Letters to
We get a lot of letters, and publish some of them in this column, "Backtalk," edited by Sam Koritz. Please send your letters to backtalk@antiwar.com. Letters may be edited for length (and coherence). Unless otherwise indicated, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.

Posted January 14, 2002

Brilliant Readers

Your site is so interesting, so brilliant. The letters from your readers are often brilliant, too.

I have a question/comment regarding [Justin Raimondo's column of January 11,] "The Pilot Who Lost his Cool": Why was that dispatch about the lawyers of the poor guy, the visibly Arab bodyguard, in the Financial Section of Yahoo? (No wonder I missed it.) Lawsuits [are considered to be] more important than introspection, I guess. Incidentally, I wonder if the pilot would have let Ralph Nader on his plane. He is Arab, too, you know. Oh, well, maybe he's already too old to be dangerous to pilots.

Please continue to exist. I cannot support you financially but would love to if I could.

~ M. Cerritelli

Watch and Wait

[Regarding Justin Raimondo's column of January 9, "The Big Change (Part II)":]

Revolution won't work – not for a long time, if ever. There are two problems. First the odds of success are nil. Second it would be impossible to limit, much less eliminate, civilian deaths. Therefore it doesn't meet the moral requirements of a just war. Sorry to throw a page or two from your own antiwar ethics back at you. We paleocons need to learn from the example of the Poles after World War II and their modern hero, John Paul II: Watch and wait. And maybe pray, at least for patience. Keep passing on the paleocon culture, even if it must go underground. In time the current system will collapse of it's own uneconomic weight, if it isn't smashed from the outside. Then is the time for peaceful change. It probably won't happen in my lifetime (I'm 62). But the change may well come in the lives of my grandkids. And it could come sooner. Life is full of surprises. Who ever thought we'd see what happened on 9/11? Aside from the fact that I don't care much for MD's (who, according to JAMA, are the nation's 3rd leading cause of death) I make a real effort to stay healthy so that I'll be around long enough to see how all this unfolds. Have faith boyo. Even in this world there's cause for hope. It's like starting one of my old diesels when they quit (I refuse to be patriotic and help the economy or the bankers by going into debt to buy a new set of wheels) – sometimes your at wit's end before the damn thing springs to life, and it always does so when you're about to give up in exhausted frustration, sometimes after you've tried, quit and gone back to it numerous times.

~ Mario S.

A Supposedly Free Country

[Regarding Justin Raimondo's column of January 11, "The Pilot Who Lost his Cool":]

I loved Justin's article about the AA pilot who refused to fly the secret service agent. ...People talk about "erring on the side of caution"; that is exactly what Pontius Pilot did when he ordered Jesus Christ crucified. People joke about "driving while Black" as being a crime – I guess "flying while Arab" is too. Pretty sad for a supposedly free country, huh?

~ Paul R., California

The Agent's Fault

[Regarding Justin Raimondo's column of January 11, "The Pilot Who Lost his Cool":]

It doesn't matter how American Airline personnel acted prior to 9/11 or any of the other gripes Justin has against the airline industry in general, it was as much the agent's fault as it was the pilot's. The idea that an accomplice might answer the call to a number provided by the "agent" is not all that farfetched. Consider what would have been the reaction if the agent had been a terrorist: "The airline accepted the word of an unknown person who answered a call at a number given by the agent? The airline accepted a form on which data had been changed?" Give me a break. They all screwed up. But I'd rather have a pilot who is overly cautious; he's responsible for the lives of everybody on that airplane. It's up to the federal officer to make sure everything is in order. And he should keep his cool no matter what happens.

~ George Jatras, Sterling, Virginia

Worth Investigating

Justin, keep up the great work!

Something worth investigating: While the rest of the press is selling the story on how Enron made contact with US officials about the company's upcoming bankruptcy, you might research subsequent sales of Enron stock by these government reps (or their escrow holders, families, etc.). I believe the real tragedy to the Enron/US Government link is going to be the ultimate discovery of the use of this information by government officials (in very high places) to make illegal insiders sales of Enron stock before it was fully devalued.

~ Julian B., Florida

The Rhetoric of Limited Government

[Regarding Justin Raimondo's column of January 7, "The Big Change (Part I)":]

Some comments regarding Justin's ... editorial which, as usual, provides much material for thought. I am not sure that an analysis of U.S. history reveals such a unidirectional disintegration as Justin suggests. Surely the end of slavery, the granting of rights to women and Native Americans counts for something? Also, I think one can observe a general lessening of censorship in US history; not its complete absence, but I would suggest that the second of half of the twentieth century saw a general decrease in this area compared to previous periods... Also, I am not convinced that the conservatives have done an about-face on the issue of limited government. My own opinion is that the conservative movement never did believe in limited government and that when the conservative movement uses the rhetoric of limited government they mean only to limit government where it interferes with what they want to do. (This includes Ronald Reagan and other icons of the conservative movement.)

From this perspective, liberals are far more consistent and honest than the conservatives in the US. In general, liberals are not duplicitous. They have a principled argument for government interference and the expansion of government power and they act on it. In the present situation the only change is that now conservatives have an excuse to openly argue for ... huge, and coercive governmental institutions. But that is what they have always wanted.

~ Jim Wilson

This Cuba Thing

Is this Cuba thing even legal?

The US has not declared war on Afghanistan. Rumsfeld has said the "detainees" are not Prisoners (of War). So, isn't it against some international law for one nation to go into another, kidnap people, and hold them hostage (in Cuba, for example)?

~ SD

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