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Letters to
Antiwar.com
May 3, 2005

9-11 Conspiracy Fact & Fiction

The appearance on the very same day of Justin Raimondo's "Waco as Metaphor" and someone else's "911 Conspiracy: Fact & Fiction" has me puzzled. The two messages seem to clash.

By linking the official lies about Waco and Iraq, Raimondo cautions us against trusting Big Brother. By publishing The New American item denouncing the legion of folk who have taken a closer look at the 9/11 incident, you are asking us to render unto Big Brother just one more time. Can we have it both ways?

Should we give this government, in its fanciful War on Terrorism, the benefit of the doubt on a casus belli that would be an exception to the disingenuous rule of its historic species, if it actually turned out to be authentic?

If we accept the government's threadbare case that a caveman in Afghanistan somehow orchestrated the smoothly professional destruction of the World Trade Center and also managed to take a potshot at our revered Pentagon, we have a wonderful argument for attacking and occupying even more Middle Eastern oil fields and, of course, protecting Israel from all those bad people. So, let the good times roll!

And naturally your TNA screed tells us all the reasons for dismissing the accumulating shelf of literature that questions the 9/11 cover story: It is being written by Frenchmen, communists, liberals, flying-saucer spotters or worse. Where have we seen this annoying pattern of ad hominem argument before? Neocons, anyone?

I'm glad that the 9/11 incident was revisited, if only through the back door of a sudden attack on those (not fit to print in "major media") who dare to question our wise and noble leaders. But those who actually go to the trouble of reading Thierry Meyssan's book – and a few other serious investigations of the matter – will quickly discover that the TNA item didn't lay a glove on it, apart from misrepresenting.

Since you have given us a choice, I'll go with Raimondo's good presentation on the underlying slanders and lies that led us first to Waco, where the First and Second Amendments fell, and then to Iraq, where the rest of U.S. rule of law received the coup de grace. At least that message was unambiguous.

(Now that you have opened this Pandora's Box of 9/11 in a backhanded manner, why not let it all hang out? At least the TNA article dared to mention some of the ignored sources.)

~ E. Roby, Steinbach, Germany

Scott Horton replies:

Dear Mr. Roby,

Thank you for your questions. I assure you, our purpose in linking to Mr. Jasper's article was only to ask you to take a closer look at those taking a closer look at September 11th. We are not, and I don't believe Mr. Jasper was, asking anyone to blindly accept what the government says. (After all the state's is a conspiracy theory as well.) Rather we should all apply as much skepticism to those we seem to agree with as we do to the state and its organs.

You are absolutely right to say that September 11th is an exception of a casus belli, if the government didn't set it up and/or misrepresent the true situation. The American wars against Mexico, the South, Spain, the Central and Axis powers, Vietnam, and the two Gulf wars all hinged upon official deception of the American people; however this still only provides context and a question, not an answer.

It is true that the government has not been forthcoming with information, but that is easily explained by a simple motivation for covering themselves. After all, it is the national government's job to stop such plots, and they failed miserably. Bin Laden himself has taken "credit" for the attack, and explained the motivation as recently as his speech last October.

Osama bin Laden is not really so much a caveman as he is the well-educated son of a billionaire leading an Islamist insurgency. There is every indication that they would be able to accomplish the attacks. At least a half-dozen pilots of commercial aircraft have told me personally that any six guys with rudimentary skills could have taken over any of those planes and successfully guided them to their targets. As Jasper wrote,

"Ronald D. Bull, a retired United Airlines pilot, in Jupiter, Florida, told The New American, 'It's not that difficult, and certainly not impossible,' noting that it's much easier to crash intentionally into a target than to make a controlled landing. 'If you're doing a suicide run, like these guys were doing, you'd just keep the nose down and push like the devil,' says Capt. Bull, who flew 727s, 747s, 757s, and 767s for many years, internationally and domestically, including into the Washington, D.C., airports."

So it would seem completely possible for the average hijackers to pull something like this off.

Of course, the government has taken complete advantage of the situation in many ways, but that is the nature of government: to thrive on failure, whether the failure is deliberate or not.

I can speak for Antiwar.com's editorial director Justin Raimondo, founder and director Eric Garris, editor Matt Barganier, myself and presumably the rest of our writers to say that we don't believe there is evidence to indicate involvement of our government in the attacks of September 11th, though we do condemn the Bush administration's use of that tragedy as a pretext to expand the American Empire abroad and destroy the Bill of Rights here at home. Eric Garris comments, "We are happy to run reasonable analysis, but we have no interest in running questions."

Frankly sir, there are many unanswered questions about September 11th, but many questions, even if they are good ones, do not amount to evidence.

I was puzzled by your inclusion of a link to William Jasper's article on 9/11 conspiracy theories, most notably because he appears to have his sights set on straw-man arguments.

One does not need to believe in secret missile attacks or covert detonations to suspect there may be something rotten in Denmark here. For instance, Mr. Jasper does not touch on the fate of WTC 7, nor does he ask the obvious question regarding the Twin Towers themselves: what was the extent of forensic investigation into their collapse? My understanding is that this crime scene was desecrated when much of its steel was sold for scrap prior to an independent investigation.

Also left unmentioned: the fate of the "black boxes" from those planes, or questions as to the likelihood of both buildings collapsing in identical manners. Finally, and most puzzling of all, did not ABC News report at one point that at least one passport belonging to a hijacker had been found to have survived an inferno which brought down two of the tallest buildings in the world?

To me these are not idle, X Files-type speculation, but real and pressing issues that I have yet to see adequately addressed by your otherwise excellent site.

~ Peter J. Swayze

Scott Horton replies:

Dear Mr. Swayze,

Thank you for your inquiry. I am afraid we don't agree that Jasper picked only straw men to defeat in his column. If we thought so, we would not have run it.

The arguments about a missile hitting the Pentagon, bombs inside the towers, the airliner shooting a missile into the tower before it hit, etc. are part and parcel of the 9/11 "truth" movement's explanation of how "the government did it." The fact that he did not address all of your favorite questions does not mean he's arguing a straw man for the government. After all, we are talking about the Birchers here.

I would like to know exactly what happened to building 7, but do you have any evidence about what exactly did happen to it contrary to the government's story – besides a retracted statement from the owner that he had it "pulled"?

As far as the identical collapse of the towers, the official version, according to the government-subsidized documentary program NOVA, has it that one tower failed at the center core first, pulling the rest of the building down with it. In the other tower, the outer beams failed first, leaving the core in place for a second or two before it is pulled down from the outside. (Watch the cell-phone tower.) Besides, the issue of how the towers collapsed is one of the "straw men," right?

As far as Atta's passport, the black boxes, etc., go, these only provide questions. As soon as there are answers, we will be happy to display them prominently.

There are good conspiracy theories, and then there are ones that all rely on each other to be true and mistake clues for conclusions, correlations for causation. Beware!


Whitewashing the Holocaust

This article goes to the core of explaining what is wrong in the Balkans today. The empire (NATO in particular) is marching in the footsteps of their fascist predecessors. They may be less murderous than during WW2, but if you pay attention to their actions you realize that they are mostly in line with the Nazi goals. Especially in regards to the Serbian nation.

Throughout its tragic history Serbia opposed numerous foreign oppressors (Ottomans, Austro-Hungary and Germany, Nazis, NATO). She always paid a terrible price for this defiant love of freedom. These facts alone can make a person suspicious of the western anti-Serbian propaganda claims. Add to the historical perspective a little independent research about the current situation and their BS becomes neatly exposed.

At this point I should thank you Mr. Nebojsa Malic for the good work of keeping people informed about the imperial crimes. Don't give up no matter how hopeless the situation in your country may seem. The empire is kept alive by its propaganda machine. If you challenge the lies and half-truths it will crumble. That ending will be a victory not just for the Serbs, but also for Americans and all good people worldwide.

There are many signs that in spite of foreign bullies and their local quislings the majority of people refuse to go along with the official agenda. One example is the recent refusal of Serbian soldiers in Bosnia to be conscripted into the "auxiliary force of imperial Janisaries" (the united Bosnian army). I wish I could be as proud of my country of birth as I was proud of the Serbs when I read the story. Unfortunately, Poland is now firmly embedded in the empire's camp. This will change when the poverty and antiestablishment sentiment reach a critical mass. ...

~ Marek G.

This is an outstanding article and is a must read for people that don't know the history of the Serbs as being a part of the slaughter of innocents by the axis Croats. Someone call Brussels and Washington and send them a copy too!

~ James Reinhart

I was surprised to see that Antiwar.com would publish the screed by Malic, "Whitewashing the Holocaust." The charges against the Catholic Church are made without any evidence whatsoever, and the link to a patently anti-Catholic Web site, emperors-clothes.com, further undermines the credibility of the author.

After all these years, it is sad that between the Holocaust deniers and the Holocaust liars, the truth has a hard time getting through. The fact is that a) Hitler hated and persecuted the Catholic Church and b) no institution did more to save the lives of Jews than the Catholic Church under Pope Pius XII.

~ William A. Donohue, President, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, New York, New York

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Mr. Donohue calls my article a "screed" and argues one of my sources discredits me "further" (as if he'd already discredited me somehow). Does he deny, then, that Catholic clergy took part in murdering Serbs in the NDH, forcibly converting them to Catholicism, and blessing the Pavelic regime? Because those are facts. Note that I personally make no assertion the Catholic Church supported Nazi Germany; that can certainly be argued one way or another. But I do believe the evidence available proves beyond reasonable doubt that the Church supported the Pavelic regime and was not only an instrument in its atrocities, but also enabled the escape of Ustasha murderers from Europe after the war. The photos featured on Emperor's Clothes and other sites (such as The Pavelic Papers) show plenty of Catholic clergy involved with the Ustasha. That is why I quoted them.

Whether they had the Vatican's approval for their actions or not, the actions of too many Catholic clergymen in the NDH are a black mark on the history of the Catholic Church, which otherwise certainly deserves a lot of credit for much good that has happened in this world. The Church ought to confront this issue for its own sake, as much for the sake of its victims.


Molise's Backtalk

Dennis P. Cimino, antiwar protester and veteran: Horton makes an excellent point. The truth of the matter is, this man is so delusional and mentally ill that he's convinced God sent him on this "go murder for me in the name of the Lord" quest that has left more than a quarter of a million Iraqis dead (if you count the Highway of Death slaughter by his daddy in 1991)...

Scott Horton: More than 1.25 Million if you count all those starved to death and denied medicine by the two Bushes and Clinton between them.

DC: ... and put this nation at infinitely greater peril by estranging and alienating virtually every other country on this planet with the bellicose and belligerent threats issued by people in our government who have not a clue what this does to our long term national security.

SH: Sadly, you are right on the mark. Let's hope their hatred of our state hasn't yet translated into a hatred of the American people. "We" reelected him, so the ice we're skating may be wearing thin in some of our more often bombed countries.

DC: Naw, George doesn't read Antiwar.com. If he did, he'd see that a whole lot of us are very much aware that he's utterly a madman with almost hallucinogenic paranoia that, quite ironically, must have been shared by at least 40 percent of America for us to continue to let him murder in our name using our military like mercenaries.

SH: I don't think he's really that paranoid, all that he's done is well thought out (OK, not by him) long term strategy for securing Israel, oil, and America's long term (they think) dominance over south Asia. As Chalmers Johnson points out in Sorrows, Iran is the last country in that region that we don't yet control.

DC: It's time we woke up to the nightmare, repeal the Patriot Act, and toss out every single member of congress and the senate that either voted to authorize this sham "preemptive" war or the so-called "Patriot Act" or both.

SH: The power of the people is in the House. Incidentally that's also where the power of the purse lies. 'Nam ended when the House refused to pay for it anymore. A good example to follow, perhaps?

DC: It's time that millions marched in the streets and demanded an end to the lies and the murder and the bullsh*t.

SH: Thanks, we all have to find out where we can have an effect, and get it done. America is much better as a limited republic than a top heavy empire. We know what happens to those.


Kaz Dziamka's Backtalk

Kaz Dziamka's complaint, "The Pope was not beyond sacrificing moral principles for political reasons: consider, for instance, his immoral suppression of liberal theology," shows a skewed understanding of what motivated John Paul II. The Pope was (and is) first a custodian of what Catholics believe is religious truth, not a political theory or ideology.

Liberal theology is a radical break from the traditions of the past and teachings Catholics believe were handed down by the apostles. The Pope did not suppress it for political reasons, it was suppressed because it contradicts what came before.

~ David Keyser


Prime Minister Chalabi?

Dear Justin Raimondo,

I enjoy most of your articles, because you are usually right on the mark with your analysis. However your article titled "Prime Minister Chalabi?" was a little off the mark, and I offer these points:

Ibrahim Jaafari (whose real name is Al-Eshaiker), is the other side of the coin of the Chalabi folks. You can check his history at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_Jaafari.

We must remember that the Iranian cleric Sistani (who is NOT Iraqi although most media outlets try to fool people by claiming he is) blessed Chalabi in the recent occupation-elections sham. Yes Sistani blessed both Chalabi and Jaafari (Jaafari is Sistani's brother-in-law). As Thomas Friedman recently said, Sistani (with his Chalabi, Jaafari, and Hakim buddies) has done the most for legitimizing the U.S. military occupation of Iraq. (By the way Abdel-Aziz Hakim is Chalabi's brother-in-law). They play the "good cop, bad cop" game (Chalabi as the bad guy, Jaafari good guy). They are in fact two sides of same coin.

There is another point I'd like to mention. I wish you would stop repeating the old propaganda adage "Shiite Majority." The Shiites are NOT the majority in Iraq, and there is no census that even suggests that (if you have one, I'd like to see it). No the CIA does NOT have any census, only unsubstantiated guesses (like their guess about Weapons of Mass Destruction). That was another of the Chalabi lies that got circulated in the media during the 1990s as a way to justify the invasion, kind of like the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" lie.

The last census (2003) which the UN approved (including the US Ambassador on the 661 Embargo Committee) for the distribution of the food coupons during the embargo clearly shows the Shiites are barely 40% in Iraq (the Sunnis, who are close to 60%, are divided up along ethnic lines: Sunni Arabs 40%, Sunni Kurds 15%, and Sunni Turkomans 4%). I have the numbers for all the provinces if you would like a copy. No one can produce any census or any count that claims otherwise. So, please, unless you have an official census for Iraq, please stop repeating the old Chalabi lie. I know you mean well, and your beautiful articles clearly show it, but facts are facts.

Thank you and keep up the good work.

~ Mohammed Alomari, www.faair.org


Libertarians for Genocide

I do consider myself to be a libertarian. And I congratulate you on such an outstanding site which is an incredible source of information about the war in Iraq.

I would like to point out that the followers of Ayn Rand are generally called "Objectivists." Objectivism is a philosophy which has similarities to libertarianism but is not the same. It is also not a political party.

Libertarians refer to "libertarians" and "Libertarians." "Libertarians" are, in some form, members of the Libertarian Party; "libertarians" are those who believe/ follow the basic philosophy of libertarianism but may not be active politically.

The statement I signed when I joined the Libertarian political party summarizes the libertarian political philosophy quite well, "I do no believe in nor advocate the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals."

I am no longer active in the Libertarian Party. I do not know if it is still required to sign that statement to join the LP.

Sadly, the National LP is not publicly condemning the war in Iraq. I suspect that they don't want to offend Libertarians who support preemptive wars (notice the big L).

I recently exchanged some e-mail correspondence with someone at the National LP in regards to the war in Iraq. He asserted that the National LP has always been against the war in Iraq. I blasted him for not publicly opposing the war and instead focusing on local issues on the lp.org Web site.

I would be happy to share our correspondence with you if you are interested. ...

~ Boyd

Matthew Barganier replies:

I used "libertarian" in the title because I think most people would, accurately or not, identify Objectivists as such. I certainly don't consider them libertarians in any meaningful sense.


An Army of the Unwilling

As a United States Marine having served several tours on combat duty, I have to call you out on your ignorant remarks in the column titled "Army of the Unwilling." First of all, where did you get your information about recruiting quotas? Last year, the Air Force and the Marine Corps far surpassed their recruiting goals. The army has of course been found lagging, but that's in large part due to internal politics. National Guard troops being told that their tours of duty were extended to the year 2031? WTF?! Who thought up that garbage? A blatant LIE! That would put active duty tours (total time serving) above thirty years – mandatory retirement for all but those in the highest leadership positions is thirty years! And that kind of commitment is far from being mandatory.

That wasn't even the funniest thing I saw in this article, I think the funniest being that ready reserves is made up of grandmothers and grandfathers – you really are a bunch of uninformed waterheads! The ready reserves is comprised of separated servicemembers, who at the outset of their enlistment signed a contract for (usually) four years of active duty and FOUR YEARS OF OBLIGATED INACTIVE RESERVE DUTY. What this means, is that in the event of a serious manpower shortage they would be made available to regular or reserve units preparing for deployment. In some cases, separated or retired service members can elect to return to duty, but must pass an extensive clearing process to be found fit for duty.

"Justino Rodriguez, the son of an officer waiting to return to Iraq on his 42nd tour of duty..."

Okay, wipe the BS from your eyes and shake it out of your heads, because nobody in the history of the United States military has ever served 42 tours of duty anywhere, PERIOD! ...

Without the life experiences, opportunities and benefits that I've achieved in the Marine Corps I wouldn't be half the man I am today. Service to your country in her armed forces is a blessing, it's a gift you can give yourself, your family, friends and neighbors. It comes with an inherent respect and dignity to strap on your boots, pick up your rifle and charge hell. Some of us disagree with the purpose we serve, but most of us know, and are proud and WILLING to serve, and love our country.

"For We fight, not for glory nor for riches nor for honor, but only and alone for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life."
- Bernard of Litton, Declaration of Arbroath.

These words are as true today as when they were written on the Scottish Declaration of Arbroath (their declaration of independence) almost 600 years ago. Today we fight not only for our own freedom, but for the freedom of the rest of the world from intolerance, subjugation and terror. We bring the fight to those that would take it to OUR streets, OUR schools, OUR HOMES. This is a war without a battlefield that has been waged since 1979. Now we have a battle ground. Mine is waiting. Will you be man (or woman) enough to follow?

~ Fubar

Eric Garris replies:

There have been many articles in the last few months about the Marines' problems with recruitment. Stars and Stripes says the Marines just missed their most recent recruitment goal: "Marine Corps misses February recruitment goals." This article explains that this is not the first time: "US Marines, Amid Iraq War, Miss Recruiting Goals."

Matthew Barganier replies:

Enlistments extended to 2031.

Read 'em and weep, dude.

Excellent article; however, it has warped a couple of small facts.

The article states "They prey on the fact we can barely afford to go to college," Rodriguez said. "What they don't say is it's so hard to get the GI Bill that less than half do."

This is a false statement. It is very easy to get the GI Bill, all you need to do is sign up in boot camp and pay $1,200 ($100 per month for 12 months). This is a one time deal, and you must accept it when you are making $1,142.70 (current salary of an E-1 with less than 4 months in service) before taxes. For some people it seems why too much money at the time, they are not going to go to university, or they will get free tuition after serving in the military if they attend a state run university. What ever the reason 50% of the people don't take it. At least in my company the military (I was in the U.S. Navy) tried to convince these people that they were foolish. All the people I meet who were in, or are in, the military and did not take the GI Bill say they regret it. The maximum benefit you can qualify for under the Montgomery GI Bill is $12,000, and all branches of the military offer it. There is no need to expose yourself to danger; you can safely join the Navy or Air Force to get it.

Now that was for the GI Bill, getting a MGIB Kicker also known as the Army College fund is difficult. Here is a URL about the GI Bill. I will summarize it in my own words. To qualify for the Army College fund "you must score in the top half of the military entry tests and be willing to enter a designated job specialty. These designated Military Occupational Specialties are the most unpopular in the military. The military has a hard time filling them because they have no skills that are transferable to the civilian job market." In other words you have to be smart, and you will have to ask to be a infantry man or grunt. Their are also quotas, and from what I understand less that 1% of the recruits can get the full $70,000 for their education. Now for the real "kicker": the maximum amount you qualify for, according to the Army Web site, using the college fund is an additional $350 per month. So using the GI bills calculations (they are based on the fact that you will take a full load of classes during the fall, and Spring terms, and you will not take Summer classes or a maximum benefit for 36 months (9 months for 4 years) if you take a full load of classes for four years without Summer Including you will only have used $12,600 from the College fund + 12,000 from the GI Bill for a total of $24,600. You would still have $45,500 to use at the $350 per month for additional education expenses.

Well, as you can see, I don't have a problem with the GI Bill. It's still a good deal as long as you don't mind becoming government property, and I do mean this literally as you actually become property of the military, like a tank or ship. I do have a problem with the College Fund; it is purely marketing hype. The full amount is only given to about 1% of the recruits so they can't be called on for false advertising, and even if you qualify for the full amount you would be hard pressed just to use over half of the benefits earned.

The article states "All four military services missed their enlistment quotas."

This is not true; the Navy and Air Force are downsizing. Due to budget constants the Navy is getting rid of 45,000 personnel over the next couple of years. Although I'm not sure of the number, the Air Force is also downsizing.

The article states "Almost desperate, the Pentagon has called up more than 5,500 'Ready Reserves,' older men and women whose regular reserve duty has already ended, and many of whom are now grandfathers and grandmothers."

This is also not true; the grandparents volunteered, they were not called up. It still stinks of desperation that they are accepting these people but the 5,500 ready reserves were those that have recently quit the Army, at least within the last few years. The Individual Ready Reserve are military members who have been discharged from the Army, Army Reserve or the Army National Guard, but still have contractual obligations to the military. That obligation is for a total of 8 years including active duty time.

~ Craig Fosnock


Yes, Some People Do Push Back

Dear Ilana,

I read your latest article, and rather enjoyed it. Particularly the quip about magpies and shiny objects. I believe you're in error about Churchill not being violent, though. A while back I suffered the misfortune of catching a few minutes of the Bill O'Reilly show and he punched out a reporter. And while I know firsthand reporters can be quite irritating to reluctant commentees, I still can't condone assaulting them.

~ Paul Dougherty

Ilana Mercer replies:

I saw the televised swipe Churchill took at a reporter. The reporter had asked him quite reasonably if he plagiarized a piece of art. The dated paintings leave little room for doubt.

Let me reiterate: The question here is not Churchill's "Little Eichmanns" speech. Rather, it is this: should taxpayer-funded institutions be hiring phonies, poseurs, and plagiarists? Should we be funding departments devoted in the main to indoctrination – departments which are, if anything, extensions of the state, as they promulgate toxic, anti-intellectual ideologies, the kind that give some groups state power over others?

The less ideology state schools can inculcate, the more freedom and independence of thought we can hope for in the long run. I don't call for censorship; I call for scholarship and a return to a liberal education (in the classical sense).

Hi Ilana,

You wrote: "Unlike Rosenberg, Churchill is not violent, but he is a fraud and an impostor. He lies about his ancestry (his impressive hairline is the only Indian thing about him)."

I totally disagree. Read the following if you dare:

"In point of fact, there are five criteria by which native people are normally identified in the US – self-identification, genealogy, tribal enrollment, blood quantum and community recognition. Churchill qualifies by all five standards. Let's start with self-identification and genealogy. Contrary to Tim Giago's claim that Churchill has identified himself as being of different peoples at different times, the record is absolutely clear that he has always identified as Cherokee (his mother's lineage). The first conclusive evidence of this dates from a 1970 article on the Alcatraz occupation. By 1975, having met his father for the first and only time in the interim, he added Creek, as in the identification he gave for an art show he mounted at the Sioux Indian Museum that year. Thereafter, he added Métis – meaning one of mixed ancestry and culture – to accomplish what he called 'truth in advertising.' From 1979 onward, his self-descriptor was always 'Creek/Cherokee Métis,' nothing else. Churchill has publicly challenged Giago to produce evidence of any other self-identification. Giago has not responded."

And on ethnicity and the question of Ward being an "Indian" or not, try reading this: Part 1 and Part 2. It may be dry reading for you but if you would like to back your allegations up with solid evidence, begin by reading what Ward himself has to say about the definition of an "Indian."

Back to your comment saying Ward lied about his ancestry, after reading the above, what can you back your allegation up with? I'm as white as you are but even I have Cherokee ancestry (also my mother's lineage). My g-g-Grandmother was an Arkansas Cherokee. Her name's not listed on any of the rolls so, consequently, I have no means of proving this part of my ancestry. Does this automatically remove any and all trace of "Indian" blood in me?

Your call to have Ward Churchill sacked is bad enough but your comments regarding his heritage are totally out of line – or should I say more in line with the right-wing warmongers than anything I would expect to hear coming from an antiwar Web page author.

~ Curtis Sherwood

Ilana Mercer replies:

Ward Churchill "self-identifies" as an Indian, therefore he is an Indian? "I am an Indian because I feel Indian"? If this is not a joke, it's certainly circular reasoning.

Yes, I am a rightist; no, I am not a warmonger.


About A Boy

Having just graduated boot camp (USMC) a week ago this column struck me hard. The sentiments expressed by Jason Tharp were the same as those of myself and many others in my platoon. When one arrives for the first phase of boot camp the extraordinary culture shock plays with your mind and you react by looking for a way out. I know personally the feelings this young recruit was going through. While we were in boot camp we heard little about this case other than our D.I.'s telling us that he was a "wuss" for drowning and such. I find it hard to imagine how he could have drowned with so many Marines in and around the pool area watching. Keep writing against the state and its global wars on behalf of the international elite.

I have been reading Mrs. Mercer's column for over two years now, and her insights are always welcome reading.

~ Rick B.

Ilana Mercer replies:

As many readers have observed, not saving the boy when he began to drown was an unforgivable blunder. Unless drill instructors believe recruits are supposed to become anaerobic, how difficult is it to recognize someone is not coming up for air?

I must just add that although I asked the requisite questions about what appears to be "improvident recruiting," I didn't attempt to generalize from this case – the necessary data to do so were not available to me. I aimed only to tell a story; the story of one boy, Jason Tharp. He did not belong among the praiseworthy Marines, but neither should he have died.

Thank you, Rick, for reading my columns and taking the time to write. Stay strong and safe.


Laying the Groundwork for War With Iran

In Aaron's piece, he quotes me as saying we have to prepare for war now. That's NOT what I was saying, or anywhere close to it. Anyone at that briefing who was PAYING ATTENTION knows that the entire purpose of the Iran Policy Committee is to look for alternatives that AVOID war. I was saying that if we don't find ALTERNATIVES to military conflict, THIS administration or the American public will PUSH us into a war with Iran.

If you believe that just because someone has a military background or because they appear on Fox that they are pro-war, you are doing yourselves and the rest of us a gross disservice.

~ Bill Cowan


Our Bizarro World Foreign Policy

Regarding the statement: "In light of the recent 'oil for food' scandals involving Kofi Annan's son – and a politically diverse cast of characters – it's fair to say that most Americans have the same opinion of the UN as Lenin did of the League of Nations: he called it a 'den of thieves,'" the Gallup Poll suggests a somewhat greater degree of ambivalence.

Gallup Poll Question: Do you think the United Nations is doing a good job or a poor job in trying to solve the problems it has had to face?
(February 7-10, 2005)
36% Good job
61% Poor job
3% No Opinion

Gallup Poll Question: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the United Nations?
(February 7-10, 2005)
43% Favorable
48% Unfavorable

Gallup Poll Question: Now thinking more specifically, which of the following roles would you like to see the United Nations play in world affairs today – should it play – a leading role where all countries are required to follow UN policies, a major role, where the UN establishes policies, but where individual countries still act separately when they disagree with the UN, (or should it play) a minor role, with the UN serving mostly as a forum for communication between nations, but with no policy-making role?
(February 7-10, 2005)
21% Leading role
47% Major role
27% Minor Role
1% Should not exist
1% Other
3% No Opinion

Gallup Poll Question: Should the United States give up its membership to the United Nations, or not?
(February 7-10, 2005)
13% Yes, should
85% No, should not
2% No opinion

Gallup Poll Question: 24. In your view, does the United Nations play a necessary role in the world today, or not?
(February 7-10, 2005)
64% Yes, necessary role
34% No, not.
2% No opinion.

Gallup Poll Question: Do you think the United Nations is doing a good job or a poor job in trying to solve the problems it has had to face?
(February 7-10, 2005)
36% Good job
61% Poor job
3% No Opinion

Republicans tend to be more critical of the UN than do Independents who in turn are more critical than Democrats.

~ Arthur Wilke, Auburn, AL


Once More with Feeling

The reason we couldn't find WMD in Iraq is because an Iraqi supporter bullsh*tted us around so much that Saddam had time before we kicked his ass to move his WMDs out of the country.

~ Hockyrox

Scott Horton replies:

Dear Hockyrox,

The question you must ask yourself is, if Saddam had chemical/germ weapons, why didn't he use them when his country was being invaded, his power overthrown, his tribe punished, and his family killed? Why didn't he use the WMD to defend himself before it was too late?

By the way, the Bush administration now admits Saddam had retained no WMD after 1991, and chooses to no longer allege that the supposed WMD had been moved to Syria or anywhere else.

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