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 Unless otherwise indicated, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 24, 2002


[Regarding Bevin Chu's column of January 18, "The Big Lie of Taiwan's Election":]

Your point is well taken that the western press has blindly followed an erroneous conclusion. If a sitting president's party in any western democracy got only 33.4% of the vote, it would be a major defeat. The DPP and its TSU ally will hold 44.4 percent of the seats in the new legislature, having gained only 41.2 percent of the vote. Still a major defeat any way you look at it. That the election was a victory for the DPP is absurd, and almost gives the appearance of another agenda (I dare not use the word "conspiracy") among the western press. Yes, the Taipei Times has become a propaganda sheet for the Taiwan independence crowd. The Taipei Times even cast Mayor Ma's "crackdown" (so to speak) on prostitution in terms of unification-independence. The Taiwan News is moving in that same direction very quickly. (James Wei would be spinning in his grave, if he knew the current content of the newspaper he founded.) The China Post on the other hand is much more balanced in its content, so there still is a rational source of news in English in Taipei. However, Bevin, you must realize that most people are neither for independence (knowing it would be short lived) nor unification. They want things to stay the way they are, hoping that, in time, maybe 50 years, China will become more democratic and free from corruption. I believe that implying the pan-blue group is "pro-unification" is an incorrect characterization. Most of these people are pro-status quo.

~ Anonymous, Taiwan

Bevin Chu replies:

Actually, I have corresponded with this writer before, who needs to remain anonymous for political reasons. He would be subject to Taiwan independence fundamentalist "Green Terror" treatment if he were found out. He is very well informed about Taiwan. In fact we do not disagree about the issue of "pro-reunification." The issue is purely semantic. I have been using the term "pro-reunification" the way almost everyone else on Taiwan uses it, to mean "in favor of eventual reunification," and "to be committed to reunification as the final goal." I have been using the term "pro-independence" the way almost everyone else on Taiwan uses it as well, to mean "in favor of eventual independence" and "to be committed to independence as the final goal." In this straightforward, non-misleading, "non-Clintonian" sense, the KMT under Lien Chan, the PFP and NP are clearly and unequivocally "pro-reunification." They are committed to reunification as the ultimate goal, and "pro-status quo" merely as an interim condition. Taiwan independence spinmeisters such as DPP legislator Shen Fu-hsiung, play an underhanded, deceptive numbers game. They inflate their own numbers by lumping those who favor eventual reunification together with those who favor eventual independence. They do this by characterizing "pro interim status quo" members of the public as "opposed to reunification," when in fact they are merely opposed to immediate reunification. They do this by characterizing "pro interim status quo" members of the public as "favoring de facto independence," when in fact they favor eventual de jure reunification. I refuse to play such dishonest games, and don't need to, because truth favors the reunificationists. I leave shameless, barefaced, lying through one's teeth to the Taipei Times.

Voice of Reason

[Regarding "In Reply to Scott McConnell," by David Horowitz:]

I really hope that a reply to this malicious piece of writing is in process at Antiwar.com. I think David provided a first in Political Science: "Of course you're posting this on Antiwar.com – a site dedicated to disarming America in the face of its enemies." I know of no plans by any of the countries that the US had attacked in the last 50 years, including Libya, to launch a massive air bombing campaign, troop deployment, followed by economic sanctions against the US soil. For a citizen of a country to call on his elected government to shelf imperial ambitions that serves to undermine the security of the average citizen, and to refocus the bloated military budget on attending to domestic social ills such as poverty, unemployment, etc. – is a voice of reason. If the US was to close down all overseas bases at its current military readiness it would remain capable of winning wars on 3-4 fronts.

Bah – what am I doing? You guys will do a better job than me.



I get the feeling that you all feel pretty comfortable with the hegemony that your country finds itself in now. I personally think you should go much further and strive for disintegration of the institutions you like to criticize. It's also amazing too see that Americans are always so astonished if some country has a lousy multi-billion dollar debt while their own country is bankrupt ... and the fact that they don't think in billions but trillions, and – who knows? – later maybe zillions clearly shows that folks all seem to think that Caesar will take care of it. I also think it's doomed to fail, this whole war, and that it's mainly to stimulate the illusion of further economic grow. Grow now, pay later, they all seem to think. So by creating an illusion of safety the naive citizens think again they can keep the zombie walking for another decade. Sooner or later empires disintegrate, often by their own arrogance.

I also feel personally insulted and I feel the US is trying to colonize Europe and hold it as a hostage. While I'm extremely heavily against the European Union, I would jump a hole in the air if the dollar gets finally the place that it deserves, the second place. I also don't understand the emotional outcrying about "the founding fathers." Who cares who started this fourth welt-reich? The problem now is how too get rid of it

~ Pim X., Holland

Insane Policy

Excellent reporting/commentary Justin Raimondo! Thank you! I just want to congratulate you on a job well done on your coverage of the "War Party's" efforts. Keep up the work to expose those who are pushing us for more wars and their motives. Also, [it's good] to see someone ... have enough balls to objectively begin to look at our insane Israel policy that's being promoted by the neo-cons or Israel-firster crowd.

~ Joe M.

Chomsky's Views

Reading Justin Raimondo's column on Noam Chomsky's Salon interview, I was disappointed to see that Raimondo's usual careful arguments were largely absent, replaced with misrepresentations of Chomsky's views. To quote just one example, Raimondo states: "What Chomsky fails to say is that the attack cannot be understood except as a direct response to the ongoing US military occupation of Saudi Arabia, the sacred land of Mecca and Medina, which the feet of 'infidels' may not touch." It is likely that Chomsky failed to say that simply because the interviewer never asked, because Chomsky certainly has said precisely that. For example, in an interview with Radio B92 in Belgrade, Chomsky said, "Bin Laden and his 'Afghanis' turned against the US in 1990 when they established permanent bases in Saudi Arabia – from his point of view, a counterpart to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but far more significant because of Saudi Arabia's special status as the guardian of the holiest shrines." Quite a far cry from Raimondo's claim that "Chomsky doesn't get into any of that." The rest of Raimondo's column is largely more of the same; e.g., Raimondo makes the absurd proposition that Chomsky advocated sanctions and ("presumably") military intervention against Indonesia. I wonder what motivated Raimondo to write such a vicious attack against someone who has, since September 11, argued forcefully against the war upon the people of Afghanistan, in support of bringing terrorists to justice, and in favor of trying to prevent further terrorist attacks in the future – essentially the same things Raimondo has advocated in his own column.

~ FS

Macedonia Reports

I would like to state how grateful I am to Antiwar.com and particularly Christopher Deliso, for continuing the reports on Macedonia. Given time the issues will resurface, but I am so glad that people out there care about what is happening, and are putting it in writing.

~ Angela K.


[Regarding Christopher Deliso's report of January 19, "Macedonia: a Prelude":]

Macedonians were never "a myth" – just an ignored reality in their own country for a long time.... They have tried to invent different people (Bulgarians, Serbs, Greeks – even a salad?!), but never acknowledged the real indigenous people – Macedonians (I have enclosed the scientific proof of these thesis in the previous letter to you). Also, you are contradicting yourself with the (correct) analysis of the Balkan Wars and World War I regarding the Macedonians, earlier in the text. Believe me, the future for Macedonians then (not to mention numerous times before) looked much more bleak comparing to today. But our ancestors survived that and this state was born later on. We will definitely survive this. Please, there is no need for cataclysmic predictions.... Even if we lose (God forbid) this state, we will found another one.

There is another aspect which might distort your picture of that country – behaving and talking of the locals in front of a foreigner! Often, they tend to put a show off (to impress you), saying something "big" which they don't really mean, to lay it off their chest. Making a picture of the general public mood based around the few showoffs, or things getting very lost in the translation, will put you in the line with the other "war correspondents." Things like "...last year, over 70,000 Macedonians moved to Canada..." is one of them. Absolutely ridiculous! Canada accepted around 300.000 immigrants last year. There is no way that one in four of them were Macedonians!

~ Sasha M., Canada

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