terrorism is only a war as labeled by the press. In reality it is a coalition of nations exercising mutual defense clauses in relation to terrorist threats. And, two, we have not declared war on Iraq nor have we said that we are 100% sure that we are going to declare war. We are merely arranging our forces in case war is declared.

You simply dismissed the fact that the Iraq's fired missiles into Israeli as a tactical issue. The fact that those missiles were fired on a nation that had not lifted a finger during the entire conflict and had were meant to kill civilians. There was no tactical reason to fire those missiles into Israel. None what so ever. Even now in this war Israeli is not touching the Iraq issue, just like last time.

You implied that America a nuclear power was the aggressor and Iraq was the poor helpless innocent victim. Well maybe not poor and helpless but the victim. While in this case America could be viewed as being the aggressor, they can also be viewed as being the policeman (yet again). If a policeman comes to your house and suspects that you have a weapon and were intending to use it, that police man would do whatever he could within the law (yes, so far we have stayed within international law and abided by the UN's wishes) to disarm you before you hurt someone. It can be called preemptive defense, or avoiding a bad situation, or intervention. We are not the bad guys just because we are trying to save the world and ourselves from some heartache down the road.

"Since you raised the subject, it should be noted that the Bush administration's preemptive defense argument resembles the Nazis' justification for invading the Soviet Union."

Except that the Nazi's simply wanted to dominate the world by themselves and viewed Russia as a obstacle to remove. Bush's preemptive defense does not include world domination afterwards, in fact his includes rebuilding entire countries.

~ Kenneth Sterling

Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:

In the spirit of non-obsessive-compulsiveness, I'll just reply to the policeman analogy. Police generally police land over which the government they represent claims a near-monopoly of force, that is, domination. If the US military is to police the world, that would seem to imply an attempt by the US government to dominate the world.

Regarding "Target: Scott Ritter" by Justin Raimondo:

Raimondo's piece on Ritter is rather offensive to victims of statutory rape. My sister was taken advantage of at the age of 14 by an adult who escaped prosecution. Raimondo somehow divines from a sealed record that the dismissal in Ritter's favor was due to some x-file cover up, and not perhaps from simply a poor arrest or other equally viable reason. He points to Ritter as a solid family man. The guy who took advantage of my sister had a wife and family. ...

I hope in the future you will demand a little more thought from your contributors. It is one thing to be against a war. It is another thing to insult victims of monsters in the prosecution of this opinion.

~ Michael S., California

Regarding "Is George W. Bush an imperialist?" by Pat Buchanan (WorldNetDaily):

In Buchanan's article about whether or not Bush is an imperialist, he states that invading Iraq would be the first purely imperial war in our history. He obviously doesn't know about the history of the US's relationship with third world countries in the Americas such as Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Panama.

Columbia never attacked the US, yet TR supported a rebellion in Panama and sent boats to extort the Colombian to allow Panama to secede from Columbia. This was not to defend the US, but to help his cronies get a cooperative government in the region to allow them to build a canal. The US intervened in Guatemala in order to help United Fruit put in power a more "cooperative" regime.

An even more famous imperialist war was the Vietnam War, which was motivated by the desire to create a "Great Society" program in Vietnam. The raving mad utopian imperialists were even planning a TVA-inspired project for the Mekong. The supposed threat to our national security from Vietnam was a joke, as was the ideological "domino theory" smokescreen. Vietnam never had the means to invade the US, yet thousands of Americans died in that country.

Sorry Pat, but our country has been engaged in purely imperial wars for quite some time.

~ GD Nystrom

Regarding Sonja Coryat's letter posted January 29:

I second the idea: let's propose that Jimmy Carter adopt the role as human shield. I think we could all benefit from such selfless humanitarian service.

~ C.J. Bergin

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