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 Unless otherwise indicated, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 16, 2002


I'm so thankful for Antiwar.com during a time when all the mainstream media sources seem to be filled with pro-war and pro-government propaganda. As a libertarian myself, I am particularly glad to see that the site is run by a libertarian organization. Most libertarians agree that our government should have a non-interventionist foreign policy and realize that our meddling abroad is the main reasons that so many hate our country. I have also noticed however, that aside from this issue, many libertarians have little knowledge or interest in the affairs of other countries. This results in the unfortunate situation where people who know so much about what is going on in the national and local governments don’t have the faintest clue about the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict or Indian-Pakistani conflict. Just because we don’t believe we should send our troops or tax money to fund these disputes doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use our libertarian principles to analyze them. Indeed, discussing these issues simply in terms of American foreign policy does a grave injustice to the victims of such conflicts. I would also like to thank Justin Raimondo for his ongoing analysis of world events including the Israeli-Palestinian and Indian-Pakistani conflicts. In particularly, I am glad to see him stand up against the idea that most people seem to hold (including many libertarians) that Israel is a beacon of “western ideas” and “democracy” in the Middle East. It is unfortunate that he ever left the party. We need more people like him!

~ R.S.

Journalistic Thumping

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

I think this piece should be re-named, "The Writer Who Lost His Cool."

He did exactly what he accuses others of doing, ranting uncontrollably and over reacting to a very unfortunate situation. Giving the poor flight attendants a journalistic thumping gives new meaning to the phrase, "The pen is mightier than the sword." All this incident did is to show us all the need for constraint and rationality in these troubling times, perhaps Justin needs to read this article himself.

~ DB

Kudos to Stromberg

[Regarding Joseph Stromberg's column of January 5, "Conserving Nothing":]

I'll bet David Horowitz and his ilk regularly get their knickers in a twist over the writing of Joseph Stromberg. The neocons are good at setting up straw men and knocking them down. But Stromberg is living proof that opposition to Empire is not limited to the "leftover left" or "blame America first crowd." What bothers me most about the neocons is that they are historically illiterate. What they call "conservatism" would have been unrecognizable as such to anyone born before World War I. But Horowitz et al seem to be oblivious to the mainstream American conservative tradition represented by Old Right "isolationists." The revolutionary generation was terrified of the royal prerogative and the danger that the presidency would accumulate such power. They realized that foreign empire was incompatible with domestic liberty. Now the neoconservatives support "national security" powers comparable to those of a Stuart monarch, and blithely talk of the benefits to the world from American global empire.

Incidentally, Stuart G. (January 11) should be less reckless in tagging all leftists with statism, and in fetishizing left-right labels. For example, Benjamin Tucker, a free market mutualist (like me), is commonly regarded as an intellectual forbear by right-libertarians, Randoids, and Chicago School types. But he considered himself a libertarian socialist (because the free market was incompatible with capitalism), and participated sporadically in the politics of the First International.

~ Kevin A. Carson

Wounded Civilization

Your opinions about Israel and India appear to be biased. They are simply trying to survive and exist in an ocean of Islamic fundamentalism. The three wars India fought with Pakistan were initiated by Pakistan. You need to refer to the book Wounded Civilisation by Nobel laureate Naipal. India, the land of Gandhi and Buddha has not done well being pacifist. Even today India will never initiate a war with Pakistan.

~ N.D.


Please note detestable Ron Rosenbaum's panegyric to Hitchens and Sullivan in the New York Observer and give us a response. Thanks to ... [Justin Raimondo] and Antiwar.com one feels not so alone. Onward and upward.

~ Guido S.

Managing Property

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

I remember a while back in the magazine Chronicles you made the standard libertarian point that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was wrong because it was a direct attack on property. I agree with you on that point.

Now from my way of thinking the plane that was involved in the incident with the Arab-America Secret Service agent was the private property of the airlines, and the pilot could simply be seen as managing that property....

Now, how can you oppose the pilot keeping the agent off the plane when you support the right of restaurant owners to keep blacks out of their places of business? Unless, of course, you are arguing that the plane was a public facility or conveyance. But what would Murray Rothbard think of that?

~ Trent U.

Justin Raimondo replies:

I should have made clear in the column that I am not a supporter of anti-discrimination laws, and fully support the absolute right of American Airlines to exclude anyone from any flight for any reason, including hair color (and, yes, skin color). But I do not support their decision to exercise that right in this context. Many things would be legally permitted in a libertarian society, but the morality of doing so is what I dealt with in my column.

Reality TV

For some strange reason, that picture above the "Red Cross Asks to See 'Hooded and Shackled' US Prisoners" hyperlink reminded me of this description of new "reality TV" programming: "...contestants are strapped into a chair and their bodily functions monitored while they're simultaneously tortured and asked to answer game show questions."

~ A.I.

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