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 Unless otherwise indicated, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 18, 2002

Jews and Christians

As a non-Zionist Jew, I resent Scott McConnell's attempt (in his open letter to David Horowitz) to spin the debate on the Middle East as one between "Jews and Christians." Prominent Jews in the U.S. (and Israel) are opposed to the Israeli policies towards the Palestinians. In fact, the more militant Zionist policies are backed by the members of the powerful Christian Right that exerts enormous influence on the Republican party and the Bush White House and it seems, President Bush himself. In many ways, these Christians are more militant in their views on Israel than most Israeli and American Jews, and these Christians have also been close allies of Mr. McConnell's favorite politician, Pat Buchanan. My guess is that Horowitz is preaching to the neoconservative audience that is mostly pro-Israeli. I suggest therefore that McConnell send an open letter to CBN, George Will, and other Christian media groups and journalists with a stronger impact on the American public than Horowitz.

~ Kim Phlby

Scott McConnell replies:

Kim Phlby (good God, what a pernicious pen-name!) makes a good point about the alliance between (parts of) the Christian Right and militant Zionism. I wouldn't tar the Christian Right so broadly as he or she does, but certainly the "dispensationalist" fundamentalists who believe the Second Coming of Christ will occur after nuclear Armageddon and the flowing of rivers of blood, are avid backers of the most extreme Israeli polices, and are surely viewed as very useful idiots by the Israeli leaders for whom they beat their drums. There is no evidence that President Bush (or his Dad) or Pat Buchanan are in any way influenced by dispensationalist theology.

Mighty Wurlitzer

Raimondo's description of warbloggers and the pattern that emerges from it tempts one to suggest a conspiracy of sorts not mentioned in Alex Cockburn's co-authored piece on forbidden truths. (Cockburn, by the way, forgot to mention the most widely accepted conspiracy theory to date, viz., the one circulated by the White House immediately following the WTC/Pentagon stroke of 9/11.) The one I have in mind involving the webloggers was originally exposed in a 1977 Rolling Stone article by Carl Bernstein, called, "The CIA and the Media." Therein we learned of the operatives in journalism who had worked as components of the CIA's "mighty Wurlitzer" blaring out the party line of the day. Webloggers don't necessarily have to be working for the CIA to be spooks, though. There are a number of spy agencies in the world that can be a source of gainful employment.

~ Alan K.

Corrupt Earth Government

As a sci-fi (and Babylon 5 fan), I am beyond disgusted that some fruitcake could possibly claim that science fiction gives one the "moral compass" to recognize that our war in Afghanistan is a struggle between good and evil. That they cite B5 is especially hypocritical, since the main plot is a struggle between a corrupt Earth government and breakaway freedom fighters who are called traitors at every turn on ISN (a propaganda vid network). To paraphrase the movie, A Fish Called Wanda, trained monkeys can read science fiction, they just can't understand it.

~ Kyle B.


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

Yes, George W. Bush has issued warnings about possible attacks on immigrants and has actually gone to a mosque! Taking a page from the Clinton play book, he has also visited numerous elementary schools and black churches for photo-ops. But, the fact remains he has waged an illegal war on one of the poorest countries on earth and in the process is responsible for vaporizing about 3500 Afghan civilians. He has consistently bragged about what he has done in Afghanistan and is in full bloodlust form when speaking of the vengeance he is going to exact on Bin Laden, terrorists, and "those who harbor them." His rhetoric and actions have made the world a little less safe, both for native born Americans, and immigrant Americans.

~ DW

Walkup Service

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

The whole problem could have been avoided, if the Secret Service agent had checked his weapon with his baggage. I do not believe that the agent was guarding anyone. Either this option was not presented or it was refused by the agent. Most people are aware that documents can be forged, and even pilots in uniform with documentation are treated with suspicion. One final point may be appropriate here. Federal regulations require a minimum two-hour notification to the air carrier for armed passengers. It would not appear that this regulation was not observed. Rather it appears that the agent expected walkup service.

~ Ed H., Captain, American Airlines

Sauce for the Goose

I am proud of Mr. Raimondo for being angry that someone was "profiled," i.e. judged unfairly because of the actions of another person, due to his resemblance to that person. I'm just sorry he didn't mention the other kind of profiling that caused this problem in the first place. The real problem is that Americans are forbidden to carry guns on airplanes. This is because the government assumes anyone who carries a gun is a criminal – and is working hard to ensure this in law where it cannot be proven in fact. Because all armed people are considered dangerous – that is, we are all profiled according to a few crazies – airline passengers and crew are defenseless against one or two individuals armed with something as harmless as a pocket knife. No wonder the pilot was worried. It remains to be seen whether this Secret Service agent was abusive before or after he was denied his seat on the plane.

If he was upset at being treated like a criminal, well, so was I when I flew in October. Federal agents are not above the law, nor are they superior to anyone. Sauce for the goose is apparently distasteful to the gander.

If a white, disabled Navy veteran like me cannot carry a gun on an airplane – surely nobody thinks I am not properly trained? – then neither should a Semitic-looking Fed. If the President doesn't like that, maybe he should repeal the FAA's criminal violation of our right to self-defense.

~ Bob Sindeldecker (ex-USN), Columbus, Ohio

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